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1.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(14): 3954-3967, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449161

ABSTRACT

Furin is a proprotein convertase that activates different kinds of regulatory proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which contains an additional furin-specific cleavage site. It is essential in predicting cancer patients' susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and the disease outcomes due to varying furin expressions in tumor tissues. In this study, we analyzed furin's expression, methylation, mutation rate, functional enrichment, survival rate and COVID-19 outcomes in normal and cancer tissues using online databases, and our IHC. As a result, furin presented with biased expression profiles in normal tissues, showing 12.25-fold higher than ACE2 in the lungs. The furin expression in tumors were significantly increased in ESCA and TGCT, and decreased in DLBC and THYM, indicating furin may play critical mechanistic functions in COVID-19 viral entry into cells in these cancer patients. Line with furin over/downexpression, furin promoter hypo-/hyper-methylation may be the regulatory cause of disease and lead to pathogenesis of ESCA and THYM. Furthermore, presence of FURIN-201 isoform with functional domains (P_proprotein, Peptidase_S8 and S8_pro-domain) is highest in all cancer types in comparison to other isoforms, demonstrating its use in tumorigenesis and SARS-Cov-2 entry into tumor tissues. Furin mutation frequency was highest in UCES, and its mutation might elevate ACE2 expression in LUAD and UCEC, reduce ACE2 expression in COAD, elevate HSPA5 expression in PAAD, and elevate TMPRSS2 expression in BRCA. These results showed that furin mutations mostly increased expression of ACE2, HSPA5, and TMPRSS2 in certain cancers, indicating furin mutations might facilitate COVID-19 cell entry in cancer patients. In addition, high expression of furin was significantly inversely correlated with long overall survival (OS) in LGG and correlated with long OS in COAD and KIRC, indicating that it could be used as a favorable prognostic marker for cancer patients' survival. GO and KEGG demonstrated that furin was mostly enriched in genes for metabolic and biosynthetic processes, retinal dehydrogenase activity, tRNA methyltransferase activity, and genes involving COVID-19, further supporting its role in COVID-19 and cancer metabolism. Moreover, Cordycepin (CD) inhibited furin expression in a dosage dependent manner. Altogether, furin's high expression might not only implies increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and higher severity of COVID-19 symptoms in cancer patients, but also it highlights the need for cancer treatment and therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. CD might have a potential to develop an anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug through inhibiting furin expression.


Subject(s)
Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Deoxyadenosines/therapeutic use , Furin/metabolism , Neoplasms/metabolism , Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line, Tumor , Deoxyadenosines/pharmacology , Disease Susceptibility , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Furin/genetics , Humans , Neoplasms/complications , Protein Isoforms/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
2.
Viral Immunol ; 34(5): 352-357, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343610

ABSTRACT

Intense immunological dysregulation including immune cell lesions has been characteristically observed in severe cases of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), for which molecular mechanisms are not properly understood. A study of physiological expressions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) host cell entry-related factors in immune system components may help explain molecular mechanisms involved in COVID-19 immunopathology. We analyzed transcriptomic and proteomic expression metadata for SARS-CoV-2 host cell entry receptor ACE2 and entry associated proteases (TMPRSS2, CTSL, and FURIN) in silico across immune system components including the blood lineage cells. ACE2 was not detected in any of the studied immune cell components; however, varying transcriptomic and proteomic expressions were observed for TMPRSS2, CTSL, and FURIN. Nondetectable expressions of SARS-CoV-2 host cell entry receptor ACE2 in immune system components or blood lineage cells indicate it does not mediate immune cell lesions in COVID-19. Alternative mechanisms need to be explored for COVID-19 immunopathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Cathepsin L/genetics , Furin/genetics , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immune System , Metadata , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Transcriptome
3.
J Clin Invest ; 131(13)2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1304352

