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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3860, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799576

ABSTRACT

Non-structural protein 15 (Nsp15) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) forms a homo hexamer and functions as an endoribonuclease. Here, we propose that Nsp15 activity may be inhibited by preventing its hexamerization through drug binding. We first explored the stable conformation of the Nsp15 monomer as the global free energy minimum conformation in the free energy landscape using a combination of parallel cascade selection molecular dynamics (PaCS-MD) and the Markov state model (MSM), and found that the Nsp15 monomer forms a more open conformation with larger druggable pockets on the surface. Targeting the pockets with high druggability scores, we conducted ligand docking and identified compounds that tightly bind to the Nsp15 monomer. The top poses with Nsp15 were subjected to binding free energy calculations by dissociation PaCS-MD and MSM (dPaCS-MD/MSM), indicating the stability of the complexes. One of the identified pockets, which is distinctively bound by inosine analogues, may be an alternative binding site to stabilize viral RNA binding and/or an alternative catalytic site. We constructed a stable RNA structure model bound to both UTP and alternative binding sites, providing a reasonable proposed model of the Nsp15/RNA complex.


Subject(s)
Endoribonucleases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Markov Chains , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protein Multimerization , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Static Electricity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
2.
Sci Adv ; 8(8): eabi6110, 2022 Feb 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714330

ABSTRACT

The spread of SARS-CoV-2 and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for new treatments. Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and mice. CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD, but not THC or other congeneric cannabinoids tested, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells. CBD acts after viral entry, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in part by up-regulating the host IRE1α RNase endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and interferon signaling pathways. In matched groups of human patients from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, CBD (100 mg/ml oral solution per medical records) had a significant negative association with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests. This study highlights CBD as a potential preventative agent for early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infection and merits future clinical trials. We caution against use of non-medical formulations including edibles, inhalants or topicals as a preventative or treatment therapy at the present time.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cannabidiol/pharmacology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cannabidiol/chemistry , Cannabidiol/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Mice , /metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
3.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(22): 13122-13134, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555464

ABSTRACT

Type III CRISPR systems detect invading RNA, resulting in the activation of the enzymatic Cas10 subunit. The Cas10 cyclase domain generates cyclic oligoadenylate (cOA) second messenger molecules, activating a variety of effector nucleases that degrade nucleic acids to provide immunity. The prophage-encoded Vibrio metoecus type III-B (VmeCmr) locus is uncharacterised, lacks the HD nuclease domain in Cas10 and encodes a NucC DNA nuclease effector that is also found associated with Cyclic-oligonucleotide-based anti-phage signalling systems (CBASS). Here we demonstrate that VmeCmr is activated by target RNA binding, generating cyclic-triadenylate (cA3) to stimulate a robust NucC-mediated DNase activity. The specificity of VmeCmr is probed, revealing the importance of specific nucleotide positions in segment 1 of the RNA duplex and the protospacer flanking sequence (PFS). We harness this programmable system to demonstrate the potential for a highly specific and sensitive assay for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA with a limit of detection (LoD) of 2 fM using a commercial plate reader without any extrinsic amplification step. The sensitivity is highly dependent on the guide RNA used, suggesting that target RNA secondary structure plays an important role that may also be relevant in vivo.


Subject(s)
CRISPR-Associated Proteins/genetics , CRISPR-Cas Systems/genetics , Endodeoxyribonucleases/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Prophages/genetics , Vero Cells , Vibrio/virology
4.
RNA ; 28(2): 227-238, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533393

ABSTRACT

The Bacillus subtilis genome is predicted to encode numerous ribonucleases, including four 3' exoribonucleases that have been characterized to some extent. A strain containing gene knockouts of all four known 3' exoribonucleases is viable, suggesting that one or more additional RNases remain to be discovered. A protein extract from the quadruple RNase mutant strain was fractionated and RNase activity was followed, resulting in the identification of an enzyme activity catalyzed by the YloC protein. YloC is an endoribonuclease and is a member of the highly conserved "YicC family" of proteins that is widespread in bacteria. YloC is a metal-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the cleavage of single-stranded RNA, preferentially at U residues, and exists in an oligomeric form, most likely a hexamer. As such, YloC shares some characteristics with the SARS-CoV Nsp15 endoribonuclease. While the in vivo function of YloC in B. subtilis is yet to be determined, YloC was found to act similarly to YicC in an Escherichia coli in vivo assay that assesses decay of the small RNA, RyhB. Thus, YloC may play a role in small RNA regulation.


