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1.
Viruses ; 14(12):2786, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2163623

ABSTRACT

Infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, leads to profound remodeling of cellular membranes, promoting viral replication and virion assembly. A full understanding of this drastic remodeling and the process of virion morphogenesis remains lacking. In this study, we applied room temperature transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) tomography to visualize the SARS-CoV-2 replication factory in Vero cells, and present our results in comparison with published cryo-EM studies. We obtained cryo-EM-like clarity of the ultrastructure by employing high-pressure freezing, freeze substitution (HPF-FS) and embedding, allowing room temperature visualization of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) in a near-native state. In addition, our data illustrate the consecutive stages of virion morphogenesis and reveal that SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleoprotein assembly and membrane curvature occur simultaneously. Finally, we show the tethering of virions to the plasma membrane in 3D, and that accumulations of virus particles lacking spike protein in large vesicles are most likely not a result of defective virion assembly at their membrane. In conclusion, this study puts forward a room-temperature EM technique providing near-native ultrastructural information about SARS-CoV-2 replication, adding to our understanding of the interaction of this pandemic virus with its host cell.

2.
Cell ; 185(19): 3588-3602.e21, 2022 Sep 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2027949

ABSTRACT

The current dogma of RNA-mediated innate immunity is that sensing of immunostimulatory RNA ligands is sufficient for the activation of intracellular sensors and induction of interferon (IFN) responses. Here, we report that actin cytoskeleton disturbance primes RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) activation. Actin cytoskeleton rearrangement induced by virus infection or commonly used reagents to intracellularly deliver RNA triggers the relocalization of PPP1R12C, a regulatory subunit of the protein phosphatase-1 (PP1), from filamentous actin to cytoplasmic RLRs. This allows dephosphorylation-mediated RLR priming and, together with the RNA agonist, induces effective RLR downstream signaling. Genetic ablation of PPP1R12C impairs antiviral responses and enhances susceptibility to infection with several RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus, picornavirus, and vesicular stomatitis virus. Our work identifies actin cytoskeleton disturbance as a priming signal for RLR-mediated innate immunity, which may open avenues for antiviral or adjuvant design.


Subject(s)
Actins , COVID-19 , Actin Cytoskeleton , Antiviral Agents , Humans , Interferons , Ligands , Protein Phosphatase 1 , RNA , RNA Helicases , Receptors, Retinoic Acid/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(9): 1255-1268.e5, 2022 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1936160

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron rapidly outcompeted other variants and currently dominates the COVID-19 pandemic. Its enhanced transmission and immune evasion are thought to be driven by numerous mutations in the Omicron Spike protein. Here, we systematically introduced BA.1 and/or BA.2 Omicron Spike mutations into the ancestral Spike protein and examined the impacts on Spike function, processing, and susceptibility to neutralization. Individual mutations of S371F/L, S375F, and T376A in the ACE2-receptor-binding domain as well as Q954H and N969K in the hinge region 1 impaired infectivity, while changes to G339D, D614G, N764K, and L981F moderately enhanced it. Most mutations in the N-terminal region and receptor-binding domain reduced the sensitivity of the Spike protein to neutralization by sera from individuals vaccinated with the BNT162b2 vaccine and by therapeutic antibodies. Our results represent a systematic functional analysis of Omicron Spike adaptations that have allowed this SARS-CoV-2 variant to dominate the current pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Envelope Proteins
4.
J Virol ; 96(11): e0059422, 2022 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1840553