ABSTRACT

The upper respiratory tract is compromised in the early period of COVID-19, but SARS-CoV-2 tropism at the cellular level is not fully defined. Unlike recent single-cell RNA-Seq analyses indicating uniformly low mRNA expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry-related host molecules in all nasal epithelial cells, we show that the protein levels are relatively high and that their localizations are restricted to the apical side of multiciliated epithelial cells. In addition, we provide evidence in patients with COVID-19 that SARS-CoV-2 is massively detected and replicated within the multiciliated cells. We observed these findings during the early stage of COVID-19, when infected ciliated cells were rapidly replaced by differentiating precursor cells. Moreover, our analyses revealed that SARS-CoV-2 cellular tropism was restricted to the nasal ciliated versus oral squamous epithelium. These results imply that targeting ciliated cells of the nasal epithelium during the early stage of COVID-19 could be an ideal strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2 propagation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Host Microbial Interactions , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cell Differentiation , Cilia/pathology , Cilia/physiology , Cilia/virology , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Macaca , Models, Biological , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/physiopathology , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Stem Cells/pathology , Stem Cells/virology , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology
4.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(7)2021 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295803

ABSTRACT

The virus responsible for the COVID-19 global health crisis, SARS-CoV-2, has been shown to utilize the ACE2 protein as an entry point to its target cells. The virus has been shown to rely on the actions of TMPRSS2 (a serine protease), as well as FURIN (a peptidase), for the critical priming of its spike protein. It has been postulated that variations in the sequence and expression of SARS-CoV-2's receptor (ACE2) and the two priming proteases (TMPRSS2 and FURIN) may be critical in contributing to SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. This study aims to examine the different expression levels of FURIN in various tissues and age ranges in light of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels using the LungMAP database. Furthermore, we retrieved expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) of the three genes and their annotation. We analyzed the frequency of the retrieved variants in data from various populations and compared it to the Egyptian population. We highlight FURIN's potential interplay with the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and showcase a myriad of variants of the three genes that are differentially expressed across populations. Our findings provide insights into potential genetic factors that impact SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in different populations and shed light on the varying expression patterns of FURIN.


Subject(s)
Alleles , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Databases, Nucleic Acid , Furin , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Gene Frequency , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/genetics , Computational Biology , Female , Furin/biosynthesis , Furin/genetics , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
5.
J Pathol Clin Res ; 7(5): 446-458, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1224964

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) poses a serious threat to healthcare systems worldwide. Binding of the virus to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an important step in the infection mechanism. However, it is unknown if ACE2 expression in patients with chronic lung diseases (CLDs), such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), or pulmonary fibrosis (PF), is changed as compared to controls. We used lung samples from patients with COPD (n = 28), IPAH (n = 10), and PF (n = 10) as well as healthy control donor (n = 10) tissue samples to investigate the expression of ACE2 and related cofactors that might influence the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Expression levels of the ACE2 receptor, the putative receptor CD147/BSG, and the viral entry cofactors TMPRSS2 (transmembrane serine protease 2), EZR, and FURIN were determined by quantitative PCR and in open-access RNA sequencing datasets. Immunohistochemical and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) analyses were used for localization and coexpression, respectively. Soluble ACE2 (sACE2) plasma levels were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In COPD as compared to donor, IPAH, and PF lung tissue, gene expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and EZR was significantly elevated, but circulating sACE2 levels were significantly reduced in COPD and PF plasma compared to healthy control and IPAH plasma samples. Lung tissue expressions of FURIN and CD147/BSG were downregulated in COPD. None of these changes were associated with changes in pulmonary hemodynamics. Histological analysis revealed coexpression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Ezrin in bronchial regions and epithelial cells. This was confirmed by scRNAseq analysis. There were no significant expression changes of the analyzed molecules in the lung tissue of IPAH and idiopathic PF as compared to control. In conclusion, we reveal increased ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression in lung tissue with a concomitant decrease of protective sACE2 in COPD patients. These changes represent the possible risk factors for an increased susceptibility of COPD patients to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension/pathology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Basigin/genetics , Basigin/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Disease Susceptibility , Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension/enzymology , Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension/virology , Female , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/virology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/metabolism , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/virology , Risk Factors , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Virus Internalization
6.
J Med Virol ; 93(2): 863-869, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196406

ABSTRACT

It has been suggested that some individuals may present genetic susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, with particular research interest in variants of the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 genes, involved in viral penetration into cells, in different populations and geographic regions, although insufficient information is currently available. This study addresses the apparently reasonable hypothesis that variants of these genes may modulate viral infectivity, making some individuals more vulnerable than others. Through whole-exome sequencing, the frequency of exonic variants of the ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin genes was analyzed in relation to presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a familial multiple sclerosis cohort including 120 individuals from Madrid. The ACE2 gene showed a low level of polymorphism, and none variant was significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. These variants have previously been detected in Italy. While TMPRSS2 is highly polymorphic, the variants found do not coincide with those described in other studies, with the exception of rs75603675, which may be associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The synonymous variants rs61735792 and rs61735794 showed a significant association with infection. Despite the limited number of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, some variants, especially in TMPRSS2, may be associated with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Furin/genetics , Multiple Sclerosis/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Furin/metabolism , Gene Expression , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Multiple Sclerosis/metabolism , Multiple Sclerosis/virology , Polymorphism, Genetic , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spain , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Surveys and Questionnaires , Virus Internalization , Whole Exome Sequencing
7.
Curr Med Sci ; 41(2): 228-235, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193157