Subject(s)
Bacillus subtilis/genetics , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Bacillus subtilis/enzymology , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Escherichia coli Proteins/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial , Microorganisms, Genetically-Modified , Mutation , RNA Stability , RNA, Bacterial/chemistry , RNA, Bacterial/metabolism , Ribonucleases/genetics , Ribonucleases/metabolism , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
5.
mBio ; 12(4): e0178121, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349195

ABSTRACT

The 2',5'-oligoadenylate (2-5A)-dependent endoribonuclease, RNase L, is a principal mediator of the interferon (IFN) antiviral response. Therefore, the regulation of cellular levels of 2-5A is a key point of control in antiviral innate immunity. Cellular 2-5A levels are determined by IFN-inducible 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetases (OASs) and by enzymes that degrade 2-5A. Importantly, many coronaviruses (CoVs) and rotaviruses encode 2-5A-degrading enzymes, thereby antagonizing RNase L and its antiviral effects. A-kinase-anchoring protein 7 (AKAP7), a mammalian counterpart, could possibly limit tissue damage from excessive or prolonged RNase L activation during viral infections or from self-double-stranded RNAs that activate OAS. We show that these enzymes, members of the two-histidine phosphoesterase (2H-PE) superfamily, constitute a subfamily referred here as 2',5'-PEs. 2',5'-PEs from the mouse CoV mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) (NS2), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (NS4b), group A rotavirus (VP3), and mouse (AKAP7) were investigated for their evolutionary relationships and activities. While there was no activity against 3',5'-oligoribonucleotides, they all cleaved 2',5'-oligoadenylates efficiently but with variable activity against other 2',5'-oligonucleotides. The 2',5'-PEs are shown to be metal ion-independent enzymes that cleave trimer 2-5A (2',5'-p3A3) producing mono- or diadenylates with 2',3'-cyclic phosphate termini. Our results suggest that the elimination of 2-5A might be the sole function of viral 2',5'-PEs, thereby promoting viral escape from innate immunity by preventing or limiting the activation of RNase L. IMPORTANCE Viruses often encode accessory proteins that antagonize the host antiviral immune response. Here, we probed the evolutionary relationships and biochemical activities of two-histidine phosphoesterases (2H-PEs) that allow some coronaviruses and rotaviruses to counteract antiviral innate immunity. In addition, we investigated the mammalian enzyme AKAP7, which has homology and shared activities with the viral enzymes and might reduce self-injury. These viral and host enzymes, which we refer to as 2',5'-PEs, specifically degrade 2',5'-oligoadenylate activators of the antiviral enzyme RNase L. We show that the host and viral enzymes are metal ion independent and exclusively cleave 2',5'- and not 3',5'-phosphodiester bonds, producing cleavage products with cyclic 2',3'-phosphate termini. Our study defines 2',5'-PEs as enzymes that share characteristic conserved features with the 2H-PE superfamily but have specific and distinct biochemical cleavage activities. These findings may eventually lead to pharmacological strategies for developing antiviral drugs against coronaviruses, rotaviruses, and other viruses.


Subject(s)
A Kinase Anchor Proteins/metabolism , Adenine Nucleotides/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/enzymology , Murine hepatitis virus/enzymology , Oligoribonucleotides/metabolism , Rotavirus/enzymology , Animals , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Mice
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(19)2021 Oct 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444233

ABSTRACT

Considering the current dramatic and fatal situation due to the high spreading of SARS-CoV-2 infection, there is an urgent unmet medical need to identify novel and effective approaches for prevention and treatment of Coronavirus disease (COVID 19) by re-evaluating and repurposing of known drugs. For this, tomatidine and patchouli alcohol have been selected as potential drugs for combating the virus. The hit compounds were subsequently docked into the active site and molecular docking analyses revealed that both drugs can bind the active site of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro, PLpro, NSP15, COX-2 and PLA2 targets with a number of important binding interactions. To further validate the interactions of promising compound tomatidine, Molecular dynamics study of 100 ns was carried out towards 3CLpro, NSP15 and COX-2. This indicated that the protein-ligand complex was stable throughout the simulation period, and minimal backbone fluctuations have ensued in the system. Post dynamic MM-GBSA analysis of molecular dynamics data showed promising mean binding free energy 47.4633 ± 9.28, 51.8064 ± 8.91 and 54.8918 ± 7.55 kcal/mol, respectively. Likewise, in silico ADMET studies of the selected ligands showed excellent pharmacokinetic properties with good absorption, bioavailability and devoid of toxicity. Therefore, patchouli alcohol and especially, tomatidine may provide prospect treatment options against SARS-CoV-2 infection by potentially inhibiting virus duplication though more research is guaranteed and secured.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Sesquiterpenes/pharmacology , Tomatine/analogs & derivatives , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Tomatine/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
7.
Science ; 374(6567): eabj3624, 2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440797

