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1.
Sci Signal ; 15(729): eabg8744, 2022 Apr 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784765

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused the unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Critical cases of COVID-19 are characterized by the production of excessive amounts of cytokines and extensive lung damage, which is partially caused by the fusion of SARS-CoV-2-infected pneumocytes. Here, we found that cell fusion caused by the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein induced a type I interferon (IFN) response. This function of the S protein required its cleavage by proteases at the S1/S2 and the S2' sites. We further showed that cell fusion damaged nuclei and resulted in the formation of micronuclei that were sensed by the cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS and led to the activation of its downstream effector STING. Phosphorylation of the transcriptional regulator IRF3 and the expression of IFNB, which encodes a type I IFN, were abrogated in cGAS-deficient fused cells. Moreover, infection with VSV-SARS-CoV-2 also induced cell fusion, DNA damage, and cGAS-STING-dependent expression of IFNB. Together, these results uncover a pathway underlying the IFN response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data suggest a mechanism by which fused pneumocytes in the lungs of patients with COVID-19 may enhance the production of IFNs and other cytokines, thus exacerbating disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , COVID-19/genetics , Cell Fusion , Cytokines , Humans , Interferon Type I/genetics , Nucleotidyltransferases/genetics , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
2.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1024-1036, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740712

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. B.1.617 variants (including Kappa and Delta) have been transmitted rapidly in India. The transmissibility, pathogenicity, and neutralization characteristics of these variants have received considerable interest. In this study, 22 pseudotyped viruses were constructed for B.1.617 variants and their corresponding single amino acid mutations. B.1.617 variants did not exhibit significant enhanced infectivity in human cells, but mutations T478K and E484Q in the receptor binding domain led to enhanced infectivity in mouse ACE2-overexpressing cells. Furin activities were slightly increased against B.1.617 variants and cell-cell fusion after infection of B.1.617 variants were enhanced. Furthermore, B.1.617 variants escaped neutralization by several mAbs, mainly because of mutations L452R, T478K, and E484Q in the receptor binding domain. The neutralization activities of sera from convalescent patients, inactivated vaccine-immunized volunteers, adenovirus vaccine-immunized volunteers, and SARS-CoV-2 immunized animals against pseudotyped B.1.617 variants were reduced by approximately twofold, compared with the D614G variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Cell Fusion , Humans , Mice , Mutation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Tropism
3.
J Virol ; 95(24): e0136821, 2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691427

ABSTRACT

Severe cardiovascular complications can occur in coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Cardiac damage is attributed mostly to the aberrant host response to acute respiratory infection. However, direct infection of cardiac tissue by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also occurs. We examined here the cardiac tropism of SARS-CoV-2 in spontaneously beating human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). These cardiomyocytes express the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor but not the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) that mediates spike protein cleavage in the lungs. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 infection of hiPSC-CMs was prolific; viral transcripts accounted for about 88% of total mRNA. In the cytoplasm of infected hiPSC-CMs, smooth-walled exocytic vesicles contained numerous 65- to 90-nm particles with canonical ribonucleocapsid structures, and virus-like particles with knob-like spikes covered the cell surface. To better understand how SARS-CoV-2 spreads in hiPSC-CMs, we engineered an expression vector coding for the spike protein with a monomeric emerald-green fluorescent protein fused to its cytoplasmic tail (S-mEm). Proteolytic processing of S-mEm and the parental spike were equivalent. Live cell imaging tracked spread of S-mEm cell-to-cell and documented formation of syncytia. A cell-permeable, peptide-based molecule that blocks the catalytic site of furin and furin-like proteases abolished cell fusion. A spike mutant with the single amino acid change R682S that disrupts the multibasic furin cleavage motif was fusion inactive. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 replicates efficiently in hiPSC-CMs and furin, and/or furin-like-protease activation of its spike protein is required for fusion-based cytopathology. This hiPSC-CM platform enables target-based drug discovery in cardiac COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Cardiac complications frequently observed in COVID-19 patients are tentatively attributed to systemic inflammation and thrombosis, but viral replication has occasionally been confirmed in cardiac tissue autopsy materials. We developed an in vitro model of SARS-CoV-2 spread in myocardium using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. In these highly differentiated cells, viral transcription levels exceeded those previously documented in permissive transformed cell lines. To better understand the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 spread, we expressed a fluorescent version of its spike protein that allowed us to characterize a fusion-based cytopathic effect. A mutant of the spike protein with a single amino acid mutation in the furin/furin-like protease cleavage site lost cytopathic function. Of note, the fusion activities of the spike protein of other coronaviruses correlated with the level of cardiovascular complications observed in infections with the respective viruses. These data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 may cause cardiac damage by fusing cardiomyocytes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cathepsin B/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Chlorocebus aethiops , Embryonic Stem Cells/metabolism , Exocytosis , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Microscopy, Confocal , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication
4.
Mil Med Res ; 8(1): 68, 2021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639349
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(1)2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599544

