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J Virol. 1996 Dec;70(12):8669-74.

Feline aminopeptidase N serves as a receptor for feline, canine, porcine, and human coronaviruses in serogroup I.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.


Two members of coronavirus serogroup I, human respiratory coronavirus HCV-229E and porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), use aminopeptidase N (APN) as their cellular receptors. These viruses show marked species specificity in receptor utilization, as HCV-229E can utilize human but not porcine APN, while TGEV can utilize porcine but not human APN. To determine whether feline APN could serve as a receptor for two feline coronaviruses in serogroup I, feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) and feline enteric coronavirus (FeCV), we cloned the cDNA encoding feline APN (fAPN) by PCR from cDNA isolated from a feline cell line and stably expressed it in FIPV- and FeCV-resistant mouse and hamster cells. The predicted amino acid sequence of fAPN shows 78 and 77% identity with human and porcine APN, respectively. When inoculated with either of two biologically different strains of FIPV or with FeCV, fAPN-transfected mouse and hamster cells became infected and viral antigens developed in the cytoplasm. Infectious FIPV was released from hamster cells stably transfected with fAPN. The fAPN-transfected mouse and hamster cells were challenged with other coronaviruses in serogroup I including canine coronavirus, porcine coronavirus TGEV, and human coronavirus HCV-229E. In addition to serving as a receptor for the feline coronaviruses, fAPN also served as a functional receptor for each of these serogroup I coronaviruses as shown by development of viral antigens in the cytoplasm of infected mouse or hamster cells stably transfected with fAPN. In contrast, fAPN did not serve as a functional receptor for mouse hepatitis virus (MHV-A59), which is in serogroup II and utilizes mouse biliary glycoprotein receptors unrelated to APN. Thus, fAPN serves as a receptor for a much broader range of group I coronaviruses than human and porcine APNs. The human, porcine, and canine coronaviruses in serogroup I that are able to use fAPN as a receptor have previously been shown to infect cats without causing disease. Therefore, host factors in addition to receptor specificity apparently affect the virulence and transmissibility of nonfeline serogroup I coronaviruses in the cat.

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