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Cell Discov ; 7(1): 38, 2021 May 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243287


The newly emerging coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes severe lung disease and substantial mortality. How the virus evades host defense for efficient replication is not fully understood. In this report, we found that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (NP) impaired stress granule (SG) formation induced by viral RNA. SARS-CoV-2 NP associated with the protein kinase PKR after dsRNA stimulation. SARS-CoV-2 NP did not affect dsRNA-induced PKR oligomerization, but impaired dsRNA-induced PKR phosphorylation (a hallmark of its activation) as well as SG formation. SARS-CoV-2 NP also targeted the SG-nucleating protein G3BP1 and impaired G3BP1-mediated SG formation. Deficiency of PKR or G3BP1 impaired dsRNA-triggered SG formation and increased SARS-CoV-2 replication. The NP of SARS-CoV also targeted both PKR and G3BP1 to impair dsRNA-induced SG formation, whereas the NP of MERS-CoV targeted PKR, but not G3BP1 for the impairment. Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 NP promotes viral replication by impairing formation of antiviral SGs, and reveal a conserved mechanism on evasion of host antiviral responses by highly pathogenic human betacoronaviruses.

Cell Mol Immunol ; 18(3): 613-620, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894385


A novel SARS-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has recently emerged as a serious pathogen that causes high morbidity and substantial mortality. However, the mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 evades host immunity remain poorly understood. Here, we identified SARS-CoV-2 membrane glycoprotein M as a negative regulator of the innate immune response. We found that the M protein interacted with the central adaptor protein MAVS in the innate immune response pathways. This interaction impaired MAVS aggregation and its recruitment of downstream TRAF3, TBK1, and IRF3, leading to attenuation of the innate antiviral response. Our findings reveal a mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 evades the innate immune response and suggest that the M protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a potential target for the development of SARS-CoV-2 interventions.

Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans