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1.
J Med Virol ; 2022 Mar 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767361

ABSTRACT

A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been identified as the causative agent of the current coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Development of animal models that parallel the clinical and pathologic features of disease are highly essential to understanding the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of therapeutics and prophylactics. Several mouse models that express the human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) have been created, including transgenic and knock-in strains, and viral vector-mediated delivery of hACE2. However, the comparative pathology of these mouse models infected with SARS-CoV-2 are unknown. Here, we perform systematic comparisons of the mouse models including K18-hACE2 mice, KI-hACE2 mice, Ad5-hACE2 mice and CAG-hACE2 mice, which revealed differences in the distribution of lesions and the characteristics of pneumonia induced. Based on these observations, the hACE2 mouse models meet different needs of SARS-CoV-2 researches. The similarities or differences among the model-specific pathologies may help in better understanding the pathogenic process of SARS-CoV-2 infection and aiding in the development of effective medications and prophylactic treatments for SARS-CoV-2.

2.
J Med Virol ; 2022 Mar 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1756619

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused severe public health crises and heavy economic losses. Limited knowledge about this deadly virus impairs our capacity to set up a toolkit against it. Thus, more studies on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) biology are urgently needed. Reverse genetics systems, including viral infectious clones and replicons, are powerful platforms for viral research projects, spanning many aspects such as the rescues of wild-type or mutant viral particles, the investigation of viral replication mechanism, the characterization of viral protein functions, and the studies on viral pathogenesis and antiviral drug development. The operations on viral infectious clones are strictly limited in the Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) facilities, which are insufficient, especially during the pandemic. In contrast, the operation on the noninfectious replicon can be performed in Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) facilities, which are widely available. After the outbreak of COVID-19, many reverse genetics systems for SARS-CoV-2, including infectious clones and replicons are developed and given plenty of options for researchers to pick up according to the requirement of their research works. In this review, we summarize the available reverse genetics systems for SARS-CoV-2, by highlighting the features of these systems, and provide a quick guide for researchers, especially those without ample experience in operating viral reverse genetics systems.

3.
Virus Evol ; 7(2): veab104, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1752183

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, which causes the current pandemic of respiratory illness, is evolving continuously and generating new variants. Nevertheless, most of the sequence analyses thus far focused on nucleotide substitutions despite the fact that insertions and deletions (indels) are equally important in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we analyzed 1,099,664 high-quality sequences of SARS-CoV-2 genomes to re-construct the evolutionary and epidemiological histories of indels. Our analysis revealed 289 circulating indel types (237 deletion and 52 insertion types, each represented by more than ten genomic sequences), among which eighteen were recurrent indel types, each represented by more than 500 genome sequences. Although indels were identified across the entire genome, most of them were identified in nsp6, S, ORF8, and N genes, among which ORF8 indel types had the highest frequencies of frameshift. Geographical and temporal analyses of these variants revealed a few alterations of dominant indel types, each accompanied by geographic expansion to different countries and continents, which resulted in the fixation of several types of indels in the field, including the current variants of concern. Evolutionary and structural analyses revealed that indels involving S N-terminal domain regions were linked to the 3/4 variants of concern, resulting in significantly altered S protein that might contribute to the selective advantage of the corresponding variant. In sum, our study highlights the important role of insertions and deletions in the evolution and spread of SARS-CoV-2.

4.
mBio ; : e0366221, 2022 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741579