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly transmissible coronavirus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we provide evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads through cell-cell contact in cultures, mediated by the spike glycoprotein. SARS-CoV-2 spike is more efficient in facilitating cell-to-cell transmission than is SARS-CoV spike, which reflects, in part, their differential cell-cell fusion activity. Interestingly, treatment of cocultured cells with endosomal entry inhibitors impairs cell-to-cell transmission, implicating endosomal membrane fusion as an underlying mechanism. Compared with cell-free infection, cell-to-cell transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is refractory to inhibition by neutralizing antibody or convalescent sera of COVID-19 patients. While angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 enhances cell-to-cell transmission, we find that it is not absolutely required. Notably, despite differences in cell-free infectivity, the authentic variants of concern (VOCs) B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) have similar cell-to-cell transmission capability. Moreover, B.1.351 is more resistant to neutralization by vaccinee sera in cell-free infection, whereas B.1.1.7 is more resistant to inhibition by vaccinee sera in cell-to-cell transmission. Overall, our study reveals critical features of SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated cell-to-cell transmission, with important implications for a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 spread and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Fusion , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
6.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572661

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 lineage variants, Kappa (B.1.617.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2, AY) emerged during the second wave of infections in India, but the Delta variants have become dominant worldwide and continue to evolve. Here, we compared B.1.617 variants for neutralization resistance by convalescent sera, mRNA vaccine-elicited sera, and therapeutic neutralizing antibodies using a pseudovirus neutralization assay. B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and AY.1 pseudoviruses showed a modest 1.5- to 4.4-fold reduction in neutralization by convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. In comparison, similar modest reductions were also observed for C.37, P.1, R.1, and B.1.526 pseudoviruses, but 7- and 16-fold reductions for vaccine-elicited and convalescent sera, respectively, were seen for B.1.351 pseudoviruses. Among twenty-three therapeutic antibodies tested, four antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.2 pseudoviruses and six antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.1 and AY.1 pseudoviruses. Our results indicate that the current mRNA-based vaccines will likely remain effective in protecting against B.1.617 variants. Finally, the P681R substitution confers efficient cleavage of B.1.617 variants' spike proteins and the spike of Delta variants exhibited greater sensitivity to soluble ACE2 neutralization, as well as fusogenic activity, which may contribute to enhanced spread of Delta variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigenic Variation , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 182-194, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550502

ABSTRACT

The ubiquitously-expressed proteolytic enzyme furin is closely related to the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and therefore represents a key target for antiviral therapy. Based on bioinformatic analysis and pseudovirus tests, we discovered a second functional furin site located in the spike protein. Furin still increased the infectivity of mutated SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus in 293T-ACE2 cells when the canonical polybasic cleavage site (682-686) was deleted. However, K814A mutation eliminated the enhancing effect of furin on virus infection. Furin inhibitor prevented infection by 682-686-deleted SARS-CoV-2 in 293T-ACE2-furin cells, but not the K814A mutant. K814A mutation did not affect the activity of TMPRSS2 and cathepsin L but did impact the cleavage of S2 into S2' and cell-cell fusion. Additionally, we showed that this functional furin site exists in RaTG13 from bat and PCoV-GD/GX from pangolin. Therefore, we discovered a new functional furin site that is pivotal in promoting SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cathepsin L/metabolism , Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Cathepsin L/genetics , Cell Fusion , Chiroptera , Furin/genetics , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Mutation , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4502, 2021 07 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550282

