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1.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(5): e1010121, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846916

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid (N) protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causal agent of COVID-19, is a multifunction phosphoprotein that plays critical roles in the virus life cycle, including transcription and packaging of the viral RNA. To play such diverse roles, the N protein has two globular RNA-binding modules, the N- (NTD) and C-terminal (CTD) domains, which are connected by an intrinsically disordered region. Despite the wealth of structural data available for the isolated NTD and CTD, how these domains are arranged in the full-length protein and how the oligomerization of N influences its RNA-binding activity remains largely unclear. Herein, using experimental data from electron microscopy and biochemical/biophysical techniques combined with molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations, we show that, in the absence of RNA, the N protein formed structurally dynamic dimers, with the NTD and CTD arranged in extended conformations. However, in the presence of RNA, the N protein assumed a more compact conformation where the NTD and CTD are packed together. We also provided an octameric model for the full-length N bound to RNA that is consistent with electron microscopy images of the N protein in the presence of RNA. Together, our results shed new light on the dynamics and higher-order oligomeric structure of this versatile protein.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Microscopy, Electron , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
2.
J Virol ; 96(10): e0007022, 2022 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1832352

ABSTRACT

In global infection and serious morbidity and mortality, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been regarded as a dreadful porcine pathogen, but the existing commercial vaccines are not enough to fully protect against the epidemic strains. Therefore, it is of great necessity to feature the PEDV-host interaction and develop efficient countermeasures against viral infection. As an RNA/DNA protein, the trans-active response DNA binding protein (TARDBP) plays a variety of functions in generating and processing RNA, including transcription, splicing, transport, and mRNA stability, which have been reported to regulate viral replication. The current work aimed to detect whether and how TARDBP influences PEDV replication. Our data demonstrated that PEDV replication was significantly suppressed by TARDBP, regulated by KLF16, which targeted its promoter. We observed that through the proteasomal and autophagic degradation pathway, TARDBP inhibited PEDV replication via the binding as well as degradation of PEDV-encoded nucleocapsid (N) protein. Moreover, we found that TARDBP promoted autophagic degradation of N protein via interacting with MARCHF8, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, as well as NDP52, a cargo receptor. We also showed that TARDBP promoted host antiviral innate immune response by inducing interferon (IFN) expression through the MyD88-TRAF3-IRF3 pathway during PEDV infection. In conclusion, these data revealed a new antiviral role of TARDBP, effectively suppressing PEDV replication through degrading virus N protein via the proteasomal and autophagic degradation pathway and activating type I IFN signaling via upregulating the expression of MyD88. IMPORTANCE PEDV refers to the highly contagious enteric coronavirus that has quickly spread globally and generated substantial financial damage to the global swine industry. During virus infection, the host regulates the innate immunity and autophagy process to inhibit virus infection. However, the virus has evolved plenty of strategies with the purpose of limiting IFN-I production and autophagy processes. Here, we identified that TARDBP expression was downregulated via the transcription factor KLF16 during PEDV infection. TARDBP could inhibit PEDV replication through the combination as well as degradation of PEDV-encoded nucleocapsid (N) protein via proteasomal and autophagic degradation pathways and promoted host antiviral innate immune response by inducing IFN expression through the MyD88-TRAF3-IRF3 pathway. In sum, our data identify a novel antiviral function of TARDBP and provide a better grasp of the innate immune response and protein degradation pathway against PEDV infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , DNA-Binding Proteins , Interferon Type I , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus , Virus Replication , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , DNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/genetics , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/physiology , RNA/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Swine , TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 3/metabolism
3.
Protein J ; 39(3): 198-216, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718840

ABSTRACT

The devastating effects of the recent global pandemic (termed COVID-19 for "coronavirus disease 2019") caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2) are paramount with new cases and deaths growing at an exponential rate. In order to provide a better understanding of SARS CoV-2, this article will review the proteins found in the SARS CoV-2 that caused this global pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Drug Discovery/methods , Genome, Viral , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Polyproteins , Protein Interaction Maps/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Alignment , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins
4.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667340

