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Journal Articles Journal of Virology Year : 2022

Species-Specific Molecular Barriers to SARS-CoV-2 Replication in Bat Cells

Olivier Schwartz


Bats are natural reservoirs of numerous coronaviruses, including the potential ancestor of SARS-CoV-2. Knowledge concerning the interaction between coronaviruses and bat cells is sparse. We investigated the ability of primary cells from Rhinolophus and Myotis species, as well as of established and novel cell lines from Myotis myotis, Eptesicus serotinus, Tadarida brasiliensis, and Nyctalus noctula, to support SARS-CoV-2 replication. None of these cells were permissive to infection, not even the ones expressing detectable levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which serves as the viral receptor in many mammalian species. The resistance to infection was overcome by expression of human ACE2 (hACE2) in three cell lines, suggesting that the restriction to viral replication was due to a low expression of bat ACE2 (bACE2) or the absence of bACE2 binding in these cells. Infectious virions were produced but not released from hACE2-transduced M. myotis brain cells. E. serotinus brain cells and M. myotis nasal epithelial cells expressing hACE2 efficiently controlled viral replication, which correlated with a potent interferon response. Our data highlight the existence of species-specific and cell-specific molecular barriers to viral replication in bat cells. These novel chiropteran cellular models are valuable tools to investigate the evolutionary relationships between bats and coronaviruses.


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Dates and versions

hal-03746441 , version 1 (25-11-2021)
hal-03746441 , version 2 (23-01-2024)



Sophie-Marie Aicher, Felix Streicher, Maxime Chazal, Delphine Planas, Dongsheng Luo, et al.. Species-Specific Molecular Barriers to SARS-CoV-2 Replication in Bat Cells. Journal of Virology, 2022, 96 (14), ⟨10.1128/jvi.00608-22⟩. ⟨hal-03746441v2⟩
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