Permissivity of Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 Orthologs to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Is Governed by Glycosylation and Other Complex Determinants.J Virol. 2017 10 01; 91(19)JV
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) utilizes dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) as an entry receptor. While bat, camel, and human DPP4 support MERS-CoV infection, several DPP4 orthologs, including mouse, ferret, hamster, and guinea pig DPP4, do not. Previous work revealed that glycosylation of mouse DPP4 plays a role in blocking MERS-CoV infection. Here, we tested whether glycosylation also acts as a determinant of permissivity for ferret, hamster, and guinea pig DPP4. We found that, while glycosylation plays an important role in these orthologs, additional sequence and structural determinants impact their ability to act as functional receptors for MERS-CoV. These results provide insight into DPP4 species-specific differences impacting MERS-CoV host range and better inform our understanding of virus-receptor interactions associated with disease emergence and host susceptibility.IMPORTANCE MERS-CoV is a recently emerged zoonotic virus that is still circulating in the human population with an ∼35% mortality rate. With no available vaccines or therapeutics, the study of MERS-CoV pathogenesis is crucial for its control and prevention. However, in vivo studies are limited because MERS-CoV cannot infect wild-type mice due to incompatibilities between the virus spike and the mouse host cell receptor, mouse DPP4 (mDPP4). Specifically, mDPP4 has a nonconserved glycosylation site that acts as a barrier to MERS-CoV infection. Thus, one mouse model strategy has been to modify the mouse genome to remove this glycosylation site. Here, we investigated whether glycosylation acts as a barrier to infection for other nonpermissive small-animal species, namely, ferret, guinea pig, and hamster. Understanding the virus-receptor interactions for these DPP4 orthologs will help in the development of additional animal models while also revealing species-specific differences impacting MERS-CoV host range.