Dog Coronavirus Jumps to Humans, with Change in N-Terminus of Spike Protein

Cornell University researchers and colleagues have identified a shift that occurs in canine coronavirus that may provide clues as to how it transmits from animals to humans. A new canine coronavirus was first identified in two Malaysian human patients who developed pneumonia in 2017-18. A group of other scientists isolated the canine coronavirus, sequenced it, and published their findings in 2021. Now, a team led by researchers from Cornell and Temple University has identified a pattern that occurs in a terminus of the canine coronavirus spike protein--the area of the virus that facilitates entry into a host cell. This pattern shows the virus shifts from infecting both the intestines and respiratory system of the animal host to infecting only the respiratory system in a human host. The researchers identified a change in the terminus--known as the N-terminus--a region of the molecule with alterations also detected in another coronavirus, which jumped from bats to humans, where it causes a common cold.

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