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1.
Molecules ; 26(21)2021 Oct 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488679

ABSTRACT

Zinc is the second most abundant trace element in the human body, and it plays a fundamental role in human physiology, being an integral component of hundreds of enzymes and transcription factors. The discovery that zinc atoms may compete with copper for their absorption in the gastrointestinal tract let to introduce zinc in the therapy of Wilson's disease, a congenital disorder of copper metabolism characterized by a systemic copper storage. Nowadays, zinc salts are considered one of the best therapeutic approach in patients affected by Wilson's disease. On the basis of the similarities, at histological level, between Wilson's disease and non-alcoholic liver disease, zinc has been successfully introduced in the therapy of non-alcoholic liver disease, with positive effects both on insulin resistance and oxidative stress. Recently, zinc deficiency has been indicated as a possible factor responsible for the susceptibility of elderly patients to undergo infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we present the data correlating zinc deficiency with the insurgence and progression of Covid-19 with low zinc levels associated with severe disease states. Finally, the relevance of zinc supplementation in aged people at risk for SARS-CoV-2 is underlined, with the aim that the zinc-based drug, classically used in the treatment of copper overload, might be recorded as one of the tools reducing the mortality of COVID-19, particularly in elderly people.


Subject(s)
Liver/drug effects , Liver/injuries , Zinc/pharmacology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chelating Agents/metabolism , Copper/metabolism , Hepatolenticular Degeneration/complications , Hepatolenticular Degeneration/drug therapy , Hepatolenticular Degeneration/metabolism , Humans , Liver/metabolism , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/drug therapy , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Zinc/deficiency , Zinc/metabolism
2.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305818

ABSTRACT

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) is a rapidly growing research focus due to numerous demonstrations that many cellular proteins phase-separate to form biomolecular condensates (BMCs) that nucleate membraneless organelles (MLOs). A growing repertoire of mechanisms supporting BMC formation, composition, dynamics, and functions are becoming elucidated. BMCs are now appreciated as required for several steps of gene regulation, while their deregulation promotes pathological aggregates, such as stress granules (SGs) and insoluble irreversible plaques that are hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. Treatment of BMC-related diseases will greatly benefit from identification of therapeutics preventing pathological aggregates while sparing BMCs required for cellular functions. Numerous viruses that block SG assembly also utilize or engineer BMCs for their replication. While BMC formation first depends on prion-like disordered protein domains (PrLDs), metal ion-controlled RNA-binding domains (RBDs) also orchestrate their formation. Virus replication and viral genomic RNA (vRNA) packaging dynamics involving nucleocapsid (NC) proteins and their orthologs rely on Zinc (Zn) availability, while virus morphology and infectivity are negatively influenced by excess Copper (Cu). While virus infections modify physiological metal homeostasis towards an increased copper to zinc ratio (Cu/Zn), how and why they do this remains elusive. Following our recent finding that pan-retroviruses employ Zn for NC-mediated LLPS for virus assembly, we present a pan-virus bioinformatics and literature meta-analysis study identifying metal-based mechanisms linking virus-induced BMCs to neurodegenerative disease processes. We discover that conserved degree and placement of PrLDs juxtaposing metal-regulated RBDs are associated with disease-causing prion-like proteins and are common features of viral proteins responsible for virus capsid assembly and structure. Virus infections both modulate gene expression of metalloproteins and interfere with metal homeostasis, representing an additional virus strategy impeding physiological and cellular antiviral responses. Our analyses reveal that metal-coordinated virus NC protein PrLDs initiate LLPS that nucleate pan-virus assembly and contribute to their persistence as cell-free infectious aerosol droplets. Virus aerosol droplets and insoluble neurological disease aggregates should be eliminated by physiological or environmental metals that outcompete PrLD-bound metals. While environmental metals can control virus spreading via aerosol droplets, therapeutic interference with metals or metalloproteins represent additional attractive avenues against pan-virus infection and virus-exacerbated neurological diseases.


