Host cell proteases: Critical determinants of coronavirus tropism and pathogenesis

Virus Research
Jean Kaoru Millet, Gary R Whittaker

Abstract

Coronaviruses are a large group of enveloped, single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses that infect a wide range of avian and mammalian species, including humans. The emergence of deadly human coronaviruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have bolstered research in these viral and often zoonotic pathogens. While coronavirus cell and tissue tropism, host range, and pathogenesis are initially controlled by interactions between the spike envelope glycoprotein and host cell receptor, it is becoming increasingly apparent that proteolytic activation of spike by host cell proteases also plays a critical role. Coronavirus spike proteins are the main determinant of entry as they possess both receptor binding and fusion functions. Whereas binding to the host cell receptor is an essential first step in establishing infection, the proteolytic activation step is often critical for the fusion function of spike, as it allows for controlled release of the fusion peptide into target cellular membranes. Coronaviruses have evolved multiple strategies for proteolytic activation of spike, and a large number of host proteases have been shown to proteolytically pr...Continue Reading

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
glycosylations

Software Mentioned

ProP
ClustalX
PiTou

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