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1.
Molecules ; 27(1)2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613911

ABSTRACT

When developing drugs against SARS-CoV-2, it is important to consider the characteristics of patients with different co-morbidities. People infected with HIV-1 are a particularly vulnerable group, as they may be at a higher risk than the general population of contracting COVID-19 with clinical complications. For such patients, drugs with a broad spectrum of antiviral activity are of paramount importance. Glycyrrhizinic acid (Glyc) and its derivatives are promising biologically active compounds for the development of such broad-spectrum antiviral agents. In this work, derivatives of Glyc obtained by acylation with nicotinic acid were investigated. The resulting preparation, Glycyvir, is a multi-component mixture containing mainly mono-, di-, tri- and tetranicotinates. The composition of Glycyvir was characterized by HPLC-MS/MS and its toxicity assessed in cell culture. Antiviral activity against three strains of SARS-CoV-2 was tested in vitro on Vero E6 cells by MTT assay. Glycyvir was shown to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro (IC502-8 µM) with an antiviral activity comparable to the control drug Remdesivir. In addition, Glycyvir exhibited marked inhibitory activity against HIV pseudoviruses of subtypes B, A6 and the recombinant form CRF63_02A (IC50 range 3.9-27.5 µM). The time-dependence of Glycyvir inhibitory activity on HIV pseudovirus infection of TZM-bl cells suggested that the compound interfered with virus entry into the target cell. Glycyvir is a promising candidate as an agent with low toxicity and a broad spectrum of antiviral action.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Glycyrrhizic Acid/chemistry , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV-1/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HIV Infections/virology , HeLa Cells , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Vero Cells
2.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 167, 2021 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585891

ABSTRACT

The ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed a worldwide pandemic and a major global public health threat. The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with virus-induced dysfunctional inflammatory responses and cytokine storms. However, the interplay between host inflammatory responses and SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein, the major structural protein of the virion, promotes the virus-triggered activation of NF-κB signaling. After binding to viral RNA, N protein robustly undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which recruits TAK1 and IKK complex, the key kinases of NF-κB signaling, to enhance NF-κB activation. Moreover, 1,6-hexanediol, the inhibitor of LLPS, can attenuate the phase separation of N protein and restrict its regulatory functions in NF-κB activation. These results suggest that LLPS of N protein provides a platform to induce NF-κB hyper-activation, which could be a potential therapeutic target against COVID-19 severe pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , A549 Cells , Acrylates/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/pathology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Vero Cells
3.
Carbohydr Polym ; 280: 119006, 2022 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588175

ABSTRACT

Caulerpa lentillifera (Bryopsidophyceae, Chlorophyta) is an edible seaweed attracting great attention for its expansion of farming scale and increasing consumption in these years. In the present study, a sulfated polysaccharide (CLSP-2) was isolated and separated from C. lentillifera, and its chemical structure was elucidated by a series of chemical and spectroscopic methods. Among these methods, mild acid hydrolysis and photocatalytic degradation were applied to release mono- and oligo-saccharide fragments which were further identified by HPLC-MSn analysis, affording the information of the sugar sequences and the sulfate substitution in CLSP-2. Results indicated that the backbone of CLSP-2 was constructed of →6)-ß-Manp-(1→ with sulfated branches at C2, which were comprised of prevalent →3)-ß-Galp4S-(1→, →3)-ß-Galp2,4S-(1→, and minor Xyl. In addition, the virus neutralization assay revealed that CLSP-2 could effectively protect HeLa cells against SARS-CoV-2 infection with an IC50 of 48.48 µg/mL. Hence, the present study suggests CLSP-2 as a promising agent against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Caulerpa/chemistry , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Polysaccharides/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid/methods , HeLa Cells , Humans , Hydrolysis , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy/methods , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Molecular Weight , Polysaccharides/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Seaweed/chemistry , Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared/methods , Sulfates/chemistry
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518611

