Elevated human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 expression reduces the susceptibility of hDPP4 transgenic mice to middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection and disease

Abdullah Algaissi, Anurodh S. Agrawal, Song Han, Bihung Peng, Chuming Luo, Fang Li, Teh Sheng Chan, Robert B. Couch, Chien-Te Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Background The ongoing Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections pose threats to public health worldwide, making an understanding of MERS pathogenesis and development of effective medical countermeasures (MCMs) urgent. Methods We used homozygous (+/+) and heterozygous (+/-) human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (hDPP4) transgenic mice to study the effect of hDPP4 on MERS-CoV infection. Specifically, we determined values of 50% lethal dose (LD 50) of MERS-CoV for the 2 strains of mice, compared and correlated their levels of soluble (s)hDPP4 expression to susceptibility, and explored recombinant (r)shDPP4 as an effective MCM for MERS infection. Results hDPP4 +/+ mice were unexpectedly more resistant than hDPP4 +/- mice to MERS-CoV infection, as judged by increased LD 50, reduced lung viral infection, attenuated morbidity and mortality, and reduced histopathology. Additionally, the resistance to MERS-CoV infection directly correlated with increased serum shDPP4 and serum virus neutralizing activity. Finally, administration of rshDPP4 led to reduced lung virus titer and histopathology. Conclusions Our studies suggest that the serum shDPP4 levels play a role in MERS pathogenesis and demonstrate a potential of rshDPP4 as a treatment option for MERS. Additionally, it offers a validated pair of Tg mice strains for characterizing the effect of shDPP4 on MERS pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019



  • human DPP4
  • medical countermeasures for MERS
  • MERS pathogenesis
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
  • transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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