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The diverse of ACE2 receptor made the inference of host Difficult copy.pdf
preprintposted on 04.02.2020, 00:15 authored by Zihao YuanZihao Yuan
Challenging Host Inference for 2019-nCov Due to the Sequence Diversity in ACE2 Receptor
Since the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak, it has been difficult to trace the origin of this virus through the investigation of its intermediate host before passing to human. While most of the inference works focused on viral genome sequence comparison, studies on the diversity of the Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), the wildly recognized receptor for viral infection, has been limited in possible animal hosts. In this study, we analyzed the sequence divergence of ACE2 in the viral binding sites from bats, snakes, alligators, carnivores, even toe animals, rodents, nonhuman primates and humans. Our results showed that the viral binding sites in the ACE2 receptors are diverse between human and other animal species. In contrast, the protein sequences of the MERS receptor CD26 have only one amino acid difference between camel and human (camel V, human T). These analysis indicates complexity of the development of the infection mechanism of 2019-nCov and challenges in identifying the intermediate host(s) solely by bioinformatics approaches. Therefore, well-designed clinical studies and laboratory experiments are needed to determine the spreading path of 2019-nCov.