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1.
Biol Pharm Bull ; 45(10): 1559-1563, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2054200

ABSTRACT

Dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DEGS1) enzymatic activity is inhibited with N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-retinamide (4-HPR). We reported previously that 4-HPR suppresses severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry through a DEGS1-independent mechanism. However, it remains unclear whether DEGS1 is involved in other SARS-CoV-2 infection processes, such as virus replication and release. Here we established DEGS1 knockout (KO) in VeroE6TMPRSS2 cells. No significant difference was observed in virus production in the culture supernatant between wild-type (WT) cells and DEGS1-KO cells, although the levels of dihydroceramide (DHCer), a DEGS1 substrate, were significantly higher in DEGS1-KO cells than WT cells. Furthermore, the virus-induced cytopathic effect was also observed in DEGS1-KO cells. Importantly, the EC50 value of 4-HPR in DEGS1-KO cells was almost identical to the value reported previously in WT cells. Our results indicated the lack of involvement of DEGS1 in SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fenretinide , Animals , Ceramides , Chlorocebus aethiops , Fatty Acid Desaturases , Fenretinide/pharmacology , Humans , Oxidoreductases , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312156

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), persists worldwide with limited therapeutic options. Since membrane fusion between SARS-CoV-2 and host cells is essential for the early step of the infection, the membrane compositions, including sphingolipids, in host cells are considered to affect the viral infection. However, the role of sphingolipids in the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. Here, we assessed several inhibitors of sphingolipid metabolism enzymes against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-mediated cell-cell fusion and viral infection in vitro . Among the compounds tested, only N -(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR, also known as fenretinide), an inhibitor of dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DES1) and well known for having antitumour activity, suppressed cell-cell fusion (50% effective concentration [EC 50 ] = 4.1 µM) and viral infection ([EC 50 ] = 4.4 µM), wherein the EC 50 values are below its plasma concentration in previous clinical trials on tumours. DES1 catalyses the introduction of a double bond in dihydroceramide, and the inhibition efficiencies observed were consistent with an increased ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to total sphingolipids and the decreased cellular membrane fluidity. These findings, together with the accumulated clinical data regarding the safety of 4-HPR, make it a likely candidate drug to treat COVID-19.

3.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22848, 2021 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532101

ABSTRACT

While mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are exceedingly effective in preventing symptomatic infection, their immune response features remain to be clarified. In the present prospective study, 225 healthy individuals in Japan, who received two BNT162b2 doses, were enrolled. Correlates of BNT162b2-elicited SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing activity (50% neutralization titer: NT50; assessed using infectious virions) with various determinants were examined and the potency of sera against variants of concerns was determined. Significant rise in NT50s was seen in sera on day 28 post-1st dose. A moderate inverse correlation was seen between NT50s and ages, but no correlation seen between NT50s and adverse effects. NT50s and SARS-CoV-2-S1-binding-IgG levels on day 28 post-1st dose and pain scores following the 2nd dose were greater in women than in men. The average half-life of NT50s was ~ 68 days, and 23.6% (49 out of 208 individuals) failed to show detectable neutralizing activity on day 150. While sera from elite-responders (NT50s > 1,500: the top 4% among the participants) potently to moderately blocked all variants of concerns examined, some sera with low NT50s failed to block the B.1.351-beta strain. Since BNT162b2-elicited immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is short, an additional vaccine or other protective measures are needed.


Subject(s)
/adverse effects , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacokinetics , Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions , Female , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Immunologic Tests , Japan , Kinetics , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
4.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0080721, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486516

ABSTRACT

The membrane fusion between the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and host cells is essential for the initial step of infection; therefore, the host cell membrane components, including sphingolipids, influence the viral infection. We assessed several inhibitors of the enzymes pertaining to sphingolipid metabolism, against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S)-mediated cell-cell fusion and viral infection. N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR), an inhibitor of dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DES1), suppressed cell-cell fusion and viral infection. The analysis of sphingolipid levels revealed that the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion and viral infection in 4-HPR-treated cells were consistent with an increased ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to total sphingolipids. We investigated the relationship of DES1 with the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion. The changes in the sphingolipid profile induced by 4-HPR were mitigated by the supplementation with exogenous cell-permeative ceramide; however, the reduced cell-cell fusion could not be reversed. The efficiency of cell-cell fusion in DES1 knockout (KO) cells was at a level comparable to that in wild-type (WT) cells; however, the ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to the total sphingolipids was higher in DES1 KO cells than in WT cells. 4-HPR reduced cell membrane fluidity without any significant effects on the expression or localization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Therefore, 4-HPR suppresses SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion through a DES1-independent mechanism, and this decrease in membrane fluidity induced by 4-HPR could be the major cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Sphingolipids could play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion with host cells. We studied the cell-cell fusion using SARS-CoV-2 S-expressing cells and sphingolipid-manipulated target cells, with an inhibitor of the sphingolipid metabolism. 4-HPR (also known as fenretinide) is an inhibitor of DES1, and it exhibits antitumor activity and suppresses cell-cell fusion and viral infection. 4-HPR suppresses membrane fusion through a decrease in membrane fluidity, which could possibly be the cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There is accumulating clinical data on the safety of 4-HPR. Therefore, it could be a potential candidate drug against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Fenretinide/pharmacology , Membrane Fluidity/drug effects , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Cell Membrane/genetics , Gene Knockout Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Fluidity/genetics , Oxidoreductases/deficiency , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
J Infect Chemother ; 27(7): 1063-1067, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201106

