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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333065

ABSTRACT

The severity of disease following infection with SARS-CoV-2 is determined by viral replication kinetics and host immunity, with early T cell responses and/or suppression of viraemia driving a favourable outcome. Recent studies have uncovered a role for cholesterol metabolism in the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle and in T cell function. Here we show that blockade of the enzyme Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) with Avasimibe inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry and fusion independent of transmembrane protease serine 2 expression in multiple cell types. We also demonstrate a role for ACAT in regulating SARS-CoV-2 RNA replication in primary bronchial epithelial cells. Furthermore, Avasimibe boosts the expansion of functional SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells from the blood of patients sampled in the acute phase of infection. Thus, re-purposing of available ACAT inhibitors provides a compelling therapeutic strategy for the treatment of COVID-19 to achieve both antiviral and immunomodulatory effects.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330362

ABSTRACT

Understanding the host pathways that define susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease are essential for the design of new therapies. Oxygen levels in the microenvironment define the transcriptional landscape, however the influence of hypoxia on virus replication and disease in animal models is not well understood. In this study, we identify a role for the hypoxic inducible factor (HIF) signalling axis to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection, epithelial damage and respiratory symptoms in Syrian hamsters. Pharmacological activation of HIF with the prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor FG-4592 significantly reduced the levels of infectious virus in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Nasal and lung epithelia showed a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 RNA and nucleocapsid expression in treated animals. Transcriptomic and pathological analysis showed reduced epithelial damage and increased expression of ciliated cells. Our study provides new insights on the intrinsic antiviral properties of the HIF signalling pathway in SARS-CoV-2 replication that may be applicable to other respiratory pathogens and identifies new therapeutic opportunities.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324025

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a global health issue with more than 1 million fatalities to date. Understanding how host factors modify the viral life cycle could inform susceptibility to viral infection and the design of new therapies. Viral replication is shaped by the cellular microenvironment and one important factor is local oxygen tension, where hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) regulates transcriptional responses to hypoxia. SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells of the respiratory tract, entering via its Spike glycoprotein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). We demonstrate that hypoxia and the HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor Roxadustat (FG-4592) reduce ACE2 expression and inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in lung epithelial cells via a HIF-1α dependent signalling pathway. Further, hypoxia and Roxadustat inhibit viral replication in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, showing that post-entry steps in the viral life cycle are oxygen-sensitive. This study highlights the importance of hypoxia and HIF signalling in regulating multiple aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and raises the potential use of HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.Funding: The McKeating laboratory is funded by a Wellcome Investigator Award (IA) 200838/Z/16/Z, UK Medical Research Council (MRC) project grant MR/R022011/1 and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2-002). The Ratcliffe laboratory is funded by the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research;Wellcome IA 106241/Z/14/Z;the Francis Crick Institute, which receives core funding from Cancer Research UK (FC001501), UK MRC (FC001501) and Wellcome (FC001501);the Paradifference Foundation. PJR, EJH and TB are additionally funded by the COVID-19 Research Response Fund, University of Oxford. SK is funded by the Clarendon Scholarships Fund and the Christopher Welch Trust. The Davis laboratory is funded by Wellcome IA 209412/Z/17/Z and Wellcome Strategic Awards 091911/B/10/Z and 107457/Z/15/Z. JYL is funded by the Medial Sciences Graduate Studentship, University of Oxford. The Hinks laboratory is funded by grants from the Wellcome (104553/z/14/z, 211050/Z/18/z) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre;the views expressed are those of the authors and not those of the NHS or NIHR. Conflict of Interest: EJH is employed under the Cambridge Experimental Medicine Initiative, which is partly funded by AstraZeneca although they have not been involved in this project. The other authors declare no financial interests.Ethical Approval: The study was reviewed by the Oxford Research Ethics Committee B (18/SC/0361).

