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In light of SARS-COV-2 binding to the ACE 2 protein in human cells, I was wondering if any bacteria exist or could exist that possess this membrane protein. If not, do you believe that an ACE 2 like protein https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpssuppl/92/0/92_2-YIA-09/_pdf expressed by a bacteria could allow the COVID-19 virus to successfully attach and be fused into the bacterium?

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    $\begingroup$ Could you edit your question so that it is clear whether you ask about expressing a functional membrane attached ACE2 receptor allowing for SARSCOV2 infection, or about simply producing ACE2 receptors with engineered bacteria. $\endgroup$ – A. Bourgoin May 11 at 16:32
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Short answer is no, because the ACE2 receptor is only a trigger (and anchoring point) for endocytosis. The endocytosis requires many enzymes/proteins which are (as far as I know) specific to eukaryotes. You'd need to express those too in your bacterium and the lack of adequate eukaryote-like transport protein in your bacterium will likely forbid the whole from functioning.

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  • $\begingroup$ That makes perfect sense, thank you. Do you know of any attempts to get a eukaryote targeting virus to infect a prokaryote? $\endgroup$ – user91617 May 11 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @user91617 It is not exactly my domain of expertise. If not for pure curiosity, I fail to see why such an attempt would be made. I also noticed I failed to answer the title question : can a bacteria express the receptor : yes, see ndsl.kr/ndsl/search/detail/article/…. $\endgroup$ – A. Bourgoin May 11 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the link. As you inferred, my ultimate question would be whether it is possible for the COVID-19 virus to infect a prokaryote such as E. coli (engineered or otherwise). $\endgroup$ – user91617 May 11 at 17:13

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