SARS-CoV-2 Entry: At the Crossroads of CD147 and ACE2

Claudio Fenizia, Silvia Galbiati, Claudia Vanetti, Riccardo Vago, Mario Clerici, Carlo Tacchetti, Tiziana Daniele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In late 2019, the betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was identified as the viral agent responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Coronaviruses Spike proteins are responsible for their ability to interact with host membrane receptors and different proteins have been identified as SARS-CoV-2 interactors, among which Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), and Basigin2/EMMPRIN/CD147 (CD147). CD147 plays an important role in human immunodeficiency virus type 1, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections. In particular, SARS-CoV recognizes the CD147 receptor expressed on the surface of host cells by its nucleocapsid protein binding to cyclophilin A (CyPA), a ligand for CD147. However, the involvement of CD147 in SARS-CoV-2 infection is still debated. Interference with both the function (blocking antibody) and the expression (knock down) of CD147 showed that this receptor partakes in SARS-CoV-2 infection and provided additional clues on the underlying mechanism: CD147 binding to CyPA does not play a role; CD147 regulates ACE2 levels and both receptors are affected by virus infection. Altogether, these findings suggest that CD147 is involved in SARS-CoV-2 tropism and represents a possible therapeutic target to challenge COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 8 2021


  • ACE2
  • basigin
  • CD147
  • COVID-19
  • entry
  • infection
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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