ABSTRACT

It has recently been shown that an early SARS-CoV-2 isolate (NL-02-2020) hijacks interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) for efficient replication in human lung cells, cardiomyocytes, and gut organoids. To date, several "variants of concern" (VOCs) showing increased infectivity and resistance to neutralization have emerged and globally replaced the early viral strains. Here, we determined whether the five current SARS-CoV-2 VOCs (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron) maintained the dependency on IFITM proteins for efficient replication. We found that depletion of IFITM2 strongly reduces viral RNA production by all VOCs in the human epithelial lung cancer cell line Calu-3. Silencing of IFITM1 had modest effects, while knockdown of IFITM3 resulted in an intermediate phenotype. Strikingly, depletion of IFITM2 generally reduced infectious virus production by more than 4 orders of magnitude. In addition, an antibody directed against the N terminus of IFITM2 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 VOC replication in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived alveolar epithelial type II cells, thought to represent major viral target cells in the lung. In conclusion, endogenously expressed IFITM proteins (especially IFITM2) are critical cofactors for efficient replication of genuine SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, including the currently dominant Omicron variant. IMPORTANCE Recent data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 requires endogenously expressed IFITM proteins for efficient infection. However, the results were obtained with an early SARS-CoV-2 isolate. Thus, it remained to be determined whether IFITMs are also important cofactors for infection of emerging SARS-CoV-2 VOCs that outcompeted the original strains in the meantime. This includes the Omicron VOC, which currently dominates the pandemic. Here, we show that depletion of endogenous IFITM2 expression almost entirely prevents productive infection of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 VOCs in human lung cells. In addition, an antibody targeting the N terminus of IFITM2 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 VOC replication in iPSC-derived alveolar epithelial type II cells. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, including the currently dominant Omicron variant, are strongly dependent on IFITM2 for efficient replication, suggesting a key proviral role of IFITMs in viral transmission and pathogenicity.


Subject(s)
Lung , Membrane Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Humans , Lung/virology , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization
5.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 2022 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1772912

ABSTRACT

The innate immune system is a powerful barrier against invading pathogens. Interferons (IFNs) are a major part of the cytokine-mediated anti-viral innate immune response. After recognition of a pathogen by immune sensors, signaling cascades are activated that culminate in the release of IFNs. These activate cells in an autocrine or paracrine fashion eventually setting cells in an anti-viral state via upregulation of hundreds of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). To evade the anti-viral effect of the IFN system, successful viruses like the pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) evolved strategies to counteract both IFN induction and signaling. In fact, more than half of the about 30 proteins encoded by SARS-CoV-2 target the IFN system at multiple levels to escape IFN-mediated restriction. Here, we review recent insights into the molecular mechanisms used by SARS-CoV-2 proteins to suppress IFN production and the establishment of an anti-viral state.

6.
J Virol ; 96(6): e0207721, 2022 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714342

ABSTRACT

Emerging strains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, that show increased transmission fitness and/or immune evasion are classified as "variants of concern" (VOCs). Recently, a SARS-CoV-2 variant first identified in November 2021 in South Africa has been recognized as a fifth VOC, termed "Omicron." What makes this VOC so alarming is the high number of changes, especially in the viral Spike protein, and accumulating evidence for increased transmission efficiency and escape from neutralizing antibodies. In an amazingly short time, the Omicron VOC has outcompeted the previously dominating Delta VOC. However, it seems that the Omicron VOC is overall less pathogenic than other SARS-CoV-2 VOCs. Here, we provide an overview of the mutations in the Omicron genome and the resulting changes in viral proteins compared to other SARS-CoV-2 strains and discuss their potential functional consequences.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6855, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537312

ABSTRACT

The bat sarbecovirus RaTG13 is a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this bat virus was most likely unable to directly infect humans since its Spike (S) protein does not interact efficiently with the human ACE2 receptor. Here, we show that a single T403R mutation increases binding of RaTG13 S to human ACE2 and allows VSV pseudoparticle infection of human lung cells and intestinal organoids. Conversely, mutation of R403T in the SARS-CoV-2 S reduces pseudoparticle infection and viral replication. The T403R RaTG13 S is neutralized by sera from individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 indicating that vaccination might protect against future zoonoses. Our data suggest that a positively charged amino acid at position 403 in the S protein is critical for efficient utilization of human ACE2 by S proteins of bat coronaviruses. This finding could help to better predict the zoonotic potential of animal coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Caco-2 Cells , Cloning, Molecular , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Replicon , Species Specificity , Stem Cells , Zoonoses
8.
Aging (Albany NY) ; 13(18): 21838-21854, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417382