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is characterized by symptoms such as fever, fatigue, a sore throat, diarrhea, and coughing. Although various new vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed, early diagnostics, isolation, and prevention remain important due to virus mutations resulting in rapid and high disease transmission. Amino acid substitutions in the major diagnostic target antigens of SARS-CoV-2 may lower the sensitivity for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. For this reason, we developed specific monoclonal antibodies that bind to epitope peptides as antigens for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 NP. The binding affinity between antigenic peptides and monoclonal antibodies was investigated, and a sandwich pair for capture and detection was employed to develop a rapid biosensor for SARS-CoV-2 NP. The rapid biosensor, based on a monoclonal antibody pair binding to conserved epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 NP, detected cultured virus samples of SARS-CoV-2 (1.4 × 103 TCID50/reaction) and recombinant NP (1 ng/mL). Laboratory confirmation of the rapid biosensor was performed with clinical specimens (n = 16) from COVID-19 patients and other pathogens. The rapid biosensor consisting of a monoclonal antibody pair (75E12 for capture and the 54G6/54G10 combination for detection) binding to conserved epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 NP could assist in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 NP under the circumstance of spreading SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Epitopes/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Epitopes/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoassay , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Peptides/immunology , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/immunology
5.
J Biol Chem ; 298(3): 101677, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665144

ABSTRACT

In response to the recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a number of labs across the world have reallocated their time and resources to better our understanding of the virus. For some viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, viral proteins can undergo phase separation: a biophysical process often related to the partitioning of protein and RNA into membraneless organelles in vivo. In this review, we discuss emerging observations of phase separation by the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein-an essential viral protein required for viral replication-and the possible in vivo functions that have been proposed for N-protein phase separation, including viral replication, viral genomic RNA packaging, and modulation of host-cell response to infection. Additionally, since a relatively large number of studies examining SARS-CoV-2 N-protein phase separation have been published in a short span of time, we take advantage of this situation to compare results from similar experiments across studies. Our evaluation highlights potential strengths and pitfalls of drawing conclusions from a single set of experiments, as well as the value of publishing overlapping scientific observations performed simultaneously by multiple labs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nucleocapsid Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/virology , Consensus , Humans , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/isolation & purification , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism
6.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 203: 466-480, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630871

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N) is a multifunctional promiscuous nucleic acid-binding protein, which plays a major role in nucleocapsid assembly and discontinuous RNA transcription, facilitating the template switch of transcriptional regulatory sequences (TRS). Here, we dissect the structural features of the N protein N-terminal domain (N-NTD) and N-NTD plus the SR-rich motif (N-NTD-SR) upon binding to single and double-stranded TRS DNA, as well as their activities for dsTRS melting and TRS-induced liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Our study gives insights on the specificity for N-NTD(-SR) interaction with TRS. We observed an approximation of the triple-thymidine (TTT) motif of the TRS to ß-sheet II, giving rise to an orientation difference of ~25° between dsTRS and non-specific sequence (dsNS). It led to a local unfavorable energetic contribution that might trigger the melting activity. The thermodynamic parameters of binding of ssTRSs and dsTRS suggested that the duplex dissociation of the dsTRS in the binding cleft is entropically favorable. We showed a preference for TRS in the formation of liquid condensates when compared to NS. Moreover, our results on DNA binding may serve as a starting point for the design of inhibitors, including aptamers, against N, a possible therapeutic target essential for the virus infectivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Nucleic Acids/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Binding Sites , DNA/chemistry , DNA/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acids/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , RNA/chemistry , RNA/metabolism , Spectrum Analysis , Structure-Activity Relationship
7.
EBioMedicine ; 73: 103675, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596532

