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Protein Cell ; 13(8): 602-614, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777862


The nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2 has been reported to have a high ability of liquid-liquid phase separation, which enables its incorporation into stress granules (SGs) of host cells. However, whether SG invasion by N protein occurs in the scenario of SARS-CoV-2 infection is unknow, neither do we know its consequence. Here, we used SARS-CoV-2 to infect mammalian cells and observed the incorporation of N protein into SGs, which resulted in markedly impaired self-disassembly but stimulated cell cellular clearance of SGs. NMR experiments further showed that N protein binds to the SG-related amyloid proteins via non-specific transient interactions, which not only expedites the phase transition of these proteins to aberrant amyloid aggregation in vitro, but also promotes the aggregation of FUS with ALS-associated P525L mutation in cells. In addition, we found that ACE2 is not necessary for the infection of SARS-CoV-2 to mammalian cells. Our work indicates that SARS-CoV-2 infection can impair the disassembly of host SGs and promote the aggregation of SG-related amyloid proteins, which may lead to an increased risk of neurodegeneration.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , COVID-19 , Amyloidogenic Proteins/metabolism , Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/genetics , Animals , Cytoplasmic Granules/metabolism , Mammals , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress Granules