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Understanding the immunological and pathological processes of coronavirus diseases is crucial for the rational design of effective vaccines and therapies for COVID-19. Previous studies showed that 2'-O-methylation of the viral RNA cap structure is required to prevent the recognition of viral RNAs by intracellular innate sensors. Here, we demonstrate that the guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap mediated by coronavirus nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) contributes to viral evasion of the type I interferon (IFN-I)-mediated immune response and pathogenesis in mice. A Y414A substitution in nsp14 of the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity and reduced guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap in vitro. Infection of myeloid cells with recombinant MHV harboring the nsp14-Y414A mutation (rMHVnsp14-Y414A) resulted in upregulated expression of IFN-I and ISG15 mainly via MDA5 signaling and in reduced viral replication compared to that of wild-type rMHV. rMHVnsp14-Y414A replicated to lower titers in livers and brains and exhibited an attenuated phenotype in mice. This attenuated phenotype was IFN-I dependent because the virulence of the rMHVnsp14-Y414A mutant was restored in Ifnar-/- mice. We further found that the comparable mutation (Y420A) in SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 (rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A) also significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity in vitro, and the mutant virus was attenuated in K18-human ACE2 transgenic mice. Moreover, infection with rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A conferred complete protection against subsequent and otherwise lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice, indicating the vaccine potential of this mutant. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses (CoVs), including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, use several strategies to evade the host innate immune responses. While the cap structure of RNA, including CoV RNA, is important for translation, previous studies indicate that the cap also contributes to viral evasion from the host immune response. In this study, we demonstrate that the N7-methylated cap structure of CoV RNA is pivotal for virus immunoevasion. Using recombinant MHV and SARS-CoV-2 encoding an inactive N7-methyltransferase, we demonstrate that these mutant viruses are highly attenuated in vivo and that attenuation is apparent at very early times after infection. Virulence is restored in mice lacking interferon signaling. Further, we show that infection with virus defective in N7-methylation protects mice from lethal SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that the N7-methylase might be a useful target in drug and vaccine development.

5.
J Thorac Dis ; 14(2): 355-370, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737501

ABSTRACT

Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic is posing a major challenge to public health on a global scale. While it is generally believed that severe COVID-19 results from over-expression of inflammatory mediators (i.e., a "cytokine storm"), it is still unclear whether and how co-infecting pathogens contribute to disease pathogenesis. To address this, we followed the entire course of the disease in cases with severe or critical COVID-19 to determine the presence and abundance of all potential pathogens present-the total "infectome"-and how they interact with the host immune system in the context of severe COVID-19. Methods: We examined one severe and three critical cases of COVID-19, as well as a set of healthy controls, with longitudinal samples (throat swab, whole blood, and serum) collected from each case. Total RNA sequencing (meta-transcriptomics) was performed to simultaneously investigate pathogen diversity and abundance, as well as host immune responses, in each sample. A Bio-Plex method was used to measure serum cytokine and chemokine levels. Results: Eight pathogens, SARS-CoV-2, Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus), Mycoplasma orale (M. orale), Myroides odoratus (M. odoratus), Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii), Candida tropicalis, herpes simplex virus (HSV) and human cytomegalovirus (CMV), identified in patients with COVID-19 appeared at different stages of the disease. The dynamics of inflammatory mediators in serum and the respiratory tract were more strongly associated with the dynamics of the infectome compared with SARS-CoV-2 alone. Correlation analysis revealed that pulmonary injury was directly associated with cytokine levels, which in turn were associated with the proliferation of SARS-CoV-2 and co-infecting pathogens. Conclusions: For each patient, the cytokine storm that resulted in acute lung injury and death involved a dynamic and highly complex infectome, of which SARS-CoV-2 was a component. These results indicate the need for a precision medicine approach to investigate both the infection and host response as a standard means of infectious disease characterization.

6.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 12: 823306, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690457

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is evolving with mutations throughout the genome all the time and a number of major variants emerged, including several variants of concern (VOC), such as Delta and Omicron variants. In this study, we demonstrated that mutations in the regions corresponding to the sequences of the probes and 3'-end of primers have a significant impact on qPCR detection efficiency. We also found that the G28916T mutation of the N gene accounts for 78.78% sequenced genomes of Delta variant. It was found that detection sensitivity of G28916T mutant was 2.35 and 1.74 times less than that of the wt sequence and detection limit was reduced from 1 copy/µl to 10 copies/µl for the commercially available CP3 and CP4 primer/probe sets. These results indicate that the detection probes and primers should be optimized to keep maximal detection efficiency in response to the emergence of new variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Mutation , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313407