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Following the discovery of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its rapid spread throughout the world, new viral variants of concern (VOC) have emerged. There is a critical need to understand the impact of the emerging variants on host response and disease dynamics to facilitate the development of vaccines and therapeutics. METHODS: Syrian golden hamsters are the leading small animal model that recapitulates key aspects of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We performed intranasal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 into hamsters with the ancestral virus (nCoV-WA1-2020) or VOC first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7, alpha) and South Africa (B.1.351, beta) and analyzed viral loads and host responses. FINDINGS: Similar gross and histopathologic pulmonary lesions were observed after infection with all three variants. Although differences in viral genomic copy numbers were noted in the lungs and oral swabs of challenged animals, infectious titers in the lungs were comparable between the variants. Antibody neutralization capacities varied, dependent on the original challenge virus and cross-variant protective capacity. Transcriptional profiling of lung samples 4 days post-challenge (DPC) indicated significant induction of antiviral pathways in response to all three challenges with a more robust inflammatory signature in response to B.1.1.7 infection. Furthermore, no additional mutations in the spike protein were detected at 4 DPC. INTERPRETATIONS: Although disease severity and viral shedding were not significantly different, the emerging VOC induced distinct humoral responses and transcriptional profiles compared to the ancestral virus. These observations suggest potential differences in acute early responses or alterations in immune modulation by VOC. FUNDING: Intramural Research Program, NIAID, NIH; National Center for Research Resources, NIH; National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Transcriptome , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Dendritic Cells/cytology , Dendritic Cells/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunity, Humoral , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mesocricetus , Mouth/pathology , Mouth/virology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
9.
EBioMedicine ; 73: 103643, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482542

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Wildtype mice are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3, contain mutations in spike that has been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that these SARS-CoV-2 variants may have evolved to expand species tropism to wildtype mouse and potentially other murines. Our study evaluated this possibility with substantial public health importance. METHODS: We investigated the capacity of wildtype (WT) SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Susceptibility to infection was evaluated with RT-qPCR, plaque assays, immunohistological stainings, and neutralization assays. FINDINGS: Our results reveal that B.1.1.7 and other N501Y-carrying variants but not WT SARS-CoV-2 can infect wildtype mice. High viral genome copies and high infectious virus particle titres are recovered from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice for 4-to-7 days post infection. In agreement with these observations, robust expression of viral nucleocapsid protein and histopathological changes are detected from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice but not that of the WT SARS-CoV-2-inoculated mice. Similarly, B.1.1.7 readily infects wildtype rats with production of infectious virus particles. INTERPRETATION: Our study provides direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, as well as other N501Y-carrying variants including B.1.351 and P.3, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to murines and public health measures including stringent murine control should be implemented to facilitate the control of the ongoing pandemic. FUNDING: A full list of funding bodies that contributed to this study can be found in the Acknowledgements section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Tropism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Turbinates/pathology , Turbinates/virology , Virus Internalization
10.
mBio ; 12(5): e0237121, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440804

ABSTRACT

In 2019, a new pandemic virus belonging to the betacoronavirus family emerged, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This new coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, and is responsible for severe respiratory pneumonia in humans, namely, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Having infected almost 200 million people worldwide and caused more than 4.1 million deaths as of today, this new disease has raised a significant number of questions about its molecular mechanism of replication and, in particular, how infectious viral particles are produced. Although viral entry is well characterized, the full assembly steps of SARS-CoV-2 have still not been fully described. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, have four main structural proteins, namely, the spike glycoprotein (S), the membrane glycoprotein (M), the envelope protein (E), and the nucleocapsid protein (N). All these proteins have key roles in the process of coronavirus assembly and budding. In this review, we gathered the current knowledge about betacoronavirus structural proteins involved in viral particle assembly, membrane curvature and scission, and then egress in order to suggest and question a coherent model for SARS-CoV-2 particle production and release.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Assembly/physiology
11.
Viruses ; 13(1)2020 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is highly pathogenic in humans and poses a great threat to public health worldwide. Clinical data shows a disturbed type I interferon (IFN) response during the virus infection. In this study, we discovered that the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2 plays an important role in the inhibition of interferon beta (IFN-ß) production. N protein repressed IFN-ß production induced by poly(I:C) or upon Sendai virus (SeV) infection. We noted that N protein also suppressed IFN-ß production, induced by several signaling molecules downstream of the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) pathway, which is the crucial pattern recognition receptor (PRR) responsible for identifying RNA viruses. Moreover, our data demonstrated that N protein interacted with the RIG-I protein through the DExD/H domain, which has ATPase activity and plays an important role in the binding of immunostimulatory RNAs. These results suggested that SARS-CoV-2 N protein suppresses the IFN-ß response through targeting the initial step, potentially the cellular PRR-RNA-recognition step in the innate immune pathway. Therefore, we propose that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein represses IFN-ß production by interfering with RIG-I.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , Interferon-beta/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , A549 Cells , Animals , DEAD Box Protein 58/genetics , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Receptors, Immunologic , Signal Transduction
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 14390, 2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309469

