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Trends Pharmacol Sci ; 43(7): 557-568, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796053


Despite the great success of vaccines that protect against RNA virus infections, and the development and clinical use of a limited number of RNA virus-specific drugs, there is still an urgent need for new classes of antiviral drugs against circulating or emerging RNA viruses. To date, it has proved difficult to efficiently suppress RNA virus replication by targeting host cell functions, and there are no approved drugs of this type. This opinion article discusses the recent discovery of a pronounced and sustained antiviral activity of the plant-derived natural compound thapsigargin against enveloped RNA viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and influenza A virus. Based on its mechanisms of action, thapsigargin represents a new prototype of compounds with multimodal host-directed antiviral activity.

COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thapsigargin/pharmacology
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5536, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428813


Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human pathogens for which no specific treatment is available. Here, we provide evidence that pharmacological reprogramming of ER stress pathways can be exploited to suppress CoV replication. The ER stress inducer thapsigargin efficiently inhibits coronavirus (HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2) replication in different cell types including primary differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells, (partially) reverses the virus-induced translational shut-down, improves viability of infected cells and counteracts the CoV-mediated downregulation of IRE1α and the ER chaperone BiP. Proteome-wide analyses revealed specific pathways, protein networks and components that likely mediate the thapsigargin-induced antiviral state, including essential (HERPUD1) or novel (UBA6 and ZNF622) factors of ER quality control, and ER-associated protein degradation complexes. Additionally, thapsigargin blocks the CoV-induced selective autophagic flux involving p62/SQSTM1. The data show that thapsigargin hits several central mechanisms required for CoV replication, suggesting that this compound (or derivatives thereof) may be developed into broad-spectrum anti-CoV drugs.

Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Animals , Autophagy/drug effects , Bronchi/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cell Extracts , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/genetics , Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Macrolides/pharmacology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Proteome/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thapsigargin/pharmacology , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects