Human coronavirus 229E, an enveloped, RNA-containing virus, causes respiratory illness in man and is serologically related to murine coronavirus JHM, which causes acute and chronic demyelination in rodents. 229E displays a species-specific host range restriction whose genetic basis was studied in human-mouse hybrids. 229E replicated in human WI-38 cells but not in three mouse cell lines tested (RAG, LM/TK-, and A9). Human coronavirus sensitivity (HCVS) was expressed as a dominant phenotype in hybrids, indicating that mouse cells do not actively suppress 229E replication. HCVS segregated concordantly with the human chromosome 15 enzyme markers mannose phosphate isomerase (MPI) and the muscle form of pyruvate kinase (PKM2), and analysis of hybrids containing an X/15 translocation [t(X;15)(p11;q11)] localized HCVS to the q11 → qter region of chromosome 15. HCVS might code for a specific surface receptor, allowing 229E to be absorbed to and received within the host cell.
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