Feline aminopeptidase N (fAPN) is a major cell surface receptor for feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), human coronavirus 229E (HCV 229E) and canine coronavirus (CCV). By using chimeric molecules assembled from porcine, human and feline APN we have analysed the determinants involved in the coronavirus receptor function of fAPN. Our results show that amino acids 670-840 of fAPN are critically involved in its FIPV and TGEV receptor function whereas amino acids 135-297 are essential for the HCV 229E receptor function. We also demonstrate that a chimeric molecule assembled from human and porcine APN is able to act as a receptor for FIPV. This is surprising as neither human nor porcine APN by themselves mediate FIPV infection. These results suggest that different determinants in the APN protein are involved in mediating the coronavirus receptor function.


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