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1.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1819-1827, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915486

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs) has brought huge challenges to control the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for urgent development of effective vaccines and therapeutic drugs. In this study, we focused on characterizing the impacts of divergent VOCs on the antiviral activity of lipopeptide-based fusion inhibitors that we previously developed. First, we found that pseudoviruses bearing the S proteins of five VOCs (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron) and one variant of interest (Lambda) exhibited greatly decreased infectivity relative to the wild-type (WT) strain or single D614G mutant, especially the Omicron pseudovirus. Differently, the most of variants exhibited an S protein with significantly enhanced cell fusion activity, whereas the S protein of Omicron still mediated decreased cell-cell fusion. Next, we verified that two lipopeptide-based fusion inhibitors, IPB02V3 and IPB24, maintained the highly potent activities in inhibiting various S proteins-driven cell fusion and pseudovirus infection. Surprisingly, both IPB02V3 and IPB24 lipopeptides displayed greatly increased potencies against the infection of authentic Omicron strain relative to the WT virus. The results suggest that Omicron variant evolves with a reduced cell fusion capacity and is more sensitive to the inhibition of fusion-inhibitory lipopeptides; thus, IPB02V3 and IPB24 can be further developed as potent, broad-spectrum antivirals for combating Omicron and the potential future outbreak of other emerging variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Humans , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Internalization
2.
Biosaf Health ; 4(3): 186-192, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1821155

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to evolve, generating new variants that pose a threat to global health; therefore, it is imperative to obtain safe and broad-spectrum antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. To this end, we screened compounds for their ability to inhibit viral entry, which is a critical step in virus infection. Twenty compounds that have been previously reported to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication were tested by using pseudoviruses containing the spike protein from the original strain (SARS-CoV-2-WH01). The cytotoxicity of these compounds was determined. Furthermore, we identified six compounds with strong antagonistic activity against the WH01 pseudovirus, and low cytotoxicity was identified. These compounds were then evaluated for their efficacy against pseudoviruses expressing the spike protein from B.1.617.2 (Delta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron), the two most prevalent circulating strains. These assays demonstrated that two phenothiazine compounds, trifluoperazine 2HCl and thioridazine HCl, inhibit the infection of Delta and Omicron pseudoviruses. Finally, we discovered that these two compounds were highly effective against authentic SARS-CoV-2 viruses, including the WH01, Delta, and Omicron strains. Our study identified potential broad-spectrum SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors and provided insights into the development of novel therapeutics.

3.
Cell ; 185(10): 1728-1744.e16, 2022 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767964

ABSTRACT

As the emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to drive the worldwide pandemic, there is a constant demand for vaccines that offer more effective and broad-spectrum protection. Here, we report a circular RNA (circRNA) vaccine that elicited potent neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses by expressing the trimeric RBD of the spike protein, providing robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 in both mice and rhesus macaques. Notably, the circRNA vaccine enabled higher and more durable antigen production than the 1mΨ-modified mRNA vaccine and elicited a higher proportion of neutralizing antibodies and distinct Th1-skewed immune responses. Importantly, we found that the circRNARBD-Omicron vaccine induced effective neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron but not the Delta variant. In contrast, the circRNARBD-Delta vaccine protected against both Delta and Omicron or functioned as a booster after two doses of either native- or Delta-specific vaccination, making it a favorable choice against the current variants of concern (VOCs) of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Mice , RNA, Circular/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , mRNA Vaccines
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325398

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a positive-sense RNA virus. How the host immune system senses and responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection remain to be determined. Here, we report that SARS-CoV-2 infection activates the innate immune response through the cytosolic DNA sensing cGAS-STING pathway. SARS-CoV-2 infection induces the cellular level of 2'3'-cGAMP associated with STING activation. cGAS recognizes chromatin DNA shuttled from the nucleus as a result of cell-to-cell fusion upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. We further demonstrate that the expression of spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 from host cells is sufficient to trigger cytoplasmic chromatin upon cell fusion. Furthermore, cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway, but not MAVS mediated viral RNA sensing pathway, contributes to interferon and pro-inflammatory gene expression upon cell fusion. Finally, we show that cGAS is required for host antiviral responses against SARS-CoV-2, and a STING-activating compound potently inhibits viral replication. Together, our study reported a previously unappreciated mechanism by which the host innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection, mediated by cytoplasmic chromatin from the infected cells. Targeting the cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway may offer novel therapeutic opportunities in treating COVID-19. In addition, these findings extend our knowledge in host defense against viral infection by showing that host cells’ self-nucleic acids can be employed as a “danger signal” to alarm the immune system.