ABSTRACT

Inhaled nebulized interferon (IFN)-α and IFN-ß have been shown to be effective in the management of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We aimed to construct a virus-free rapid detection system for high-throughput screening of IFN-like compounds that induce viral RNA degradation and suppress the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We prepared a SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA expression vector which contained the SARS-CoV-2 5'-UTR, the partial sequence of ORF1a, luciferase, nucleocapsid, ORF10, and 3'-UTR under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter. The expression vector was transfected into Calu-3 cells and treated with IFN-α and the IFNAR2 agonist CDM-3008 (RO8191) for 3 days. SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA degradation was subsequently evaluated based on luciferase levels. IFN-α and CDM-3008 suppressed SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA in a dose-dependent manner, with IC50 values of 193 IU/mL and 2.54 µM, respectively. HeLa cells stably expressing SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA were prepared and treated with the IFN-α and pan-JAK inhibitor Pyridone 6 or siRNA-targeting ISG20. IFN-α activity was canceled with Pyridone 6. The knockdown of ISG20 partially canceled IFN-α activity. Collectively, we constructed a virus-free rapid detection system to measure SARS-CoV-2 RNA suppression. Our data suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA was degraded by IFN-α-induced ISG20 exonuclease activity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Cell Line, Tumor , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Genetic Vectors , HeLa Cells , Humans , Interferon-alpha/administration & dosage , Luciferases/genetics , Luciferases/metabolism , Naphthyridines/administration & dosage , Naphthyridines/pharmacology , Oxadiazoles/administration & dosage , Oxadiazoles/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/drug effects , Replicon
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 13464, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500743

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that emerged in human populations recently. Severely ill COVID-19 patients exhibit the elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, and such an unbalanced production of proinflammatory cytokines is linked to acute respiratory distress syndrome with high mortality in COVID-19 patients. Our study provides evidence that the ORF3a, M, ORF7a, and N proteins of SARS-CoV-2 were NF-κB activators. The viral sequence from infected zoo lions belonged to clade V, and a single mutation of G251V is found for ORF3a gene compared to all other clades. No significant functional difference was found for clade V ORF3a, indicating the NF-κB activation is conserved among COVID-19 variants. Of the four viral proteins, the ORF7a protein induced the NF-κB dictated proinflammatory cytokines including IL-1α, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, and IFNß. The ORF7a protein also induced IL-3, IL-4, IL-7, IL-23. Of 15 different chemokines examined in the study, CCL11, CCL17, CCL19, CCL20, CCL21, CCL22, CCL25, CCL26, CCL27, and CXCL9 were significantly upregulated by ORF7. These cytokines and chemokines were frequently elevated in severely ill COVID-19 patients. Our data provide an insight into how SARS-CoV-2 modulates NF-κB signaling and inflammatory cytokine expressions. The ORF7a protein may be a desirable target for strategic developments to minimize uncontrolled inflammation in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Cytokines/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chemokines/genetics , Chemokines/metabolism , Cytokines/genetics , HeLa Cells , Humans , Point Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Alignment , Severity of Illness Index , Up-Regulation , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/chemistry , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism
6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 382, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500449

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a positive-sense RNA virus. How the host immune system senses and responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection remain largely unresolved. Here, we report that SARS-CoV-2 infection activates the innate immune response through the cytosolic DNA sensing cGAS-STING pathway. SARS-CoV-2 infection induces the cellular level of 2'3'-cGAMP associated with STING activation. cGAS recognizes chromatin DNA shuttled from the nucleus as a result of cell-to-cell fusion upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. We further demonstrate that the expression of spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 from host cells is sufficient to trigger cytoplasmic chromatin upon cell fusion. Furthermore, cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway, but not MAVS-mediated viral RNA sensing pathway, contributes to interferon and pro-inflammatory gene expression upon cell fusion. Finally, we show that cGAS is required for host antiviral responses against SARS-CoV-2, and a STING-activating compound potently inhibits viral replication. Together, our study reported a previously unappreciated mechanism by which the host innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection, mediated by cytoplasmic chromatin from the infected cells. Targeting the cytoplasmic chromatin-cGAS-STING pathway may offer novel therapeutic opportunities in treating COVID-19. In addition, these findings extend our knowledge in host defense against viral infection by showing that host cells' self-nucleic acids can be employed as a "danger signal" to alarm the immune system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Chromatin/immunology , Cytoplasm/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Nucleotidyltransferases/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Chromatin/genetics , Cytoplasm/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Nucleotidyltransferases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
7.
mBio ; 12(5): e0234221, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494971