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with unknown origin spread rapidly to 222 countries, areas or territories. To investigate the genomic evolution and variation in the early phase of COVID-19 pandemic in Guangdong, 60 specimens of SARS-CoV-2 were used to perform whole genome sequencing, and genomics, amino acid variation and Spike protein structure modeling analyses. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the early variation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome was still intra-species, with no evolution to other coronaviruses. There were one to seven nucleotide variations (SNVs) in each genome and all SNVs were distributed in various fragments of the genome. The Spike protein bound with human receptor, an amino acid salt bridge and a potential furin cleavage site were found in the SARS-CoV-2 using molecular modeling. Our study clarified the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 genomic evolution, variation and Spike protein structure in the early phase of local cases in Guangdong, which provided reference for generating prevention and control strategies and tracing the source of new outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , China/epidemiology , Furin/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 597399, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167337

ABSTRACT

There exists increasing evidence that people with preceding medical conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, have a higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and are more vulnerable to severe disease. To get insights into the possible role of the immune system upon COVID-19 infection, 2811 genes of the gene ontology term "immune system process GO: 0002376" were selected for coexpression analysis of the human targets of SARS-CoV-2 (HT-SARS-CoV-2) ACE2, TMPRSS2, and FURIN in tissue samples from patients with cancer and diabetes mellitus. The network between HT-SARS-CoV-2 and immune system process genes was analyzed based on functional protein associations using STRING. In addition, STITCH was employed to determine druggable targets. DPP4 was the only immune system process gene, which was coexpressed with the three HT-SARS-CoV-2 genes, while eight other immune genes were at least coexpressed with two HT-SARS-CoV-2 genes. STRING analysis between immune and HT-SARS-CoV-2 genes plotted 19 associations of which there were eight common networking genes in mixed healthy (323) and pan-cancer (11003) tissues in addition to normal (87), cancer (90), and diabetic (128) pancreatic tissues. Using this approach, three commonly applicable druggable connections between HT-SARS-CoV-2 and immune system process genes were identified. These include positive associations of ACE2-DPP4 and TMPRSS2-SRC as well as a negative association of FURIN with ADAM17. Furthermore, 16 drugs were extracted from STITCH (score <0.8) with 32 target genes. Thus, an immunological network associated with HT-SARS-CoV-2 using bioinformatics tools was identified leading to novel therapeutic opportunities for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , Neoplasms/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , Databases, Genetic , Diabetes Mellitus/genetics , Diabetes Mellitus/immunology , Diabetes Mellitus/virology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/metabolism , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Gene Ontology , Genome-Wide Association Study , Genomics , Humans , Lymphocytes/immunology , Lymphocytes/metabolism , Neoplasms/genetics , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/virology , Pancreas/immunology , Pancreas/metabolism , Pancreas/virology , Protein Interaction Maps/genetics , Protein Interaction Maps/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
9.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol ; 320(2): L246-L253, 2021 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1088311

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing threat to public health. Since the identification of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, no drugs have been developed to specifically target SARS-CoV-2. To develop effective and safe treatment options, a better understanding of cellular mechanisms underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection is required. To fill this knowledge gap, researchers require reliable experimental systems that express the host factor proteins necessary for the cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2. These proteins include the viral receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), and the proteases, transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) and furin. A number of studies have reported cell-type-specific expression of the genes encoding these molecules. However, less is known about the protein expression of these molecules. We assessed the suitability of primary human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells maintained in an air-liquid interface (ALI) as an experimental system for studying SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. During cellular differentiation, we measured the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and furin over progressive ALI days by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), Western blot, and immunofluorescence staining. We also explored the effect of the fibrotic cytokine TGF-ß on the expression of these proteins in well-differentiated HBE cells. Like ACE2, TMPRSS2 and furin proteins are localized in differentiated ciliated cells, as confirmed by immunofluorescence staining. These data suggest that well-differentiated HBE cells maintained in ALI are a reliable in vitro system for investigating cellular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We further identified that the profibrotic mediators, TGF-ß1 and TGF-ß2, increase the expression of furin, which is a protease required for the cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Bronchi/metabolism , COVID-19/etiology , Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/metabolism , Transforming Growth Factor beta2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/drug effects , Cell Differentiation , Cells, Cultured , Disease Susceptibility , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Furin/genetics , Gene Expression/drug effects , Host Microbial Interactions/drug effects , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Models, Biological , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/pharmacology , Transforming Growth Factor beta2/pharmacology , Virus Internalization
10.
Cell Biol Int ; 45(6): 1158-1174, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085673

