Further Characterization of Aminopeptidase-N as a Receptor for Coronaviruses
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We recently reported that porcine aminopeptidase-N (pAPN) acts as a receptor for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV). In the present work, we addressed the question of whether TGEV tropism is determined only by the virus-receptor interaction. To this end, different non-permissive cell lines were transfected with the porcine APN cDNA and tested for their susceptibility to TGEV infection. The four transfected cell lines shown to express pAPN at their membrane became sensitive to infection. Two of these cell lines were found to be defective for the production of viral particles. This suggests that other factor(s) than pAPN expression may be involved in the production of infectious virions. The pAPN-transfected cells were also tested for their susceptibility to several viruses which have a close antigenic relationship to TGEV. So far, we failed to evidence permissivity to the feline infectious peritonitis coronavirus FIPV and canine coronavirus CCV. In contrast, we found clear evidence that porcine respiratory coronavirus PRCV, a variant of TGEV which replicates efficiently in the respiratory tract but to a very low extent in the gut, may also utilise APN to gain entry into the host cells. This suggests that the switch between TGEV and PRCV tropisms in vivo may involve other determinant(s) than receptor recognition.