ABSTRACT

Senescent cells, which arise due to damage-associated signals, are apoptosis-resistant and can express a pro-inflammatory, tissue-destructive senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We recently reported that a component of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) surface protein, S1, can amplify the SASP of senescent cultured human cells and that a related mouse ß-coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), increases SASP factors and senescent cell burden in infected mice. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 induces senescence in human non-senescent cells and exacerbates the SASP in human senescent cells through Toll-like receptor-3 (TLR-3). TLR-3, which senses viral RNA, was increased in human senescent compared to non-senescent cells. Notably, genetically or pharmacologically inhibiting TLR-3 prevented senescence induction and SASP amplification by SARS-CoV-2 or Spike pseudotyped virus. While an artificial TLR-3 agonist alone was not sufficient to induce senescence, it amplified the SASP in senescent human cells. Consistent with these findings, lung p16INK4a+ senescent cell burden was higher in patients who died from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection than other causes. Our results suggest that induction of cellular senescence and SASP amplification through TLR-3 contribute to SARS-CoV-2 morbidity, indicating that clinical trials of senolytics and/or SASP/TLR-3 inhibitors for alleviating acute and long-term SARS-CoV-2 sequelae are warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Toll-Like Receptor 3/metabolism , Aging , Animals , Apoptosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation , Lung/metabolism , Mice , Phenotype , Viral Proteins
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4584, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387354

ABSTRACT

Interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs 1, 2 and 3) can restrict viral pathogens, but pro- and anti-viral activities have been reported for coronaviruses. Here, we show that artificial overexpression of IFITMs blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, endogenous IFITM expression supports efficient infection of SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells. Our results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein interacts with IFITMs and hijacks them for efficient viral infection. IFITM proteins were expressed and further induced by interferons in human lung, gut, heart and brain cells. IFITM-derived peptides and targeting antibodies inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in human lung cells, cardiomyocytes and gut organoids. Our results show that IFITM proteins are cofactors for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cell types representing in vivo targets for viral transmission, dissemination and pathogenesis and are potential targets for therapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antigens, Differentiation/genetics , Membrane Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antigens, Differentiation/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects
10.
Cells ; 10(8)2021 08 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376744

ABSTRACT

Non-persistent viruses classically cause transient, acute infections triggering immune responses aimed at the elimination of the pathogen. Successful viruses evolved strategies to manipulate and evade these anti-viral defenses. Symptoms during the acute phase are often linked to dysregulated immune responses that disappear once the patient recovers. In some patients, however, symptoms persist or new symptoms emerge beyond the acute phase. Conditions resulting from previous transient infection are termed post-acute sequelae (PAS) and were reported for a wide range of non-persistent viruses such as rota-, influenza- or polioviruses. Here we provide an overview of non-persistent viral pathogens reported to be associated with diverse PAS, among them chronic fatigue, auto-immune disorders, or neurological complications and highlight known mechanistic details. Recently, the emergence of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or long COVID highlighted the impact of PAS. Notably, PAS of non-persistent infections often resemble symptoms of persistent viral infections, defined by chronic inflammation. Inflammation maintained after the acute phase may be a key driver of PAS of non-persistent viruses. Therefore, we explore current insights into aberrant activation of innate immune signaling pathways in the post-acute phase of non-persistent viruses. Finally, conclusions are drawn and future perspectives for treatment and prevention of PAS are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokines , Disease Progression , Humans , Inflammation
11.
STAR Protoc ; 2(4): 100781, 2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356489

