S protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus mediates entry into hepatoma cell lines and is targeted by neutralizing antibodies in infected patients.J Virol. 2004 Jun; 78(12):6134-42.JV
The severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) causes severe pneumonia with a fatal outcome in approximately 10% of patients. SARS-CoV is not closely related to other coronaviruses but shares a similar genome organization. Entry of coronaviruses into target cells is mediated by the viral S protein. We functionally analyzed SARS-CoV S using pseudotyped lentiviral particles (pseudotypes). The SARS-CoV S protein was found to be expressed at the cell surface upon transient transfection. Coexpression of SARS-CoV S with human immunodeficiency virus-based reporter constructs yielded viruses that were infectious for a range of cell lines. Most notably, viral pseudotypes harboring SARS-CoV S infected hepatoma cell lines but not T- and B-cell lines. Infection of the hepatoma cell line Huh-7 was also observed with replication-competent SARS-CoV, indicating that hepatocytes might be targeted by SARS-CoV in vivo. Inhibition of vacuolar acidification impaired infection by SARS-CoV S-bearing pseudotypes, indicating that S-mediated entry requires low pH. Finally, infection by SARS-CoV S pseudotypes but not by vesicular stomatitis virus G pseudotypes was efficiently inhibited by a rabbit serum raised against SARS-CoV particles and by sera from SARS patients, demonstrating that SARS-CoV S is a target for neutralizing antibodies and that such antibodies are generated in SARS-CoV-infected patients. Our results show that viral pseudotyping can be employed for the analysis of SARS-CoV S function. Moreover, we provide evidence that SARS-CoV infection might not be limited to lung tissue and can be inhibited by the humoral immune response in infected patients.