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1.
Nature ; 606(7914): 576-584, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921629

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can cause acute respiratory distress and death in some patients1. Although severe COVID-19 is linked to substantial inflammation, how SARS-CoV-2 triggers inflammation is not clear2. Monocytes and macrophages are sentinel cells that sense invasive infection to form inflammasomes that activate caspase-1 and gasdermin D, leading to inflammatory death (pyroptosis) and the release of potent inflammatory mediators3. Here we show that about 6% of blood monocytes of patients with COVID-19 are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Monocyte infection depends on the uptake of antibody-opsonized virus by Fcγ receptors. The plasma of vaccine recipients does not promote antibody-dependent monocyte infection. SARS-CoV-2 begins to replicate in monocytes, but infection is aborted, and infectious virus is not detected in the supernatants of cultures of infected monocytes. Instead, infected cells undergo pyroptosis mediated by activation of NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes, caspase-1 and gasdermin D. Moreover, tissue-resident macrophages, but not infected epithelial and endothelial cells, from lung autopsies from patients with COVID-19 have activated inflammasomes. Taken together, these findings suggest that antibody-mediated SARS-CoV-2 uptake by monocytes and macrophages triggers inflammatory cell death that aborts the production of infectious virus but causes systemic inflammation that contributes to COVID-19 pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Inflammation , Monocytes , Receptors, IgG , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/virology , Caspase 1/metabolism , DNA-Binding Proteins , Humans , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/virology , Monocytes/metabolism , Monocytes/virology , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein , Phosphate-Binding Proteins , Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins , Receptors, IgG/metabolism
2.
Nature ; 606(7914): 585-593, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815563

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is characterized by persistent lung inflammation, inflammatory cytokine production, viral RNA and a sustained interferon (IFN) response, all of which are recapitulated and required for pathology in the SARS-CoV-2-infected MISTRG6-hACE2 humanized mouse model of COVID-19, which has a human immune system1-20. Blocking either viral replication with remdesivir21-23 or the downstream IFN-stimulated cascade with anti-IFNAR2 antibodies in vivo in the chronic stages of disease attenuates the overactive immune inflammatory response, especially inflammatory macrophages. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication in lung-resident human macrophages is a critical driver of disease. In response to infection mediated by CD16 and ACE2 receptors, human macrophages activate inflammasomes, release interleukin 1 (IL-1) and IL-18, and undergo pyroptosis, thereby contributing to the hyperinflammatory state of the lungs. Inflammasome activation and the accompanying inflammatory response are necessary for lung inflammation, as inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway reverses chronic lung pathology. Notably, this blockade of inflammasome activation leads to the release of infectious virus by the infected macrophages. Thus, inflammasomes oppose host infection by SARS-CoV-2 through the production of inflammatory cytokines and suicide by pyroptosis to prevent a productive viral cycle.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Inflammasomes , Macrophages , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Interleukin-1 , Interleukin-18 , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/pathology , Macrophages/virology , Mice , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/metabolism , Pneumonia/metabolism , Pneumonia/virology , Pyroptosis , Receptors, IgG , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(9)2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684241

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly pathogenic virus that evades antiviral immunity by interfering with host protein synthesis, mRNA stability, and protein trafficking. The SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1) uses its C-terminal domain to block the messenger RNA (mRNA) entry channel of the 40S ribosome to inhibit host protein synthesis. However, how SARS-CoV-2 circumvents Nsp1-mediated suppression for viral protein synthesis and if the mechanism can be targeted therapeutically remain unclear. Here, we show that N- and C-terminal domains of Nsp1 coordinate to drive a tuned ratio of viral to host translation, likely to maintain a certain level of host fitness while maximizing replication. We reveal that the stem-loop 1 (SL1) region of the SARS-CoV-2 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) is necessary and sufficient to evade Nsp1-mediated translational suppression. Targeting SL1 with locked nucleic acid antisense oligonucleotides inhibits viral translation and makes SARS-CoV-2 5' UTR vulnerable to Nsp1 suppression, hindering viral replication in vitro at a nanomolar concentration, as well as providing protection against SARS-CoV-2-induced lethality in transgenic mice expressing human ACE2. Thus, SL1 allows Nsp1 to switch infected cells from host to SARS-CoV-2 translation, presenting a therapeutic target against COVID-19 that is conserved among immune-evasive variants. This unique strategy of unleashing a virus' own virulence mechanism against itself could force a critical trade-off between drug resistance and pathogenicity.


