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1.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(3): 373-387.e7, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767977

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 lineages have diverged into highly prevalent variants termed "variants of concern" (VOCs). Here, we characterized emerging SARS-CoV-2 spike polymorphisms in vitro and in vivo to understand their impact on transmissibility and virus pathogenicity and fitness. We demonstrate that the substitution S:655Y, represented in the gamma and omicron VOCs, enhances viral replication and spike protein cleavage. The S:655Y substitution was transmitted more efficiently than its ancestor S:655H in the hamster infection model and was able to outcompete S:655H in the hamster model and in a human primary airway system. Finally, we analyzed a set of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants to investigate how different sets of mutations may impact spike processing. All VOCs tested exhibited increased spike cleavage and fusogenic capacity. Taken together, our study demonstrates that the spike mutations present in VOCs that become epidemiologically prevalent in humans are linked to an increase in spike processing and virus transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327539

ABSTRACT

A well-tolerated and cost-effective oral drug that blocks SARS-CoV-2 growth and dissemination would be a major advance in the global effort to reduce COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Here, we show that the oral FDA-approved drug nitazoxanide (NTZ) significantly inhibits SARS-CoV-2 viral replication and infection in different primate and human cell models including stem cell-derived human alveolar epithelial type 2 cells. Furthermore, NTZ synergizes with remdesivir, and it broadly inhibits growth of SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.351 (beta), P.1 (gamma), and B.1617.2 (delta) and viral syncytia formation driven by their spike proteins. Strikingly, oral NTZ treatment of Syrian hamsters significantly inhibits SARS-CoV-2-driven weight loss, inflammation, and viral dissemination and syncytia formation in the lungs. These studies show that NTZ is a novel host-directed therapeutic that broadly inhibits SARS-CoV-2 dissemination and pathogenesis in human and hamster physiological models, which supports further testing and optimization of NTZ-based therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infection alone and in combination with antiviral drugs.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306122

ABSTRACT

Effective control of COVID-19 requires antivirals directed against SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here we assess ten available HCV protease inhibitor drugs as potential SARS-CoV-2 antivirals. There is a striking structural similarity of the substrate binding clefts of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and HCV NS3/4A proteases, and virtual docking experiments show that all ten HCV drugs can potentially bind into the Mpro binding cleft. Seven of these HCV drugs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protease activity, while four dock well into the PLpro substrate binding cleft and inhibit PLpro protease activity. These same seven HCV drugs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in Vero and/or human cells, demonstrating that HCV drugs that inhibit Mpro, or both Mpro and PLpro, suppress virus replication. Two HCV drugs, simeprevir and grazoprevir synergize with the viral polymerase inhibitor remdesivir to inhibit virus replication, thereby increasing remdesivir inhibitory activity as much as 10-fold.Funding: This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01-GM120574 to GTM) and RPI Center for Computational Innovations (to KB and GTM). This research was also partly funded by CRIP (Center for Research for Influenza Pathogenesis), a NIAID supported Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS, contract #,HHSN272201400008C), by DARPA grant HR0011-19-2-0020, by supplements to NIAID grant U19AI142733 U19AI135972 and DoD grant W81XWH-20-1-0270, and by the generous support of the JPB Foundation, the Open Philanthropy Project (research grant 2020-215611 (5384)), and anonymous donors to AG-S.Conflict of Interest: A provisional patent application related to these, studies has been filed. GTM is a founder of Nexomics Biosciences, Inc. This, relationship has no conflict of interest with respect to this study. GTM and RMK are inventors in patents owned jointly by Rutgers University and the University of Texas at Austin concerning the use of specific compounds as antivirals against influenza virus. These patents have no conflict of interest for this study. AG-S is inventor in patents and patent application owned by the Icahn School of Medicine concerning the use of specific antiviral compounds. This inventorship has no conflict of interest with respect to this study.

