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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580696

ABSTRACT

The inhibition of key enzymes that may contain the viral replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have assumed central importance in drug discovery projects. Nonstructural proteins (nsps) are essential for RNA capping and coronavirus replication since it protects the virus from host innate immune restriction. In particular, nonstructural protein 16 (nsp16) in complex with nsp10 is a Cap-0 binding enzyme. The heterodimer formed by nsp16-nsp10 methylates the 5'-end of virally encoded mRNAs to mimic cellular mRNAs and thus it is one of the enzymes that is a potential target for antiviral therapy. In this study, we have evaluated the mechanism of the 2'-O methylation of the viral mRNA cap using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) approach. It was found that the calculated free energy barriers obtained at M062X/6-31+G(d,p) is in agreement with experimental observations. Overall, we provide a detailed molecular analysis of the catalytic mechanism involving the 2'-O methylation of the viral mRNA cap and, as expected, the results demonstrate that the TS stabilization is critical for the catalysis.


Subject(s)
Methyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Biocatalysis , Biomechanical Phenomena , Methylation , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Quantum Theory , RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry
2.
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
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
Cell ; 184(1): 184-193.e10, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385213

ABSTRACT

Transcription of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA requires sequential reactions facilitated by the replication and transcription complex (RTC). Here, we present a structural snapshot of SARS-CoV-2 RTC as it transitions toward cap structure synthesis. We determine the atomic cryo-EM structure of an extended RTC assembled by nsp7-nsp82-nsp12-nsp132-RNA and a single RNA-binding protein, nsp9. Nsp9 binds tightly to nsp12 (RdRp) NiRAN, allowing nsp9 N terminus inserting into the catalytic center of nsp12 NiRAN, which then inhibits activity. We also show that nsp12 NiRAN possesses guanylyltransferase activity, catalyzing the formation of cap core structure (GpppA). The orientation of nsp13 that anchors the 5' extension of template RNA shows a remarkable conformational shift, resulting in zinc finger 3 of its ZBD inserting into a minor groove of paired template-primer RNA. These results reason an intermediate state of RTC toward mRNA synthesis, pave a way to understand the RTC architecture, and provide a target for antiviral development.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Cryoelectron Microscopy , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Coronavirus/chemistry , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/enzymology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Sequence Alignment , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
7.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 60(24): 13280-13286, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384109

ABSTRACT

Eukaryotic mRNAs are emerging modalities for protein replacement therapy and vaccination. Their 5' cap is important for mRNA translation and immune response and can be naturally methylated at different positions by S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent methyltransferases (MTases). We report on the cosubstrate scope of the MTase CAPAM responsible for methylation at the N6 -position of adenosine start nucleotides using synthetic AdoMet analogs. The chemo-enzymatic propargylation enabled production of site-specifically modified reporter-mRNAs. These cap-propargylated mRNAs were efficiently translated and showed ≈3-fold increased immune response in human cells. The same effects were observed when the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2-a currently tested epitope for mRNA vaccination-was used. Site-specific chemo-enzymatic modification of eukaryotic mRNA may thus be a suitable strategy to modulate translation and immune response of mRNAs for future therapeutic applications.


Subject(s)
RNA Caps/immunology , RNA, Messenger/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Genes, Reporter , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Methylation , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Protein Biosynthesis , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Domains/immunology , RNA Caps/analysis , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/chemistry , S-Adenosylmethionine/immunology , S-Adenosylmethionine/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4848, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354102

ABSTRACT

There is currently a lack of effective drugs to treat people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 Non-structural protein 13 (NSP13) has been identified as a target for anti-virals due to its high sequence conservation and essential role in viral replication. Structural analysis reveals two "druggable" pockets on NSP13 that are among the most conserved sites in the entire SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Here we present crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 NSP13 solved in the APO form and in the presence of both phosphate and a non-hydrolysable ATP analog. Comparisons of these structures reveal details of conformational changes that provide insights into the helicase mechanism and possible modes of inhibition. To identify starting points for drug development we have performed a crystallographic fragment screen against NSP13. The screen reveals 65 fragment hits across 52 datasets opening the way to structure guided development of novel antiviral agents.


Subject(s)
Methyltransferases/chemistry , RNA Helicases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Adenosine Triphosphate/chemistry , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Apoenzymes/chemistry , Apoenzymes/metabolism , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Design , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/metabolism , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Phosphates/chemistry , Phosphates/metabolism , Protein Conformation , RNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
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.
Genes Dev ; 35(13-14): 1005-1019, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334329

ABSTRACT

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is an abundant internal RNA modification, influencing transcript fate and function in uninfected and virus-infected cells. Installation of m6A by the nuclear RNA methyltransferase METTL3 occurs cotranscriptionally; however, the genomes of some cytoplasmic RNA viruses are also m6A-modified. How the cellular m6A modification machinery impacts coronavirus replication, which occurs exclusively in the cytoplasm, is unknown. Here we show that replication of SARS-CoV-2, the agent responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, and a seasonal human ß-coronavirus HCoV-OC43, can be suppressed by depletion of METTL3 or cytoplasmic m6A reader proteins YTHDF1 and YTHDF3 and by a highly specific small molecule METTL3 inhibitor. Reduction of infectious titer correlates with decreased synthesis of viral RNAs and the essential nucleocapsid (N) protein. Sites of m6A modification on genomic and subgenomic RNAs of both viruses were mapped by methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (meRIP-seq). Levels of host factors involved in m6A installation, removal, and recognition were unchanged by HCoV-OC43 infection; however, nuclear localization of METTL3 and cytoplasmic m6A readers YTHDF1 and YTHDF2 increased. This establishes that coronavirus RNAs are m6A-modified and host m6A pathway components control ß-coronavirus replication. Moreover, it illustrates the therapeutic potential of targeting the m6A pathway to restrict coronavirus reproduction.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus OC43, Human/physiology , RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/genetics , Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine/genetics , Adenosine/metabolism , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
13.
Antiviral Res ; 193: 105142, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1321985