5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311704

ABSTRACT

Background: Seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs) including HCoV-229E, -OC43, -NL63 and -HKU1 are widely spreading in global human populations. However, the relevance of humoral response against seasonal HCoVs to COVID-19 pathogenesis is elusive.Methods: We profiled the temporal changes of IgG antibodies against spike (S;S-IgG) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal HCoVs in 838 plasma samples collected from 344 COVID-19 patients. We tested the antigenic cross-reactivity of S protein between SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal HCoVs and evaluated the correlations between HCoV-OC43 S-IgG antibody and disease severity in COVID-19 patients.Findings: SARS-CoV-2 S-IgG titers mounted until days 22–28, whereas HCoV-OC43 antibody titers increased until days 15–21 and then plateaued until day 46. However, IgG antibody titers against HCoV-NL63, -229E, and -HKU1 showed no significant increasing. A two-way cross-reactivity was identified between SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43. Neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were not detected in healthy controls who were positive for HCoV-OC43 S-IgG. HCoV-OC43 S-IgG titers were significantly higher in patients with severe disease than those in mild/moderate patients at days 1–21 post symptom onset (PSO). Higher levels of HCoV-OC43 S-IgG were also observed in patients requiring mechanical ventilation and the elderly. At days 1–10 PSO, HCoV-OC43 S-IgG titers correlated to disease severity in all age groups, and to fatality in over 60-year group.Interpretation: Our data indicate that there exist a humoral cross-reactive response between HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2. The cross-reactive HCoV-OC43 S-IgG antibody is not protective against SARS-CoV-2, but may be a risk factor for the severity and adverse outcome of COVID-19.Funding Statement: This study was funded in part by the National Major Science & Technology Project for Control and Prevention of Major Infectious Diseases in China (2017ZX10204401, 2018ZX10734404), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (2016-I2M-1–014, 2018-I2M-1-003, 2020-I2M-1-001, 2020-I2M-CoV19-005), Natural Science Foundation of China (82041011/H0104), and National Key R&D Program of China (2020YFA0707600). Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.Ethics Approval Statement: This study was approved by the Ethical Review Board of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, Infectious Disease Hospital of Heilongjiang Province (Harbin), and Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Written informed consent was obtained from each healthy volunteer and COVID-19 patients in cohort 4. Written informed consents from the remaining patients were waived in light of the emerging infectious disease of high public health relevance.

6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 382, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500449

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a positive-sense RNA virus. How the host immune system senses and responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection remain largely unresolved. Here, we report that SARS-CoV-2 infection activates the innate immune response through the cytosolic DNA sensing cGAS-STING pathway. SARS-CoV-2 infection induces the cellular level of 2'3'-cGAMP associated with STING activation. cGAS recognizes chromatin DNA shuttled from the nucleus as a result of cell-to-cell fusion upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. We further demonstrate that the expression of spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 from host cells is sufficient to trigger cytoplasmic chromatin upon cell fusion. Furthermore, cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway, but not MAVS-mediated viral RNA sensing pathway, contributes to interferon and pro-inflammatory gene expression upon cell fusion. Finally, we show that cGAS is required for host antiviral responses against SARS-CoV-2, and a STING-activating compound potently inhibits viral replication. Together, our study reported a previously unappreciated mechanism by which the host innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection, mediated by cytoplasmic chromatin from the infected cells. Targeting the cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway may offer novel therapeutic opportunities in treating COVID-19. In addition, these findings extend our knowledge in host defense against viral infection by showing that host cells' self-nucleic acids can be employed as a "danger signal" to alarm the immune system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Chromatin/immunology , Cytoplasm/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Nucleotidyltransferases/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Chromatin/genetics , Cytoplasm/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Nucleotidyltransferases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
7.
Sci China Life Sci ; 65(4): 701-717, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371380

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has created a global health crisis. SARS-CoV-2 infects varieties of tissues where the known receptor ACE2 is low or almost absent, suggesting the existence of alternative viral entry pathways. Here, we performed a genome-wide barcoded-CRISPRa screen to identify novel host factors that enable SARS-CoV-2 infection. Beyond known host proteins, i.e., ACE2, TMPRSS2, and NRP1, we identified multiple host components, among which LDLRAD3, TMEM30A, and CLEC4G were confirmed as functional receptors for SARS-CoV-2. All these membrane proteins bind directly to spike's N-terminal domain (NTD). Their essential and physiological roles have been confirmed in either neuron or liver cells. In particular, LDLRAD3 and CLEC4G mediate SARS-CoV-2 entry and infection in an ACE2-independent fashion. The identification of the novel receptors and entry mechanisms could advance our understanding of the multiorgan tropism of SARS-CoV-2, and may shed light on the development of COVID-19 countermeasures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Internalization
8.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 664-676, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1139855

ABSTRACT

Seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs) including HCoV-229E, -OC43, -NL63, and -HKU1 widely spread in global human populations. However, the relevance of humoral response against seasonal HCoVs to COVID-19 pathogenesis is elusive. In this study, we profiled the temporal changes of IgG antibody against spike proteins (S-IgG) of SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal HCoVs in 838 plasma samples collected from 344 COVID-19 patients. We tested the antigenic cross-reactivities of S protein between SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal HCoVs and evaluated the correlations between the levels of HCoV-OC43 S-IgG and the disease severity in COVID-19 patients. We found that SARS-CoV-2 S-IgG titres mounted until days 22-28, whereas HCoV-OC43 antibody titres increased until days 15-21 and then plateaued until day 46. However, IgG titres against HCoV-NL63, -229E, and -HKU1 showed no significant increase. A two-way cross-reactivity was identified between SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43. Neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were not detectable in healthy controls who were positive for HCoV-OC43 S-IgG. HCoV-OC43 S-IgG titres were significantly higher in patients with severe disease than those in mild patients at days 1-21 post symptom onset (PSO). Higher levels of HCoV-OC43 S-IgG were also observed in patients requiring mechanical ventilation. At days 1-10 PSO, HCoV-OC43 S-IgG titres correlated to disease severity in the age group over 60. Our data indicate that there is a correlation between cross-reactive antibody against HCoV-OC43 spike protein and disease severity in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
9.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 18(4): 945-953, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1104474

