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Nat Med. 2015 Dec;21(12):1508-13. doi: 10.1038/nm.3985. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
  • 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
  • 3National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas, USA.
  • 4Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China.
  • 5Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
  • 6Cystic Fibrosis Center, Marsico Lung Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
  • 7Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona Institute of Microbiology, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • 8Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 9Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV underscores the threat of cross-species transmission events leading to outbreaks in humans. Here we examine the disease potential of a SARS-like virus, SHC014-CoV, which is currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.

PMID:
26552008
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4797993
[Available on 2016-06-01]
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