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, a new form of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from a novel strain of coronavirus (SARS coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2]) has been spreading worldwide. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was named Covid-19 and declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. Clinical symptoms of Covid-19 range from common cold to more severe disease defined as pneumonia, hypoxia, and severe respiratory distress. In the next stage, disease can become more critical with respiratory failure, sepsis, septic shock, and/or multiorgan failure. Outcomes of Covid-19 indicate large gaps between the male-female and the young-elder groups. Several theories have been proposed to explain variations, such as gender, age, comorbidity, and genetic factors. It is likely that mixture of genetic and nongenetic factors interplays between virus and host genetics and determines the severity of disease outcome. In this review, we aimed to summarize current literature in terms of potential host genetic and epigenetic factors that associated with increased severity of Covid-19. Several studies indicated that the genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 entry mechanism-related (angiotensin-converting enzymes, transmembrane serine protease-2, furin) and host innate immune response-related genes (interferons [IFNs], interleukins, toll-like receptors), and human leukocyte antigen, ABO, 3p21.31, and 9q34.2 loci are critical host determinants related to Covid-19 severity. Epigenetic mechanisms also affect Covid-19 outcomes by regulating IFN signaling, angiotensin-converting enzyme-2, and immunity-related genes that particularly escape from X chromosome inactivation. Enhanced understanding of host genetic and epigenetic factors and viral interactions of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for improved prognostic tools and innovative therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/metabolism , Epigenesis, Genetic , Epigenomics/methods , Female , Furin/genetics , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferons/genetics , Male , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
11.
Stem Cell Reports ; 16(3): 505-518, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1081358

ABSTRACT

The host response to SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrates significant interindividual variability. In addition to showing more disease in males, the elderly, and individuals with underlying comorbidities, SARS-CoV-2 can seemingly afflict healthy individuals with profound clinical complications. We hypothesize that, in addition to viral load and host antibody repertoire, host genetic variants influence vulnerability to infection. Here we apply human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-based models and CRISPR engineering to explore the host genetics of SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that a single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs4702), common in the population and located in the 3' UTR of the protease FURIN, influences alveolar and neuron infection by SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Thus, we provide a proof-of-principle finding that common genetic variation can have an impact on viral infection and thus contribute to clinical heterogeneity in COVID-19. Ongoing genetic studies will help to identify high-risk individuals, predict clinical complications, and facilitate the discovery of drugs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , 3' Untranslated Regions/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/genetics , Female , Furin/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Male , Neurons/virology , Peptide Hydrolases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vero Cells
12.
FASEB J ; 35(3): e21419, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1075599

ABSTRACT

In the early phase of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it was postulated that the renin-angiotensin-system inhibitors (RASi) increase the infection risk. This was primarily based on numerous reports, which stated that the RASi could increase the organ Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), in rodents. RASi can theoretically antagonize the potential influence of angiotensin II (Ang II) on ACE2. However, while Ang II decreases the ACE2 levels in cultured cells, there is little evidence that supports this phenomenon in living animals. In this study, we tested whether Ang II or Ang II combined with its antagonist would alter the ACE2 and other molecules associated with the infection of SARS-CoV-2. Male C57BL6/J mice were administered vehicle, Ang II (400 ng/kg/min), or Ang II with losartan (10 mg/kg/min) for 2 weeks. ACE2 knockout mice were used as a negative control for the ACE2 assay. We found that both Ang II, which elevated blood pressure by 30 mm Hg, and Ang II with losartan, had no effect on the expression or protein activity of ACE2 in the lung, left ventricle, kidney, and ileum. Likewise, these interventions had no effect on the expression of Transmembrane Protease Serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and Furin, proteases that facilitate the virus-cell fusion, and the expression or activity of Tumor Necrosis Factor α-Convertase (TACE) that cleaves cell-surface ACE2. Collectively, physiological concentrations of Ang II do not modulate the molecules associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results support the recent observational studies suggesting that the use of RASi is not a risk factor for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers/pharmacology , Angiotensin II/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Losartan/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , ADAM17 Protein/genetics , ADAM17 Protein/metabolism , Angiotensin II/administration & dosage , Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers/administration & dosage , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic/drug effects , Losartan/administration & dosage , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vasoconstrictor Agents/pharmacology
13.
Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol ; 19(5): 456-470, 2020 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1068112