Subject(s)
5' Untranslated Regions/genetics , Immune Evasion/genetics , Protein Biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Animals , Base Sequence , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Immune Evasion/drug effects , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Biological , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/pharmacology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
4.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0259061, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496526

ABSTRACT

Effective, low-cost therapeutics are needed to prevent and treat COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 disease is linked to excessive inflammation. Disulfiram is an approved oral drug used to treat alcohol use disorder that is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and an inhibitor of the viral proteases. We investigated the potential effects of disulfiram on SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity in an observational study using a large database of clinical records from the national US Veterans Affairs healthcare system. A multivariable Cox regression adjusted for demographic information and diagnosis of alcohol use disorder revealed a reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection with disulfiram use at a hazard ratio of 0.66 (34% lower risk, 95% confidence interval 24-43%). There were no COVID-19 related deaths among the 188 SARS-CoV-2 positive patients treated with disulfiram, in contrast to 5-6 statistically expected deaths based on the untreated population (P = 0.03). Our epidemiological results suggest that disulfiram may contribute to the reduced incidence and severity of COVID-19. These results support carefully planned clinical trials to assess the potential therapeutic effects of disulfiram in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Disulfiram/therapeutic use , Adult , Alcoholism/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Cohort Studies , Disulfiram/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Veterans
5.
Nat Rev Immunol ; 21(11): 694-703, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349668

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), results in life-threatening disease in a minority of patients, especially elderly people and those with co-morbidities such as obesity and diabetes. Severe disease is characterized by dysregulated cytokine release, pneumonia and acute lung injury, which can rapidly progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, multisystem failure and death. However, a mechanistic understanding of COVID-19 progression remains unclear. Here we review evidence that SARS-CoV-2 directly or indirectly activates inflammasomes, which are large multiprotein assemblies that are broadly responsive to pathogen-associated and stress-associated cellular insults, leading to secretion of the pleiotropic IL-1 family cytokines (IL-1ß and IL-18), and pyroptosis, an inflammatory form of cell death. We further discuss potential mechanisms of inflammasome activation and clinical efforts currently under way to suppress inflammation to prevent or ameliorate severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Inflammasomes/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokines/immunology , Humans , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Pyroptosis , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/immunology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Severity of Illness Index
6.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808982

ABSTRACT

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly contagious virus that underlies the current COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is thought to disable various features of host immunity and cellular defense. The SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1) is known to inhibit host protein translation and could be a target for antiviral therapy against COVID-19. However, how SARS-CoV-2 circumvents this translational blockage for the production of its own proteins is an open question. Here, we report a bipartite mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1 which operates by: (1) hijacking the host ribosome via direct interaction of its C-terminal domain (CT) with the 40S ribosomal subunit and (2) specifically lifting this inhibition for SARS-CoV-2 via a direct interaction of its N-terminal domain (NT) with the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA. We show that while Nsp1-CT is sufficient for binding to 40S and inhibition of host protein translation, the 5' UTR of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA removes this inhibition by binding to Nsp1-NT, suggesting that the Nsp1-NT-UTR interaction is incompatible with the Nsp1-CT-40S interaction. Indeed, lengthening the linker between Nsp1-NT and Nsp1-CT of Nsp1 progressively reduced the ability of SARS-CoV-2 5' UTR to escape the translational inhibition, supporting that the incompatibility is likely steric in nature. The short SL1 region of the 5' UTR is required for viral mRNA translation in the presence of Nsp1. Thus, our data provide a comprehensive view on how Nsp1 switches infected cells from host mRNA translation to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA translation, and that Nsp1 and 5' UTR may be targeted for anti-COVID-19 therapeutics.

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