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1.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 601: 129-136, 2022 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1699331

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has been spreading worldwide for more than two years and has led to immense challenges to human health. Despite the great efforts that have been made, our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 is still limited. The viral helicase, NSP13 is an important enzyme involved in SARS-CoV-2 replication and transcription. Here we highlight the important role of the stalk domain in the enzymatic activity of NSP13. Without the stalk domain, NSP13 loses its dsRNA unwinding ability due to the lack of ATPase activity. The stalk domain of NSP13 also provides a rigid connection between the ZBD and helicase domain. We found that the tight connection between the stalk and helicase is necessary for NSP13-mediated dsRNA unwinding. When a short flexible linker was inserted between the stalk and helicase domains, the helicase activity of NSP13 was impaired, although its ATPase activity remained intact. Further study demonstrated that linker insertion between the stalk and helicase domains attenuated the RNA binding ability and affected the thermal stability of NSP13. In summary, our results suggest the crucial role of the stalk domain in NSP13 enzymatic activity and provide mechanistic insight into dsRNA unwinding by SARS-CoV-2 NSP13.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Methyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Helicases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Adenosine Triphosphatases/genetics , Adenosine Triphosphatases/metabolism , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme Stability , Humans , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/genetics , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Conformation , RNA/chemistry , RNA/genetics , RNA/metabolism , RNA Helicases/chemistry , RNA Helicases/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Temperature , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
2.
J Virol ; 95(15): e0046321, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486505

ABSTRACT

The OC43 coronavirus is a human pathogen that usually causes only the common cold. One of its key enzymes, similar to other coronaviruses, is the 2'-O-RNA methyltransferase (MTase), which is essential for viral RNA stability and expression. Here, we report the crystal structure of the 2'-O-RNA MTase in a complex with the pan-methyltransferase inhibitor sinefungin solved at 2.2-Å resolution. The structure reveals an overall fold consistent with the fold observed in other coronaviral MTases. The major differences are in the conformation of the C terminus of the nsp16 subunit and an additional helix in the N terminus of the nsp10 subunits. The structural analysis also revealed very high conservation of the S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) binding pocket, suggesting that the SAM pocket is a suitable spot for the design of antivirals effective against all human coronaviruses. IMPORTANCE Some coronaviruses are dangerous pathogens, while some cause only common colds. The reasons are not understood, although the spike proteins probably play an important role. However, to understand the coronaviral biology in sufficient detail, we need to compare the key enzymes from different coronaviruses. We solved the crystal structure of 2'-O-RNA methyltransferase of the OC43 coronavirus, a virus that usually causes mild colds. The structure revealed some differences in the overall fold but also revealed that the SAM binding site is conserved, suggesting that development of antivirals against multiple coronaviruses is feasible.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/enzymology , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Methyltransferases/genetics , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Viral Proteins/genetics
3.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19752, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454813

ABSTRACT

Although metabolic syndrome (MetS) is linked to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the cardiac-specific risk mechanism is unknown. Obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (all MetS components) are the most common form of CVD and represent risk factors for worse COVID-19 outcomes compared to their non MetS peers. Here, we use obese Yorkshire pigs as a highly relevant animal model of human MetS, where pigs develop the hallmarks of human MetS and reproducibly mimics the myocardial pathophysiology in patients. Myocardium-specific mass spectroscopy-derived metabolomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics enabled the identity and quality of proteins and metabolites to be investigated in the myocardium to greater depth. Myocardium-specific deregulation of pro-inflammatory markers, propensity for arterial thrombosis, and platelet aggregation was revealed by computational analysis of differentially enriched pathways between MetS and control animals. While key components of the complement pathway and the immune response to viruses are under expressed, key N6-methyladenosin RNA methylation enzymes are largely overexpressed in MetS. Blood tests do not capture the entirety of metabolic changes that the myocardium undergoes, making this analysis of greater value than blood component analysis alone. Our findings create data associations to further characterize the MetS myocardium and disease vulnerability, emphasize the need for a multimodal therapeutic approach, and suggests a mechanism for observed worse outcomes in MetS patients with COVID-19 comorbidity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Disease Susceptibility , Metabolic Syndrome/pathology , Animals , Blood Coagulation Factors/genetics , Blood Coagulation Factors/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Cyclooxygenase 2/genetics , Cyclooxygenase 2/metabolism , Diet, High-Fat/veterinary , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Metabolic Syndrome/complications , Metabolic Syndrome/metabolism , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Myocardium/metabolism , Oxidative Stress/genetics , Platelet Aggregation , Receptors, Purinergic P2Y1/genetics , Receptors, Purinergic P2Y1/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Swine , Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator/genetics , Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator/metabolism
4.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0131221, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443363

ABSTRACT

The large (L) polymerase proteins of most nonsegmented, negative-stranded (NNS) RNA viruses have conserved methyltransferase motifs, (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E, which are important for the stabilization and translation of mRNA. However, the function of the (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs in the NNS RNA virus Newcastle disease virus (NDV) remains unclear. We observed G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs in all NDV genotypes. By using the infection cloning system of NDV rSG10 strain, recombinant NDVs with a single amino acid mutated to alanine in one motif (G-G-D or K-D-K-E) were rescued. The intracerebral pathogenicity index and mean death time assay results revealed that the G-G-D motif and K-D-K-E motif attenuate the virulence of NDV to various degrees. The replication, transcription, and translation levels of the K-D-K-E motif-mutant strains were significantly higher than those of wild-type virus owing to their altered regulation of the affinity between nucleocapsid protein and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E. When the infection dose was changed from a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10 to an MOI of 0.01, the cell-to-cell spread abilities of G-G-D- and K-D-K-E-mutant strains were reduced, according to plaque assay and dynamic indirect immunofluorescence assay results. Finally, we found that NDV strains with G-G-D or K-D-K-E motif mutations had less pathogenicity in 3-week-old specific-pathogen-free chickens than wild-type NDV. Therefore, these methyltransferase motifs can affect virulence by regulating the translation and cell-to-cell spread abilities of NDV. This work provides a feasible approach for generating vaccine candidates for viruses with methyltransferase motifs. IMPORTANCE Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an important pathogen that is widespread globally. Research on its pathogenic mechanism is an important means of improving prevention and control efforts. Our study found that a deficiency in its methyltransferase motifs (G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs) can attenuate NDV and revealed the molecular mechanism by which these motifs affect pathogenicity, which provides a new direction for the development of NDV vaccines. In addition to the (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs of many nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA viruses, similar motifs have been found in dengue virus, Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This suggests that such motifs may be present in more viruses. Our finding also provides a molecular basis for the discovery and functional study of (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs of other viruses.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Motifs/genetics , Methyltransferases/genetics , Newcastle Disease/transmission , Newcastle disease virus/growth & development , Newcastle disease virus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Animals , Cell Line , Chickens , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Genome, Viral/genetics , Newcastle disease virus/pathogenicity , Poultry Diseases/transmission , Poultry Diseases/virology , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
5.
J Virol ; 95(20): e0059221, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440799

