Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is a pig coronavirus that causes severe diarrhea and high mortality in piglets, but as no effective drugs are available, this virus threatens the pig industry. Here, we found that the intestinal contents of specific pathogen-free pigs effectively blocked PEDV invasion. Through proteomic and metabolic analyses of the intestinal contents, we screened 10 metabolites to investigate their function and found that linoleic acid (LA) significantly inhibited PEDV replication. Further investigations revealed that LA inhibited viral replication and release mainly by binding with PEDV NSP5 to regulate the PI3K pathway and, in particular, inhibiting AKT phosphorylation. In vivo experiments illustrated that orally administered LA protected pigs from PEDV challenge and severe diarrhea. These findings provide strong support for exploring antiviral drugs for coronavirus treatment.
Keywords: AKT; PEDV; antiviral drugs; coronavirus; linoleic acid.