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1.
J Med Virol ; 2022.
Article in English | PubMed | ID: covidwho-2013653

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is causing a devastating impact on public health worldwide. However, details concerning the profound impact of SARS-CoV-2 on host cells remain elusive. Here, we investigated the effects of SARS-CoV-2-encoded viral proteins on the intracellular activity of long interspersed element 1 (L1) retrotransposons using well-established reporter systems. Several non-structural or accessory proteins (Nsps) of SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., Nsp1, Nsp3, Nsp5, and Nsp14) significantly suppress human L1 mobility, and these viral L1 inhibitors generate a complex network that modulates L1 transposition. Specifically, Nsp1 and Nsp14 inhibit the intracellular accumulation of L1 open reading frame proteins (ORF1p), whereas Nsp3, Nsp5, and Nsp14 repress the reverse transcriptase activity of L1 ORF2p. Given recent findings concerning the roles of L1 in antiviral immune activation and host genome instability, the anti-L1 activities mediated by SARS-CoV-2-encoded inhibitors suggest that SARS-CoV-2 employs different strategies to optimize the host genetic environment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(15)2022 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957346

ABSTRACT

The relentless, protracted evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus imposes tremendous pressure on herd immunity and demands versatile adaptations by the human host genome to counter transcriptomic and epitranscriptomic alterations associated with a wide range of short- and long-term manifestations during acute infection and post-acute recovery, respectively. To promote viral replication during active infection and viral persistence, the SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein regulates host cell microenvironment including pH and ion concentrations to maintain a high oxidative environment that supports template switching, causing extensive mitochondrial damage and activation of pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling cascades. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial distress induce dynamic changes to both the host and viral RNA m6A methylome, and can trigger the derepression of long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE1), resulting in global hypomethylation, epigenetic changes, and genomic instability. The timely application of melatonin during early infection enhances host innate antiviral immune responses by preventing the formation of "viral factories" by nucleocapsid liquid-liquid phase separation that effectively blockades viral genome transcription and packaging, the disassembly of stress granules, and the sequestration of DEAD-box RNA helicases, including DDX3X, vital to immune signaling. Melatonin prevents membrane depolarization and protects cristae morphology to suppress glycolysis via antioxidant-dependent and -independent mechanisms. By restraining the derepression of LINE1 via multifaceted strategies, and maintaining the balance in m6A RNA modifications, melatonin could be the quintessential ancient molecule that significantly influences the outcome of the constant struggle between virus and host to gain transcriptomic and epitranscriptomic dominance over the host genome during acute infection and PASC.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Melatonin , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication
3.
Genes (Basel) ; 13(5)2022 Apr 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792755

ABSTRACT

The major advantage of mRNA vaccines over more conventional approaches is their potential for rapid development and large-scale deployment in pandemic situations. In the current COVID-19 crisis, two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been conditionally approved and broadly applied, while others are still in clinical trials. However, there is no previous experience with the use of mRNA vaccines on a large scale in the general population. This warrants a careful evaluation of mRNA vaccine safety properties by considering all available knowledge about mRNA molecular biology and evolution. Here, I discuss the pervasive claim that mRNA-based vaccines cannot alter genomes. Surprisingly, this notion is widely stated in the mRNA vaccine literature but never supported by referencing any primary scientific papers that would specifically address this question. This discrepancy becomes even more puzzling if one considers previous work on the molecular and evolutionary aspects of retroposition in murine and human populations that clearly documents the frequent integration of mRNA molecules into genomes, including clinical contexts. By performing basic comparisons, I show that the sequence features of mRNA vaccines meet all known requirements for retroposition using L1 elements-the most abundant autonomously active retrotransposons in the human genome. In fact, many factors associated with mRNA vaccines increase the possibility of their L1-mediated retroposition. I conclude that is unfounded to a priori assume that mRNA-based therapeutics do not impact genomes and that the route to genome integration of vaccine mRNAs via endogenous L1 retroelements is easily conceivable. This implies that we urgently need experimental studies that would rigorously test for the potential retroposition of vaccine mRNAs. At present, the insertional mutagenesis safety of mRNA-based vaccines should be considered unresolved.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Biology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Humans , Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements , Mice , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Retroelements , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , mRNA Vaccines
4.
Cell Rep ; 36(7): 109530, 2021 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330686

ABSTRACT

A recent study proposed that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) hijacks the LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposition machinery to integrate into the DNA of infected cells. If confirmed, this finding could have significant clinical implications. Here, we apply deep (>50×) long-read Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) sequencing to HEK293T cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 and do not find the virus integrated into the genome. By examining ONT data from separate HEK293T cultivars, we completely resolve 78 L1 insertions arising in vitro in the absence of L1 overexpression systems. ONT sequencing applied to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-positive liver cancer tissues located a single HBV insertion. These experiments demonstrate reliable resolution of retrotransposon and exogenous virus insertions by ONT sequencing. That we find no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 integration suggests that such events are, at most, extremely rare in vivo and therefore are unlikely to drive oncogenesis or explain post-recovery detection of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , DNA, Viral/genetics , Genome, Human , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Virus Integration , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Hepatitis B virus/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Liver Neoplasms/virology , Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements , Male , Nanopore Sequencing , Vero Cells
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(21)2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220249

ABSTRACT

Prolonged detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA and recurrence of PCR-positive tests have been widely reported in patients after recovery from COVID-19, but some of these patients do not appear to shed infectious virus. We investigated the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 RNAs can be reverse-transcribed and integrated into the DNA of human cells in culture and that transcription of the integrated sequences might account for some of the positive PCR tests seen in patients. In support of this hypothesis, we found that DNA copies of SARS-CoV-2 sequences can be integrated into the genome of infected human cells. We found target site duplications flanking the viral sequences and consensus LINE1 endonuclease recognition sequences at the integration sites, consistent with a LINE1 retrotransposon-mediated, target-primed reverse transcription and retroposition mechanism. We also found, in some patient-derived tissues, evidence suggesting that a large fraction of the viral sequences is transcribed from integrated DNA copies of viral sequences, generating viral-host chimeric transcripts. The integration and transcription of viral sequences may thus contribute to the detection of viral RNA by PCR in patients after infection and clinical recovery. Because we have detected only subgenomic sequences derived mainly from the 3' end of the viral genome integrated into the DNA of the host cell, infectious virus cannot be produced from the integrated subgenomic SARS-CoV-2 sequences.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Integration/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genome, Viral , HEK293 Cells , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Integration/physiology , Virus Replication/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology
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