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affected people at all ages. Whereas pregnant women seemed to have a worse course of disease than age-matched non-pregnant women, the risk of feto-placental infection is low. Using a cohort of 66 COVID-19-positive women in late pregnancy, we correlated clinical parameters with disease severity, placental histopathology, and the expression of viral entry and Interferon-induced transmembrane (IFITM) antiviral transcripts. All newborns were negative for SARS-CoV-2. None of the demographic parameters or placental histopathological characteristics were associated with disease severity. The fetal-maternal transfer ratio for IgG against the N or S viral proteins was commonly less than one, as recently reported. We found that the expression level of placental ACE2, but not TMPRSS2 or Furin, was higher in women with severe COVID-19. Placental expression of IFITM1 and IFITM3, which have been implicated in antiviral response, was higher in participants with severe disease. We also showed that IFITM3 protein expression, which localized to early and late endosomes, was enhanced in severe COVID-19. Our data suggest an association between disease severity and placental SARS-CoV-2 processing and antiviral pathways, implying a role for these proteins in placental response to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Placenta/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Female , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Male , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Young Adult
13.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305818

ABSTRACT

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) is a rapidly growing research focus due to numerous demonstrations that many cellular proteins phase-separate to form biomolecular condensates (BMCs) that nucleate membraneless organelles (MLOs). A growing repertoire of mechanisms supporting BMC formation, composition, dynamics, and functions are becoming elucidated. BMCs are now appreciated as required for several steps of gene regulation, while their deregulation promotes pathological aggregates, such as stress granules (SGs) and insoluble irreversible plaques that are hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. Treatment of BMC-related diseases will greatly benefit from identification of therapeutics preventing pathological aggregates while sparing BMCs required for cellular functions. Numerous viruses that block SG assembly also utilize or engineer BMCs for their replication. While BMC formation first depends on prion-like disordered protein domains (PrLDs), metal ion-controlled RNA-binding domains (RBDs) also orchestrate their formation. Virus replication and viral genomic RNA (vRNA) packaging dynamics involving nucleocapsid (NC) proteins and their orthologs rely on Zinc (Zn) availability, while virus morphology and infectivity are negatively influenced by excess Copper (Cu). While virus infections modify physiological metal homeostasis towards an increased copper to zinc ratio (Cu/Zn), how and why they do this remains elusive. Following our recent finding that pan-retroviruses employ Zn for NC-mediated LLPS for virus assembly, we present a pan-virus bioinformatics and literature meta-analysis study identifying metal-based mechanisms linking virus-induced BMCs to neurodegenerative disease processes. We discover that conserved degree and placement of PrLDs juxtaposing metal-regulated RBDs are associated with disease-causing prion-like proteins and are common features of viral proteins responsible for virus capsid assembly and structure. Virus infections both modulate gene expression of metalloproteins and interfere with metal homeostasis, representing an additional virus strategy impeding physiological and cellular antiviral responses. Our analyses reveal that metal-coordinated virus NC protein PrLDs initiate LLPS that nucleate pan-virus assembly and contribute to their persistence as cell-free infectious aerosol droplets. Virus aerosol droplets and insoluble neurological disease aggregates should be eliminated by physiological or environmental metals that outcompete PrLD-bound metals. While environmental metals can control virus spreading via aerosol droplets, therapeutic interference with metals or metalloproteins represent additional attractive avenues against pan-virus infection and virus-exacerbated neurological diseases.


