SARS coronavirus, but not human coronavirus NL63, utilizes cathepsin L to infect ACE2-expressing cells.

Huang IC, Bosch BJ, Li F, Li W, Lee KH, Ghiran S, Vasilieva N, Dermody TS, Harrison SC, Dormitzer PR, Farzan M, Rottier PJ, Choe H
J Biol Chem. 2006 281 (6): 3198-203

PMID: 16339146 · DOI:10.1074/jbc.M508381200

Viruses require specific cellular receptors to infect their target cells. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a cellular receptor for two divergent coronaviruses, SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63). In addition to hostcell receptors, lysosomal cysteine proteases are required for productive infection by some viruses. Here we show that SARS-CoV, but not HCoV-NL63, utilizes the enzymatic activity of the cysteine protease cathepsin L to infect ACE2-expressing cells. Inhibitors of cathepsin L blocked infection by SARS-CoV and by a retrovirus pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV spike (S) protein but not infection by HCoV-NL63 or a retrovirus pseudotyped with the HCoV-NL63 S protein. Expression of exogenous cathepsin L substantially enhanced infection mediated by the SARS-CoV S protein and by filovirus GP proteins but not by the HCoV-NL63 S protein or the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein. Finally, an inhibitor of endosomal acidification had substantially less effect on infection mediated by the HCoV-NL63 S protein than on that mediated by the SARS-CoV S protein. Our data indicate that two coronaviruses that utilize a common receptor nonetheless enter cells through distinct mechanisms.

MeSH Terms (19)

Animals Carboxypeptidases Cathepsin L Cathepsins Cell Line Cercopithecus aethiops Coronavirus Cysteine Endopeptidases Endosomes Green Fluorescent Proteins Humans Lysosomes Membrane Glycoproteins Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A Retroviridae SARS Virus Species Specificity Vero Cells Viral Envelope Proteins

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