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Journal Articles Comparative Medicine Year : 2021

Viral and Host Attributes Underlying the Origins of Zoonotic Coronaviruses in Bats

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Abstract

With a presumed origin in bats, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major source of morbidity and mortality in the hu- man population, and the causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, aligns most closely at the genome level with the bat coronaviruses RaBtCoV4991/RaTG13 and RmYN02. The ability of bats to provide reservoirs of numerous viruses in addition to coronaviruses remains an active area of research. Unique aspects of the physiology of the chiropteran immune system may contribute to the ability of bats to serve as viral reservoirs. The coronavirus spike protein plays important roles in viral pathogenesis and the immune response. Although much attention has focused on the spike receptor-binding domain, a unique aspect of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with its closest relatives is the presence of a furin cleavage site in the S1–S2 region of the spike protein. Proteolytic activation is likely an important feature that allows SARS-CoV-2—and other coronaviruses—to overcome the species barriers and thus cause human disease. The diversity of bat species limits the ability to draw broad conclusions about viral pathogenesis, but comparisons across species and with reference to humans and other susceptible mammals may guide future research in this regard.
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hal-03769026 , version 1 (05-09-2022)

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Alison Stout, Qinghua Guo, Jean Millet, Gary Whittaker. Viral and Host Attributes Underlying the Origins of Zoonotic Coronaviruses in Bats. Comparative Medicine, 2021, 71 (5), pp.442-450. ⟨10.30802/AALAS-CM-21-000027⟩. ⟨hal-03769026⟩
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