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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(32): e2204539119, 2022 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2311672


Viruses evade the innate immune response by suppressing the production or activity of cytokines such as type I interferons (IFNs). Here we report the discovery of a mechanism by which the SARS-CoV-2 virus coopts an intrinsic cellular machinery to suppress the production of the key immunostimulatory cytokine IFN-ß. We reveal that the SARS-CoV-2 encoded nonstructural protein 2 (NSP2) directly interacts with the cellular GIGYF2 protein. This interaction enhances the binding of GIGYF2 to the mRNA cap-binding protein 4EHP, thereby repressing the translation of the Ifnb1 mRNA. Depletion of GIGYF2 or 4EHP significantly enhances IFN-ß production, which inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our findings reveal a target for rescuing the antiviral innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and other RNA viruses.

COVID-19 , Carrier Proteins , Interferon Type I , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , COVID-19/genetics , Carrier Proteins/metabolism , Cell Line , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E/metabolism , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
Antiviral Res ; 196: 105209, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1520691


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite intensive and global efforts to discover and develop novel antiviral therapies, only Remdesivir has been approved as a treatment for COVID-19. Therefore, effective antiviral therapeutics are still urgently needed to combat and halt the pandemic. Viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates high potential as a reliable target for the development of antivirals. We previously developed a cell-based assay to assess the efficiency of compounds that target SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, as well as their tolerance to viral exoribonuclease-mediated proof-reading. In our previous study, we discovered that 2-((1H-indol-3-yl)thio)-N-phenyl-acetamides specifically targets the RdRp of both respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A virus. Thus, we hypothesize that 2-((1H-indol-3-yl)thio)-N-phenyl-acetamides may also have the ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by targeting its RdRp activity. In this research, we test a compound library containing 103 of 2-((1H-indol-3-yl)thio)-N-phenyl-acetamides against SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, using our cell-based assay. Among these compounds, the top five candidates strongly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 RdRp activity while exhibiting low cytotoxicity and resistance to viral exoribonuclease. Compound 6-72-2a is the most promising candidate with the lowest EC50 value of 1.41 µM and highest selectivity index (CC50/EC50) (above 70.92). Furthermore, our data suggests that 4-46b and 6-72-2a also inhibit the replication of HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-NL63 virus in a dose-dependent manner. Compounds 4-46b and 6-72-2a exhibit EC50 values of 1.13 µM and 0.94 µM, respectively, on HCoV-OC43 viral replication. However, higher concentrations of these compounds are needed to effectively block HCoV-NL63 replication. Together, our findings successfully identified 4-46b and 6-72-2a as promising inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 RdRp.

Acetamides/pharmacology , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Delivery Systems , Humans , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Proteins/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
Antiviral Res ; 190: 105078, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198616


Antiviral therapeutics is one effective avenue to control and end this devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of SARS-CoV-2 has been recognized as a valuable target of antivirals. However, the cell-free SARS-CoV-2 RdRp biochemical assay requires the conversion of nucleotide prodrugs into the active triphosphate forms, which regularly occurs in cells yet is a complicated multiple-step chemical process in vitro, and thus hinders the utility of this cell-free assay in the rapid discovery of RdRp inhibitors. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 exoribonuclease provides the proof-reading capacity to viral RdRp, thus creates relatively high resistance threshold of viral RdRp to nucleotide analog inhibitors, which must be examined and evaluated in the development of this class of antivirals. Here, we report a cell-based assay to evaluate the efficacy of nucleotide analog compounds against SARS-CoV-2 RdRp and assess their tolerance to viral exoribonuclease-mediated proof-reading. By testing seven commonly used nucleotide analog viral polymerase inhibitors, Remdesivir, Molnupiravir, Ribavirin, Favipiravir, Penciclovir, Entecavir and Tenofovir, we found that both Molnupiravir and Remdesivir showed the strong inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, with EC50 value of 0.22 µM and 0.67 µM, respectively. Moreover, our results suggested that exoribonuclease nsp14 increases resistance of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp to nucleotide analog inhibitors. We also determined that Remdesivir presented the highest resistance to viral exoribonuclease activity in cells. Therefore, we have developed a cell-based SARS-CoV-2 RdRp assay which can be deployed to discover SARS-CoV-2 RdRp inhibitors that are urgently needed to treat COVID-19 patients.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Drug Discovery , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , A549 Cells , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , HEK293 Cells , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors