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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313939

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 emerged in China at the end of 2019 and caused the global pandemic of COVID-19, a disease with high morbidity and mortality. While our understanding of this novel virus is rapidly increasing, gaps remain in our understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 can effectively suppress host cell antiviral responses. Recent work on other viruses has demonstrated a novel mechanism through which viral proteins can mimic critical regions of human histone proteins. Histone proteins are responsible for governing genome accessibility and their precise regulation is critical for a cell’s ability to control transcription and respond to viral threats. Here, we show that the protein encoded by ORF8 (Orf8) in SARS-CoV-2 functions as a histone mimic of two critical histone 3 sites containing an ARKS motif. Orf8 expression in cells disrupts multiple critical histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) while Orf8 lacking this histone mimic motif does not. Orf8 binds to numerous histone-associated proteins and to DNA, and is itself acetylated within the histone mimic site. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 infection of multiple susceptible cell types causes the same global changes of histone post-translational modifications that are disrupted by Orf8 expression;these include induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2) and cardiomyocytes (iCM) and postmortem patient lung tissue. These findings demonstrate a novel function for the poorly understood SARS-CoV-2 ORF8 encoded protein and a mechanism through which SARS-CoV-2 disrupts host cell epigenetic regulation. Notably, this work provides a potential mechanism for emerging findings from human patients indicating that ORF8 deletion results in less severe illness and describes a potentially druggable pathway that may contribute to the virulence of SARS-CoV-2.

2.
iScience ; 25(1): 103722, 2022 Jan 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587457

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a newly identified coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). With an urgent need for therapeutics, we lack a full understanding of the molecular basis of SARS-CoV-2-induced cellular damage and disease progression. Here, we conducted transcriptomic analysis of human PBMCs, identified significant changes in mitochondrial, ion channel, and protein quality-control gene products. SARS-CoV-2 proteins selectively target cellular organelle compartments, including the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. M-protein, NSP6, ORF3A, ORF9C, and ORF10 bind to mitochondrial PTP complex components cyclophilin D, SPG-7, ANT, ATP synthase, and a previously undescribed CCDC58 (coiled-coil domain containing protein 58). Knockdown of CCDC58 or mPTP blocker cyclosporin A pretreatment enhances mitochondrial Ca2+ retention capacity and bioenergetics. SARS-CoV-2 infection exacerbates cardiomyocyte autophagy and promotes cell death that was suppressed by cyclosporin A treatment. Our findings reveal that SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins suppress cardiomyocyte mitochondrial function that disrupts cardiomyocyte Ca2+ cycling and cell viability.

3.
Front Cell Neurosci ; 15: 682272, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295666

ABSTRACT

Human cerebral organoid (CO) is a three-dimensional (3D) cell culture system that recapitulates the developing human brain. While CO has proved an invaluable tool for studying neurological disorders in a more clinically relevant matter, there have still been several shortcomings including CO variability and reproducibility as well as lack of or underrepresentation of certain cell types typically found in the brain. As the technology to generate COs has continued to improve, more efficient and streamlined protocols have addressed some of these issues. Here we present a novel scalable and simplified system to generate microglia-containing CO (MCO). We characterize the cell types and dynamic development of MCOs and validate that these MCOs harbor microglia, astrocytes, neurons, and neural stem/progenitor cells, maturing in a manner that reflects human brain development. We introduce a novel technique for the generation of embryoid bodies (EBs) directly from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that involves simplified steps of transitioning directly from 3D cultures as well as orbital shaking culture in a standard 6-well culture plate. This allows for the generation of MCOs with an easy-to-use system that is affordable and accessible by any general lab.

4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(16)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165017

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection; induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung; and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, whereas PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2-infected Calu-3 and A549ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however, activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling and OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but is similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Immunity, Innate , Lung/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , A549 Cells , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Nose/virology , Virus Replication , eIF-2 Kinase
5.
Cell Rep ; 35(1): 108959, 2021 04 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163484

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for antivirals to treat the newly emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To identify new candidates, we screen a repurposing library of ∼3,000 drugs. Screening in Vero cells finds few antivirals, while screening in human Huh7.5 cells validates 23 diverse antiviral drugs. Extending our studies to lung epithelial cells, we find that there are major differences in drug sensitivity and entry pathways used by SARS-CoV-2 in these cells. Entry in lung epithelial Calu-3 cells is pH independent and requires TMPRSS2, while entry in Vero and Huh7.5 cells requires low pH and triggering by acid-dependent endosomal proteases. Moreover, we find nine drugs are antiviral in respiratory cells, seven of which have been used in humans, and three are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, including cyclosporine. We find that the antiviral activity of cyclosporine is targeting Cyclophilin rather than calcineurin, revealing essential host targets that have the potential for rapid clinical implementation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Cyclosporine/pharmacology , Drug Repositioning , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Lung/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Vero Cells
6.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808974

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung, and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, while PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2 infected Calu-3 and A549 ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to MERS-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling as well as OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, both OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549 ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549 ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. SIGNIFICANCE: SARS-CoV-2 emergence in late 2019 led to the COVID-19 pandemic that has had devastating effects on human health and the economy. Early innate immune responses are essential for protection against virus invasion. While inadequate innate immune responses are associated with severe COVID-19 diseases, understanding of the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with host antiviral pathways is minimal. We have characterized the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infections in relevant respiratory tract derived cells and cardiomyocytes and found that SARS-CoV-2 activates two antiviral pathways, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR), while inducing minimal levels of interferon. This in contrast to MERS-CoV which inhibits all three pathways. Activation of these pathways may contribute to the distinctive pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.

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