ABSTRACT

Inherited genetic factors can influence the severity of COVID-19, but the molecular explanation underpinning a genetic association is often unclear. Intracellular antiviral defenses can inhibit the replication of viruses and reduce disease severity. To better understand the antiviral defenses relevant to COVID-19, we used interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression screening to reveal that 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 (OAS1), through ribonuclease L, potently inhibits severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We show that a common splice-acceptor single-nucleotide polymorphism (Rs10774671) governs whether patients express prenylated OAS1 isoforms that are membrane-associated and sense-specific regions of SARS-CoV-2 RNAs or if they only express cytosolic, nonprenylated OAS1 that does not efficiently detect SARS-CoV-2. In hospitalized patients, expression of prenylated OAS1 was associated with protection from severe COVID-19, suggesting that this antiviral defense is a major component of a protective antiviral response.


Subject(s)
2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase/genetics , 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , 5' Untranslated Regions , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/immunology , Chiroptera/genetics , Chiroptera/virology , Coronaviridae/enzymology , Coronaviridae/genetics , Coronaviridae/physiology , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Interferons/immunology , Isoenzymes/genetics , Isoenzymes/metabolism , Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases/genetics , Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases/metabolism , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Protein Prenylation , RNA, Double-Stranded/chemistry , RNA, Double-Stranded/genetics , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , Retroelements , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Virus Replication
8.
J Biol Chem ; 297(4): 101218, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433454

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 replication-transcription complex is an assembly of nonstructural viral proteins that collectively act to reproduce the viral genome and generate mRNA transcripts. While the structures of the individual proteins involved are known, how they assemble into a functioning superstructure is not. Applying molecular modeling tools, including protein-protein docking, to the available structures of nsp7-nsp16 and the nucleocapsid, we have constructed an atomistic model of how these proteins associate. Our principal finding is that the complex is hexameric, centered on nsp15. The nsp15 hexamer is capped on two faces by trimers of nsp14/nsp16/(nsp10)2, which then recruit six nsp12/nsp7/(nsp8)2 polymerase subunits to the complex. To this, six subunits of nsp13 are arranged around the superstructure, but not evenly distributed. Polymerase subunits that coordinate dimers of nsp13 are capable of binding the nucleocapsid, which positions the 5'-UTR TRS-L RNA over the polymerase active site, a state distinguishing transcription from replication. Analysis of the viral RNA path through the complex indicates the dsRNA that exits the polymerase passes over the nsp14 exonuclease and nsp15 endonuclease sites before being unwound by a convergence of zinc fingers from nsp10 and nsp14. The template strand is then directed away from the complex, while the nascent strand is directed to the sites responsible for mRNA capping. The model presents a cohesive picture of the multiple functions of the coronavirus replication-transcription complex and addresses fundamental questions related to proofreading, template switching, mRNA capping, and the role of the endonuclease.


Subject(s)
Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Dimerization , Endoribonucleases/chemistry , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Structure, Quaternary , RNA, Double-Stranded/chemistry , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 636, 2021 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387325

ABSTRACT

Nsp15, a uridine specific endoribonuclease conserved across coronaviruses, processes viral RNA to evade detection by host defense systems. Crystal structures of Nsp15 from different coronaviruses have shown a common hexameric assembly, yet how the enzyme recognizes and processes RNA remains poorly understood. Here we report a series of cryo-EM reconstructions of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp15, in both apo and UTP-bound states. The cryo-EM reconstructions, combined with biochemistry, mass spectrometry, and molecular dynamics, expose molecular details of how critical active site residues recognize uridine and facilitate catalysis of the phosphodiester bond. Mass spectrometry revealed the accumulation of cyclic phosphate cleavage products, while analysis of the apo and UTP-bound datasets revealed conformational dynamics not observed by crystal structures that are likely important to facilitate substrate recognition and regulate nuclease activity. Collectively, these findings advance understanding of how Nsp15 processes viral RNA and provide a structural framework for the development of new therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Endoribonucleases/chemistry , Endoribonucleases/ultrastructure , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/ultrastructure , Amino Acid Sequence , Catalytic Domain , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Models, Chemical , Models, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Uridine Triphosphate/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
10.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 60(40): 21662-21667, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363645

