Enhanced isolation of SARS-CoV-2 by TMPRSS2-expressing cells

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Mar 31;117(13):7001-7003. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2002589117. Epub 2020 Mar 12.


A novel betacoronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which caused a large respiratory outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019, is currently spreading across many countries globally. Here, we show that a TMPRSS2-expressing VeroE6 cell line is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, making it useful for isolating and propagating SARS-CoV-2. Our results reveal that, in common with SARS- and Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 infection is enhanced by TMPRSS2.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; TMPRSS2; VeroE6; coronavirus; outbreak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Cultivation


  • RNA, Viral
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS2 protein, human