ABSTRACT

Analysis of viral protein-protein interactions is an essential step to uncover the viral protein functions and the molecular mechanism for the assembly of a viral protein complex. We employed a mammalian two-hybrid system to screen all the viral proteins of SARS-CoV-2 for the protein-protein interactions. Our study detected 48 interactions, 14 of which were firstly reported here. Unlike Nsp1 of SARS-CoV, Nsp1 of SARS-CoV-2 has the most interacting partners among all the viral proteins and likely functions as a hub for the viral proteins. Five self-interactions were confirmed, and five interactions, Nsp1/Nsp3.1, Nsp3.1/N, Nsp3.2/Nsp12, Nsp10/Nsp14, and Nsp10/Nsp16, were determined to be positive bidirectionally. Using the replicon reporter system of SARS-CoV-2, we screened all viral proteins for their impacts on the viral replication and revealed Nsp3.1, the N-terminus of Nsp3, significantly inhibited the replicon reporter gene expression. We found Nsp3 interacted with N through its acidic region at N-terminus, while N interacted with Nsp3 through its NTD, which is rich in the basic amino acids. Furthermore, using purified truncated N and Nsp3 proteins, we determined the direct interactions between Nsp3 and N protein. In summary, our findings provided a basis for understanding the functions of coronavirus proteins and supported the potential of interactions as the target for antiviral drug development.

8.
Cell ; 185(7): 1117-1129.e8, 2022 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1682965

ABSTRACT

Game animals are wildlife species traded and consumed as food and are potential reservoirs for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We performed a meta-transcriptomic analysis of 1,941 game animals, representing 18 species and five mammalian orders, sampled across China. From this, we identified 102 mammalian-infecting viruses, with 65 described for the first time. Twenty-one viruses were considered as potentially high risk to humans and domestic animals. Civets (Paguma larvata) carried the highest number of potentially high-risk viruses. We inferred the transmission of bat-associated coronavirus from bats to civets, as well as cross-species jumps of coronaviruses from bats to hedgehogs, from birds to porcupines, and from dogs to raccoon dogs. Of note, we identified avian Influenza A virus H9N2 in civets and Asian badgers, with the latter displaying respiratory symptoms, as well as cases of likely human-to-wildlife virus transmission. These data highlight the importance of game animals as potential drivers of disease emergence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Influenza A Virus, H9N2 Subtype , SARS Virus , Animals , Animals, Wild , China/epidemiology , Disease Reservoirs , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Virome , Viverridae
10.
Virus evolution ; 7(2), 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1624145

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, which causes the current pandemic of respiratory illness, is evolving continuously and generating new variants. Nevertheless, most of the sequence analyses thus far focused on nucleotide substitutions despite the fact that insertions and deletions (indels) are equally important in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we analyzed 1,099,664 high-quality sequences of SARS-CoV-2 genomes to re-construct the evolutionary and epidemiological histories of indels. Our analysis revealed 289 circulating indel types (237 deletion and 52 insertion types, each represented by more than ten genomic sequences), among which eighteen were recurrent indel types, each represented by more than 500 genome sequences. Although indels were identified across the entire genome, most of them were identified in nsp6, S, ORF8, and N genes, among which ORF8 indel types had the highest frequencies of frameshift. Geographical and temporal analyses of these variants revealed a few alterations of dominant indel types, each accompanied by geographic expansion to different countries and continents, which resulted in the fixation of several types of indels in the field, including the current variants of concern. Evolutionary and structural analyses revealed that indels involving S N-terminal domain regions were linked to the 3/4 variants of concern, resulting in significantly altered S protein that might contribute to the selective advantage of the corresponding variant. In sum, our study highlights the important role of insertions and deletions in the evolution and spread of SARS-CoV-2.

11.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 7, 2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1606287

ABSTRACT

Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) initiates class-switch recombination and somatic hypermutation (SHM) in antibody genes. Protein expression and activity are tightly controlled by various mechanisms. However, it remains unknown whether a signal from the extracellular environment directly affects the AID activity in the nucleus where it works. Here, we demonstrated that a deubiquitinase USP10, which specifically stabilizes nuclear AID protein, can translocate into the nucleus after AKT-mediated phosphorylation at its T674 within the NLS domain. Interestingly, the signals from BCR and TLR1/2 synergistically promoted this phosphorylation. The deficiency of USP10 in B cells significantly decreased AID protein levels, subsequently reducing neutralizing antibody production after immunization with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) nanoparticle vaccines. Collectively, we demonstrated that USP10 functions as an integrator for both BCR and TLR signals and directly regulates nuclear AID activity. Its manipulation could be used for the development of vaccines and adjuvants.


