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Microbiol Spectr ; : e0087022, 2022 Jul 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938015


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and SARS-CoV-2 have a single envelope glycoprotein (S protein) that binds to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the host cell membrane. Previous mutational scanning studies have suggested that some substitutions corresponding to single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in human ACE2 affect the binding affinity to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein. However, the importance of these substitutions in actual virus infection is still unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of the reported ACE2 SNV substitutions on the entry of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 into cells, using vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSIV) pseudotyped with S proteins of these coronaviruses (CoVs). HEK293T cells transfected with plasmids expressing ACE2 having each SNV substitution were infected with the pseudotyped VSIVs and relative infectivities were determined compared to the cells expressing wild-type ACE2. We found that some of the SNV substitutions positively or negatively affected the infectivities of the pseudotyped viruses. Particularly, the H505R substitution significantly enhanced the infection with the pseudotyped VSIVs, including those having the substitutions found in the S protein RBD of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Our findings suggest that human ACE2 SNVs may potentially affect cell susceptibilities to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are known to cause severe pneumonia in humans. The S protein of these CoVs binds to the ACE2 molecule on the plasma membrane and mediates virus entry into cells. The interaction between the S protein and ACE2 is thought to be important for host susceptibility to these CoVs. Although previous studies suggested that some SNV substitutions in ACE2 might affect the binding to the S protein, it remains elusive whether these SNV substitutions actually alter the efficiency of the entry of SARS CoVs into cells. We analyzed the impact of the ACE2 SNVs on the cellular entry of SARS CoVs using pseudotyped VSIVs having the S protein on the viral surface. We found that some of the SNV substitutions positively or negatively affected the infectivities of the viruses. Our data support the notion that genetic polymorphisms of ACE2 may potentially influence cell susceptibilities to SARS CoVs.

EMBO J ; : e111608, 2022 Jul 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934722


The SARS-CoV-2 infection cycle is a multistage process that relies on functional interactions between the host and the pathogen. Here, we repurposed antiviral drugs against both viral and host enzymes to pharmaceutically block methylation of the viral RNA 2'-O-ribose cap needed for viral immune escape. We find that the host cap 2'-O-ribose methyltransferase MTr1 can compensate for loss of viral NSP16 methyltransferase in facilitating virus replication. Concomitant inhibition of MTr1 and NSP16 efficiently suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication. Using in silico target-based drug screening, we identify a bispecific MTr1/NSP16 inhibitor with anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro and in vivo but with unfavorable side effects. We further show antiviral activity of inhibitors that target independent stages of the host SAM cycle providing the methyltransferase co-substrate. In particular, the adenosylhomocysteinase (AHCY) inhibitor DZNep is antiviral in in vitro, in ex vivo, and in a mouse infection model and synergizes with existing COVID-19 treatments. Moreover, DZNep exhibits a strong immunomodulatory effect curbing infection-induced hyperinflammation and reduces lung fibrosis markers ex vivo. Thus, multispecific and metabolic MTase inhibitors constitute yet unexplored treatment options against COVID-19.