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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 22;6:21878. doi: 10.1038/srep21878.

Replication and shedding of MERS-CoV in Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis).

Author information

1
Laboratory of Virology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, USA.
2
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
3
Rocky Mountain Veterinary Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, USA.
4
Department of Biology, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, USA.
5
Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

Abstract

The emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) highlights the zoonotic potential of Betacoronaviruses. Investigations into the origin of MERS-CoV have focused on two potential reservoirs: bats and camels. Here, we investigated the role of bats as a potential reservoir for MERS-CoV. In vitro, the MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein interacted with Jamaican fruit bat (Artibeus jamaicensis) dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) receptor and MERS-CoV replicated efficiently in Jamaican fruit bat cells, suggesting there is no restriction at the receptor or cellular level for MERS-CoV. To shed light on the intrinsic host-virus relationship, we inoculated 10 Jamaican fruit bats with MERS-CoV. Although all bats showed evidence of infection, none of the bats showed clinical signs of disease. Virus shedding was detected in the respiratory and intestinal tract for up to 9 days. MERS-CoV replicated transiently in the respiratory and, to a lesser extent, the intestinal tracts and internal organs; with limited histopathological changes observed only in the lungs. Analysis of the innate gene expression in the lungs showed a moderate, transient induction of expression. Our results indicate that MERS-CoV maintains the ability to replicate in bats without clinical signs of disease, supporting the general hypothesis of bats as ancestral reservoirs for MERS-CoV.

PMID:
26899616
PMCID:
PMC4761889
DOI:
10.1038/srep21878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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