ABSTRACT

The new coronavirus, known as "SARS-CoV-2"; is the cause of one of the most prevalent infectious viral diseases that was recently announced pandemic by the world health organization. Ongoing research in the fields of prevention, management, and therapy establishes a functional scaffold for clinics during the time of crisis. To obtain this goal, it is necessary that all pathophysiologic aspects of COVID-19 from infection to predisposing backgrounds of infection be identified, so that all the ambiguities of researchers regarding transmission mechanisms, variable clinical manifestation, and therapeutic response can be solved. Here, we firstly discuss about the homology screening between nCoV-2019 and beta-coronavirus family using phylogenetic analyses. Secondly, we analyzed the viral motifs to show that viral entry into the host cells requires a primary activation step performed by FURIN and FURIN-like-mediated enzymatic cleavage on the structural glycoprotein. The cleavage increases viral performance by 1000 folds. We then present a comprehensive view on host cells and the significance of gene variants affecting activation enzymes, supportive entry, and spread mechanisms in humans including renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) a pathway results in certain phenotypes or exacerbate infection-related phenotypes in different organs, hence causes variable clinical manifestations. This is followed by discussing about the importance of personalized medicine in nCoV-2019 exposure. Moreover, chemical drugs prescribed for individuals affected with COVID-19, as well as genes involved in drug transport and metabolisms are reviewed as a prelude to drug response. Finally, we suggest some therapeutic approaches developed based on new methods and technology such as anti-sense therapy and antibodies.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Furin/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , ADAM17 Protein/genetics , ADAM17 Protein/metabolism , Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Azithromycin/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/transmission , Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Furin/metabolism , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Genome, Human , Genome, Viral , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Phylogeny , Precision Medicine , Receptors, Coronavirus/genetics , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
14.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(1): e1009246, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045566

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects cells by binding to the host cell receptor ACE2 and undergoing virus-host membrane fusion. Fusion is triggered by the protease TMPRSS2, which processes the viral Spike (S) protein to reveal the fusion peptide. SARS-CoV-2 has evolved a multibasic site at the S1-S2 boundary, which is thought to be cleaved by furin in order to prime S protein for TMPRSS2 processing. Here we show that CRISPR-Cas9 knockout of furin reduces, but does not prevent, the production of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus. Comparing S processing in furin knockout cells to multibasic site mutants reveals that while loss of furin substantially reduces S1-S2 cleavage it does not prevent it. SARS-CoV-2 S protein also mediates cell-cell fusion, potentially allowing virus to spread virion-independently. We show that loss of furin in either donor or acceptor cells reduces, but does not prevent, TMPRSS2-dependent cell-cell fusion, unlike mutation of the multibasic site that completely prevents syncytia formation. Our results show that while furin promotes both SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and cell-cell spread it is not essential, suggesting furin inhibitors may reduce but not abolish viral spread.


Subject(s)
Cell Fusion , Furin/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization , Animals , COVID-19 , CRISPR-Cas Systems , Chlorocebus aethiops , Gene Knockout Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Protein Structure, Tertiary , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , Vero Cells
15.
Laryngoscope ; 131(6): E2013-E2017, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969763