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to dramatic economic and health burdens. Although the worldwide SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaign has begun, exploration of other vaccine candidates is needed due to uncertainties with the current approved vaccines, such as durability of protection, cross-protection against variant strains, and costs of long-term production and storage. In this study, we developed a methyltransferase-defective recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (mtdVSV)-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. We generated mtdVSVs expressing SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike (S) protein, S1, or its receptor-binding domain (RBD). All of these recombinant viruses grew to high titers in mammalian cells despite high attenuation in cell culture. The SARS-CoV-2 S protein and its truncations were highly expressed by the mtdVSV vector. These mtdVSV-based vaccine candidates were completely attenuated in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice. Among these constructs, mtdVSV-S induced high levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) and Th1-biased T-cell immune responses in mice. In Syrian golden hamsters, the serum levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific NAbs triggered by mtdVSV-S were higher than the levels of NAbs in convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. In addition, hamsters immunized with mtdVSV-S were completely protected against SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung and nasal turbinate tissues, cytokine storm, and lung pathology. Collectively, our data demonstrate that mtdVSV expressing SARS-CoV-2 S protein is a safe and highly efficacious vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Viral mRNA cap methyltransferase (MTase) is essential for mRNA stability, protein translation, and innate immune evasion. Thus, viral mRNA cap MTase activity is an excellent target for development of live attenuated or live vectored vaccine candidates. Here, we developed a panel of MTase-defective recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (mtdVSV)-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates expressing full-length S, S1, or several versions of the RBD. These mtdVSV-based vaccine candidates grew to high titers in cell culture and were completely attenuated in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice. Among these vaccine candidates, mtdVSV-S induces high levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies (Nabs) and Th1-biased immune responses in mice. Syrian golden hamsters immunized with mtdVSV-S triggered SARS-CoV-2-specific NAbs at higher levels than those in convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, hamsters immunized with mtdVSV-S were completely protected against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Thus, mtdVSV is a safe and highly effective vector to deliver SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Brain/virology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Cytokine Release Syndrome/prevention & control , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases/genetics , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases/metabolism , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mesocricetus , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Mice , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/enzymology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/physiology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
6.
Sci Signal ; 14(689)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406596

ABSTRACT

Capping of viral messenger RNAs is essential for efficient translation, for virus replication, and for preventing detection by the host cell innate response system. The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes the 2'-O-methyltransferase nsp16, which, when bound to the coactivator nsp10, uses S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a donor to transfer a methyl group to the first ribonucleotide of the mRNA in the final step of viral mRNA capping. Here, we provide biochemical and structural evidence that this reaction requires divalent cations, preferably Mn2+, and a coronavirus-specific four-residue insert. We determined the x-ray structures of the SARS-CoV-2 2'-O-methyltransferase (the nsp16-nsp10 heterodimer) in complex with its reaction substrates, products, and divalent metal cations. These structural snapshots revealed that metal ions and the insert stabilize interactions between the capped RNA and nsp16, resulting in the precise alignment of the ribonucleotides in the active site. Comparison of available structures of 2'-O-methyltransferases with capped RNAs from different organisms revealed that the four-residue insert unique to coronavirus nsp16 alters the backbone conformation of the capped RNA in the binding groove, thereby promoting catalysis. This insert is highly conserved across coronaviruses, and its absence in mammalian methyltransferases makes this region a promising site for structure-guided drug design of selective coronavirus inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Manganese/metabolism , Methylation , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Stability , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/chemistry , S-Adenosylmethionine/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
7.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390783

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies the general need to better understand viral infections. The positive single-strand RNA genome of its causative agent, the SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), encodes all viral enzymes. In this work, we focused on one particular methyltransferase (MTase), nsp16, which, in complex with nsp10, is capable of methylating the first nucleotide of a capped RNA strand at the 2'-O position. This process is part of a viral capping system and is crucial for viral evasion of the innate immune reaction. In light of recently discovered non-canonical RNA caps, we tested various dinucleoside polyphosphate-capped RNAs as substrates for nsp10-nsp16 MTase. We developed an LC-MS-based method and discovered four types of capped RNA (m7Gp3A(G)- and Gp3A(G)-RNA) that are substrates of the nsp10-nsp16 MTase. Our technique is an alternative to the classical isotope labelling approach for the measurement of 2'-O-MTase activity. Further, we determined the IC50 value of sinefungin to illustrate the use of our approach for inhibitor screening. In the future, this approach may be an alternative technique to the radioactive labelling method for screening inhibitors of any type of 2'-O-MTase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Methyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Chromatography, Liquid , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Methylation , Methyltransferases/genetics , RNA Caps , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics
8.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(9): 5382-5392, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387965