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the currently ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, encodes its own mRNA capping machinery. Insights into this capping system may provide new ideas for therapeutic interventions and drug discovery. In this work, we employ a previously developed Py-FLINT screening approach to study the inhibitory effects of compounds against the cap guanine N7-methyltransferase enzyme, which is involved in SARS-CoV-2 mRNA capping. We screened five commercially available libraries (7039 compounds in total) to identify 83 inhibitors with IC50 < 50 µM, which were further validated using RP HPLC and dot blot assays. Novel fluorescence anisotropy binding assays were developed to examine the targeted binding site. The inhibitor structures were analyzed for structure-activity relationships in order to define common structural patterns. Finally, the most potent inhibitors were tested for antiviral activity on SARS-CoV-2 in a cell based assay.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Nucleotidyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Caps , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
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
15.
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
16.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(21)2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223143

ABSTRACT

The genome of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) coronavirus has a capping modification at the 5'-untranslated region (UTR) to prevent its degradation by host nucleases. These modifications are performed by the Nsp10/14 and Nsp10/16 heterodimers using S-adenosylmethionine as the methyl donor. Nsp10/16 heterodimer is responsible for the methylation at the ribose 2'-O position of the first nucleotide. To investigate the conformational changes of the complex during 2'-O methyltransferase activity, we used a fixed-target serial synchrotron crystallography method at room temperature. We determined crystal structures of Nsp10/16 with substrates and products that revealed the states before and after methylation, occurring within the crystals during the experiments. Here we report the crystal structure of Nsp10/16 in complex with Cap-1 analog (m7GpppAm2'-O). Inhibition of Nsp16 activity may reduce viral proliferation, making this protein an attractive drug target.


Subject(s)
RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Crystallography , Methylation , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Multiprotein Complexes/chemistry , Multiprotein Complexes/metabolism , RNA Cap Analogs/chemistry , RNA Cap Analogs/metabolism , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , S-Adenosylhomocysteine/chemistry , S-Adenosylhomocysteine/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/chemistry , S-Adenosylmethionine/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Synchrotrons , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
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.
Viruses ; 13(4)2021 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154528

ABSTRACT

Several life-threatening viruses have recently appeared, including the coronavirus, infecting a variety of human and animal hosts and causing a range of diseases like human upper respiratory tract infections. They not only cause serious human and animal deaths, but also cause serious public health problems worldwide. Currently, seven species are known to infect humans, namely SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-HKU1. The coronavirus nonstructural protein 16 (NSP16) structure is similar to the 5'-end capping system of mRNA used by eukaryotic hosts and plays a vital role in evading host immunity response and protects the nascent viral mRNA from degradation. NSP16 is also well-conserved among related coronaviruses and requires its binding partner NSP10 to activate its enzymatic activity. With the continued threat of viral emergence highlighted by human coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2, mutant strains continue to appear, affecting the highly conserved NSP16: this provides a possible therapeutic approach applicable to any novel coronavirus. To this end, current information on the 2'-O-MTase activity mechanism, the differences between NSP16 and NSP10 in human coronaviruses, and the current potential prevention and treatment strategies related to NSP16 are summarized in this review.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus/metabolism , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus/enzymology , Coronavirus/genetics , Humans , Methyltransferases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
20.
Molecules ; 26(5)2021 Mar 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1136523

ABSTRACT

With the emergence and global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community worldwide has focused on search for new therapeutic strategies against this disease. One such critical approach is targeting proteins such as helicases that regulate most of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA metabolism. The purpose of the current study was to predict a library of phytochemicals derived from diverse plant families with high binding affinity to SARS-CoV-2 helicase (Nsp13) enzyme. High throughput virtual screening of the Medicinal Plant Database for Drug Design (MPD3) database was performed on SARS-CoV-2 helicase using AutoDock Vina. Nilotinib, with a docking value of -9.6 kcal/mol, was chosen as a reference molecule. A compound (PubChem CID: 110143421, ZINC database ID: ZINC257223845, eMolecules: 43290531) was screened as the best binder (binding energy of -10.2 kcal/mol on average) to the enzyme by using repeated docking runs in the screening process. On inspection, the compound was disclosed to show different binding sites of the triangular pockets collectively formed by Rec1A, Rec2A, and 1B domains and a stalk domain at the base. The molecule is often bound to the ATP binding site (referred to as binding site 2) of the helicase enzyme. The compound was further discovered to fulfill drug-likeness and lead-likeness criteria, have good physicochemical and pharmacokinetics properties, and to be non-toxic. Molecular dynamic simulation analysis of the control/lead compound complexes demonstrated the formation of stable complexes with good intermolecular binding affinity. Lastly, affirmation of the docking simulation studies was accomplished by estimating the binding free energy by MMPB/GBSA technique. Taken together, these findings present further in silco investigation of plant-derived lead compounds to effectively address COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Helicases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/toxicity , Binding Sites , Biological Availability , COVID-19/drug therapy , Computational Biology/methods , Databases, Chemical , Drug Design , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phytochemicals/chemistry , Phytochemicals/metabolism , Plants, Medicinal/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains/drug effects , Pyrimidines/chemistry , Pyrimidines/metabolism , Pyrimidines/pharmacokinetics , Pyrimidines/toxicity , RNA Helicases/chemistry , Structure-Activity Relationship , Thermodynamics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry
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