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Virology. 2004 Jul 1;324(2):510-24.

Amino acid substitutions and an insertion in the spike glycoprotein extend the host range of the murine coronavirus MHV-A59.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East 9th Avenue, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


The murine coronavirus [murine hepatitis virus (MHV)] is limited to infection of susceptible mice and murine cell lines by the specificity of the spike glycoprotein (S) for its receptor, murine carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 1a (mCEACAM1a). We have recently shown that 21 aa substitutions and a 7-aa insert in the N-terminal region of S are associated with the extended host range of a virus variant derived from murine cells persistently infected with the A59 strain of MHV (MHV-A59). We used targeted RNA recombination (TRR) to generate isogenic viruses that differ from MHV-A59 by the 21 aa substitutions or the 7-aa insert in S. Only viruses with both the 21 aa substitutions and the 7-aa insert in S infected hamster, feline, and monkey cells. These viruses also infected murine cells in the presence of blocking anti-mCEACAM1a antibodies. Thus, relatively few changes in the N-terminal region of S1 are sufficient to permit MHV-A59 to interact with alternative receptors on murine and non-murine cells.

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