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Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1726, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142436


SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory pathogen and primarily infects the airway epithelium. As our knowledge about innate immune factors of the respiratory tract against SARS-CoV-2 is limited, we generated and screened a peptide/protein library derived from bronchoalveolar lavage for inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 spike-driven entry. Analysis of antiviral fractions revealed the presence of α1-antitrypsin (α1AT), a highly abundant circulating serine protease inhibitor. Here, we report that α1AT inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry at physiological concentrations and suppresses viral replication in cell lines and primary cells including human airway epithelial cultures. We further demonstrate that α1AT binds and inactivates the serine protease TMPRSS2, which enzymatically primes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for membrane fusion. Thus, the acute phase protein α1AT is an inhibitor of TMPRSS2 and SARS-CoV-2 entry, and may play an important role in the innate immune defense against the novel coronavirus. Our findings suggest that repurposing of α1AT-containing drugs has prospects for the therapy of COVID-19.

COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , alpha 1-Antitrypsin/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/blood , Caco-2 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Molecular Docking Simulation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
Antiviral Res ; 181: 104882, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-684270


SARS-CoV-2 is a novel pandemic coronavirus that caused a global health and economic crisis. The development of efficient drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 requires detailed knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 biology. Several techniques to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection have been established, mainly based on counting infected cells by staining plaques or foci, or by quantifying the viral genome by PCR. These methods are laborious, time-consuming and expensive and therefore not suitable for a high sample throughput or rapid diagnostics. We here report a novel enzyme-based immunodetection assay that directly quantifies the amount of de novo synthesized viral spike protein within fixed and permeabilized cells. This in-cell ELISA enables a rapid and quantitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection in microtiter format, regardless of the virus isolate or target cell culture. It follows the established method of performing ELISA assays and does not require expensive instrumentation. Utilization of the in-cell ELISA allows to e.g. determine TCID50 of virus stocks, antiviral efficiencies (IC50 values) of drugs or neutralizing activity of sera. Thus, the in-cell spike ELISA represents a promising alternative to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and inhibition and may facilitate future research.

Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Plaque Assay