Entry from the cell surface of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus with cleaved S protein as revealed by pseudotype virus bearing cleaved S protein.

Journal of Virology
Rie WatanabeFumihiro Taguchi


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is known to take an endosomal pathway for cell entry; however, it is thought to enter directly from the cell surface when a receptor-bound virion spike (S) protein is affected by trypsin, which induces cleavage of the S protein and activates its fusion potential. This suggests that SARS-CoV bearing a cleaved form of the S protein can enter cells directly from the cell surface without trypsin treatment. To explore this possibility, we introduced a furin-like cleavage sequence in the S protein at amino acids 798 to 801 and found that the mutated S protein was cleaved and induced cell fusion without trypsin treatment when expressed on the cell surface. Furthermore, a pseudotype virus bearing a cleaved S protein was revealed to infect cells in the presence of a lysosomotropic agent as well as a protease inhibitor, both of which are known to block SARS-CoV infection via an endosome, whereas the infection of pseudotypes with an uncleaved, wild-type S protein was blocked by these agents. A heptad repeat peptide, derived from a SARS-CoV S protein that is known to efficiently block infections from the cell surface, blocked the infection by a pseudotype with a cleaved S prot...Continue Reading


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