ABSTRACT

Cells in many tissues, such as bone, muscle, and placenta, fuse into syncytia to acquire new functions and transcriptional programs. While it is known that fused cells are specialized, it is unclear whether cell-fusion itself contributes to programmatic-changes that generate the new cellular state. Here, we address this by employing a fusogen-mediated, cell-fusion system to create syncytia from undifferentiated cells. RNA-Seq analysis reveals VSV-G-induced cell fusion precedes transcriptional changes. To gain mechanistic insights, we measure the plasma membrane surface area after cell-fusion and observe it diminishes through increases in endocytosis. Consequently, glucose transporters internalize, and cytoplasmic glucose and ATP transiently decrease. This reduced energetic state activates AMPK, which inhibits YAP1, causing transcriptional-reprogramming and cell-cycle arrest. Impairing either endocytosis or AMPK activity prevents YAP1 inhibition and cell-cycle arrest after fusion. Together, these data demonstrate plasma membrane diminishment upon cell-fusion causes transient nutrient stress that may promote transcriptional-reprogramming independent from extrinsic cues.


Subject(s)
Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Nucleus/metabolism , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , AMP-Activated Protein Kinases/genetics , AMP-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Animals , Biological Transport , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Cell Line, Tumor , Cells, Cultured , Giant Cells/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Mice , RNA-Seq/methods , Signal Transduction/genetics , Transcription Factors/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(47)2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500833

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus responsible for the global pandemic contains a novel furin cleavage site in the spike protein (S) that increases viral infectivity and syncytia formation in cells. Here, we show that O-glycosylation near the furin cleavage site is mediated by members of the GALNT enzyme family, resulting in decreased furin cleavage and decreased syncytia formation. Moreover, we show that O-glycosylation is dependent on the novel proline at position 681 (P681). Mutations of P681 seen in the highly transmissible alpha and delta variants abrogate O-glycosylation, increase furin cleavage, and increase syncytia formation. Finally, we show that GALNT family members capable of glycosylating S are expressed in human respiratory cells that are targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our results suggest that host O-glycosylation may influence viral infectivity/tropism by modulating furin cleavage of S and provide mechanistic insight into the role of the P681 mutations found in the highly transmissible alpha and delta variants.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Furin/metabolism , Giant Cells , Glycosylation , Humans , N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
Cell Mol Life Sci ; 78(23): 7777-7794, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1491058

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 requires new treatments both to alleviate the symptoms and to prevent the spread of this disease. Previous studies demonstrated good antiviral and virucidal activity of phospholipase A2s (PLA2s) from snake venoms against viruses from different families but there was no data for coronaviruses. Here we show that PLA2s from snake venoms protect Vero E6 cells against SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effects. PLA2s showed low cytotoxicity to Vero E6 cells with some activity at micromolar concentrations, but strong antiviral activity at nanomolar concentrations. Dimeric PLA2 from the viper Vipera nikolskii and its subunits manifested especially potent virucidal effects, which were related to their phospholipolytic activity, and inhibited cell-cell fusion mediated by the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. Moreover, PLA2s interfered with binding both of an antibody against ACE2 and of the receptor-binding domain of the glycoprotein S to 293T/ACE2 cells. This is the first demonstration of a detrimental effect of PLA2s on ß-coronaviruses. Thus, snake PLA2s are promising for the development of antiviral drugs that target the viral envelope, and could also prove to be useful tools to study the interaction of viruses with host cells.