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence and spread of zoonotic viruses highlights that animal-sourced viruses are the biggest threat to global public health. Swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) is an HKU2-related bat coronavirus that was spilled over from Rhinolophus bats to swine, causing large-scale outbreaks of severe diarrhea disease in piglets in China. Unlike other porcine coronaviruses, SADS-CoV possesses broad species tissue tropism, including primary human cells, implying a significant risk of cross-species spillover. To explore host dependency factors for SADS-CoV as therapeutic targets, we employed genome-wide CRISPR knockout library screening in HeLa cells. Consistent with two independent screens, we identified the zinc finger DHHC-type palmitoyltransferase 17 (ZDHHC17 or ZD17) as an important host factor for SADS-CoV infection. Through truncation mutagenesis, we demonstrated that the DHHC domain of ZD17 that is involved in palmitoylation is important for SADS-CoV infection. Mechanistic studies revealed that ZD17 is required for SADS-CoV genomic RNA replication. Treatment of infected cells with the palmitoylation inhibitor 2-bromopalmitate (2-BP) significantly suppressed SADS-CoV infection. Our findings provide insight on SADS-CoV-host interactions and a potential therapeutic application. IMPORTANCE The recent emergence of deadly zoonotic viral diseases, including Ebola virus and SARS-CoV-2, emphasizes the importance of pandemic preparedness for the animal-sourced viruses with potential risk of animal-to-human spillover. Over the last 2 decades, three significant coronaviruses of bat origin, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, have caused millions of deaths with significant economy and public health impacts. Lack of effective therapeutics against these coronaviruses was one of the contributing factors to such losses. Although SADS-CoV, another coronavirus of bat origin, was only known to cause fatal diarrhea disease in piglets, the ability to infect cells derived from multiple species, including human, highlights the potential risk of animal-to-human spillover. As part of our effort in pandemic preparedness, we explore SADS-CoV host dependency factors as targets for host-directed therapeutic development and found zinc finger DHHC-type palmitoyltransferase 17 is a promising drug target against SADS-CoV replication. We also demonstrated that a palmitoylation inhibitor, 2-bromopalmitate (2-BP), can be used as an inhibitor for SADS-CoV treatment.


Subject(s)
Acyltransferases/metabolism , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Alphacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism , Acyltransferases/genetics , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Alphacoronavirus/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , HeLa Cells , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics , Palmitates/pharmacology , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Swine
8.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488612

ABSTRACT

Inhaled nebulized interferon (IFN)-α and IFN-ß have been shown to be effective in the management of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We aimed to construct a virus-free rapid detection system for high-throughput screening of IFN-like compounds that induce viral RNA degradation and suppress the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We prepared a SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA expression vector which contained the SARS-CoV-2 5'-UTR, the partial sequence of ORF1a, luciferase, nucleocapsid, ORF10, and 3'-UTR under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter. The expression vector was transfected into Calu-3 cells and treated with IFN-α and the IFNAR2 agonist CDM-3008 (RO8191) for 3 days. SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA degradation was subsequently evaluated based on luciferase levels. IFN-α and CDM-3008 suppressed SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA in a dose-dependent manner, with IC50 values of 193 IU/mL and 2.54 µM, respectively. HeLa cells stably expressing SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA were prepared and treated with the IFN-α and pan-JAK inhibitor Pyridone 6 or siRNA-targeting ISG20. IFN-α activity was canceled with Pyridone 6. The knockdown of ISG20 partially canceled IFN-α activity. Collectively, we constructed a virus-free rapid detection system to measure SARS-CoV-2 RNA suppression. Our data suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 subreplicon RNA was degraded by IFN-α-induced ISG20 exonuclease activity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Cell Line, Tumor , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Genetic Vectors , HeLa Cells , Humans , Interferon-alpha/administration & dosage , Luciferases/genetics , Luciferases/metabolism , Naphthyridines/administration & dosage , Naphthyridines/pharmacology , Oxadiazoles/administration & dosage , Oxadiazoles/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/drug effects , Replicon
9.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009726, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484867

