PEDV enters cells through clathrin-, caveolae-, and lipid raft-mediated endocytosis and traffics via the endo-/lysosome pathway.
With the emergence of highly pathogenic variant strains, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has led to significant economic loss in the global swine industry. Many studies have described how coronaviruses enter cells, but information on PEDV invasion strategies remains insufficient. Given that the differences in gene sequences and pathogenicity between classical and mutant strains of PEDV may lead to diverse invasion mechanisms, this study focused on the cellular entry pathways and cellular transport of the PEDV GI and GII subtype strains in Vero cells and IPEC-J2 cells. We first characterized the kinetics of PEDV entry into cells and found that the highest invasion rate of PEDV was approximately 33% in the IPEC-J2 cells and approximately 100% in the Vero cells. To clarify the specific endocytic pathways, systematic research methods were used and showed that PEDV enters cells via the clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytosis pathways, in which dynamin II, clathrin heavy chain, Eps15, cholesterol, and caveolin-1 were indispensably involved. In addition, lipid raft extraction assay showed that PEDV can also enter cells through lipid raft-mediated endocytosis. To investigate the trafficking of internalized PEDV, we found that PEDV entry into cells relied on low pH and internalized virions reached lysosomes through the early endosome-late endosome-lysosome pathway. The results concretely revealed the entry mechanisms of PEDV and provided an insightful theoretical basis for the further understanding of PEDV pathogenesis and guidance for new targets of antiviral drugs.