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2.
Viruses ; 14(12)2022 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36560790

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.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Vero Cells , Pandemics , Virion/ultrastructure
3.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(9): 1255-1268.e5, 2022 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35931073

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: mdl-35543509

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.
Adv Exp Med Biol ; 1366: 65-85, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35412135

ABSTRACT

The discovery of the G-protein coupled-receptor (GPCR) CXCR4 as a major coreceptor of HIV-1 entry about three decades ago explained why the chemokine SDF-1/CXCL12 inhibits specific viral strains. The knowledge that RANTES, MlP-1α, and MlP-1ß specifically inhibit other primary HIV-1 strains allowed the rapid discovery of CCR5 as second major viral coreceptor and explained why individuals with deletions in CCR5 are protected against sexual HIV-1 transmission. Here, we provide an update on endogenous ligands of GPCRs that act as endogenous inhibitors of HIV-1, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) entry. In addition, we summarize the development of optimized derivatives of endogenous GPCR ligands and their perspectives as antiviral agents and beyond. Finally, we provide examples for other endogenous peptides that may contribute to our innate immune defense against HIV-1 and other viral pathogens and offer prospects for preventive or therapeutic development.


Subject(s)
HIV Fusion Inhibitors , HIV Infections , HIV-1 , Animals , HIV Fusion Inhibitors/pharmacology , HIV Fusion Inhibitors/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV-1/metabolism , HIV-1/physiology , HIV-2/metabolism , HIV-2/physiology , Humans , Ligands , Peptides/therapeutic use , Receptors, CCR5 , Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled/therapeutic use , Signal Transduction , Simian Immunodeficiency Virus
6.
J Virol ; 96(6): e0207721, 2022 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35225672

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.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol ; 322(4): C591-C604, 2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35196166

ABSTRACT

Primary airway epithelial cells (pAECs) cultivated at air-liquid interface (ALI) conditions are widely used as surrogates for human in vivo epithelia. To extend the proliferative capacity and to enable serially passaging of pAECs, conditional reprogramming (cr) has been employed in recent years. However, ALI epithelia derived from cr cells often display functional changes with increasing passages. This highlights the need for thorough validation of the ALI cultures for the respective application. In our study, we evaluated the use of serially passaged cr nasal epithelial cells (crNECs) as a model to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and effects on ion and water transport. NECs were obtained from healthy individuals and cultivated as ALI epithelia derived from passages 1, 2, 3, and 5. We compared epithelial differentiation, ion and water transport, and infection with SARS-CoV-2 between passages. Our results show that epithelia maintained major differentiation characteristics and physiological ion and water transport properties through all passages. However, the frequency of ciliated cells, short circuit currents reflecting epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) activity and expression of aquaporin 3 and 5 decreased gradually over passages. crNECs also expressed SARS-CoV-2 receptors angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serin2 protease 2 (TMPRSS2) across all passages and allowed SARS-CoV-2 replication in all passages. In summary, we provide evidence that passaged crNECs provide an appropriate model to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and also epithelial transport function when considering some limitations that we defined herein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cell Differentiation , Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator/genetics , Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Infant, Newborn , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e653-e661, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35079775

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most of the millions of people that are vaccinated against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have previously been infected by related circulating human coronaviruses (hCoVs) causing common colds and will experience further encounters with these viruses in the future. Whether COVID-19 vaccinations impact neutralization of seasonal coronaviruses is largely unknown. METHODS: We analyzed the capacity of sera derived from 24 individuals before and after heterologous ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 BNT162b2 prime-boost vaccination to neutralize genuine OC43, NL63, and 229E hCoVs, as well as viral pseudoparticles carrying the SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, and hCoV-OC43, hCoV-NL63, and hCoV-229E spike proteins. Genuine hCoVs or spike containing pseudovirions were incubated with different concentrations of sera and neutralization efficiencies were determined by measuring viral RNA yields, intracellular viral nucleocapsid expression, or reporter gene expression in Huh-7 cells. RESULTS: All individuals showed strong preexisting immunity against hCoV-OC43. Neutralization of hCoV-NL63 was more variable and all sera showed only modest inhibitory activity against genuine hCoV-229E. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination resulted in efficient cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-1 but not of MERS-CoV. On average, vaccination significantly increased the neutralizing activity against genuine hCoV-OC43, hCoV-NL63, and hCoV-229E. CONCLUSIONS: Heterologous COVID-19 vaccination may confer some cross-protection against endemic seasonal coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus 229E, Human , Coronavirus NL63, Human , Coronavirus OC43, Human , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seasons , Vaccination
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6855, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34824253

