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medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.05.05.21256681


Cell autonomous antiviral defenses can inhibit the replication of viruses and reduce transmission and disease severity. To better understand the antiviral response to SARS-CoV-2, we used interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression screening to reveal that OAS1, through RNase L, potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2. We show that while some people can express a prenylated OAS1 variant, that is membrane-associated and blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection, other people express a cytosolic, nonprenylated OAS1 variant which does not detect SARS-CoV-2 (determined by the splice-acceptor SNP Rs10774671). Alleles encoding nonprenylated OAS1 predominate except in people of African descent. Importantly, in hospitalized patients, expression of prenylated OAS1 was associated with protection from severe COVID-19, suggesting this antiviral defense is a major component of a protective antiviral response. Remarkably, approximately 55 million years ago, retrotransposition ablated the OAS1 prenylation signal in horseshoe bats (the presumed source of SARS-CoV-2). Thus, SARS-CoV-2 never had to adapt to evade this defense. As prenylated OAS1 is widespread in animals, the billions of people that lack a prenylated OAS1 could make humans particularly vulnerable to the spillover of coronaviruses from horseshoe bats.

ssrn; 2020.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3720002


COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a global health issue with more than 1 million fatalities to date. Understanding how host factors modify the viral life cycle could inform susceptibility to viral infection and the design of new therapies. Viral replication is shaped by the cellular microenvironment and one important factor is local oxygen tension, where hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) regulates transcriptional responses to hypoxia. SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells of the respiratory tract, entering via its Spike glycoprotein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). We demonstrate that hypoxia and the HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor Roxadustat (FG-4592) reduce ACE2 expression and inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in lung epithelial cells via a HIF-1α dependent signalling pathway. Further, hypoxia and Roxadustat inhibit viral replication in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, showing that post-entry steps in the viral life cycle are oxygen-sensitive. This study highlights the importance of hypoxia and HIF signalling in regulating multiple aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and raises the potential use of HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.Funding: The McKeating laboratory is funded by a Wellcome Investigator Award (IA) 200838/Z/16/Z, UK Medical Research Council (MRC) project grant MR/R022011/1 and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2-002). The Ratcliffe laboratory is funded by the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; Wellcome IA 106241/Z/14/Z; the Francis Crick Institute, which receives core funding from Cancer Research UK (FC001501), UK MRC (FC001501) and Wellcome (FC001501); the Paradifference Foundation. PJR, EJH and TB are additionally funded by the COVID-19 Research Response Fund, University of Oxford. SK is funded by the Clarendon Scholarships Fund and the Christopher Welch Trust. The Davis laboratory is funded by Wellcome IA 209412/Z/17/Z and Wellcome Strategic Awards 091911/B/10/Z and 107457/Z/15/Z. JYL is funded by the Medial Sciences Graduate Studentship, University of Oxford. The Hinks laboratory is funded by grants from the Wellcome (104553/z/14/z, 211050/Z/18/z) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre; the views expressed are those of the authors and not those of the NHS or NIHR. Conflict of Interest: EJH is employed under the Cambridge Experimental Medicine Initiative, which is partly funded by AstraZeneca although they have not been involved in this project. The other authors declare no financial interests.Ethical Approval: The study was reviewed by the Oxford Research Ethics Committee B (18/SC/0361).

Hypoxia , Neoplasms , COVID-19