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 infection has posed unprecedented threat to global public health. The virus-encoded non-structural protein 14 (nsp14) is a bi-functional enzyme consisting of an exoribonuclease (ExoN) domain and a methyltransferase (MTase) domain and plays a pivotal role in viral replication. Here, we report the structure of SARS-CoV-2 nsp14-ExoN domain bound to its co-factor nsp10 and show that, compared to the SARS-CoV nsp10/nsp14-full-length complex, SARS-CoV-2 nsp14-ExoN retains an integral exoribonuclease fold and preserves an active configuration in the catalytic center. Analysis of the nsp10/nsp14-ExoN interface reveals a footprint in nsp10 extensively overlapping with that observed in the nsp10/nsp16 structure. A marked difference in the co-factor when engaging nsp14 and nsp16 lies in helix-α1', which is further experimentally ascertained to be involved in nsp14-binding but not in nsp16-engagement. Finally, we also show that nsp10/nsp14-ExoN is enzymatically active despite the absence of nsp14-MTase domain. These data demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nsp10/nsp14-ExoN functions as an exoribonuclease with both structural and functional integrity.


Subject(s)
Biocatalysis , Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Guanine , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/deficiency , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Protein Domains/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics
9.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5874, 2020 11 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387320

ABSTRACT

Non-structural proteins (nsp) constitute the SARS-CoV-2 replication and transcription complex (RTC) to play a pivotal role in the virus life cycle. Here we determine the atomic structure of a SARS-CoV-2 mini RTC, assembled by viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp, nsp12) with a template-primer RNA, nsp7 and nsp8, and two helicase molecules (nsp13-1 and nsp13-2), by cryo-electron microscopy. Two groups of mini RTCs with different conformations of nsp13-1 are identified. In both of them, nsp13-1 stabilizes overall architecture of the mini RTC by contacting with nsp13-2, which anchors the 5'-extension of RNA template, as well as interacting with nsp7-nsp8-nsp12-RNA. Orientation shifts of nsp13-1 results in its variable interactions with other components in two forms of mini RTC. The mutations on nsp13-1:nsp12 and nsp13-1:nsp13-2 interfaces prohibit the enhancement of helicase activity achieved by mini RTCs. These results provide an insight into how helicase couples with polymerase to facilitate its function in virus replication and transcription.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Virus Replication , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , RNA Helicases/chemistry , RNA Helicases/genetics , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Structure-Activity Relationship , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
10.
Adv Sci (Weinh) ; 8(15): e2100606, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340232

ABSTRACT

Mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) protein is the core signaling adaptor in the RNA signaling pathway. Thus, appropriate regulation of MAVS expression is essential for antiviral immunity against RNA virus infection. However, the regulation of MAVS expression at the mRNA level especially at the post transcriptional level is not well-defined. Here, it is reported that the MAVS mRNA undergoes N6 -methyladenosine (m6 A) modification through methyltransferase-like protein 14 (METTL14), which leads to a fast turnover of MAVS mRNA. Knockdown or deficiency of METTL14 increases MAVS mRNA stability, and downstream phosphorylation of TBK1/IRF3 and interferon-ß production in response to RNA viruses. Compared to wild-type mice, heterozygotes Mettl14+/- mice better tolerate RNA virus infection. The authors' findings unveil a novel mechanism to regulate the stability of MAVS transcripts post-transcriptionally through m6 A modification.


Subject(s)
Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/immunology , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Methyltransferases/immunology , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Adenosine/genetics , Adenosine/immunology , Adenosine/metabolism , Animals , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Methyltransferases/genetics , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Signal Transduction/genetics , Signal Transduction/immunology
11.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335227

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease-19 pandemic. One of the key components of the coronavirus replication complex are the RNA methyltransferases (MTases), RNA-modifying enzymes crucial for RNA cap formation. Recently, the structure of the 2'-O MTase has become available; however, its biological characterization within the infected cells remains largely elusive. Here, we report a novel monoclonal antibody directed against the SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein nsp10, a subunit of both the 2'-O RNA and N7 MTase protein complexes. Using this antibody, we investigated the subcellular localization of the SARS-CoV-2 MTases in cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Methyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/analysis , Humans , Methyltransferases/analysis , Methyltransferases/genetics , Protein Transport , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/analysis , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/analysis , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics
12.
mBio ; 12(4): e0106721, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1297962