Subject(s)
AIDS Vaccines/immunology , B-Cell Activating Factor/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cytidine Deaminase/immunology , HIV-1/immunology , Nanoparticles , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/immunology , Ubiquitination/immunology , AIDS Vaccines/genetics , Animals , B-Cell Activating Factor/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Cytidine Deaminase/genetics , HEK293 Cells , HIV-1/genetics , Humans , Mice , Mice, Knockout , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction/genetics , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/genetics
12.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296266

ABSTRACT

5-Methylcytosine (m 5 C) is a widespread post-transcriptional RNA modification and is reported to be involved in manifold cellular responses and biological processes through regulating RNA metabolism. However, its regulatory role in antiviral innate immunity has not yet been elucidated. Here, we report that NSUN2, a typical m 5 C methyltransferase, can negatively regulate type I interferon responses during viral infection. NSUN2 specifically mediates m 5 C methylation of IRF3 mRNA and accelerates its degradation, resulting in low levels of IRF3 and downstream IFN-β production. Knockout or knockdown of NSUN2 could enhance type I interferon responses and downstream ISG expression after viral infection in vitro . And in vivo , the antiviral innate responses is more dramatically enhanced in Nsun2 +/− mice than in Nsun2 +/+ mice. Four highly m 5 C methylated cytosines in IRF3 mRNA were identified, and their mutation could enhance the cellular IRF3 mRNA levels. Moreover, infection with Sendai virus (SeV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), Zika virus (ZIKV), or especially SARS-CoV-2 resulted in a reduction in endogenous levels of NSUN2. Together, our findings reveal that NSUN2 serves as a negative regulator of interferon response by accelerating the fast turnover of IRF3 mRNA, while endogenous NSUN2 levels decrease after viral infection to boost antiviral responses for the effective elimination of viruses. Our results suggest a paradigm of innate antiviral immune responses ingeniously involving NSUN2-mediated m 5 C modification.

13.
Virology ; 566: 114-121, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556999

ABSTRACT

This communication summarizes the presentations given at the 1st international conference of the World Society for Virology (WSV) held virtually during 16-18 June 2021, under the theme of tackling global viral epidemics. The purpose of this biennial meeting is to foster international collaborations and address important viral epidemics in different hosts. The first day included two sessions exclusively on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The other two days included one plenary and three parallel sessions each. Last not least, 16 sessions covered 140 on-demand submitted talks. In total, 270 scientists from 49 countries attended the meeting, including 40 invited keynote speakers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Congresses as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Societies, Scientific , Virology
14.
Cell Rep ; 37(12): 110126, 2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556413

ABSTRACT

Previous studies have shown that the high mortality caused by viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza virus primarily results from complications of a cytokine storm. Therefore, it is critical to identify the key factors participating in the cytokine storm. Here we demonstrate that interferon-induced protein 35 (IFP35) plays an important role in the cytokine storm induced by SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus infection. We find that the levels of serum IFP35 in individuals with SARS-CoV-2 correlates with severity of the syndrome. Using mouse model and cell assays, we show that IFP35 is released by lung epithelial cells and macrophages after SARS-CoV-2 or influenza virus infection. In addition, we show that administration of neutralizing antibodies against IFP35 considerably reduces lung injury and, thus, the mortality rate of mice exposed to viral infection. Our findings suggest that IFP35 serves as a biomarker and as a therapeutic target in virus-induced syndromes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Influenza, Human/blood , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/blood , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Influenza, Human/pathology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Patient Acuity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
15.
Redox Biol ; 48: 102199, 2021 Nov 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537013

