Project

Early replication stages of feline enteric coronavirus in its real target cell, the enterocyte.

Duration
01 October 2017 → 15 October 2021
Funding
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Keywords
feline enteric coronavirus
 
Project description

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the most feared infectious cause of death in cats, caused by the

feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). FIPV is a virulent mutant of the feline enteric coronavirus,

an ubiquitous but harmless intestinal virus. The mutation provides FIPV with tools to replicate in

monocytes, in which it can be spread over the whole body, resulting in a fatal, systemic disorder.

As for other coronaviruses, curative measures are not available. This is not only due to the many

unresolved questions in the virus-cell interactions and pathogenesis, but also due to fact that

these RNA viruses have a remarkable adaptive character, which can explain the failure of singledrug

approaches so far. Previous research performed by our group created novel insights and tools

that finally opens the opportunity for more in-depth research on the coronavirus-cell interactions

and identification of multiple antivirals. In line with this research, the present project will focus on

the early virus-cell interactions, by 1) identifying the receptor using co-immunoprecipitation with

receptor-binding S1-Fc fusion proteins, and by 2) characterizing a post-entry step involving a new

serine protease activity that is even conserved among all tested nidoviruses so far. These studies

will not only solve some missing links in the coronavirus replication strategies and FIP

pathogenesis, but will also allow a multi-target approach in antiviral development against

coronaviruses.