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IUBMB Life ; 74(1): 93-100, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1353459


Unfolded protein response (UPR) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress are aspects of SARS-CoV-2-host cell interaction with proposed role in the cytopathic and inflammatory pathogenesis of this viral infection. The role of the NF-kB pathway in these cellular processes remains poorly characterized. When investigated in VERO-E6 cells, SARS-CoV-2 infection was found to markedly stimulate NF-kB protein expression and activity. NF-kB activation occurs early in the infection process (6 hpi) and it is associated with increased MAPK signaling and expression of the UPR inducer IRE-1α. These signal transduction processes characterize the cellular stress response to the virus promoting a pro-inflammatory environment and caspase activation in the host cell. Inhibition of viral replication by the viral protease inhibitor Nelfinavir reverts all these molecular changes also stimulating c-Jun expression, a key component of the JNK/AP-1 pathway with important role in the IRE-1α-mediated transcriptional regulation of stress response genes with anti-inflammatory and cytoprotection function. The present study demonstrates that UPR signaling and its interaction with cellular MAPKs and the NF-kB activity are important aspects of SARS-CoV-2-host cell interaction that deserve further investigation to identify more efficient therapies for this viral infection.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , COVID-19/metabolism , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , NF-kappa B/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Caspase 9/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , Humans , MAP Kinase Signaling System/drug effects , Models, Biological , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells