Human aminopeptidase N (hAPN or CD13) and porcine aminopeptidase N (pAPN) are functional receptors for human coronavirus (HCV) 229E and porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), respectively. However, hAPN cannot function as a receptor for TGEV and pAPN cannot function as a receptor for HCV 229E. In this study, we constructed a series of chimeric hAPN/pAPN genes and expressed the corresponding proteins in transfected cells. Subsequently, we identified the chimeric proteins that can function as a receptor for HCV 229E. The results show that replacement of a small region of pAPN sequence (pAPN amino acids 255–348) with the corresponding hAPN sequence (hAPN amino acids 260–353) converts pAPN into a functional receptor for HCV 229E. The region of hAPN that we have defined in this way does not correspond to the region of pAPN that has been identified as essential for the TGEV-receptor interaction. We conclude that although both viruses use a homologous receptor protein, different regions of the protein are required to mediate susceptibility to infection with HCV 229E and TGEV.


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