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TMPRSS2 and TMPRSS4 mediate SARS-CoV-2 infection of human small intestinal enterocytes

By Ruochen Zang, Maria F.G. Castro, Broc T. McCune, Qiru Zeng, Paul W Rothlauf, Naomi M. Sonnek, Zhuoming Liu, Kevin F. Brulois, Xin Wang, Harry B Greenberg, Michael S. Diamond, Matthew A. Ciorba, Sean P.J. Whelan, Siyuan Ding

Posted 23 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.21.054015 (published DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abc3582)

Both gastrointestinal symptoms and fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA have been frequently observed in COVID-19 patients. However, whether SARS-CoV-2 replicate in the human intestine and its clinical relevance to potential fecal-oral transmission remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate productive infection of SARS-CoV-2 in ACE2+ mature enterocytes in human small intestinal enteroids. In addition to TMPRSS2, another mucosa-specific serine protease, TMPRSS4, also enhanced SARS-CoV-2 spike fusogenic activity and mediated viral entry into host cells. However, newly synthesized viruses released into the intestinal lumen were rapidly inactivated by human colonic fluids and no infectious virus was recovered from the stool specimens of COVID-19 patients. Our results highlight the intestine as a potential site of SARS-CoV-2 replication, which may contribute to local and systemic illness and overall disease progression. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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