Isolation of porcine epidemic diarrhea coronavirus (PEDV) from clinical material in cell culture requires supplementation of trypsin. This may relate to the confinement of PEDV natural infection to the protease-rich small intestine of pigs. Our study focused on the role of protease activity on infection by investigating the spike protein of a PEDV isolate (wtPEDV) using a reverse genetics system based on the trypsin-independent cell culture-adapted strain DR13 (caPEDV). We demonstrate that trypsin acts on the wtPEDV spike protein after receptor binding. We mapped the genetic determinant for trypsin-dependent cell entry to the N-terminal region of the fusion subunit of this class I fusion protein, revealing a conserved arginine just upstream of the putative fusion peptide as the potential cleavage site. Whereas coronaviruses are typically processed by endogenous proteases of the producer or target cell, PEDV S protein activation strictly required supplementation of a protease, enabling us to study mechanistic details of proteolytic processing. Importance: Recurring PEDV epidemics constitute a serious animal health threat and an economic burden, particularly in Asia but, as of recently, also on the North-American subcontinent. Understanding the biology of PEDV is critical for combatting the infection. Here, we provide new insight into the protease-dependent cell entry of PEDV.