ABSTRACT

The zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) is a broad inhibitor of virus replication. Its best-characterized function is to bind CpG dinucleotides present in viral RNAs and, through the recruitment of TRIM25, KHNYN and other cofactors, target them for degradation or prevent their translation. The long and short isoforms of ZAP (ZAP-L and ZAP-S) have different intracellular localization and it is unclear how this regulates their antiviral activity against viruses with different sites of replication. Using ZAP-sensitive and ZAP-insensitive human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1), which transcribe the viral RNA in the nucleus and assemble virions at the plasma membrane, we show that the catalytically inactive poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) domain in ZAP-L is essential for CpG-specific viral restriction. Mutation of a crucial cysteine in the C-terminal CaaX box that mediates S-farnesylation and, to a lesser extent, the residues in place of the catalytic site triad within the PARP domain, disrupted the activity of ZAP-L. Addition of the CaaX box to ZAP-S partly restored antiviral activity, explaining why ZAP-S lacks antiviral activity for CpG-enriched HIV-1 despite conservation of the RNA-binding domain. Confocal microscopy confirmed the CaaX motif mediated localization of ZAP-L to vesicular structures and enhanced physical association with intracellular membranes. Importantly, the PARP domain and CaaX box together jointly modulate the interaction between ZAP-L and its cofactors TRIM25 and KHNYN, implying that its proper subcellular localisation is required to establish an antiviral complex. The essential contribution of the PARP domain and CaaX box to ZAP-L antiviral activity was further confirmed by inhibition of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication, which replicates in double-membrane vesicles derived from the endoplasmic reticulum. Thus, compartmentalization of ZAP-L on intracellular membranes provides an essential effector function in ZAP-L-mediated antiviral activity against divergent viruses with different subcellular replication sites.


Subject(s)
Prenylation/physiology , RNA Viruses/drug effects , RNA-Binding Proteins/pharmacology , Virus Replication/physiology , CpG Islands/physiology , HEK293 Cells , HIV-1/physiology , HeLa Cells , Humans , RNA Viruses/physiology , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Binding Motifs/physiology , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Transfection , Virus Replication/drug effects
10.
Biol Direct ; 16(1): 20, 2021 10 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477450

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection could cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, largely attributed to dysregulated immune activation and extensive lung tissue damage. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we reported that viral infection could induce syncytia formation within cells expressing ACE2 and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, leading to the production of micronuclei with an average rate of about 4 per syncytium (> 93%). Remarkably, these micronuclei were manifested with a high level of activation of both DNA damage response and cGAS-STING signaling, as indicated by micronucleus translocation of γH2Ax and cGAS, and upregulation of their respective downstream target genes. Since activation of these signaling pathways were known to be associated with cellular catastrophe and aberrant immune activation, these findings help explain the pathological effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection at cellular and molecular levels, and provide novel potential targets for COVID-19 therapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , DNA Damage , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Giant Cells/metabolism , Giant Cells/virology , HeLa Cells , Humans , Micronucleus Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
11.
Nat Immunol ; 22(11): 1416-1427, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475314

