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?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 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

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.