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the pathogenic agent of COVID-19, which has evolved into a global pandemic. Compared with some other respiratory RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 is a poor inducer of type I interferon (IFN). Here, we report that SARS-CoV-2 nsp12, the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), suppresses host antiviral responses. SARS-CoV-2 nsp12 attenuated Sendai virus (SeV)- or poly(I:C)-induced IFN-ß promoter activation in a dose-dependent manner. It also inhibited IFN promoter activation triggered by RIG-I, MDA5, MAVS, and IRF3 overexpression. Nsp12 did not impair IRF3 phosphorylation but suppressed the nuclear translocation of IRF3. Mutational analyses suggested that this suppression was not dependent on the polymerase activity of nsp12. Given these findings, our study reveals that SARS-CoV-2 RdRp can antagonize host antiviral innate immunity and thus provides insights into viral pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferon Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Cell Nucleus/metabolism , DEAD Box Protein 58/genetics , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/genetics , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/metabolism , Interferon-beta/genetics , Interferon-beta/metabolism , Mutation , Phosphorylation , Promoter Regions, Genetic , Receptors, Immunologic/genetics , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Sendai virus/metabolism
10.
Acta Pharm Sin B ; 11(6): 1555-1567, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1082559

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become one major threat to human population health. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) presents an ideal target of antivirals, whereas nucleoside analogs inhibitor is hindered by the proofreading activity of coronavirus. Herein, we report that corilagin (RAI-S-37) as a non-nucleoside inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, binds directly to RdRp, effectively inhibits the polymerase activity in both cell-free and cell-based assays, fully resists the proofreading activity and potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection with a low 50% effective concentration (EC50) value of 0.13 µmol/L. Computation modeling predicts that RAI-S-37 lands at the palm domain of RdRp and prevents conformational changes required for nucleotide incorporation by RdRp. In addition, combination of RAI-S-37 with remdesivir exhibits additive activity against anti-SARS-CoV-2 RdRp. Together with the current data available on the safety and pharmacokinetics of corilagin as a medicinal herbal agent, these results demonstrate the potential of being developed into one of the much-needed SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.

11.
Front Immunol ; 11: 586572, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979019

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions of people with mortality exceeding >1 million. There is an urgent need to find therapeutic agents that can help clear the virus to prevent severe disease and death. Identifying effective and safer drugs can provide more options to treat COVID-19 infections either alone or in combination. Here, we performed a high throughput screening of approximately 1,700 US FDA-approved compounds to identify novel therapeutic agents that can effectively inhibit replication of coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. Our two-step screen first used a human coronavirus strain OC43 to identify compounds with anti-coronaviral activities. The effective compounds were then screened for their effectiveness in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2. These screens have identified 20 anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs including previously reported compounds such as hydroxychloroquine, amlodipine besylate, arbidol hydrochloride, tilorone 2HCl, dronedarone hydrochloride, mefloquine, and thioridazine hydrochloride. Five of the newly identified drugs had a safety index (cytotoxic/effective concentration) of >600, indicating a wide therapeutic window compared to hydroxychloroquine which had a safety index of 22 in similar experiments. Mechanistically, five of the effective compounds (fendiline HCl, monensin sodium salt, vortioxetine, sertraline HCl, and salifungin) were found to block SARS-CoV-2 S protein-mediated cell fusion. These FDA-approved compounds can provide much needed therapeutic options that we urgently need during the midst of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Drug Repositioning/methods , Fendiline/therapeutic use , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Monensin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Salicylanilides/therapeutic use , Sertraline/therapeutic use , Vortioxetine/therapeutic use
12.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3810, 2020 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-690732

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented threat to global public health. However, the interplay between the viral pathogen of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and host innate immunity is poorly understood. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 induces overt but delayed type-I interferon (IFN) responses. By screening 23 viral proteins, we find that SARS-CoV-2 NSP1, NSP3, NSP12, NSP13, NSP14, ORF3, ORF6 and M protein inhibit Sendai virus-induced IFN-ß promoter activation, whereas NSP2 and S protein exert opposite effects. Further analyses suggest that ORF6 inhibits both type I IFN production and downstream signaling, and that the C-terminus region of ORF6 is critical for its antagonistic effect. Finally, we find that IFN-ß treatment effectively blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication. In summary, our study shows that SARS-CoV-2 perturbs host innate immune response via both its structural and nonstructural proteins, and thus provides insights into the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Immune Evasion , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Signal Transduction , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon-beta/genetics , Interferon-beta/metabolism , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Mutation , Open Reading Frames , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Promoter Regions, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
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