ABSTRACT

Ubiquitin-like protein ISG15 (interferon-stimulated gene 15) (ISG15) is a ubiquitin-like modifier induced during infections and involved in host defense mechanisms. Not surprisingly, many viruses encode deISGylating activities to antagonize its effect. Here we show that infection by Zika, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses induce ISG15-modifying enzymes. While influenza and Zika viruses induce ISGylation, SARS-CoV-2 triggers deISGylation instead to generate free ISG15. The ratio of free versus conjugated ISG15 driven by the papain-like protease (PLpro) enzyme of SARS-CoV-2 correlates with macrophage polarization toward a pro-inflammatory phenotype and attenuated antigen presentation. In vitro characterization of purified wild-type and mutant PLpro revealed its strong deISGylating over deubiquitylating activity. Quantitative proteomic analyses of PLpro substrates and secretome from SARS-CoV-2-infected macrophages revealed several glycolytic enzymes previously implicated in the expression of inflammatory genes and pro-inflammatory cytokines, respectively. Collectively, our results indicate that altered free versus conjugated ISG15 dysregulates macrophage responses and probably contributes to the cytokine storms triggered by SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Inflammation/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Ubiquitins/metabolism , Cell Differentiation , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Cytokines/genetics , Gene Knockdown Techniques , HeLa Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunity, Innate , Influenza A virus/physiology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Ubiquitination , Ubiquitins/genetics , Zika Virus/physiology , Zika Virus Infection/immunology
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6055, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475294

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become a global pandemic. 3CL protease is a virally encoded protein that is essential across a broad spectrum of coronaviruses with no close human analogs. PF-00835231, a 3CL protease inhibitor, has exhibited potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 as a single agent. Here we report, the design and characterization of a phosphate prodrug PF-07304814 to enable the delivery and projected sustained systemic exposure in human of PF-00835231 to inhibit coronavirus family 3CL protease activity with selectivity over human host protease targets. Furthermore, we show that PF-00835231 has additive/synergistic activity in combination with remdesivir. We present the ADME, safety, in vitro, and in vivo antiviral activity data that supports the clinical evaluation of PF-07304814 as a potential COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Indoles/administration & dosage , Leucine/administration & dosage , Pyrrolidinones/administration & dosage , Adenosine Monophosphate/administration & dosage , Adenosine Monophosphate/adverse effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacokinetics , Alanine/administration & dosage , Alanine/adverse effects , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacokinetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus 229E, Human/enzymology , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/adverse effects , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Drug Synergism , Drug Therapy, Combination , HeLa Cells , Humans , Indoles/adverse effects , Indoles/pharmacokinetics , Infusions, Intravenous , Leucine/adverse effects , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mice , Pyrrolidinones/adverse effects , Pyrrolidinones/pharmacokinetics , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Vero Cells
13.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470998

ABSTRACT

Nuclear transport and vesicle trafficking are key cellular functions involved in the pathogenesis of RNA viruses. Among other pleiotropic effects on virus-infected host cells, ivermectin (IVM) inhibits nuclear transport mechanisms mediated by importins and atorvastatin (ATV) affects actin cytoskeleton-dependent trafficking controlled by Rho GTPases signaling. In this work, we first analyzed the response to infection in nasopharyngeal swabs from SARS-CoV-2-positive and -negative patients by assessing the gene expression of the respective host cell drug targets importins and Rho GTPases. COVID-19 patients showed alterations in KPNA3, KPNA5, KPNA7, KPNB1, RHOA, and CDC42 expression compared with non-COVID-19 patients. An in vitro model of infection with Poly(I:C), a synthetic analog of viral double-stranded RNA, triggered NF-κB activation, an effect that was halted by IVM and ATV treatment. Importin and Rho GTPases gene expression was also impaired by these drugs. Furthermore, through confocal microscopy, we analyzed the effects of IVM and ATV on nuclear to cytoplasmic importin α distribution, alone or in combination. Results showed a significant inhibition of importin α nuclear accumulation under IVM and ATV treatments. These findings confirm transcriptional alterations in importins and Rho GTPases upon SARS-CoV-2 infection and point to IVM and ATV as valid drugs to impair nuclear localization of importin α when used at clinically-relevant concentrations.


Subject(s)
Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/drug effects , Atorvastatin/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Ivermectin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , alpha Karyopherins/metabolism , A549 Cells , Actin Cytoskeleton/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning , HeLa Cells , Humans , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Vero Cells , rho GTP-Binding Proteins/metabolism
14.
mBio ; 12(5): e0137221, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462899

ABSTRACT

Interleukin6 (IL-6) is a key driver of hyperinflammation in COVID-19, and its level strongly correlates with disease progression. To investigate whether variability in COVID-19 severity partially results from differential IL-6 expression, functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of IL-6 were determined in Chinese COVID-19 patients with mild or severe illness. An Asian-common IL-6 haplotype defined by promoter SNP rs1800796 and intronic SNPs rs1524107 and rs2066992 correlated with COVID-19 severity. Homozygote carriers of C-T-T variant haplotype were at lower risk of developing severe symptoms (odds ratio, 0.256; 95% confidence interval, 0.088 to 0.739; P = 0.007). This protective haplotype was associated with lower levels of IL-6 and its antisense long noncoding RNA IL-6-AS1 by cis-expression quantitative trait loci analysis. The differences in expression resulted from the disturbance of stimulus-dependent bidirectional transcription of the IL-6/IL-6-AS1 locus by the polymorphisms. The protective rs2066992-T allele disrupted a conserved CTCF-binding locus at the enhancer elements of IL-6-AS1, which transcribed antisense to IL-6 and induces IL-6 expression in inflammatory responses. As a result, carriers of the protective allele had significantly reduced IL-6-AS1 expression and attenuated IL-6 induction in response to acute inflammatory stimuli and viral infection. Intriguingly, this low-producing variant that is endemic to present-day Asia was found in early humans who had inhabited mainland Asia since ∼40,000 years ago but not in other ancient humans, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. The present study suggests that an individual's IL-6 genotype underlies COVID-19 outcome and may be used to guide IL-6 blockade therapy in Asian patients. IMPORTANCE Overproduction of cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and is believed to play a critical role in exacerbating the excessive inflammatory response. Polymorphisms in IL-6 account for the variability of IL-6 expression and disparities in infectious diseases, but its contribution to the clinical presentation of COVID-19 has not been reported. Here, we investigated IL-6 polymorphisms in severe and mild cases of COVID-19 in a Chinese population. The variant haplotype C-T-T, represented by rs1800796, rs1524107, and rs2066992 at the IL-6 locus, was reduced in patients with severe illness; in contrast, carriers of the wild-type haplotype G-C-G had higher risk of severe illness. Mechanistically, the protective variant haplotype lost CTCF binding at the IL-6 intron and responded poorly to inflammatory stimuli, which may protect the carriers from hyperinflammation in response to acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results point out the possibility that IL-6 genotypes underlie the differential viral virulence during the outbreak of COVID-19. The risk loci we identified may serve as a genetic marker to screen high-risk COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , Interleukin-6/metabolism , A549 Cells , Genotype , Haplotypes/genetics , HeLa Cells , Humans , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Software
15.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463841

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected almost 200 million people worldwide and led to approximately 4 million deaths as of August 2021. Despite successful vaccine development, treatment options are limited. A promising strategy to specifically target viral infections is to suppress viral replication through RNA interference (RNAi). Hence, we designed eight small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting the highly conserved 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of SARS-CoV-2. The most promising candidate identified in initial reporter assays, termed siCoV6, targets the leader sequence of the virus, which is present in the genomic as well as in all subgenomic RNAs. In assays with infectious SARS-CoV-2, it reduced replication by two orders of magnitude and prevented the development of a cytopathic effect. Moreover, it retained its activity against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant and has perfect homology against all sequences of the delta variant that were analyzed by bioinformatic means. Interestingly, the siRNA was even highly active in virus replication assays with the SARS-CoV-1 family member. This work thus identified a very potent siRNA with a broad activity against various SARS-CoV viruses that represents a promising candidate for the development of new treatment options.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/therapy , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Virus Replication/drug effects , 5' Untranslated Regions/genetics , Animals , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , HeLa Cells , Humans , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/genetics
16.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19161, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440480