ABSTRACT

We present a protocol for analyzing the impact of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in interferon signaling using luciferase reporter assays. Here, the induction of defined promoters can be quantitatively assessed with high sensitivity and broad linear range. The results are similar to those obtained using qPCR to measure endogenous mRNA induction. The assay requires stringent normalization and confirmation of the results in more physiological settings. The protocol is adaptable for other viruses and other innate immune stimuli. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Hayn et al. (2021).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral/drug effects , Interferons/pharmacology , Luciferases/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Luciferases/genetics , Promoter Regions, Genetic , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Proteins/genetics
12.
Biospektrum (Heidelb) ; 27(4): 368-371, 2021.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349361

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To facilitate its own replication and avoid immune control, SARS-CoV-2 manipulates its target cells. Our results revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 1 (Nsp1) plays a key role in viral immune evasion. It blocks the mRNA tunnel of the cellular ribosome, resulting in a shutdown of translation and strong attenuation of the host's antiviral immune response.

13.
Autophagy ; 17(9): 2659-2661, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317864

ABSTRACT

As part of innate immune defenses, macroautophagy/autophagy targets viruses and viral components for lysosomal degradation and exposes pathogen-associated molecular patterns to facilitate recognition. However, viruses evolved sophisticated strategies to antagonize autophagy and even exploit it to promote their replication. In our recent study, we systematically analyzed the impact of individual SARS-CoV-2 proteins on autophagy. We showed that E, M, ORF3a, and ORF7a cause an accumulation of autophagosomes, whereas Nsp15 prevents the efficient formation of autophagosomes. Consequently, autophagic degradation of SQSTM1/p62 is decreased in the presence of E, ORF3a, ORF7a, and Nsp15. Notably, M does not alter SQSTM1 protein levels and colocalizes with accumulations of LC3B-positive membranes not resembling vesicles. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 prevents SQSTM1 degradation and increases lipidation of LC3B, indicating overall that the infection causes a reduction of autophagic flux. Our mechanistic analyses showed that the accessory proteins ORF3a and ORF7a both block autophagic degradation but use different strategies. While ORF3a prevents the fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes, ORF7a reduces the acidity of lysosomes. In summary, we found that Nsp15, E, M, ORF3a, and ORF7a of SARS-CoV-2 manipulate cellular autophagy, and we determined the molecular mechanisms of ORF3a and ORF7a.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Autophagosomes , Autophagy , Humans , Lysosomes
14.
Cell Rep ; 35(7): 109126, 2021 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222854

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) evades most innate immune responses but may still be vulnerable to some. Here, we systematically analyze the impact of SARS-CoV-2 proteins on interferon (IFN) responses and autophagy. We show that SARS-CoV-2 proteins synergize to counteract anti-viral immune responses. For example, Nsp14 targets the type I IFN receptor for lysosomal degradation, ORF3a prevents fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes, and ORF7a interferes with autophagosome acidification. Most activities are evolutionarily conserved. However, SARS-CoV-2 Nsp15 antagonizes IFN signaling less efficiently than the orthologs of closely related RaTG13-CoV and SARS-CoV-1. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 proteins counteract autophagy and type I IFN more efficiently than type II or III IFN signaling, and infection experiments confirm potent inhibition by IFN-γ and -λ1. Our results define the repertoire and selected mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 innate immune antagonists but also reveal vulnerability to type II and III IFN that may help to develop safe and effective anti-viral approaches.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/immunology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Autophagosomes/immunology , Autophagy/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Exoribonucleases/immunology , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interferons/metabolism , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology
15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1726, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142436

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
16.
Nat Metab ; 3(2): 149-165, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065968