ABSTRACT

3CLpro is a key proteinase for SARS-CoV-2 replication and serves as an important target for antiviral drug development. However, how its activity is regulated intracellularly is still obscure. In this study, we developed a 3CLpro protease activity reporter system to examine the impact of various factors, including nutrient supplements, ions, pHs, or oxidative stress inducers, on 3CLpro protease activity. We found that oxidative stress could increase the overall activity of 3CLpro. Not altering the expression, oxidative stress decreased the solubility of 3CLpro in the lysis buffer containing 1% Triton-X-100. The Triton-X-100-insoluble 3CLpro was correlated with aggregates' formation and responsible for the increased enzymatic activity. The disulfide bonds formed between Cys85 sites of 3CLpro protomers account for the insolubility and the aggregation of 3CLpro. Besides being regulated by oxidative stress, 3CLpro impaired the cellular antioxidant capacity by regulating the cleavage of GPx1 at its N-terminus. This cleavage could further elevate the 3CLpro-proximate oxidative activity, favor aggregation and activation of 3CLpro, and thus lead to a positive feedback loop. In summary, we reported that oxidative stress transforms 3CLpro into a detergent-insoluble form that is more enzymatically active, leading to increased viral replication/transcription. Our study provided mechanistic evidence that suggests the therapeutic potential of antioxidants in the clinical treatment of COVID-19 patients.

16.
Cell Biosci ; 11(1): 140, 2021 Jul 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526659

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Analysis of viral protein-protein interactions is an essential step to uncover the viral protein functions and the molecular mechanism for the assembly of a viral protein complex. We employed a mammalian two-hybrid system to screen all the viral proteins of SARS-CoV-2 for the protein-protein interactions. RESULTS: Our study detected 48 interactions, 14 of which were firstly reported here. Unlike Nsp1 of SARS-CoV, Nsp1 of SARS-CoV-2 has the most interacting partners among all the viral proteins and likely functions as a hub for the viral proteins. Five self-interactions were confirmed, and five interactions, Nsp1/Nsp3.1, Nsp3.1/N, Nsp3.2/Nsp12, Nsp10/Nsp14, and Nsp10/Nsp16, were determined to be positive bidirectionally. Using the replicon reporter system of SARS-CoV-2, we screened all viral Nsps for their impacts on the viral replication and revealed Nsp3.1, the N-terminus of Nsp3, significantly inhibited the replicon reporter gene expression. We found Nsp3 interacted with N through its acidic region at N-terminus, while N interacted with Nsp3 through its NTD, which is rich in the basic amino acids. Furthermore, using purified truncated N and Nsp3 proteins, we determined the direct interactions between Nsp3 and N protein. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provided a basis for understanding the functions of coronavirus proteins and supported the potential of interactions as the target for antiviral drug development.

19.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1626-1637, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348038

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) can infect a variety of hosts, including humans, livestock and companion animals, and pose a serious threat to human health and the economy. The current COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has killed millions of people. Unfortunately, effective treatments for CoVs infection are still lacking, suggesting the importance of coronavirus vaccines. Our previous work showed that CoV nonstuctural protein 14 (nsp14) functions as (guanine-N7)-methyltransferase (N7-MTase), which is involved in RNA cap formation. Moreover, we found that N7-MTase is well conserved among different CoVs and is a universal target for developing antivirals against CoVs. Here, we show that N7-MTase of CoVs can be an ideal target for designing live attenuated vaccines. Using murine hepatitis virus strain A59 (MHV-A59), a representative and well-studied model of coronaviruses, we constructed N7-MTase-deficient recombinant MHV D330A and Y414A. These two mutants are highly attenuated in mice and exhibit similar replication efficiency to the wild-type (WT) virus in the cell culture. Furthermore, a single dose immunization of D330A or Y414A can induce long-term humoral immune responses and robust CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, which can provide full protection against the challenge of a lethal-dose of MHV-A59. Collectively, this study provides an ideal strategy to design live attenuated vaccines for coronavirus by abolishing viral RNA N7-MTase activity. This approach may apply to other RNA viruses that encode their own conservative viral N7-methyltransferase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Interferon Type I/biosynthesis , Male , Mice , Mutation , Vaccines, Attenuated/administration & dosage , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology
20.
Virol Sin ; 36(5): 1097-1103, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1248751
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