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: "Re-infection" with COVID-19 is a growing concern; re-infection cases have reported worldwide. However, the clinical characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, including the levels and role of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein IgG antibodies and the half-maximal concentration (IC50) of neutralizing antibodies remain unknown. METHODS: Both the epidemiological and clinical information has been collected during two episodes of COVID-19 in a patient. Laboratory results, including RT-PCR, Ct values, anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein IgG antibodies, and the IC50 of neutralizing antibodies levels were analyzed on the patient. RESULTS: The patient was a 58-year-old man who developed moderate COVID-19 pneumonia with oxygen demand (cannula 2 L/min) in the first episode. By day 30, he recuperated and was discharged after testing negative for SARS-CoV-2. After two and a half months, his three family members showed COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 once again and was asymptomatic (the second episode). The IC50 of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 greatly increased from 50.0 µg/mL (after the first episode) to 14.8 µg/mL (after the second episode), and remained strongly reactive (20.1 µl/mL) after 47 days of the second episode. CONCLUSIONS: Epidemiological, clinical, and serological analyses confirmed that the patient had re-infection instead of persistent viral shedding from first infection. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 re-infection may manifest as asymptomatic with increased neutralizing antibody levels. Further studies such as the virus characteristics, immunology, and epidemiology on SARS-CoV-2 re-infection are needed.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Japan , Male , Middle Aged , Reinfection , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 5563, 2021 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125955

ABSTRACT

While there are various attempts to administer COVID-19-convalescent plasmas to SARS-CoV-2-infected patients, neither appropriate approach nor clinical utility has been established. We examined the presence and temporal changes of the neutralizing activity of IgG fractions from 43 COVID-19-convalescent plasmas using cell-based assays with multiple endpoints. IgG fractions from 27 cases (62.8%) had significant neutralizing activity and moderately to potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell-based assays; however, no detectable neutralizing activity was found in 16 cases (37.2%). Approximately half of the patients (~ 41%), who had significant neutralizing activity, lost the neutralization activity within ~ 1 month. Despite the rapid decline of neutralizing activity in plasmas, good amounts of SARS-CoV-2-S1-binding antibodies were persistently seen. The longer exposure of COVID-19 patients to greater amounts of SARS-CoV-2 elicits potent immune response to SARS-CoV-2, producing greater neutralization activity and SARS-CoV-2-S1-binding antibody amounts. The dilution of highly-neutralizing plasmas with poorly-neutralizing plasmas relatively readily reduced neutralizing activity. The presence of good amounts of SARS-CoV-2-S1-binding antibodies does not serve as a surrogate ensuring the presence of good neutralizing activity. In selecting good COVID-19-convalescent plasmas, quantification of neutralizing activity in each plasma sample before collection and use is required.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Plasma/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
7.
Gene ; 766: 145145, 2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-756821

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, a novel coronavirus-related illness, has spread worldwide. Patients with apparently mild/moderate symptoms can suddenly develop severe pneumonia. Therefore, almost all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, which can reduce limited medical resources in addition to overwhelming medical facilities. To identify predictive markers for the development of severe pneumonia, a comprehensive analysis of serum chemokines and cytokines was conducted using serial serum samples from COVID-19 patients. The expression profiles were analyzed along the time axis. Serum samples of common diseases were enrolled from a BioBank to confirm the usefulness of predictive markers. Five factors, IFN-λ3, IL-6, IP-10, CXCL9, and CCL17, were identified as predicting the onset of severe/critical symptoms. The factors were classified into two categories. Category A included IFN-λ3, IL-6, IP-10, and CXCL9, and their values surged and decreased rapidly before the onset of severe pneumonia. Category B included CCL17, which provided complete separation between the mild/moderate and the severe/critical groups at an early phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The five markers provided a high predictive value (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC): 0.9-1.0, p < 0.001). Low expression of CCL17 was specifically observed in pre-severe COVID-19 patients compared with other common diseases, and the predictive ability of CCL17 was confirmed in validation samples of COVID-19. The factors identified could be promising prognostic markers to distinguish between mild/moderate and severe/critical patients, enabling triage at an early phase of infection, thus avoiding overwhelming medical facilities.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/blood , Chemokine CCL17/blood , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Cytokines/blood , Hospitalization , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
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