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an ongoing global public crisis. Although viral RNA modification has been reported based on the transcriptome architecture, the types and functions of RNA modification are still unknown. In this study, we evaluated the roles of RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification in SARS-CoV-2. Our methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-Seq) and Nanopore direct RNA sequencing (DRS) analysis showed that SARS-CoV-2 RNA contained m6A modification. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 infection not only increased the expression of methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) but also altered its distribution. Modification of METTL3 expression by short hairpin RNA or plasmid transfection for knockdown or overexpression, respectively, affected viral replication. Furthermore, the viral key protein RdRp interacted with METTL3, and METTL3 was distributed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm in the presence of RdRp. RdRp appeared to modulate the sumoylation and ubiquitination of METTL3 via an unknown mechanism. Taken together, our findings demonstrated that the host m6A modification complex interacted with viral proteins to modulate SARS-CoV-2 replication. IMPORTANCE Internal chemical modifications of viral RNA play key roles in the regulation of viral replication and gene expression. Although potential internal modifications have been reported in SARS-CoV-2 RNA, the function of the SARS-CoV-2 N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification in the viral life cycle is unclear. In the current study, we demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 RNA underwent m6A modification by host m6A machinery. SARS-CoV-2 infection altered the expression pattern of methyltransferases and demethylases, while the expression level of methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) and fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) was linked to the viral replication. Further study showed that METTL3 interacted with viral RNA polymerase RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which influenced not only the distribution but also the posttranslational modification of METTL3. Our study provided evidence that host m6A components interacted with viral proteins to modulate viral replication.


Subject(s)
Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Virus Replication/genetics , Adenosine/chemistry , Adenosine/genetics , Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Gene Expression Regulation/genetics , Humans , Methylation , Protein Processing, Post-Translational/physiology , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
13.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2481-2497, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289949

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented itself as one of the most critical public health challenges of the century, with SARS-CoV-2 being the third member of the Coronaviridae family to cause a fatal disease in humans. There is currently only one antiviral compound, remdesivir, that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19. To identify additional potential therapeutics, we investigated the enzymatic proteins encoded in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. In this study, we focussed on the viral RNA cap methyltransferases, which play key roles in enabling viral protein translation and facilitating viral escape from the immune system. We expressed and purified both the guanine-N7 methyltransferase nsp14, and the nsp16 2'-O-methyltransferase with its activating cofactor, nsp10. We performed an in vitro high-throughput screen for inhibitors of nsp14 using a custom compound library of over 5000 pharmaceutical compounds that have previously been characterised in either clinical or basic research. We identified four compounds as potential inhibitors of nsp14, all of which also showed antiviral capacity in a cell-based model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Three of the four compounds also exhibited synergistic effects on viral replication with remdesivir.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Caps/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Chlorobenzenes/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/isolation & purification , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Indazoles/pharmacology , Indenes/pharmacology , Indoles/pharmacology , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/isolation & purification , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phenothiazines/pharmacology , Purines/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Substrate Specificity , Trifluperidol/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
14.
ACS Infect Dis ; 7(8): 2214-2220, 2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275859

ABSTRACT

In this study, we have focused on the structure-based design of the inhibitors of one of the two SARS-CoV-2 methyltransferases (MTases), nsp14. This MTase catalyzes the transfer of the methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to cap the guanosine triphosphate moiety of the newly synthesized viral RNA, yielding the methylated capped RNA and S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (SAH). As the crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 is unknown, we have taken advantage of its high homology to SARS-CoV nsp14 and prepared its homology model, which has allowed us to identify novel SAH derivatives modified at the adenine nucleobase as inhibitors of this important viral target. We have synthesized and tested the designed compounds in vitro and shown that these derivatives exert unprecedented inhibitory activity against this crucial enzyme. The docking studies nicely explain the contribution of an aromatic part attached by a linker to the position 7 of the 7-deaza analogues of SAH.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Methyltransferases , Exoribonucleases , Humans , Ligands , Methyltransferases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins
15.
Cell ; 184(13): 3474-3485.e11, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240208

