Infection with the SARS-Cov-2 virus causes COVID-19 in humans, and is the cause of the pandemic around the world in 2020 and on. However, some animals have been found to be susceptible to the virus too. This has included the non-human primates, dogs, cats and mustelids. Mink, and very recently hamsters and deer, have been shown to be able to contract the virus and pass it back to humans. However, which animals are susceptible to the virus has been very hard to predict. Many groups have looked at the sequence homology of the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor (ACE2) across species, but this has had limited success. Similar work on other proteins such as Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2), neuropilin-1 and furin have also been unfruitful. Recently it has been suggested that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the glutathione S-transferase-omega (GSTO) genes of humans could alter viral susceptibility. Therefore, here, the presence of related sequences in vertebrates has been investigated. The SNPs in the GST-omega-1 (GSTO1) gene reported to increase COVID-19 in humans do not appear in the vertebrate species. However, the GST-omega-2 (GSTO2) SNP is represented in several vertebrate species known to have contracted the SAR-CoV-2 virus. Of course, animals may contain unknown SNPs at disruptive points in these genes too. In summary, GST-omega-1 genes are unlikely, at least at the moment, to be of value in predicting the susceptibility of an animal to the SARS-CoV-2 virus or disease progression, but a further study of the GST-omega-2 genes would be worthwhile. Therefore, more work on SARS-CoV-2 infections on vertebrates is recommended.
Hancock, J. T., Veal, D., Craig, T. J., & Rouse, R. C. (in press). Do SNPs in glutathione S-transferase-omega allow predictions of the susceptibility of vertebrates to SARS-CoV-2?. Reactive Oxygen Species, 12, c14–c29. https://doi.org/10.20455/ros.2022.c805