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
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4584, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34321474

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
11.
Biomolecules ; 11(5)2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34067685

ABSTRACT

Cm-p5 is a snail-derived antimicrobial peptide, which demonstrated antifungal activity against the pathogenic strains of Candida albicans. Previously we synthetized a cyclic monomer as well as a parallel and an antiparallel dimer of Cm-p5 with improved antifungal activity. Considering the alarming increase of microbial resistance to conventional antibiotics, here we evaluated the antimicrobial activity of these derivatives against multiresistant and problematic bacteria and against important viral agents. The three peptides showed a moderate activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae Extended Spectrum ß-Lactamase (ESBL), and Streptococcus agalactiae, with MIC values > 100 µg/mL. They exerted a considerable activity with MIC values between 25-50 µg/mL against Acinetobacter baumanii and Enterococcus faecium. In addition, the two dimers showed a moderate activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14. The three Cm-p5 derivatives inhibited a virulent extracellular strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, they inhibited Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) infection in a concentration-dependent manner, but had no effect on infection by the Zika Virus (ZIKV) or pseudoparticles of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). At concentrations of >100 µg/mL, the three new Cm-p5 derivatives showed toxicity on different eukaryotic cells tested. Considering a certain cell toxicity but a potential interesting activity against the multiresistant strains of bacteria and HSV-2, our compounds require future structural optimization.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial/drug effects , Herpesvirus 2, Human/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Anti-Bacterial Agents/chemistry , Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Candida albicans/drug effects , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Dimerization , Gram-Negative Bacteria/drug effects , Gram-Positive Bacteria/drug effects , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects
12.
Cell Rep ; 35(7): 109126, 2021 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33974846

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
13.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1726, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33741941

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)
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
14.
Cell Rep ; 27(7): 2092-2104.e10, 2019 05 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31091448

ABSTRACT

Guanylate-binding protein (GBP) 5 is an interferon (IFN)-inducible cellular factor reducing HIV-1 infectivity by an incompletely understood mechanism. Here, we show that this activity is shared by GBP2, but not by other members of the human GBP family. GBP2/5 decrease the activity of the cellular proprotein convertase furin, which mediates conversion of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env) precursor gp160 into mature gp120 and gp41. Because this process primes HIV-1 Env for membrane fusion, viral particles produced in the presence of GBP2/5 are poorly infectious due to increased incorporation of non-functional gp160. Furin activity is critical for the processing of envelope glycoproteins of many viral pathogens. Consistently, GBP2/5 also inhibit Zika, measles, and influenza A virus replication and decrease infectivity of viral particles carrying glycoproteins of Marburg and murine leukemia viruses. Collectively, our results show that GPB2/5 exert broad antiviral activity by suppressing the activity of the virus-dependency factor furin.


Subject(s)
Furin/metabolism , GTP-Binding Proteins/metabolism , HIV Envelope Protein gp120/metabolism , HIV Envelope Protein gp41/metabolism , HIV-1/metabolism , Furin/genetics , GTP-Binding Proteins/genetics , HEK293 Cells , HIV Envelope Protein gp120/genetics , HIV Envelope Protein gp41/genetics , HIV-1/genetics , Humans , Influenza A virus/genetics , Influenza A virus/metabolism , Measles virus/genetics , Measles virus/metabolism , Zika Virus/genetics , Zika Virus/metabolism
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