ABSTRACT

The capping of mRNA and the proofreading play essential roles in SARS-CoV-2 replication and transcription. Here, we present the cryo-EM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 replication-transcription complex (RTC) in a form identified as Cap(0)-RTC, which couples a co-transcriptional capping complex (CCC) composed of nsp12 NiRAN, nsp9, the bifunctional nsp14 possessing an N-terminal exoribonuclease (ExoN) and a C-terminal N7-methyltransferase (N7-MTase), and nsp10 as a cofactor of nsp14. Nsp9 and nsp12 NiRAN recruit nsp10/nsp14 into the Cap(0)-RTC, forming the N7-CCC to yield cap(0) (7MeGpppA) at 5' end of pre-mRNA. A dimeric form of Cap(0)-RTC observed by cryo-EM suggests an in trans backtracking mechanism for nsp14 ExoN to facilitate proofreading of the RNA in concert with polymerase nsp12. These results not only provide a structural basis for understanding co-transcriptional modification of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA but also shed light on how replication fidelity in SARS-CoV-2 is maintained.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Methyltransferases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Sequence Alignment , Transcription, Genetic/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
16.
J Virol ; 95(15): e0046321, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236419

ABSTRACT

The OC43 coronavirus is a human pathogen that usually causes only the common cold. One of its key enzymes, similar to other coronaviruses, is the 2'-O-RNA methyltransferase (MTase), which is essential for viral RNA stability and expression. Here, we report the crystal structure of the 2'-O-RNA MTase in a complex with the pan-methyltransferase inhibitor sinefungin solved at 2.2-Å resolution. The structure reveals an overall fold consistent with the fold observed in other coronaviral MTases. The major differences are in the conformation of the C terminus of the nsp16 subunit and an additional helix in the N terminus of the nsp10 subunits. The structural analysis also revealed very high conservation of the S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) binding pocket, suggesting that the SAM pocket is a suitable spot for the design of antivirals effective against all human coronaviruses. IMPORTANCE Some coronaviruses are dangerous pathogens, while some cause only common colds. The reasons are not understood, although the spike proteins probably play an important role. However, to understand the coronaviral biology in sufficient detail, we need to compare the key enzymes from different coronaviruses. We solved the crystal structure of 2'-O-RNA methyltransferase of the OC43 coronavirus, a virus that usually causes mild colds. The structure revealed some differences in the overall fold but also revealed that the SAM binding site is conserved, suggesting that development of antivirals against multiple coronaviruses is feasible.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/enzymology , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Methyltransferases/genetics , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Viral Proteins/genetics
17.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(9): 5382-5392, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217861

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 infection has posed unprecedented threat to global public health. The virus-encoded non-structural protein 14 (nsp14) is a bi-functional enzyme consisting of an exoribonuclease (ExoN) domain and a methyltransferase (MTase) domain and plays a pivotal role in viral replication. Here, we report the structure of SARS-CoV-2 nsp14-ExoN domain bound to its co-factor nsp10 and show that, compared to the SARS-CoV nsp10/nsp14-full-length complex, SARS-CoV-2 nsp14-ExoN retains an integral exoribonuclease fold and preserves an active configuration in the catalytic center. Analysis of the nsp10/nsp14-ExoN interface reveals a footprint in nsp10 extensively overlapping with that observed in the nsp10/nsp16 structure. A marked difference in the co-factor when engaging nsp14 and nsp16 lies in helix-α1', which is further experimentally ascertained to be involved in nsp14-binding but not in nsp16-engagement. Finally, we also show that nsp10/nsp14-ExoN is enzymatically active despite the absence of nsp14-MTase domain. These data demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nsp10/nsp14-ExoN functions as an exoribonuclease with both structural and functional integrity.


