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J Virol. 2012 Jun;86(11):6350-3. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00311-12. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Evidence for ACE2-utilizing coronaviruses (CoVs) related to severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV in bats.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.


In 2002, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus (CoV) appeared as a novel human virus with high similarity to bat coronaviruses. However, while SARS-CoV uses the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for cellular entry, no coronavirus isolated from bats appears to use ACE2. Here we show that signatures of recurrent positive selection in the bat ACE2 gene map almost perfectly to known SARS-CoV interaction surfaces. Our data indicate that ACE2 utilization preceded the emergence of SARS-CoV-like viruses from bats.

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