Subject(s)
Phospholipases A2/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viper Venoms/pharmacology , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibody Affinity/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Domains/drug effects , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Vero Cells , Viper Venoms/enzymology
11.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0080721, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486516

ABSTRACT

The membrane fusion between the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and host cells is essential for the initial step of infection; therefore, the host cell membrane components, including sphingolipids, influence the viral infection. We assessed several inhibitors of the enzymes pertaining to sphingolipid metabolism, against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S)-mediated cell-cell fusion and viral infection. N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR), an inhibitor of dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DES1), suppressed cell-cell fusion and viral infection. The analysis of sphingolipid levels revealed that the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion and viral infection in 4-HPR-treated cells were consistent with an increased ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to total sphingolipids. We investigated the relationship of DES1 with the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion. The changes in the sphingolipid profile induced by 4-HPR were mitigated by the supplementation with exogenous cell-permeative ceramide; however, the reduced cell-cell fusion could not be reversed. The efficiency of cell-cell fusion in DES1 knockout (KO) cells was at a level comparable to that in wild-type (WT) cells; however, the ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to the total sphingolipids was higher in DES1 KO cells than in WT cells. 4-HPR reduced cell membrane fluidity without any significant effects on the expression or localization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Therefore, 4-HPR suppresses SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion through a DES1-independent mechanism, and this decrease in membrane fluidity induced by 4-HPR could be the major cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Sphingolipids could play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion with host cells. We studied the cell-cell fusion using SARS-CoV-2 S-expressing cells and sphingolipid-manipulated target cells, with an inhibitor of the sphingolipid metabolism. 4-HPR (also known as fenretinide) is an inhibitor of DES1, and it exhibits antitumor activity and suppresses cell-cell fusion and viral infection. 4-HPR suppresses membrane fusion through a decrease in membrane fluidity, which could possibly be the cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There is accumulating clinical data on the safety of 4-HPR. Therefore, it could be a potential candidate drug against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Fenretinide/pharmacology , Membrane Fluidity/drug effects , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Cell Membrane/genetics , Gene Knockout Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Fluidity/genetics , Oxidoreductases/deficiency , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
12.
J Virol ; 95(24): e0136821, 2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455676

ABSTRACT

Severe cardiovascular complications can occur in coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Cardiac damage is attributed mostly to the aberrant host response to acute respiratory infection. However, direct infection of cardiac tissue by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also occurs. We examined here the cardiac tropism of SARS-CoV-2 in spontaneously beating human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). These cardiomyocytes express the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor but not the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) that mediates spike protein cleavage in the lungs. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 infection of hiPSC-CMs was prolific; viral transcripts accounted for about 88% of total mRNA. In the cytoplasm of infected hiPSC-CMs, smooth-walled exocytic vesicles contained numerous 65- to 90-nm particles with canonical ribonucleocapsid structures, and virus-like particles with knob-like spikes covered the cell surface. To better understand how SARS-CoV-2 spreads in hiPSC-CMs, we engineered an expression vector coding for the spike protein with a monomeric emerald-green fluorescent protein fused to its cytoplasmic tail (S-mEm). Proteolytic processing of S-mEm and the parental spike were equivalent. Live cell imaging tracked spread of S-mEm cell-to-cell and documented formation of syncytia. A cell-permeable, peptide-based molecule that blocks the catalytic site of furin and furin-like proteases abolished cell fusion. A spike mutant with the single amino acid change R682S that disrupts the multibasic furin cleavage motif was fusion inactive. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 replicates efficiently in hiPSC-CMs and furin, and/or furin-like-protease activation of its spike protein is required for fusion-based cytopathology. This hiPSC-CM platform enables target-based drug discovery in cardiac COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Cardiac complications frequently observed in COVID-19 patients are tentatively attributed to systemic inflammation and thrombosis, but viral replication has occasionally been confirmed in cardiac tissue autopsy materials. We developed an in vitro model of SARS-CoV-2 spread in myocardium using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. In these highly differentiated cells, viral transcription levels exceeded those previously documented in permissive transformed cell lines. To better understand the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 spread, we expressed a fluorescent version of its spike protein that allowed us to characterize a fusion-based cytopathic effect. A mutant of the spike protein with a single amino acid mutation in the furin/furin-like protease cleavage site lost cytopathic function. Of note, the fusion activities of the spike protein of other coronaviruses correlated with the level of cardiovascular complications observed in infections with the respective viruses. These data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 may cause cardiac damage by fusing cardiomyocytes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cathepsin B/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Chlorocebus aethiops , Embryonic Stem Cells/metabolism , Exocytosis , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Microscopy, Confocal , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication
13.
Cell Rep ; 37(2): 109825, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439920

