Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) have been reported to use aminopeptidase N (APN) as a cellular receptor. Recently, the role of APN as a receptor for PEDV has been questioned. In our study, the role of APN in PEDV and TGEV infections was studied in primary porcine enterocytes. After seven days of cultivation, 89% of enterocytes presented microvilli and showed a two- to five-fold higher susceptibility to PEDV and TGEV. A significant increase of PEDV and TGEV infection was correlated with a higher expression of APN, which was indicative that APN plays an important role in porcine coronavirus infections. However, PEDV and TGEV infected both APN positive and negative enterocytes. PEDV and TGEV Miller showed a higher infectivity in APN positive cells than in APN negative cells. In contrast, TGEV Purdue replicated better in APN negative cells. These results show that an additional receptor exists, different from APN for porcine coronaviruses. Subsequently, treatment of enterocytes with neuraminidase (NA) had no effect on infection efficiency of TGEV, implying that terminal cellular sialic acids (SAs) are no receptor determinants for TGEV. Treatment of TGEV with NA significantly enhanced the infection which shows that TGEV is masked by SAs.
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