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is associated with fatal pulmonary fibrosis. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) can be developed to induce RNA interference against SARS-CoV-2, and their susceptible target sites can be inferred by Argonaute crosslinking immunoprecipitation sequencing (AGO CLIP). Here, by reanalysing AGO CLIP data in RNA viruses, we delineated putative AGO binding in the conserved non-structural protein 12 (nsp12) region encoding RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) in SARS-CoV-2. We utilised the inferred AGO binding to optimise the local RNA folding parameter to calculate target accessibility and predict all potent siRNA target sites in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, avoiding sequence variants. siRNAs loaded onto AGO also repressed seed (positions 2-8)-matched transcripts by acting as microRNAs (miRNAs). To utilise this, we further screened 13 potential siRNAs whose seed sequences were matched to known antifibrotic miRNAs and confirmed their miRNA-like activity. A miR-27-mimicking siRNA designed to target the nsp12 region (27/RdRP) was validated to silence a synthesised nsp12 RNA mimic in lung cell lines and function as an antifibrotic miR-27 in regulating target transcriptomes related to TGF-ß signalling. siRNA sequences with an antifibrotic miRNA-like activity that could synergistically treat COVID-19 are available online ( http://clip.korea.ac.kr/covid19 ).


Subject(s)
Argonaute Proteins/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , MicroRNAs/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Argonaute Proteins/metabolism , Base Sequence , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , HeLa Cells , Humans , Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , RNA Interference , RNA-Seq/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
17.
J Virol ; 95(23): e0125721, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410202

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of COVID-19, is characterized by a delay in type I interferon (IFN-I)-mediated antiviral defenses alongside robust cytokine production. Here, we investigate the underlying molecular basis for this imbalance and implicate virus-mediated activation of NF-κB in the absence of other canonical IFN-I-related transcription factors. Epigenetic and single-cell transcriptomic analyses show a selective NF-κB signature that was most prominent in infected cells. Disruption of NF-κB signaling through the silencing of the NF-κB transcription factor p65 or p50 resulted in loss of virus replication that was rescued upon reconstitution. These findings could be further corroborated with the use of NF-κB inhibitors, which reduced SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro. These data suggest that the robust cytokine production in response to SARS-CoV-2, despite a diminished IFN-I response, is the product of a dependency on NF-κB for viral replication. IMPORTANCE The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant mortality and morbidity around the world. Although effective vaccines have been developed, large parts of the world remain unvaccinated while new SARS-CoV-2 variants keep emerging. Furthermore, despite extensive efforts and large-scale drug screenings, no fully effective antiviral treatment options have been discovered yet. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to gain a better understanding of essential factors driving SARS-CoV-2 replication to be able to develop novel approaches to target SARS-CoV-2 biology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Interferon Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcription Factor RelA/metabolism , Transcriptome , Virus Replication , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epigenomics , Gene Expression Regulation , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Signal Transduction , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcription Factor RelA/antagonists & inhibitors , Transcription Factor RelA/genetics , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Vero Cells
18.
Mol Pharmacol ; 100(6): 548-557, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403004