ABSTRACT

The Delta variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), B.1.617.2, emerged in India and has spread to over 80 countries. B.1.617.2 replaced B.1.1.7 as the dominant virus in the United Kingdom, resulting in a steep increase in new infections, and a similar development is expected for other countries. Effective countermeasures require information on susceptibility of B.1.617.2 to control by antibodies elicited by vaccines and used for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) therapy. We show, using pseudotyping, that B.1.617.2 evades control by antibodies induced upon infection and BNT162b2 vaccination, although to a lesser extent as compared to B.1.351. We find that B.1.617.2 is resistant against bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody with emergency use authorization for COVID-19 therapy. Finally, we show increased Calu-3 lung cell entry and enhanced cell-to-cell fusion of B.1.617.2, which may contribute to augmented transmissibility and pathogenicity of this variant. These results identify B.1.617.2 as an immune evasion variant with increased capacity to enter and fuse lung cells.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immune Evasion/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion/physiology , Immunization, Passive/methods , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination/methods
14.
Nature ; 599(7883): 114-119, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392870

ABSTRACT

The B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and spread throughout India, outcompeting pre-existing lineages including B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.1.7 (Alpha)1. In vitro, B.1.617.2 is sixfold less sensitive to serum neutralizing antibodies from recovered individuals, and eightfold less sensitive to vaccine-elicited antibodies, compared with wild-type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralizing titres against B.1.617.2 were lower in ChAdOx1 vaccinees than in BNT162b2 vaccinees. B.1.617.2 spike pseudotyped viruses exhibited compromised sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies to the receptor-binding domain and the amino-terminal domain. B.1.617.2 demonstrated higher replication efficiency than B.1.1.7 in both airway organoid and human airway epithelial systems, associated with B.1.617.2 spike being in a predominantly cleaved state compared with B.1.1.7 spike. The B.1.617.2 spike protein was able to mediate highly efficient syncytium formation that was less sensitive to inhibition by neutralizing antibody, compared with that of wild-type spike. We also observed that B.1.617.2 had higher replication and spike-mediated entry than B.1.617.1, potentially explaining the B.1.617.2 dominance. In an analysis of more than 130 SARS-CoV-2-infected health care workers across three centres in India during a period of mixed lineage circulation, we observed reduced ChAdOx1 vaccine effectiveness against B.1.617.2 relative to non-B.1.617.2, with the caveat of possible residual confounding. Compromised vaccine efficacy against the highly fit and immune-evasive B.1.617.2 Delta variant warrants continued infection control measures in the post-vaccination era.


Subject(s)
Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , India , Kinetics , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccination
15.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(24)2020 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1383876

ABSTRACT

Cell-cell fusion between eukaryotic cells is a general process involved in many physiological and pathological conditions, including infections by bacteria, parasites, and viruses. As obligate intracellular pathogens, viruses use intracellular machineries and pathways for efficient replication in their host target cells. Interestingly, certain viruses, and, more especially, enveloped viruses belonging to different viral families and including human pathogens, can mediate cell-cell fusion between infected cells and neighboring non-infected cells. Depending of the cellular environment and tissue organization, this virus-mediated cell-cell fusion leads to the merge of membrane and cytoplasm contents and formation of multinucleated cells, also called syncytia, that can express high amount of viral antigens in tissues and organs of infected hosts. This ability of some viruses to trigger cell-cell fusion between infected cells as virus-donor cells and surrounding non-infected target cells is mainly related to virus-encoded fusion proteins, known as viral fusogens displaying high fusogenic properties, and expressed at the cell surface of the virus-donor cells. Virus-induced cell-cell fusion is then mediated by interactions of these viral fusion proteins with surface molecules or receptors involved in virus entry and expressed on neighboring non-infected cells. Thus, the goal of this review is to give an overview of the different animal virus families, with a more special focus on human pathogens, that can trigger cell-cell fusion.


