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Protease-dependent cell entry mechanism of coronaviruses

Protease-dependent cell entry mechanism of coronaviruses

Uirusu 61(1): 109-116

Previous studies have demonstrated that the SARS-CoV S protein requires proteolytic cleavage by elastase, cathepsin or TMPRSS2 for S-mediated cell-cell or virus-cell membrane fusion. Activation of viral glycoprotein (GP) by protease also has been reported for influenza virus. The most distinctive difference between influenza virus and SARS-CoV is the stage during virus replication in which viral glycoproteins are cleaved by proteases. In influenza virus, the protease makes a simple cut in the GP during maturation. In contrast, SARS-CoV S protein is cleaved by the protease following receptor-induced conformational changes. The protease cleavage site in S protein is thought to be exposed only after receptor binding. In support of this model, we reported that the S protein of mouse hepatitis virus type 2 (MHV-2), which is highly similar to the S protein of SARS-CoV, requires two-step conformational changes mediated by sequential receptor binding and proteolysis to be activated for membrane fusion. Such a mechanism allows for tight temporal control over fusion by protecting the activating cleavage site from premature proteolysis yet allowing efficient cleavage upon binding to the receptor on target cells.

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Accession: 055242247

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PMID: 21972562

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