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Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 300, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351933


Elderly people and patients with comorbidities are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, resulting in severe complications and high mortality. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. In this study, we investigate whether miRNAs in serum exosomes can exert antiviral functions and affect the response to COVID-19 in the elderly and people with diabetes. First, we identified four miRNAs (miR-7-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-145-5p and miR-223-3p) through high-throughput sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR analysis, that are remarkably decreased in the elderly and diabetic groups. We further demonstrated that these miRNAs, either in the exosome or in the free form, can directly inhibit S protein expression and SARS-CoV-2 replication. Serum exosomes from young people can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and S protein expression, while the inhibitory effect is markedly decreased in the elderly and diabetic patients. Moreover, three out of the four circulating miRNAs are significantly increased in the serum of healthy volunteers after 8-weeks' continuous physical exercise. Serum exosomes isolated from these volunteers also showed stronger inhibitory effects on S protein expression and SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our study demonstrates for the first time that circulating exosomal miRNAs can directly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and may provide a possible explanation for the difference in response to COVID-19 between young people and the elderly or people with comorbidities.

COVID-19/genetics , Diabetes Mellitus/genetics , MicroRNAs/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , China , Circulating MicroRNA/blood , Circulating MicroRNA/genetics , Cohort Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/blood , Diabetes Mellitus/pathology , Diabetes Mellitus/virology , Exercise , Exosomes/genetics , Exosomes/metabolism , Exosomes/virology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Male , MicroRNAs/blood , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Virus Replication
Science ; 368(6497): 1331-1335, 2020 06 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-108792


SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the etiological agent responsible for the global COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak. The main protease of SARS-CoV-2, Mpro, is a key enzyme that plays a pivotal role in mediating viral replication and transcription. We designed and synthesized two lead compounds (11a and 11b) targeting Mpro Both exhibited excellent inhibitory activity and potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 infection activity. The x-ray crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro in complex with 11a or 11b, both determined at a resolution of 1.5 angstroms, showed that the aldehyde groups of 11a and 11b are covalently bound to cysteine 145 of Mpro Both compounds showed good pharmacokinetic properties in vivo, and 11a also exhibited low toxicity, which suggests that these compounds are promising drug candidates.

Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/enzymology , Drug Design , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , COVID-19 , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Cysteine Endopeptidases , Dogs , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Molecular Structure , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2 , Toxicity Tests , Vero Cells