Subject(s)
Cell Fusion , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , Viral Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Viruses/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Viruses/isolation & purification
16.
Viruses ; 13(4)2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389534

ABSTRACT

Sindbis virus (SINV), a positive-sense single stranded RNA virus that causes mild symptoms in humans, is transmitted by mosquito bites. SINV reverse genetics have many implications, not only in understanding alphavirus transmission, replication cycle, and virus-host interactions, but also in biotechnology and biomedical applications. The rescue of SINV infectious particles is usually achieved by transfecting susceptible cells (BHK-21) with SINV-infectious mRNA genomes generated from cDNA constructed via in vitro translation (IVT). That procedure is time consuming, costly, and relies heavily on reagent quality. Here, we constructed a novel infectious SINV cDNA construct that expresses its genomic RNA in yeast cells controlled by galactose induction. Using spheroplasts made from this yeast, we established a robust polyethylene glycol-mediated yeast: BHK-21 fusion protocol to rescue infectious SINV particles. Our approach is timesaving and utilizes common lab reagents for SINV rescue. It could be a useful tool for the rescue of large single strand RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Alphavirus Infections/virology , Cell Fusion , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Sindbis Virus/genetics , Spheroplasts , Yeasts/genetics , Animals , COVID-19 , DNA, Complementary , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomyces cerevisiae , Yeasts/virology
17.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0080721, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381151

ABSTRACT

The membrane fusion between the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and host cells is essential for the initial step of infection; therefore, the host cell membrane components, including sphingolipids, influence the viral infection. We assessed several inhibitors of the enzymes pertaining to sphingolipid metabolism, against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S)-mediated cell-cell fusion and viral infection. N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR), an inhibitor of dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DES1), suppressed cell-cell fusion and viral infection. The analysis of sphingolipid levels revealed that the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion and viral infection in 4-HPR-treated cells were consistent with an increased ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to total sphingolipids. We investigated the relationship of DES1 with the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion. The changes in the sphingolipid profile induced by 4-HPR were mitigated by the supplementation with exogenous cell-permeative ceramide; however, the reduced cell-cell fusion could not be reversed. The efficiency of cell-cell fusion in DES1 knockout (KO) cells was at a level comparable to that in wild-type (WT) cells; however, the ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to the total sphingolipids was higher in DES1 KO cells than in WT cells. 4-HPR reduced cell membrane fluidity without any significant effects on the expression or localization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Therefore, 4-HPR suppresses SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion through a DES1-independent mechanism, and this decrease in membrane fluidity induced by 4-HPR could be the major cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Sphingolipids could play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion with host cells. We studied the cell-cell fusion using SARS-CoV-2 S-expressing cells and sphingolipid-manipulated target cells, with an inhibitor of the sphingolipid metabolism. 4-HPR (also known as fenretinide) is an inhibitor of DES1, and it exhibits antitumor activity and suppresses cell-cell fusion and viral infection. 4-HPR suppresses membrane fusion through a decrease in membrane fluidity, which could possibly be the cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There is accumulating clinical data on the safety of 4-HPR. Therefore, it could be a potential candidate drug against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Fenretinide/pharmacology , Membrane Fluidity/drug effects , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Cell Membrane/genetics , Gene Knockout Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Fluidity/genetics , Oxidoreductases/deficiency , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
18.
Nature ; 598(7880): 342-347, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379317