ABSTRACT

Infection-related diabetes can arise as a result of virus-associated ß-cell destruction. Clinical data suggest that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), causing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), impairs glucose homoeostasis, but experimental evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can infect pancreatic tissue has been lacking. In the present study, we show that SARS-CoV-2 infects cells of the human exocrine and endocrine pancreas ex vivo and in vivo. We demonstrate that human ß-cells express viral entry proteins, and SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in cultured human islets. Infection is associated with morphological, transcriptional and functional changes, including reduced numbers of insulin-secretory granules in ß-cells and impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In COVID-19 full-body postmortem examinations, we detected SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein in pancreatic exocrine cells, and in cells that stain positive for the ß-cell marker NKX6.1 and are in close proximity to the islets of Langerhans in all four patients investigated. Our data identify the human pancreas as a target of SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggest that ß-cell infection could contribute to the metabolic dysregulation observed in patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Islets of Langerhans/virology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cells, Cultured , Diabetes Mellitus , Female , Humans , Islets of Langerhans/cytology , Islets of Langerhans/physiopathology , Male , Pancreas, Exocrine/cytology , Pancreas, Exocrine/physiopathology , Pancreas, Exocrine/virology , Pancreatic Diseases/etiology , Pancreatic Diseases/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication
17.
Curr Opin Microbiol ; 59: 50-57, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1017019

ABSTRACT

Tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins are a highly versatile family of host-cell factors that play an integral role in the mammalian defense against pathogens. TRIM proteins regulate either transcription-dependent antiviral responses such as pro-inflammatory cytokine induction, or they modulate other important cell-intrinsic defense pathways like autophagy. Additionally, TRIM proteins exert direct antiviral activity whereby they antagonize specific viral components through diverse mechanisms. Here, we summarize the latest discoveries on the molecular mechanisms of antiviral TRIM proteins and also discuss current and future trends in this fast-evolving field.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Tripartite Motif Proteins , Animals , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Autophagy/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Humans , Tripartite Motif Proteins/genetics , Tripartite Motif Proteins/metabolism
18.
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 11(4): 935-948, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917333

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The COVID-19 pandemic has spread worldwide and poses a severe health risk. While most patients present mild symptoms, descending pneumonia can lead to severe respiratory insufficiency. Up to 50% of patients show gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or nausea, intriguingly associating with prolonged symptoms and increased severity. Thus, models to understand and validate drug efficiency in the gut of COVID-19 patients are of urgent need. METHODS: Human intestinal organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSC-HIOs) have led, due to their complexity in mimicking human intestinal architecture, to an unprecedented number of successful disease models including gastrointestinal infections. Here, we employed PSC-HIOs to dissect SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and its inhibition by remdesivir, one of the leading drugs investigated for treatment of COVID-19. RESULTS: Immunostaining for viral entry receptor ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein priming protease TMPRSS2 showed broad expression in the gastrointestinal tract with highest levels in the intestine, the latter faithfully recapitulated by PSC-HIOs. Organoids could be readily infected with SARS-CoV-2 followed by viral spread across entire PSC-HIOs, subsequently leading to organoid deterioration. However, SARS-CoV-2 spared goblet cells lacking ACE2 expression. Importantly, we challenged PSC-HIOs for drug testing capacity. Specifically, remdesivir effectively inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection dose-dependently at low micromolar concentration and rescued PSC-HIO morphology. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, PSC-HIOs are a valuable tool to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and to identify and validate drugs especially with potential action in the gut.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Human Embryonic Stem Cells , Intestinal Mucosa , Organoids , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/pharmacology , Caco-2 Cells , Human Embryonic Stem Cells/metabolism , Human Embryonic Stem Cells/pathology , Human Embryonic Stem Cells/virology , Humans , Intestinal Mucosa/metabolism , Intestinal Mucosa/pathology , Intestinal Mucosa/virology , Organoids/metabolism , Organoids/pathology , Organoids/virology
19.
mBio ; 11(5)2020 10 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-873466

