It has been reported that lactoferrin (LF) participates in the host immune response against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) invasion by enhancing NK cell activity and stimulating neutrophil aggregation and adhesion. We further investigated the role of LF in the entry of SARS pseudovirus into HEK293E/ACE2-Myc cells. Our results reveal that LF inhibits SARS pseudovirus infection in a dose-dependent manner. Further analysis suggested that LF was able to block the binding of spike protein to host cells at 4uC, indicating that LF exerted its inhibitory function at the viral attachment stage. However, LF did not disrupt the interaction of spike protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the functional receptor of SARS-CoV.
Previous studies have shown that LF colocalizes with the widely distributed cell-surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Our experiments have also confirmed this conclusion.