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need to develop antiviral drugs and alleviate the current COVID-19 pandemic. Herein we report the design and construction of chimeric oligonucleotides comprising a 2'-OMe-modified antisense oligonucleotide and a 5'-phosphorylated 2'-5' poly(A)4 (4A2-5 ) to degrade envelope and spike RNAs of SARS-CoV-2. The oligonucleotide was used for searching and recognizing target viral RNA sequence, and the conjugated 4A2-5 was used for guided RNase L activation to sequence-specifically degrade viral RNAs. Since RNase L can potently cleave single-stranded RNA during innate antiviral response, degradation efficiencies with these chimeras were twice as much as those with only antisense oligonucleotides for both SARS-CoV-2 RNA targets. In pseudovirus infection models, chimera-S4 achieved potent and broad-spectrum inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 and its N501Y and/or ΔH69/ΔV70 mutants, indicating a promising antiviral agent based on the nucleic acid-hydrolysis targeting chimera (NATAC) strategy.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Enzyme Activation/drug effects , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Drug Design , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hydrolysis/drug effects , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Mutation , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
11.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(17): 10136-10149, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1359701

ABSTRACT

Nsp15 is a uridine specific endoribonuclease that coronaviruses employ to cleave viral RNA and evade host immune defense systems. Previous structures of Nsp15 from across Coronaviridae revealed that Nsp15 assembles into a homo-hexamer and has a conserved active site similar to RNase A. Beyond a preference for cleaving RNA 3' of uridines, it is unknown if Nsp15 has any additional substrate preferences. Here, we used cryo-EM to capture structures of Nsp15 bound to RNA in pre- and post-cleavage states. The structures along with molecular dynamics and biochemical assays revealed critical residues involved in substrate specificity, nuclease activity, and oligomerization. Moreover, we determined how the sequence of the RNA substrate dictates cleavage and found that outside of polyU tracts, Nsp15 has a strong preference for purines 3' of the cleaved uridine. This work advances our understanding of how Nsp15 recognizes and processes viral RNA, and will aid in the development of new anti-viral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Endoribonucleases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Uridine/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain/genetics , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Multimerization/physiology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Substrate Specificity
12.
RNA ; 27(11): 1318-1329, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1329126

ABSTRACT

The transcriptional induction of interferon (IFN) genes is a key feature of the mammalian antiviral response that limits viral replication and dissemination. A hallmark of severe COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is the low presence of IFN proteins in patient serum despite elevated levels of IFN-encoding mRNAs, indicative of post-transcriptional inhibition of IFN protein production. Here, we performed single-molecule RNA visualization to examine the expression and localization of host mRNAs during SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data show that the biogenesis of type I and type III IFN mRNAs is inhibited at multiple steps during SARS-CoV-2 infection. First, translocation of the interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) transcription factor to the nucleus is limited in response to SARS-CoV-2, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 inhibits RLR-MAVS signaling and thus weakens transcriptional induction of IFN genes. Second, we observed that IFN mRNAs primarily localize to the site of transcription in most SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 either inhibits the release of IFN mRNAs from their sites of transcription and/or triggers decay of IFN mRNAs in the nucleus upon exiting the site of transcription. Lastly, nuclear-cytoplasmic transport of IFN mRNAs is inhibited during SARS-CoV-2 infection, which we propose is a consequence of widespread degradation of host cytoplasmic basal mRNAs in the early stages of SARS-CoV-2 replication by the SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1 protein, as well as the host antiviral endoribonuclease, RNase L. Importantly, IFN mRNAs can escape SARS-CoV-2-mediated degradation if they reach the cytoplasm, making rescue of mRNA export a viable means for promoting the immune response to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Interferons/genetics , RNA Stability , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence/methods , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferons/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Single Molecule Imaging
13.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2465-2479, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290092