5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22164, 2021 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1514425

ABSTRACT

The influenza A non-structural protein 1 (NS1) is known for its ability to hinder the synthesis of type I interferon (IFN) during viral infection. Influenza viruses lacking NS1 (ΔNS1) are under clinical development as live attenuated human influenza virus vaccines and induce potent influenza virus-specific humoral and cellular adaptive immune responses. Attenuation of ΔNS1 influenza viruses is due to their high IFN inducing properties, that limit their replication in vivo. This study demonstrates that pre-treatment with a ΔNS1 virus results in an antiviral state which prevents subsequent replication of homologous and heterologous viruses, preventing disease from virus respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2. Our studies suggest that ΔNS1 influenza viruses could be used for the prophylaxis of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other human respiratory viral infections, and that an influenza virus vaccine based on ΔNS1 live attenuated viruses would confer broad protection against influenza virus infection from the moment of administration, first by non-specific innate immune induction, followed by specific adaptive immunity.


Subject(s)
Influenza A virus/immunology , Influenza Vaccines/therapeutic use , Interferon Type I/immunology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/prevention & control , Vaccines, Attenuated/therapeutic use , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Chickens , Gene Deletion , Humans , Influenza A virus/genetics , Influenza Vaccines/genetics , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/immunology , Vaccines, Attenuated/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
6.
J Virol ; 96(2): e0106321, 2022 01 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476388

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 affects multiple organs. Clinical data from the Mount Sinai Health System show that substantial numbers of COVID-19 patients without prior heart disease develop cardiac dysfunction. How COVID-19 patients develop cardiac disease is not known. We integrated cell biological and physiological analyses of human cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the presence of interleukins (ILs) with clinical findings related to laboratory values in COVID-19 patients to identify plausible mechanisms of cardiac disease in COVID-19 patients. We infected hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from healthy human subjects with SARS-CoV-2 in the absence and presence of IL-6 and IL-1ß. Infection resulted in increased numbers of multinucleated cells. Interleukin treatment and infection resulted in disorganization of myofibrils, extracellular release of troponin I, and reduced and erratic beating. Infection resulted in decreased expression of mRNA encoding key proteins of the cardiomyocyte contractile apparatus. Although interleukins did not increase the extent of infection, they increased the contractile dysfunction associated with viral infection of cardiomyocytes, resulting in cessation of beating. Clinical data from hospitalized patients from the Mount Sinai Health System show that a significant portion of COVID-19 patients without history of heart disease have elevated troponin and interleukin levels. A substantial subset of these patients showed reduced left ventricular function by echocardiography. Our laboratory observations, combined with the clinical data, indicate that direct effects on cardiomyocytes by interleukins and SARS-CoV-2 infection might underlie heart disease in COVID-19 patients. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 infects multiple organs, including the heart. Analyses of hospitalized patients show that a substantial number without prior indication of heart disease or comorbidities show significant injury to heart tissue, assessed by increased levels of troponin in blood. We studied the cell biological and physiological effects of virus infection of healthy human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes in culture. Virus infection with interleukins disorganizes myofibrils, increases cell size and the numbers of multinucleated cells, and suppresses the expression of proteins of the contractile apparatus. Viral infection of cardiomyocytes in culture triggers release of troponin similar to elevation in levels of COVID-19 patients with heart disease. Viral infection in the presence of interleukins slows down and desynchronizes the beating of cardiomyocytes in culture. The cell-level physiological changes are similar to decreases in left ventricular ejection seen in imaging of patients' hearts. These observations suggest that direct injury to heart tissue by virus can be one underlying cause of heart disease in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells , Interleukin-10/immunology , Interleukin-1beta/immunology , Interleukin-6/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac , Cells, Cultured , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/immunology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/pathology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Myocytes, Cardiac/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology
7.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0040221, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350001

