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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Jun;85(12):4526-9.

Human and bovine coronaviruses recognize sialic acid-containing receptors similar to those of influenza C viruses.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, New York, NY 10029.


Human coronavirus OC43 and bovine coronavirus elute from agglutinated chicken erythrocytes when incubated at 37 degrees C, suggesting the presence of a receptor-destroying enzyme. Moreover, bovine coronavirus exhibits an acetylesterase activity in vitro using bovine submaxillary mucin as substrate similar to the enzymatic activity found in influenza C viruses. Furthermore, pretreatment of erythrocytes with either influenza C virus or bovine coronavirus eliminates subsequent binding and agglutination by either coronaviruses or influenza C virus, whereas binding of influenza A virus remains intact. In addition, hemagglutination by coronaviruses can be inhibited by pretreatment of erythrocytes with Arthrobacter ureafaciens or Clostridium perfringens neuraminidase or by addition of sialic acid-containing gangliosides. These results suggest that, like influenza C viruses, human coronavirus OC43 and bovine coronavirus recognize O-acetylated sialic acid or a similar derivative as cell receptor.

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