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for COVID-19, a human disease that has caused over 2 million deaths, stretched health systems to near-breaking point and endangered economies of countries and families around the world. Antiviral treatments to combat COVID-19 are currently lacking. Remdesivir, the only antiviral drug approved for the treatment of COVID-19, can affect disease severity, but better treatments are needed. SARS-CoV-2 encodes 16 non-structural proteins (nsp) that possess different enzymatic activities with important roles in viral genome replication, transcription and host immune evasion. One key aspect of host immune evasion is performed by the uridine-directed endoribonuclease activity of nsp15. Here we describe the expression and purification of nsp15 recombinant protein. We have developed biochemical assays to follow its activity, and we have found evidence for allosteric behaviour. We screened a custom chemical library of over 5000 compounds to identify nsp15 endoribonuclease inhibitors, and we identified and validated NSC95397 as an inhibitor of nsp15 endoribonuclease in vitro. Although NSC95397 did not inhibit SARS-CoV-2 growth in VERO E6 cells, further studies will be required to determine the effect of nsp15 inhibition on host immune evasion.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Allosteric Regulation , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Endoribonucleases/isolation & purification , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence , High-Throughput Screening Assays , In Vitro Techniques , Kinetics , Naphthoquinones/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Solutions , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
14.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(6): e1009644, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278205

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus infection induces the unfolded protein response (UPR), a cellular signalling pathway composed of three branches, triggered by unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) due to high ER load. We have used RNA sequencing and ribosome profiling to investigate holistically the transcriptional and translational response to cellular infection by murine hepatitis virus (MHV), often used as a model for the Betacoronavirus genus to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 also belongs. We found the UPR to be amongst the most significantly up-regulated pathways in response to MHV infection. To confirm and extend these observations, we show experimentally the induction of all three branches of the UPR in both MHV- and SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Over-expression of the SARS-CoV-2 ORF8 or S proteins alone is itself sufficient to induce the UPR. Remarkably, pharmacological inhibition of the UPR greatly reduced the replication of both MHV and SARS-CoV-2, revealing the importance of this pathway for successful coronavirus replication. This was particularly striking when both IRE1α and ATF6 branches of the UPR were inhibited, reducing SARS-CoV-2 virion release (~1,000-fold). Together, these data highlight the UPR as a promising antiviral target to combat coronavirus infection.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Murine hepatitis virus/drug effects , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Activating Transcription Factor 6/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Delivery Systems , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , RNA-Seq , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
15.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250019, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197380

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic, and has taken over 1.7 million lives as of mid-December, 2020. Although great progress has been made in the development of effective countermeasures, with several pharmaceutical companies approved or poised to deliver vaccines to market, there is still an unmet need of essential antiviral drugs with therapeutic impact for the treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Towards this goal, a high-throughput assay was used to screen SARS-CoV-2 nsp15 uracil-dependent endonuclease (endoU) function against 13 thousand compounds from drug and lead repurposing compound libraries. While over 80% of initial hit compounds were pan-assay inhibitory compounds, three hits were confirmed as nsp15 endoU inhibitors in the 1-20 µM range in vitro. Furthermore, Exebryl-1, a ß-amyloid anti-aggregation molecule for Alzheimer's therapy, was shown to have antiviral activity between 10 to 66 µM, in Vero 76, Caco-2, and Calu-3 cells. Although the inhibitory concentrations determined for Exebryl-1 exceed those recommended for therapeutic intervention, our findings show great promise for further optimization of Exebryl-1 as an nsp15 endoU inhibitor and as a SARS-CoV-2 antiviral.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning/methods , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
16.
J Med Chem ; 64(9): 5632-5644, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193564

