Predicting the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) utilizing capability as the receptor of SARS-CoV-2

Microbes Infect. May-Jun 2020;22(4-5):221-225. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2020.03.003. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


SARS-CoV-2, the newly identified human coronavirus causing severe pneumonia pandemic, was probably originated from Chinese horseshoe bats. However, direct transmission of the virus from bats to humans is unlikely due to lack of direct contact, implying the existence of unknown intermediate hosts. Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor of SARS-CoV-2, but only ACE2s of certain species can be utilized by SARS-CoV-2. Here, we evaluated and ranked the receptor-utilizing capability of ACE2s from various species by phylogenetic clustering and sequence alignment with the currently known ACE2s utilized by SARS-CoV-2. As a result, we predicted that SARS-CoV-2 tends to utilize ACE2s of various mammals, except murines, and some birds, such as pigeon. This prediction may help to screen the intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); Coronavirus; Phylogenetic analysis; Receptor utilization; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / metabolism*
  • Birds / metabolism*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • Pandemics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Species Specificity


  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2