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Intracellular entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) depends on the interaction between its spike protein with the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and depends on Furin-mediated spike protein cleavage and spike protein priming by host cell proteases, including transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). As the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin in the middle and inner ear remain unclear, we analyzed the expression of these proteins in mouse ear tissues. STUDY DESIGN: Animal Research. METHODS: We performed immunohistochemical analysis to examine the distribution of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin in the Eustachian tube, middle ear spaces, and cochlea of mice. RESULTS: ACE2 was present in the nucleus of the epithelium of the middle ear and Eustachian tube, as well as in some nuclei of the hair cells in the organ of Corti, in the stria vascularis, and the spiral ganglion cells. ACE2 was also expressed in the cytoplasm of the stria vascularis. TMPRSS2 was expressed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm in the middle spaces, with the expression being stronger in the nucleus in the mucosal epithelium of the middle ear spaces and Eustachian tube. TMPRSS2 was present in the cytoplasm in the organ of Corti and stria vascularis and in the nucleus and cytoplasm in the spiral ganglion. Furin was expressed in the cytoplasm in the middle ear spaces, Eustachian tube, and cochlea. CONCLUSIONS: ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin are diffusely present in the Eustachian tube, middle ear spaces, and cochlea, suggesting that these tissues are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 131:E2013-E2017, 2021.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Ear, Inner/pathology , Ear, Middle/pathology , Eustachian Tube/pathology , Furin/genetics , Gene Expression/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Animals , Cochlea/pathology , Epithelium/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Mice , Mucous Membrane/pathology , Organ of Corti/pathology , Spiral Ganglion/pathology , Stria Vascularis/pathology , Temporal Bone/pathology
16.
Pharmacogenomics ; 21(18): 1311-1329, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-948025

ABSTRACT

There is considerable variation in disease course among individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. Many of them do not exhibit any symptoms, while some others proceed to develop COVID-19; however, severity of COVID-19 symptoms greatly differs among individuals. Focusing on the early events related to SARS-CoV-2 entry to cells through the ACE2 pathway, we describe how variability in (epi)genetic factors can conceivably explain variability in disease course. We specifically focus on variations in ACE2, TMPRSS2 and FURIN genes, as central components for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and on other molecules that modulate their expression such as CALM, ADAM-17, AR and ESRs. We propose a genetic classifier for predicting SARS-CoV-2 infectivity potential as a preliminary tool for identifying the at-risk-population. This tool can serve as a dynamic scaffold being updated and adapted to validated (epi)genetic data. Overall, the proposed approach holds potential for better personalization of COVID-19 handling.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Furin/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , ADAM17 Protein/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Epigenesis, Genetic/genetics , Humans , Monomeric Clathrin Assembly Proteins/genetics , Prognosis , Receptors, Androgen/genetics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
17.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 15917, 2020 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-800800

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the novel coronavirus responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease that has spread to over 100 countries and, as of the 26th July 2020, has infected over 16 million people. Despite the urgent need to find effective therapeutics, research on SARS-CoV-2 has been affected by a lack of suitable animal models. To facilitate the development of medical approaches and novel treatments, we compared the ACE2 receptor, and TMPRSS2 and Furin proteases usage of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein in human and in a panel of animal models, i.e. guinea pig, dog, cat, rat, rabbit, ferret, mouse, hamster and macaque. Here we showed that ACE2, but not TMPRSS2 or Furin, has a higher level of sequence variability in the Spike protein interaction surface, which greatly influences Spike protein binding mode. Using molecular docking simulations we compared the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in complex with the ACE2 receptor and showed that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein is compatible to bind the human ACE2 with high specificity. In contrast, TMPRSS2 and Furin are sufficiently similar in the considered hosts not to drive susceptibility differences. Computational analysis of binding modes and protein contacts indicates that macaque, ferrets and hamster are the most suitable models for the study of inhibitory antibodies and small molecules targeting the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein interaction with ACE2. Since TMPRSS2 and Furin are similar across species, our data also suggest that transgenic animal models expressing human ACE2, such as the hACE2 transgenic mouse, are also likely to be useful models for studies investigating viral entry.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Pandemics/veterinary , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/veterinary , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , COVID-19 , Cats , Computational Biology/methods , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Dogs , Ferrets , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Guinea Pigs , Humans , Macaca fascicularis , Mice , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Rabbits , Rats , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
18.
Genes (Basel) ; 11(9)2020 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-738372

