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J Gen Virol. 2014 Feb;95(Pt 2):408-12. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.060640-0. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Wild-type and innate immune-deficient mice are not susceptible to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA.


The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a newly emerging highly pathogenic virus causing almost 50 % lethality in infected individuals. The development of a small-animal model is critical for the understanding of this virus and to aid in development of countermeasures against MERS-CoV. We found that BALB/c, 129/SvEv and 129/SvEv STAT1 knockout mice are not permissive to MERS-CoV infection. The lack of infection may be due to the low level of mRNA and protein for the MERS-CoV receptor, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), in the lungs of mice. The low level of DPP4 in the lungs likely contributes to the lack of viral replication in these mouse models and suggests that a transgenic mouse model expressing DPP4 to higher levels is necessary to create a mouse model for MERS-CoV.

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