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EMBO J ; 40(18): e108249, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323479


SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging coronavirus that causes dysfunctions in multiple human cells and tissues. Studies have looked at the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells mediated by the viral spike protein and human receptor ACE2. However, less is known about the cellular immune responses triggered by SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins. Here, we show that the nucleocapsid of SARS-CoV-2 inhibits host pyroptosis by blocking Gasdermin D (GSDMD) cleavage. SARS-CoV-2-infected monocytes show enhanced cellular interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß) expression, but reduced IL-1ß secretion. While SARS-CoV-2 infection promotes activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and caspase-1, GSDMD cleavage and pyroptosis are inhibited in infected human monocytes. SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein associates with GSDMD in cells and inhibits GSDMD cleavage in vitro and in vivo. The nucleocapsid binds the GSDMD linker region and hinders GSDMD processing by caspase-1. These insights into how SARS-CoV-2 antagonizes cellular inflammatory responses may open new avenues for treating COVID-19 in the future.

COVID-19/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Pyroptosis/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Caspase 1/immunology , Caspase 1/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Inflammasomes/immunology , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Interleukin-1beta/immunology , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/immunology , Mice , Monocytes/metabolism , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/immunology , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/metabolism , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , THP-1 Cells