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection-which involves both cell attachment and membrane fusion-relies on the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is paradoxically found at low levels in the respiratory tract1-3, suggesting that there may be additional mechanisms facilitating infection. Here we show that C-type lectin receptors, DC-SIGN, L-SIGN and the sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin 1 (SIGLEC1) function as attachment receptors by enhancing ACE2-mediated infection and modulating the neutralizing activity of different classes of spike-specific antibodies. Antibodies to the amino-terminal domain or to the conserved site at the base of the receptor-binding domain, while poorly neutralizing infection of ACE2-overexpressing cells, effectively block lectin-facilitated infection. Conversely, antibodies to the receptor binding motif, while potently neutralizing infection of ACE2-overexpressing cells, poorly neutralize infection of cells expressing DC-SIGN or L-SIGN and trigger fusogenic rearrangement of the spike, promoting cell-to-cell fusion. Collectively, these findings identify a lectin-dependent pathway that enhances ACE2-dependent infection by SARS-CoV-2 and reveal distinct mechanisms of neutralization by different classes of spike-specific antibodies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Lectins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Lectins/immunology , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
19.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0080721, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350004

ABSTRACT

The membrane fusion between the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and host cells is essential for the initial step of infection; therefore, the host cell membrane components, including sphingolipids, influence the viral infection. We assessed several inhibitors of the enzymes pertaining to sphingolipid metabolism, against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S)-mediated cell-cell fusion and viral infection. N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR), an inhibitor of dihydroceramide Δ4-desaturase 1 (DES1), suppressed cell-cell fusion and viral infection. The analysis of sphingolipid levels revealed that the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion and viral infection in 4-HPR-treated cells were consistent with an increased ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to total sphingolipids. We investigated the relationship of DES1 with the inhibition efficiencies of cell-cell fusion. The changes in the sphingolipid profile induced by 4-HPR were mitigated by the supplementation with exogenous cell-permeative ceramide; however, the reduced cell-cell fusion could not be reversed. The efficiency of cell-cell fusion in DES1 knockout (KO) cells was at a level comparable to that in wild-type (WT) cells; however, the ratio of saturated sphinganine-based lipids to the total sphingolipids was higher in DES1 KO cells than in WT cells. 4-HPR reduced cell membrane fluidity without any significant effects on the expression or localization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Therefore, 4-HPR suppresses SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion through a DES1-independent mechanism, and this decrease in membrane fluidity induced by 4-HPR could be the major cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Sphingolipids could play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion with host cells. We studied the cell-cell fusion using SARS-CoV-2 S-expressing cells and sphingolipid-manipulated target cells, with an inhibitor of the sphingolipid metabolism. 4-HPR (also known as fenretinide) is an inhibitor of DES1, and it exhibits antitumor activity and suppresses cell-cell fusion and viral infection. 4-HPR suppresses membrane fusion through a decrease in membrane fluidity, which could possibly be the cause for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There is accumulating clinical data on the safety of 4-HPR. Therefore, it could be a potential candidate drug against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Fenretinide/pharmacology , Membrane Fluidity/drug effects , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Cell Membrane/genetics , Gene Knockout Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Fluidity/genetics , Oxidoreductases/deficiency , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
20.
Virology ; 559: 165-172, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198236

ABSTRACT

SARS coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) causes a respiratory infection that can lead to acute respiratory distress characterized by inflammation and high levels of cytokines in the lung tissue. In this study we constructed a herpes simplex virus 1 replication-defective mutant vector expressing SARS-CoV-1 spike protein as a potential vaccine vector and to probe the effects of spike protein on host cells. The spike protein expressed from this vector is functional in that it localizes to the surface of infected cells and induces fusion of ACE2-expressing cells. In immunized mice, the recombinant vector induced antibodies that bind to spike protein in an ELISA assay and that show neutralizing activity. The spike protein expressed from this vector can induce the expression of cytokines in an ACE2-independent, MyD88-dependent process. These results argue that the SARS-CoV-1 spike protein intrinsically activates signaling pathways that induce cytokines and contribute directly to the inflammatory process of SARS.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Herpesvirus 1, Human/genetics , Immunity, Innate , SARS Virus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Cytokines/immunology , Genetic Vectors , Humans , Mice , SARS Virus/genetics , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology
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