Subject(s)
Biocatalysis , Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Guanine , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/deficiency , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Protein Domains/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics
18.
Cell Rep ; 35(6): 109091, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1213072

ABSTRACT

It is urgent and important to understand the relationship of the widespread severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus clade 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with host immune response and study the underlining molecular mechanism. N6-methylation of adenosine (m6A) in RNA regulates many physiological and disease processes. Here, we investigate m6A modification of the SARS-CoV-2 gene in regulating the host cell innate immune response. Our data show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has m6A modifications that are enriched in the 3' end of the viral genome. We find that depletion of the host cell m6A methyltransferase METTL3 decreases m6A levels in SARS-CoV-2 and host genes, and m6A reduction in viral RNA increases RIG-I binding and subsequently enhances the downstream innate immune signaling pathway and inflammatory gene expression. METTL3 expression is reduced and inflammatory genes are induced in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These findings will aid in the understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis and the design of future studies regulating innate immunity for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adenosine/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Line , DEAD Box Protein 58/genetics , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Methylation , Methyltransferases/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Receptors, Immunologic/genetics , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction
19.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 39(8): 2679-2692, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199383

ABSTRACT

The recent pandemic associated with SARS-CoV-2, a virus of the Coronaviridae family, has resulted in an unprecedented number of infected people. The highly contagious nature of this virus makes it imperative for us to identify promising inhibitors from pre-existing antiviral drugs. Two druggable targets, namely 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro) and 2'-O-ribose methyltransferase (2'-O-MTase) were selected in this study due to their indispensable nature in the viral life cycle. 3CLpro is a cysteine protease responsible for the proteolysis of replicase polyproteins resulting in the formation of various functional proteins, whereas 2'-O-MTase methylates the ribose 2'-O position of the first and second nucleotide of viral mRNA, which sequesters it from the host immune system. The selected drug target proteins were screened against an in-house library of 123 antiviral drugs. Two promising drug molecules were identified for each protein based on their estimated free energy of binding (ΔG), the orientation of drug molecules in the active site and the interacting residues. The selected protein-drug complexes were then subjected to MD simulation, which consists of various structural parameters to equivalently reflect their physiological state. From the virtual screening results, two drug molecules were selected for each drug target protein [Paritaprevir (ΔG = -9.8 kcal/mol) & Raltegravir (ΔG = -7.8 kcal/mol) for 3CLpro and Dolutegravir (ΔG = -9.4 kcal/mol) and Bictegravir (ΔG = -8.4 kcal/mol) for 2'-OMTase]. After the extensive computational analysis, we proposed that Raltegravir, Paritaprevir, Bictegravir and Dolutegravir are excellent lead candidates for these crucial proteins and they could become potential therapeutic drugs against SARS-CoV-2. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Methyltransferases/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptide Hydrolases , Proteolysis , Ribose , SARS-CoV-2
20.
J Med Virol ; 93(7): 4258-4264, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1173823

ABSTRACT

The recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), causing a global pandemic with devastating effects on healthcare and social-economic systems, has no special antiviral therapies available for human coronaviruses (CoVs). The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) possesses a nonstructural protein (nsp14), with amino-terminal domain coding for proofreading exoribonuclease (ExoN) that is required for high-fidelity replication. The ability of CoVs during genome replication and transcription to proofread and exclude mismatched nucleotides has long hindered the development of anti-CoV drugs. The resistance of SARS-CoV-2 to antivirals, especially nucleoside analogs (NAs), shows the need to identify new CoV inhibition targets. Therefore, this review highlights the importance of nsp14-ExoN as a target for inhibition. Also, nucleoside analogs could be used in combination with existing anti-CoV therapeutics to target the proofreading mechanism.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Exoribonucleases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects , Exoribonucleases/drug effects , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Methyltransferases/genetics , RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional/physiology , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/drug effects , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/physiology
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