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J Virol ; 96(2): e0167821, 2022 01 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511415


The positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome SARS-CoV-2 harbors functionally important cis-acting elements governing critical aspects of viral gene expression. However, insights on how these elements sense various signals from the host cell and regulate viral protein synthesis are lacking. Here, we identified two novel cis-regulatory elements in SARS-CoV-2 ORF1a and S RNAs and describe their role in translational control of SARS-CoV-2. These elements are sequence-unrelated but form conserved hairpin structures (validated by NMR) resembling gamma activated inhibitor of translation (GAIT) elements that are found in a cohort of human mRNAs directing translational suppression in myeloid cells in response to IFN-γ. Our studies show that treatment of human lung cells with receptor-binding S1 subunit, S protein pseudotyped lentivirus, and S protein-containing virus-like particles triggers a signaling pathway involving DAP-kinase1 that leads to phosphorylation and release of the ribosomal protein L13a from the large ribosomal subunit. Released L13a forms a virus activated inhibitor of translation (VAIT) complex that binds to ORF1a and S VAIT elements, causing translational silencing. Translational silencing requires extracellular S protein (and its interaction with host ACE2 receptor), but not its intracellular synthesis. RNA-protein interaction analyses and in vitro translation experiments showed that GAIT and VAIT elements do not compete with each other, highlighting differences between the two pathways. Sequence alignments of SARS-CoV-2 genomes showed a high level of conservation of VAIT elements, suggesting their functional importance. This VAIT-mediated translational control mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 may provide novel targets for small molecule intervention and/or facilitate development of more effective mRNA vaccines. IMPORTANCE Specific RNA elements in the genomes of RNA viruses play important roles in host-virus interaction. For SARS-CoV-2, the mechanistic insights on how these RNA elements could sense the signals from the host cell are lacking. Here we report a novel relationship between the GAIT-like SARS-CoV-2 RNA element (called VAITs) and the signal generated from the host cell. We show that for SARS-CoV-2, the interaction of spike protein with ACE2 not only serves the purpose for viral entry into the host cell, but also transduces signals that culminate into the phosphorylation and the release of L13a from the large ribosomal subunit. We also show that this event leads to the translational arrest of ORF1a and S mRNAs in a manner dependent on the structure of the RNA elements. Translational control of viral mRNA by a host-cell generated signal triggered by viral protein is a new paradigm in the host-virus relationship.

COVID-19 , Host Microbial Interactions , RNA, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , A549 Cells , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Humans , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Internalization
EMBO Mol Med ; 13(8): e13901, 2021 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346766


HIV-1 infects lymphoid and myeloid cells, which can harbor a latent proviral reservoir responsible for maintaining lifelong infection. Glycolytic metabolism has been identified as a determinant of susceptibility to HIV-1 infection, but its role in the development and maintenance of HIV-1 latency has not been elucidated. By combining transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic analyses, we here show that transition to latent HIV-1 infection downregulates glycolysis, while viral reactivation by conventional stimuli reverts this effect. Decreased glycolytic output in latently infected cells is associated with downregulation of NAD+ /NADH. Consequently, infected cells rely on the parallel pentose phosphate pathway and its main product, NADPH, fueling antioxidant pathways maintaining HIV-1 latency. Of note, blocking NADPH downstream effectors, thioredoxin and glutathione, favors HIV-1 reactivation from latency in lymphoid and myeloid cellular models. This provides a "shock and kill effect" decreasing proviral DNA in cells from people living with HIV/AIDS. Overall, our data show that downmodulation of glycolysis is a metabolic signature of HIV-1 latency that can be exploited to target latently infected cells with eradication strategies.

HIV Infections , HIV-1 , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Down-Regulation , Glycolysis , Humans , Oxidative Stress , Proteomics , Virus Activation , Virus Latency