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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3921, 2022 Jul 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921607

ABSTRACT

Due to differences in human and murine angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor, initially available SARS-CoV-2 isolates could not infect mice. Here we show that serial passaging of USA-WA1/2020 strain in mouse lungs results in "mouse-adapted" SARS-CoV-2 (MA-SARS-CoV-2) with mutations in S, M, and N genes, and a twelve-nucleotide insertion in the S gene. MA-SARS-CoV-2 infection causes mild disease, with more pronounced morbidity depending on genetic background and in aged and obese mice. Two mutations in the S gene associated with mouse adaptation (N501Y, H655Y) are present in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs). N501Y in the receptor binding domain of viruses of the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1 and B.1.1.529 lineages (Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Omicron variants) is associated with high transmissibility and allows VoCs to infect wild type mice. We further show that S protein mutations of MA-SARS-CoV-2 do not affect neutralization efficiency by human convalescent and post vaccination sera.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Sera , Mice , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
Toxicol Pathol ; 50(3): 280-293, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673709

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans has a wide range of presentations, ranging from asymptomatic or mild symptoms to severe illness. Suitable animal models mimicking varying degrees of clinical disease manifestations could expedite development of therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19. Here we demonstrate that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection resulted in subclinical disease in rhesus macaques with mild pneumonia and clinical disease in Syrian hamsters with severe pneumonia. SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunohistochemistry, or in situ hybridization. Replicating virus in the lungs was identified using in situ hybridization or virus plaque forming assays. Viral encephalitis, reported in some COVID-19 patients, was identified in one macaque and was confirmed with immunohistochemistry. There was no evidence of encephalitis in hamsters. Severity and distribution of lung inflammation were substantially more in hamsters compared with macaques and exhibited vascular changes and virus-induced cytopathic changes as seen in COVID-19 patients. Neither the hamster nor macaque models demonstrated evidence for multisystemic inflammatory syndrome (MIS). Data presented here demonstrate that macaques may be appropriate for mechanistic studies of mild asymptomatic COVID-19 pneumonia and COVID-19-associated encephalitis, whereas Syrian hamsters may be more suited to study severe COVID-19 pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Encephalitis , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Encephalitis/pathology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2
3.
J Virol ; 96(1): e0151121, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621995

ABSTRACT

The development of mouse models for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has enabled testing of vaccines and therapeutics and defining aspects of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pathogenesis. SARS-CoV-2 disease is severe in K18 transgenic mice (K18-hACE2 Tg) expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2), the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, under an ectopic cytokeratin promoter, with high levels of infection measured in the lung and brain. Here, we evaluated SARS-CoV-2 infection in hACE2 knock-in (KI) mice that express hACE2 under an endogenous promoter in place of murine ACE2 (mACE2). Intranasal inoculation of hACE2 KI mice with SARS-CoV-2 WA1/2020 resulted in substantial viral replication within the upper and lower respiratory tracts with limited spread to extrapulmonary organs. However, SARS-CoV-2-infected hACE2 KI mice did not lose weight and developed limited pathology. Moreover, no significant differences in viral burden were observed in hACE2 KI mice infected with B.1.1.7 or B.1.351 variants compared to the WA1/2020 strain. Because the entry mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 in mice remain uncertain, we evaluated the impact of the naturally occurring, mouse-adapting N501Y mutation by comparing infection of hACE2 KI, K18-hACE2 Tg, ACE2-deficient, and wild-type C57BL/6 mice. The N501Y mutation minimally affected SARS-CoV-2 infection in hACE2 KI mice but was required for viral replication in wild-type C57BL/6 mice in a mACE2-dependent manner and augmented pathogenesis in the K18-hACE2 Tg mice. Thus, the N501Y mutation likely enhances interactions with mACE2 or hACE2 in vivo. Overall, our study highlights the hACE2 KI mice as a model of mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease and clarifies the requirement of the N501Y mutation in mice. IMPORTANCE Mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis have facilitated the rapid evaluation of countermeasures. While the first generation of models developed pneumonia and severe disease after SARS-CoV-2 infection, they relied on ectopic expression of supraphysiological levels of human ACE2 (hACE2). This has raised issues with their relevance to humans, as the hACE2 receptor shows a more restricted expression pattern in the respiratory tract. Here, we evaluated SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease with viruses containing or lacking a key mouse-adapting mutation in the spike gene in hACE2 KI mice, which express hACE2 under an endogenous promoter in place of murine ACE2. While infection of hACE2 KI mice with multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2 including variants of concern resulted in viral replication within the upper and lower respiratory tracts, the animals did not sustain severe lung injury. Thus, hACE2 KI mice serve as a model of mild infection with both ancestral and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant strains.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Expression , Gene Knock-In Techniques , Humans , Inflammation , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load , Virus Replication
4.
Cell ; 184(10): 2618-2632.e17, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157174

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently affecting millions of lives worldwide. Large retrospective studies indicate that an elevated level of inflammatory cytokines and pro-inflammatory factors are associated with both increased disease severity and mortality. Here, using multidimensional epigenetic, transcriptional, in vitro, and in vivo analyses, we report that topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) inhibition suppresses lethal inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2. Therapeutic treatment with two doses of topotecan (TPT), an FDA-approved TOP1 inhibitor, suppresses infection-induced inflammation in hamsters. TPT treatment as late as 4 days post-infection reduces morbidity and rescues mortality in a transgenic mouse model. These results support the potential of TOP1 inhibition as an effective host-directed therapy against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. TPT and its derivatives are inexpensive clinical-grade inhibitors available in most countries. Clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of repurposing TOP1 inhibitors for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , DNA Topoisomerases, Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Topoisomerase I Inhibitors/pharmacology , Topotecan/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/enzymology , Inflammation/pathology , Inflammation/virology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , THP-1 Cells , Vero Cells
5.
Science ; 371(6532): 926-931, 2021 02 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1048642

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral proteins interact with the eukaryotic translation machinery, and inhibitors of translation have potent antiviral effects. We found that the drug plitidepsin (aplidin), which has limited clinical approval, possesses antiviral activity (90% inhibitory concentration = 0.88 nM) that is more potent than remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro by a factor of 27.5, with limited toxicity in cell culture. Through the use of a drug-resistant mutant, we show that the antiviral activity of plitidepsin against SARS-CoV-2 is mediated through inhibition of the known target eEF1A (eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A). We demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin treatment in two mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a reduction of viral replication in the lungs by two orders of magnitude using prophylactic treatment. Our results indicate that plitidepsin is a promising therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Depsipeptides/pharmacology , Peptide Elongation Factor 1/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Depsipeptides/administration & dosage , Depsipeptides/therapeutic use , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/virology , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mutation , Peptides, Cyclic , Phosphoproteins/biosynthesis , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
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