SARS-CoV-2 employs two key host proteins to gain entry and replicate within cells, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the cell surface transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2).
The protease domain of protein TMPRSS2 facilitates entry of viruses into host cells by proteolytically cleaving and activating viral envelope glycoproteins. Viruses found to use this protein for cell entry include Influenza virus and the human coronaviruses HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. TMPRSS2 inhibitors approved for clinical use blocked entry and might constitute a treatment option.
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