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biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.05.369264


The widespread occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 has had a profound effect on society and a vaccine is currently being developed. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the primary host cell receptor that interacts with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Although pneumonia is the main symptom in severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the expression levels of ACE2 in the lung is low, suggesting the presence of another receptor for the spike protein. In order to identify the additional receptors for the spike protein, we screened a receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from the lung cDNA library. We cloned L-SIGN as a specific receptor for the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The RBD of the spike protein did not bind to L-SIGN. In addition, not only L-SIGN but also DC-SIGN, a closely related C-type lectin receptor to L-SIGN, bound to the NTD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Importantly, cells expressing L-SIGN and DC-SIGN were both infected by SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, L-SIGN and DC-SIGN induced membrane fusion by associating with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Serum antibodies from infected patients and a patient-derived monoclonal antibody against NTD inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection of L-SIGN or DC-SIGN expressing cells. Our results highlight the important role of NTD in SARS-CoV-2 dissemination through L-SIGN and DC-SIGN and the significance of having anti-NTD neutralizing antibodies in antibody-based therapeutics.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Pneumonia , COVID-19
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.04.369041


Motivation: In the event of an outbreak due to an emerging pathogen, time is of the essence to contain or to mitigate the spread of the disease. Drug repositioning is one of the strategies that has the potential to deliver therapeutics relatively quickly. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has shown that integrating critical data resources to drive drug-repositioning studies, involving host-host, host-pathogen and drug-target interactions, remains a time-consuming effort that translates to a delay in the development and delivery of a life-saving therapy. Results: Here, we describe a workflow we designed for a semi-automated integration of rapidly emerging datasets that can be generally adopted in a broad network pharmacology research setting. The workflow was used to construct a COVID-19 focused multimodal network that integrates 487 host-pathogen, 74,805 host-host protein and 1,265 drug-target interactions. The resultant Neo4j graph database named "Neo4COVID19" is accessible via a web interface and via API calls based on the Bolt protocol. We believe that our Neo4COVID19 database will be a valuable asset to the research community and will catalyze the discovery of therapeutics to fight COVID-19. Availability: . Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, network pharmacology, graph database, Neo4j, data integration, drug repositioning