ABSTRACT

The recent global COVID-19 public health emergency is caused by SARS-CoV-2 infections and can manifest extremely variable clinical symptoms. Host human genetic variability could influence susceptibility and response to infection. It is known that ACE2 acts as a receptor for this pathogen, but the viral entry into the target cell also depends on other proteins. The aim of this study was to investigate the variability of genes coding for these proteins involved in the SARS-CoV-2 entry into the cells. We analyzed 131 COVID-19 patients by exome sequencing and examined the genetic variants of TMPRSS2, PCSK3, DPP4, and BSG genes. In total we identified seventeen variants. In PCSK3 gene, we observed a missense variant (c.893G>A) statistically more frequent compared to the EUR GnomAD reference population and a missense mutation (c.1906A>G) not found in the GnomAD database. In TMPRSS2 gene, we observed a significant difference in the frequency of c.331G>A, c.23G>T, and c.589G>A variant alleles in COVID-19 patients, compared to the corresponding allelic frequency in GnomAD. Genetic variants in these genes could influence the entry of the SARS-CoV-2. These data also support the hypothesis that host genetic variability may contribute to the variability in infection susceptibility and severity.


Subject(s)
Basigin/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Furin/genetics , Mutation , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Exome , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
19.
Immunity ; 53(4): 724-732.e7, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-710374

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection has emerged as a serious global pandemic. Because of the high transmissibility of the virus and the high rate of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19, developing effective and safe vaccines is a top research priority. Here, we provide a detailed evaluation of the immunogenicity of lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA (mRNA-LNP) vaccines encoding the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein or the spike receptor binding domain in mice. We demonstrate that a single dose of these vaccines induces strong type 1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, as well as long-lived plasma and memory B cell responses. Additionally, we detect robust and sustained neutralizing antibody responses and the antibodies elicited by nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines do not show antibody-dependent enhancement of infection in vitro. Our findings suggest that the nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccine platform can induce robust immune responses and is a promising candidate to combat COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , RNA, Messenger/immunology , RNA, Viral/immunology , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Animals , B-Lymphocytes/drug effects , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/virology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/drug effects , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/drug effects , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Disease Models, Animal , Furin/genetics , Furin/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunization/methods , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Immunologic Memory/drug effects , Lymphocyte Activation/drug effects , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/administration & dosage , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic , Viral Vaccines/biosynthesis , Viral Vaccines/genetics
20.
Infect Genet Evol ; 84: 104498, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696004

ABSTRACT

New coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is capable to infect humans and cause a novel disease COVID-19. Aiming to understand a host genetic component of COVID-19, we focused on variants in genes encoding proteases and genes involved in innate immunity that could be important for susceptibility and resistance to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Analysis of sequence data of coding regions of FURIN, PLG, PRSS1, TMPRSS11a, MBL2 and OAS1 genes in 143 unrelated individuals from Serbian population identified 22 variants with potential functional effect. In silico analyses (PolyPhen-2, SIFT, MutPred2 and Swiss-Pdb Viewer) predicted that 10 variants could impact the structure and/or function of proteins. These protein-altering variants (p.Gly146Ser in FURIN; p.Arg261His and p.Ala494Val in PLG; p.Asn54Lys in PRSS1; p.Arg52Cys, p.Gly54Asp and p.Gly57Glu in MBL2; p.Arg47Gln, p.Ile99Val and p.Arg130His in OAS1) may have predictive value for inter-individual differences in the response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Next, we performed comparative population analysis for the same variants using extracted data from the 1000 Genomes project. Population genetic variability was assessed using delta MAF and Fst statistics. Our study pointed to 7 variants in PLG, TMPRSS11a, MBL2 and OAS1 genes with noticeable divergence in allelic frequencies between populations worldwide. Three of them, all in MBL2 gene, were predicted to be damaging, making them the most promising population-specific markers related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Comparing allelic frequencies between Serbian and other populations, we found that the highest level of genetic divergence related to selected loci was observed with African, followed by East Asian, Central and South American and South Asian populations. When compared with European populations, the highest divergence was observed with Italian population. In conclusion, we identified 4 variants in genes encoding proteases (FURIN, PLG and PRSS1) and 6 in genes involved in the innate immunity (MBL2 and OAS1) that might be relevant for the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Disease Resistance/genetics , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Metagenomics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Alleles , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Eye Proteins/genetics , Eye Proteins/immunology , Furin/genetics , Furin/immunology , Gene Frequency , Genetic Variation , Genome, Human , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Mannose-Binding Lectin/genetics , Mannose-Binding Lectin/immunology , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Membrane Glycoproteins/immunology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/immunology , Plasminogen/genetics , Plasminogen/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Trypsin/genetics , Trypsin/immunology
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