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the viral pathogen responsible for the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As of 19 May 2021, John Hopkins University's COVID-19 tracking platform reported 3.3 million deaths associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Currently, the World Health Organization has granted emergency use listing (EUL) to six COVID-19 vaccine candidates. However, much of the pathogenesis observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection remains elusive. To gain insight into the contribution of individual accessory open reading frame (ORF) proteins in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, we used our recently described reverse-genetics system approach to successfully engineer recombinant SARS-CoV-2 (rSARS-CoV-2) constructs; we removed individual viral ORF3a, -6, -7a, -7b, and -8 proteins from them, and we characterized the resulting recombinant viruses in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate differences in plaque morphology, with ORF-deficient (ΔORF) viruses producing smaller plaques than those of the wild type (rSARS-CoV-2/WT). However, growth kinetics of ΔORF viruses were like those of rSARS-CoV-2/WT. Interestingly, infection of K18 human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) transgenic mice with the ΔORF rSARS-CoV-2s identified ORF3a and ORF6 as the major contributors of viral pathogenesis, while ΔORF7a, ΔORF7b, and ΔORF8 rSARS-CoV-2s induced pathology comparable to that of rSARS-CoV-2/WT. This study demonstrates the robustness of our reverse-genetics system to generate rSARS-CoV-2 constructs and the major role for ORF3a and ORF6 in viral pathogenesis, providing important information for the generation of attenuated forms of SARS-CoV-2 for their implementation as live attenuated vaccines for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Despite great efforts put forward worldwide to combat the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to be a human health and socioeconomic threat. Insights into the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and the contribution of viral proteins to disease outcome remain elusive. Our study aims (i) to determine the contribution of SARS-CoV-2 accessory open reading frame (ORF) proteins to viral pathogenesis and disease outcome and (ii) to develop a synergistic platform combining our robust reverse-genetics system to generate recombinant SARS-CoV-2 constructs with a validated rodent model of infection and disease. We demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 ORF3a and ORF6 contribute to lung pathology and ultimately disease outcome in K18 hACE2 transgenic mice, while ORF7a, ORF7b, and ORF8 have little impact on disease outcome. Moreover, our combinatory platform serves as a foundation for generating attenuated forms of the virus to develop live attenuated vaccines for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Open Reading Frames/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Attenuated/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology
8.
J Interferon Cytokine Res ; 41(6): 205-219, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1280059

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), represents a public health crisis of unprecedented proportions. After the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 in 2002, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, this is the third outbreak of a highly pathogenic zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) that the world has witnessed in the last 2 decades. Infection with highly pathogenic human CoVs often results in a severe respiratory disease characterized by a delayed and blunted interferon (IFN) response, accompanied by an excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines. This indicates that CoVs developed effective mechanisms to overcome the host innate immune response and promote viral replication and pathogenesis. In this review, we describe the key innate immune signaling pathways that are activated during infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other well studied pathogenic CoVs. In addition, we summarize the main strategies that these viruses employ to modulate the host immune responses through the antagonism of IFN induction and effector pathways.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Cytokines/immunology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Interferons/immunology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction/immunology
9.
Cell Rep ; 35(7): 109133, 2021 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201632

ABSTRACT

Effective control of COVID-19 requires antivirals directed against SARS-CoV-2. We assessed 10 hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease-inhibitor drugs as potential SARS-CoV-2 antivirals. There is a striking structural similarity of the substrate binding clefts of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) and HCV NS3/4A protease. Virtual docking experiments show that these HCV drugs can potentially bind into the Mpro substrate-binding cleft. We show that seven HCV drugs inhibit both SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protease activity and SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in Vero and/or human cells. However, their Mpro inhibiting activities did not correlate with their antiviral activities. This conundrum is resolved by demonstrating that four HCV protease inhibitor drugs, simeprevir, vaniprevir, paritaprevir, and grazoprevir inhibit the SARS CoV-2 papain-like protease (PLpro). HCV drugs that inhibit PLpro synergize with the viral polymerase inhibitor remdesivir to inhibit virus replication, increasing remdesivir's antiviral activity as much as 10-fold, while those that only inhibit Mpro do not synergize with remdesivir.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Culture Techniques , Cell Line , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Drug Repositioning/methods , Drug Synergism , Hepacivirus/drug effects , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Virus Replication/drug effects
10.
Sci Adv ; 7(6)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066794