ABSTRACT

Recent evidence shows that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is sensitive to interferons (IFNs). However, the most effective types of IFNs and the underlying antiviral effectors remain to be defined. Here, we show that zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP), which preferentially targets CpG dinucleotides in viral RNA sequences, restricts SARS-CoV-2. We further demonstrate that ZAP and its cofactors KHNYN and TRIM25 are expressed in human lung cells. Type I, II, and III IFNs all strongly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 and further induced ZAP expression. Comprehensive sequence analyses revealed that SARS-CoV-2 and its closest relatives from horseshoe bats showed the strongest CpG suppression among all known human and bat coronaviruses, respectively. Nevertheless, endogenous ZAP expression restricted SARS-CoV-2 replication in human lung cells, particularly upon treatment with IFN-α or IFN-γ. Both the long and the short isoforms of human ZAP reduced SARS-CoV-2 RNA expression levels, but the former did so with greater efficiency. Finally, we show that the ability to restrict SARS-CoV-2 is conserved in ZAP orthologues of the reservoir bat and potential intermediate pangolin hosts of human coronaviruses. Altogether, our results show that ZAP is an important effector of the innate response against SARS-CoV-2, although this pandemic pathogen emerged from zoonosis of a coronavirus that was preadapted to the low-CpG environment in humans.IMPORTANCE Although interferons inhibit SARS-CoV-2 and have been evaluated for treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the most effective types and antiviral effectors remain to be defined. Here, we show that IFN-γ is particularly potent in restricting SARS-CoV-2 and in inducing expression of the antiviral factor ZAP in human lung cells. Knockdown experiments revealed that endogenous ZAP significantly restricts SARS-CoV-2. We further show that CpG dinucleotides which are specifically targeted by ZAP are strongly suppressed in the SARS-CoV-2 genome and that the two closest horseshoe bat relatives of SARS-CoV-2 show the lowest genomic CpG content of all coronavirus sequences available from this reservoir host. Nonetheless, both the short and long isoforms of human ZAP reduced SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels, and this activity was conserved in horseshoe bat and pangolin ZAP orthologues. Our findings indicating that type II interferon is particularly efficient against SARS-CoV-2 and that ZAP restricts this pandemic viral pathogen might promote the development of effective immune therapies against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , CpG Islands , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Animals , Betacoronavirus/classification , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/physiology , Gene Expression/drug effects , Genome, Viral , Humans , Interferons/pharmacology , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Protein Isoforms , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication/drug effects
20.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 48(19): 10890-10908, 2020 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-817440

ABSTRACT

Although endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are known to harbor cis-regulatory elements, their role in modulating cellular immune responses remains poorly understood. Using an RNA-seq approach, we show that several members of the ERV9 lineage, particularly LTR12C elements, are activated upon HIV-1 infection of primary CD4+ T cells. Intriguingly, HIV-1-induced ERVs harboring transcription start sites are primarily found in the vicinity of immunity genes. For example, HIV-1 infection activates LTR12C elements upstream of the interferon-inducible genes GBP2 and GBP5 that encode for broad-spectrum antiviral factors. Reporter assays demonstrated that these LTR12C elements drive gene expression in primary CD4+ T cells. In line with this, HIV-1 infection triggered the expression of a unique GBP2 transcript variant by activating a cryptic transcription start site within LTR12C. Furthermore, stimulation with HIV-1-induced cytokines increased GBP2 and GBP5 expression in human cells, but not in macaque cells that naturally lack the GBP5 gene and the LTR12C element upstream of GBP2. Finally, our findings suggest that GBP2 and GBP5 have already been active against ancient viral pathogens as they suppress the maturation of the extinct retrovirus HERV-K (HML-2). In summary, our findings uncover how human cells can exploit remnants of once-infectious retroviruses to regulate antiviral gene expression.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Endogenous Retroviruses/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , HIV Infections/genetics , Promoter Regions, Genetic , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Animals , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , GTP-Binding Proteins/genetics , GTP-Binding Proteins/immunology , HEK293 Cells , HIV Infections/immunology , HIV-1 , Humans , Macaca mulatta , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/cytology
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