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Interacting proteins, polymorphisms and the susceptibility of animals to SARS-CoV-2

Hancock, John; Rouse, Ros; Stone, Emma; Greenhough, Alexander


Ros Rouse

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Dr Emma Stone
Senior Lecturer Environmental Biology


Abstract: COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is a world-wide problem for the human population. It is known that some animal species, such as mink, can become infected and transmit the virus. However, the susceptibility of most animals is not known. Here, we review the use of sequence analysis of the proteins which are known to interact with SARS-CoV-2 as a way to estimate an animal’s susceptibility. Although most such work concentrates on the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor (ACE2), here TMPRSS2 (Transmembrane Serine Protease 2), neuropilin-1 and furin are also considered. Polymorphisms, especially ones which are known to alter viral/host interactions are also discussed. Analysis of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 protein sequences across species suggests this approach may be of some utility in predicting susceptibility; however, this analysis fails to highlight some susceptible animals such as mink. However, combined with observational data which emerges over time about which animals actually become infected, this may, in the future, be a useful tool to assist the management of risks associated with human/animal contact and support conservation and animal welfare measures.


Hancock, J., Rouse, R., Stone, E., & Greenhough, A. (2021). Interacting proteins, polymorphisms and the susceptibility of animals to SARS-CoV-2. Animals, 11(3), Article 797.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 12, 2021
Publication Date Mar 12, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2021
Journal Animals
Electronic ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 3
Article Number 797
Keywords ACE2; COVID-19; furin; neuropilin-1; polymorphisms, SARS-CoV-2; TMPRSS2
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