ABSTRACT

The ongoing unprecedented severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak worldwide has highlighted the need for understanding viral-host interactions involved in mechanisms of virulence. Here, we show that the virulence factor Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the host messenger RNA (mRNA) export receptor heterodimer NXF1-NXT1, which is responsible for nuclear export of cellular mRNAs. Nsp1 prevents proper binding of NXF1 to mRNA export adaptors and NXF1 docking at the nuclear pore complex. As a result, a significant number of cellular mRNAs are retained in the nucleus during infection. Increased levels of NXF1 rescues the Nsp1-mediated mRNA export block and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, antagonizing the Nsp1 inhibitory function on mRNA export may represent a strategy to restoring proper antiviral host gene expression in infected cells.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Gene Expression , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virulence Factors/metabolism , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Nuclear Pore/metabolism , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/genetics , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Transfection , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
11.
Science ; 371(6532): 926-931, 2021 02 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1048642

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral proteins interact with the eukaryotic translation machinery, and inhibitors of translation have potent antiviral effects. We found that the drug plitidepsin (aplidin), which has limited clinical approval, possesses antiviral activity (90% inhibitory concentration = 0.88 nM) that is more potent than remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro by a factor of 27.5, with limited toxicity in cell culture. Through the use of a drug-resistant mutant, we show that the antiviral activity of plitidepsin against SARS-CoV-2 is mediated through inhibition of the known target eEF1A (eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A). We demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin treatment in two mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a reduction of viral replication in the lungs by two orders of magnitude using prophylactic treatment. Our results indicate that plitidepsin is a promising therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Depsipeptides/pharmacology , Peptide Elongation Factor 1/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Depsipeptides/administration & dosage , Depsipeptides/therapeutic use , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/virology , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mutation , Peptides, Cyclic , Phosphoproteins/biosynthesis , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 376-383, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977353

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been detected in domestic and wild cats. However, little is known about natural viral infections of domestic cats, although their importance for modelling disease spread, informing strategies for managing positive human-animal relationships and disease prevention. Here, we describe the SARS-CoV-2 infection in a household of two human adults and sibling cats (one male and two females) using real-time RT-PCR, an ELISA test, viral sequencing, and virus isolation. On May 5th, 2020, the cat-owners tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Two days later, the male cat showed mild respiratory symptoms and tested positive. Four days after the male cat, the two female cats became positive, asymptomatically. Also, one human and one cat showed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. All cats excreted detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA for a shorter duration than humans and viral sequences analysis confirmed human-to-cat transmission. We could not determine if cat-to-cat transmission also occurred.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , COVID-19/virology , Cats/virology , Virus Shedding , Adult , Animals , Chile , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
13.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(45): 28344-28354, 2020 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-887237

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that is a serious global health problem. Evasion of IFN-mediated antiviral signaling is a common defense strategy that pathogenic viruses use to replicate and propagate in their host. In this study, we show that SARS-CoV-2 is able to efficiently block STAT1 and STAT2 nuclear translocation in order to impair transcriptional induction of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Our results demonstrate that the viral accessory protein Orf6 exerts this anti-IFN activity. We found that SARS-CoV-2 Orf6 localizes at the nuclear pore complex (NPC) and directly interacts with Nup98-Rae1 via its C-terminal domain to impair docking of cargo-receptor (karyopherin/importin) complex and disrupt nuclear import. In addition, we show that a methionine-to-arginine substitution at residue 58 impairs Orf6 binding to the Nup98-Rae1 complex and abolishes its IFN antagonistic function. All together our data unravel a mechanism of viral antagonism in which a virus hijacks the Nup98-Rae1 complex to overcome the antiviral action of IFN.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Interferons/metabolism , Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins/metabolism , Nuclear Pore/metabolism , STAT1 Transcription Factor/metabolism , STAT2 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins/chemistry , Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins/metabolism , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Signal Transduction , Vero Cells
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