Subject(s)
Copper/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Prions/metabolism , Zinc/metabolism , Computational Biology , Meta-Analysis as Topic , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Neurodegenerative Diseases/virology , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Prions/genetics , Protein Domains , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism
3.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(10): 3772-3790, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264762

ABSTRACT

Multiple epidemiological studies have suggested that industrialization and progressive urbanization should be considered one of the main factors responsible for the rising of atherosclerosis in the developing world. In this scenario, the role of trace metals in the insurgence and progression of atherosclerosis has not been clarified yet. In this paper, the specific role of selected trace elements (magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and calcium) is described by focusing on the atherosclerotic prevention and pathogenesis plaque. For each element, the following data are reported: daily intake, serum levels, intra/extracellular distribution, major roles in physiology, main effects of high and low levels, specific roles in atherosclerosis, possible interactions with other trace elements, and possible influences on plaque development. For each trace element, the correlations between its levels and clinical severity and outcome of COVID-19 are discussed. Moreover, the role of matrix metalloproteinases, a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases, as a new medical therapeutical approach to atherosclerosis is discussed. Data suggest that trace element status may influence both atherosclerosis insurgence and plaque evolution toward a stable or an unstable status. However, significant variability in the action of these traces is evident: some - including magnesium, zinc, and selenium - may have a protective role, whereas others, including iron and copper, probably have a multi-faceted and more complex role in the pathogenesis of the atherosclerotic plaque. Finally, calcium and phosphorus are implicated in the calcification of atherosclerotic plaques and in the progression of the plaque toward rupture and severe clinical complications. In particular, the role of calcium is debated. Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemia, optimized magnesium and zinc levels are indicated as important protective tools against a severe clinical course of the disease, often related to the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to cause a systemic inflammatory response, able to transform a stable plaque into an unstable one, with severe clinical complications.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , Trace Elements/metabolism , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Calcium/blood , Calcium/metabolism , Copper/blood , Copper/metabolism , Humans , Iron/blood , Iron/metabolism , Magnesium/blood , Magnesium/metabolism , Matrix Metalloproteinases/metabolism , Phosphorus/blood , Phosphorus/metabolism , Risk , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Selenium/blood , Selenium/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , Trace Elements/blood , Zinc/blood , Zinc/metabolism
4.
Semin Cell Dev Biol ; 115: 19-26, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1012549

ABSTRACT

The transition metal Cu is an essential micronutrient that serves as a co-factor for numerous enzymes involved in redox and oxygen chemistry. However, Cu is also a potentially toxic metal, especially to unicellular microbes that are in direct contact with their environment. Since 400 BCE, Cu toxicity has been leveraged for its antimicrobial properties and even today, Cu based materials are being explored as effective antimicrobials against human pathogens spanning bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 agent of the 2019-2020 pandemic. Given that Cu has the double-edged property of being both highly toxic and an essential micronutrient, it plays an active and complicated role at the host-pathogen interface. Humans have evolved methods of incorporating Cu into innate and adaptive immune processes and both sides of the penny (Cu toxicity and Cu as a nutrient) are employed. Here we review the evolution of Cu in biology and its multi-faceted roles in infectious disease, from the viewpoints of the microbial pathogens as well as the animal hosts they infect.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Copper/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Diseases/drug therapy , Communicable Diseases/metabolism , Humans
5.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 12(31): 34723-34727, 2020 Aug 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-644208

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, remains viable on solids for periods of up to 1 week, so one potential route for human infection is via exposure to an infectious dose from a solid. We have fabricated and tested a coating that is designed to reduce the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 on solids. The coating consists of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) particles bound with polyurethane. After 1 h on coated glass or stainless steel, the viral titer was reduced by about 99.9% on average compared to the uncoated sample. An advantage of a polyurethane-based coating is that polyurethane is already used to coat a large number of everyday objects. Our coating adheres well to glass and stainless steel as well as everyday items that people may fear to touch during a pandemic, such as a doorknob, a pen, and a credit card keypad button. The coating performs well in the cross-hatch durability test and remains intact and active after 13 days of being immersed in water or after exposure to multiple cycles of exposure to the virus and disinfection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Copper/chemistry , Copper/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Polyurethanes/chemistry , Polyurethanes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Surface Properties
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