Bats' cells evolve to battle MERS

By Science News Staff, 16:17 PM October 9, 2013

Guest post by Tina Hesman Saey

Bats have been duking it out with the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, for a long time, a new study suggests.

The MERS virus grabs hold of the DPP4 protein on mammalian cells to gain entry into them. Bats have more changes to their DPP4 proteins than other animals do, Jie Cui of the University of Sydney and colleagues report October 10 in Virology Journal.

Many of those changes would loosen the virus’s grip on its favorite handholds, ind...

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