4.
Elife ; 112022 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634530

ABSTRACT

Despite an unprecedented global research effort on SARS-CoV-2, early replication events remain poorly understood. Given the clinical importance of emergent viral variants with increased transmission, there is an urgent need to understand the early stages of viral replication and transcription. We used single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridisation (smFISH) to quantify positive sense RNA genomes with 95% detection efficiency, while simultaneously visualising negative sense genomes, subgenomic RNAs, and viral proteins. Our absolute quantification of viral RNAs and replication factories revealed that SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA is long-lived after entry, suggesting that it avoids degradation by cellular nucleases. Moreover, we observed that SARS-CoV-2 replication is highly variable between cells, with only a small cell population displaying high burden of viral RNA. Unexpectedly, the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, exhibits significantly slower replication kinetics than the Victoria strain, suggesting a novel mechanism contributing to its higher transmissibility with important clinical implications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops/genetics , RNA/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/physiology
5.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 50-61, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545628

ABSTRACT

NP105-113-B*07:02-specific CD8+ T cell responses are considered among the most dominant in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. We found strong association of this response with mild disease. Analysis of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell clones and single-cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and antiviral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with T cell receptor usage, transcriptome signature and disease severity (acute n = 77, convalescent n = 52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T cell precursors, high functional avidity and antiviral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed postinfection but NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved antiviral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Our data show that NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell responses associate with mild disease and high antiviral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.


Subject(s)
HLA-B7 Antigen/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line, Transformed , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Vaccinia virus/immunology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism
6.
iScience ; 24(10): 103144, 2021 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428079

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) coronavirus, is a global health issue with unprecedented challenges for public health. SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells of the respiratory tract via spike glycoprotein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). Circadian rhythms coordinate an organism's response to its environment and can regulate host susceptibility to virus infection. We demonstrate that silencing the circadian regulator Bmal1 or treating lung epithelial cells with the REV-ERB agonist SR9009 reduces ACE2 expression and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication. Importantly, treating infected cells with SR9009 limits SARS-CoV-2 replication and secretion of infectious particles, showing that post-entry steps in the viral life cycle are influenced by the circadian system. Transcriptome analysis revealed that Bmal1 silencing induced interferon-stimulated gene transcripts in Calu-3 lung epithelial cells, providing a mechanism for the circadian pathway to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our study highlights alternative approaches to understand and improve therapeutic targeting of SARS-CoV-2.

7.
Cell Rep ; 35(3): 109020, 2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1182447

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a global health issue with more than 2 million fatalities to date. Viral replication is shaped by the cellular microenvironment, and one important factor to consider is oxygen tension, in which hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) regulates transcriptional responses to hypoxia. SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells of the respiratory tract, entering via its spike glycoprotein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). We demonstrate that hypoxia and the HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor Roxadustat reduce ACE2 expression and inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in lung epithelial cells via an HIF-1α-dependent pathway. Hypoxia and Roxadustat inhibit SARS-CoV-2 RNA replication, showing that post-entry steps in the viral life cycle are oxygen sensitive. This study highlights the importance of HIF signaling in regulating multiple aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and raises the potential use of HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Glycine/analogs & derivatives , Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/metabolism , Isoquinolines/pharmacology , Lung/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Hypoxia/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Glycine/pharmacology , Humans , Lung/virology , Mice , Vero Cells
8.
Oxf Open Immunol ; 1(1): iqaa001, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-851863

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrom coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is more likely to lead to poor outcomes in the elderly and those with cardiovascular disease, obesity or metabolic syndrome. Here, we consider mechanisms by which dyslipidaemia and the use of cholesterol-modifying drugs could influence the virus-host relationship. Cholesterol is essential for the assembly, replication and infectivity of enveloped virus particles; we highlight several cholesterol-modifying drugs with the potential to alter the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle that could be tested in in vitro and in vivo models. Although cholesterol is an essential component of immune cell membranes, excess levels can dysregulate protective immunity and promote exaggerated pulmonary and systemic inflammatory responses. Statins block the production of multiple sterols, oxysterols and isoprenoids, resulting in a pleiotropic range of context-dependent effects on virus infectivity, immunity and inflammation. We highlight antiviral, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of cholesterol-modifying drugs that merit further consideration in the management of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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