ABSTRACT

To develop antiviral therapeutics against human coronavirus (HCoV) infections, suitable coronavirus drug targets and corresponding lead molecules must be urgently identified. Here, we describe the discovery of a class of HCoV inhibitors acting on nsp15, a hexameric protein component of the viral replication-transcription complexes, endowed with immune evasion-associated endoribonuclease activity. Structure-activity relationship exploration of these 1,2,3-triazolo-fused betulonic acid derivatives yielded lead molecule 5h as a strong inhibitor (antiviral EC50: 0.6 µM) of HCoV-229E replication. An nsp15 endoribonuclease active site mutant virus was markedly less sensitive to 5h, and selected resistance to the compound mapped to mutations in the N-terminal part of HCoV-229E nsp15, at an interface between two nsp15 monomers. The biological findings were substantiated by the nsp15 binding mode for 5h, predicted by docking. Hence, besides delivering a distinct class of inhibitors, our study revealed a druggable pocket in the nsp15 hexamer with relevance for anti-coronavirus drug development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus 229E, Human/enzymology , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Oleanolic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Replication/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Line , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemical synthesis , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Models, Molecular , Oleanolic Acid/chemical synthesis , Oleanolic Acid/chemistry , Oleanolic Acid/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
17.
Front Immunol ; 11: 1554, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194588

ABSTRACT

The RNase T2 family consists of evolutionarily conserved endonucleases that express in many different species, including animals, plants, protozoans, bacteria, and viruses. The main biological roles of these ribonucleases are cleaving or degrading RNA substrates. They preferentially cleave single-stranded RNA molecules between purine and uridine residues to generate two nucleotide fragments with 2'3'-cyclic phosphate adenosine/guanosine terminus and uridine residue, respectively. Accumulating studies have revealed that RNase T2 is critical for the pathophysiology of inflammation and cancer. In this review, we introduce the distribution, structure, and functions of RNase T2, its differential roles in inflammation and cancer, and the perspective for its research and related applications in medicine.


Subject(s)
Disease Susceptibility , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Inflammation/etiology , Inflammation/metabolism , Neoplasms/etiology , Neoplasms/metabolism , Animals , Biomarkers , Cellular Microenvironment/immunology , Disease Susceptibility/immunology , Endoribonucleases/chemistry , Humans , Immune System/immunology , Immune System/metabolism , Immunomodulation , Inflammation/pathology , Neoplasms/pathology , Structure-Activity Relationship
18.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(16)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165017

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection; induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung; and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, whereas PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2-infected Calu-3 and A549ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however, activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling and OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but is similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Immunity, Innate , Lung/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , A549 Cells , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Nose/virology , Virus Replication , eIF-2 Kinase
19.
J Comput Chem ; 42(13): 897-907, 2021 05 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1130516

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 belong to the subfamily Coronaviridae and infect humans, they are constituted by four structural proteins: Spike glycoprotein (S), membrane (M), envelope (E) and nucleocapsid (N), and nonstructural proteins, such as Nsp15 protein which is exclusively present on nidoviruses and is absent in other RNA viruses, making it an ideal target in the field of drug design. A virtual screening strategy to search for potential drugs was proposed, using molecular docking to explore a library of approved drugs available in the DrugBank database in order to identify possible NSP15 inhibitors to treat Covid19 disease. We found from the docking analysis that the antiviral drugs: Paritaprevir and Elbasvir, currently both approved for hepatitis C treatment which showed some of the lowest free binding energy values were considered as repositioning drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations of the Apo and Holo-Nsp15 systems were performed in order to get insights about the stability of these protein-ligand complexes.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzofurans/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cyclopropanes/pharmacology , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Imidazoles/pharmacology , Lactams, Macrocyclic/pharmacology , Proline/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , COVID-19/virology , Drug Repositioning , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Proline/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
20.
Virulence ; 12(1): 444-469, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117781

ABSTRACT

Owing to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19), it is urgent to develop effective and safe drugs to treat the present pandemic and prevent other viral infections that might come in the future. Proteins from our own innate immune system can serve as ideal sources of novel drug candidates thanks to their safety and immune regulation versatility. Some host defense RNases equipped with antiviral activity have been reported over time. Here, we try to summarize the currently available information on human RNases that can target viral pathogens, with special focus on enveloped single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses. Overall, host RNases can fight viruses by a combined multifaceted strategy, including the enzymatic target of the viral genome, recognition of virus unique patterns, immune modulation, control of stress granule formation, and induction of autophagy/apoptosis pathways. The review also includes a detailed description of representative enveloped ssRNA viruses and their strategies to interact with the host and evade immune recognition. For comparative purposes, we also provide an exhaustive revision of the currently approved or experimental antiviral drugs. Finally, we sum up the current perspectives of drug development to achieve successful eradication of viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Ribonuclease, Pancreatic/metabolism , Virus Replication/physiology , Eosinophils/metabolism , Humans , Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
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