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Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 12: 880915, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1847156


With the epidemic of betacoronavirus increasing frequently, it poses a great threat to human public health. Therefore, the research on the pathogenic mechanism of betacoronavirus is becoming greatly important. Murine hepatitis virus strain-3 (MHV-3) is a strain of betacoronavirus which cause tissue damage especially fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) in mice, and is commonly used to establish models of acute liver injury. Recently, MHV-3-infected mice have also been introduced to a mouse model of COVID-19 that does not require a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility. FHF induced by MHV-3 is a type of severe liver damage imbalanced by regenerative hepatocellular activity, which is related to numerous factors. The complement system plays an important role in host defense and inflammation and is involved in first-line immunity and/or pathogenesis of severe organ disorders. In this study, we investigated the role of aberrant complement activation in MHV-3 infection-induced FHF by strategies that use C3-deficient mice and intervene in the complement system. Our results showed that mice deficient in C3 had more severe liver damage, a higher viral load in the liver and higher serum concentrations of inflammatory cytokines than wild-type controls. Treatment of C57BL/6 mice with C3aR antagonist or anti-C5aR antibody reduced liver damage, viral load, and serum IFN-γ concentration compared with the control group. These findings indicated that complement system acts as a double-edged sword during acute MHV-3 infection. However, its dysregulated activation leads to sustained inflammatory responses and induces extensive liver damage. Collectively, by investigating the role of complement activation in MHV-3 infection, we can further understand the pathogenic mechanism of betacoronavirus, and appropriate regulation of immune responses by fine-tuning complement activation may be an intervention for the treatment of diseases induced by betacoronavirus infection.

COVID-19 , Liver Failure, Acute , Murine hepatitis virus , Animals , Complement Activation , Liver Failure, Acute/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL
Nat Metab ; 4(5): 547-558, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830111


The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with pre-existing medical comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus. However, the underlying causes for increased susceptibility to viral infection in patients with diabetes is not fully understood. Here we identify several small-molecule metabolites from human blood with effective antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, one of which, 1,5-anhydro-D-glucitol (1,5-AG), is associated with diabetes mellitus. The serum 1,5-AG level is significantly lower in patients with diabetes. In vitro, the level of SARS-CoV-2 replication is higher in the presence of serum from patients with diabetes than from healthy individuals and this is counteracted by supplementation of 1,5-AG to the serum from patients. Diabetic (db/db) mice undergo SARS-CoV-2 infection accompanied by much higher viral loads and more severe respiratory tissue damage when compared to wild-type mice. Sustained supplementation of 1,5-AG in diabetic mice reduces SARS-CoV-2 loads and disease severity to similar levels in nondiabetic mice. Mechanistically, 1,5-AG directly binds the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, thereby interrupting spike-mediated virus-host membrane fusion. Our results reveal a mechanism that contributes to COVID-19 pathogenesis in the diabetic population and suggest that 1,5-AG supplementation may be beneficial to diabetic patients against severe COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental , Animals , Glucose , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 139, 2022 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815514


The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant shows substantial resistance to neutralization by infection- and vaccination-induced antibodies, highlighting the demands for research on the continuing discovery of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Here, we developed a panel of bnAbs against Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs) elicited by vaccination of adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV). We also investigated the human longitudinal antibody responses following vaccination and demonstrated how the bnAbs evolved over time. A monoclonal antibody (mAb), named ZWD12, exhibited potent and broad neutralization against SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Kappa, Delta, and Omicron by blocking the spike protein binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and provided complete protection in the challenged prophylactic and therapeutic K18-hACE2 transgenic mouse model. We defined the ZWD12 epitope by determining its structure in complex with the spike (S) protein via cryo-electron microscopy. This study affords the potential to develop broadly therapeutic mAb drugs and suggests that the RBD epitope bound by ZWD12 is a rational target for the design of a broad spectrum of vaccines.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Viral , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccination , Viral Envelope Proteins