ABSTRACT

Equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs) are present at the blood-testis barrier (BTB), where they can facilitate antiviral drug disposition to eliminate a sanctuary site for viruses detectable in semen. The purpose of this study was to investigate ENT-drug interactions with three nucleoside analogs, remdesivir, molnupiravir, and molnupiravir's active metabolite, ß-d-N4-hydroxycytidine (EIDD-1931), and four non-nucleoside molecules repurposed as antivirals for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The study used three-dimensional pharmacophores for ENT1 and ENT2 substrates and inhibitors and Bayesian machine learning models to identify potential interactions with these transporters. In vitro transport experiments demonstrated that remdesivir was the most potent inhibitor of ENT-mediated [3H]uridine uptake (ENT1 IC50: 39 µM; ENT2 IC50: 77 µM), followed by EIDD-1931 (ENT1 IC50: 259 µM; ENT2 IC50: 467 µM), whereas molnupiravir was a modest inhibitor (ENT1 IC50: 701 µM; ENT2 IC50: 851 µM). Other proposed antivirals failed to inhibit ENT-mediated [3H]uridine uptake below 1 mM. Remdesivir accumulation decreased in the presence of 6-S-[(4-nitrophenyl)methyl]-6-thioinosine (NBMPR) by 30% in ENT1 cells (P = 0.0248) and 27% in ENT2 cells (P = 0.0054). EIDD-1931 accumulation decreased in the presence of NBMPR by 77% in ENT1 cells (P = 0.0463) and by 64% in ENT2 cells (P = 0.0132), which supported computational predictions that both are ENT substrates that may be important for efficacy against COVID-19. NBMPR failed to decrease molnupiravir uptake, suggesting that ENT interaction is likely inhibitory. Our combined computational and in vitro data can be used to identify additional ENT-drug interactions to improve our understanding of drugs that can circumvent the BTB. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: This study identified remdesivir and EIDD-1931 as substrates of equilibrative nucleoside transporters 1 and 2. This provides a potential mechanism for uptake of these drugs into cells and may be important for antiviral potential in the testes and other tissues expressing these transporters.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter 1/metabolism , Equilibrative-Nucleoside Transporter 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adenosine Monophosphate/administration & dosage , Adenosine Monophosphate/metabolism , Alanine/administration & dosage , Alanine/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Cytidine/metabolism , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Interactions/physiology , HeLa Cells , Humans , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Binding/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects
19.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0251951, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394538

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to explore potential mechanisms of cytotoxicity towards HeLa and HT29 cells displayed by Pediocin PA-1. We did this by carrying out sequence alignments and 3D modelling of related bacteriocins which have been studied in greater detail: Microcin E492, Enterocin AB heterodimer and Divercin V41. Microcin E492 interacts with Toll-Like Receptor 4 in order to activate an apoptosis reaction, sequence alignment showed a high homology between Pediocin PA-1 and Microcin E492 whereas 3D modelling showed Pediocin PA-1 interacting with TLR-4 in a way reminiscent of Microcin E492. Furthermore, Pediocin PA-1 had the highest homology with the Enterocin heterodimer, particularly chain A; Enterocin has also shown to cause an apoptotic response in cancer cells. Based on this we are led to strongly believe Pediocin PA-1 interacts with TLRs in order to cause cell death. If this is the case, it would explain the difference in cytotoxicity towards HeLa over HT29 cells, due to difference in expression of particular TLRs. Overall, we believe Pediocin PA-1 exhibits a dual effect which is dose dependant, like that of Microcin. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to carry out experiments in the lab, and the unavailability of important data meant we were unable to provide and validate out solid conclusions, but rather suggestions. However, bioinformatic analysis is still able to provide information regarding structure and sequence analysis to draw plausible and evidence based conclusions. We have been able to highlight interesting findings and how these could be translated into future research and therapeutics in order to improve the quality of treatment and life of cancer patients.


Subject(s)
Bacteriocins/chemistry , Bacteriocins/pharmacology , Pediocins/chemistry , Pediocins/pharmacology , Protein Conformation , Amino Acid Sequence , Anti-Bacterial Agents/chemistry , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , Bacteriocins/genetics , Bridged-Ring Compounds/chemistry , Bridged-Ring Compounds/pharmacology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , HT29 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Pandemics , Pediocins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism
20.
J Control Release ; 338: 537-547, 2021 10 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385845

ABSTRACT

mRNA-based therapy has been evaluated in preclinical and clinical studies for the treatment of a wide variety of disease such as cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines. However, it remains challenging to development safe and efficient delivery system. Here, we have designed a novel self-assembled polymeric micelle based on vitamin E succinate modified polyethyleneimine copolymer (PVES) to delivery mRNA. In vitro, PVES could transfect mRNA into multiple cell lines such as HEK-293T, HeLa and Vero and the transfection efficiencies were much higher than PEI 25 k. In addition, the cytotoxicity of PVES was much lower than PEI 25 k. Furthermore, mice administered intramuscularly with PVES/SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine induced potent antibody response and show no obvious toxicity. These results demonstrated the potential of PVES as a safe and effective delivery carrier for mRNA.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Micelles , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mice , Polyethyleneimine , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Transfection
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