Subject(s)
Copper/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Prions/metabolism , Zinc/metabolism , Computational Biology , Meta-Analysis as Topic , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Neurodegenerative Diseases/virology , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Prions/genetics , Protein Domains , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism
14.
Nat Cell Biol ; 23(7): 718-732, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1303773

ABSTRACT

Patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 exhibit low expression of interferon-stimulated genes, contributing to a limited antiviral response. Uncovering the underlying mechanism of innate immune suppression and rescuing the innate antiviral response remain urgent issues in the current pandemic. Here we identified that the dimerization domain of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (SARS2-NP) is required for SARS2-NP to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation with RNA, which inhibits Lys63-linked poly-ubiquitination and aggregation of MAVS and thereby suppresses the innate antiviral immune response. Mice infected with an RNA virus carrying SARS2-NP exhibited reduced innate immunity, an increased viral load and high morbidity. Notably, we identified SARS2-NP acetylation at Lys375 by host acetyltransferase and reported frequently occurring acetylation-mimicking mutations of Lys375, all of which impaired SARS2-NP liquid-liquid phase separation with RNA. Importantly, a peptide targeting the dimerization domain was screened out to disrupt the SARS2-NP liquid-liquid phase separation and demonstrated to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and rescue innate antiviral immunity both in vitro and in vivo.


Subject(s)
Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Immunity, Innate/physiology , Mice , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , RNA Viruses/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
15.
Int Immunopharmacol ; 96: 107797, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300822

ABSTRACT

Specific antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 structural protein have a wide range of effects in the diagnose, prevention and treatment of the COVID-19 epidemic. Among them, egg yolk immunoglobulin Y (IgY), which has high safety, high yield, and without inducing antibody-dependent enhancement, is an important biological candidate. In this study, specific IgY against the conservative nucleocapsid protein (NP) of SARS-CoV-2 was obtained by immunizing hens. Through a series of optimized precipitation and ultrafiltration extraction schemes, its purity was increased to 98%. The hyperimmune IgY against NP (N-IgY) at a titer of 1:50,000 showed strong NP binding ability, which laid the foundation of N-IgY's application targeting NP. In an in vitro immunoregulatory study, N-IgY (1 mg/mL) modulated NP-induced immune response by alleviating type II interferon secretion stimulated by NP (20 µg/mL). In summary, N-IgY can be mass produced by achievable method, which endows it with potential value against the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies/immunology , Antiviral Agents/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulins/immunology , Immunologic Factors/immunology , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/therapy , Chickens , Drug Development , Egg Yolk/chemistry , Egg Yolk/metabolism , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulins/pharmacology , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Immunomodulation , In Vitro Techniques , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
16.
Pharmacol Res Perspect ; 9(4): e00798, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269136

ABSTRACT

Therapeutic regimens for the COVID-19 pandemics remain unmet. In this line, repurposing of existing drugs against known or predicted SARS-CoV-2 protein actions have been advanced, while natural products have also been tested. Here, we propose that p-cymene, a natural monoterpene, can act as a potential novel agent for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2-induced COVID-19 and other RNA-virus-induced diseases (influenza, rabies, Ebola). We show by extensive molecular simulations that SARS-CoV-2 C-terminal structured domain contains a nuclear localization signal (NLS), like SARS-CoV, on which p-cymene binds with low micromolar affinity, impairing nuclear translocation of this protein and inhibiting viral replication, as verified by preliminary in vitro experiments. A similar mechanism may occur in other RNA-viruses (influenza, rabies and Ebola), also verified in vitro for influenza, by interaction of p-cymene with viral nucleoproteins, and structural modification of their NLS site, weakening its interaction with importin A. This common mechanism of action renders therefore p-cymene as a possible antiviral, alone, or in combination with other agents, in a broad spectrum of RNA viruses, from SARS-CoV-2 to influenza A infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cymenes/pharmacology , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/physiology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Nucleus/metabolism , Cell Nucleus/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cymenes/chemistry , Dogs , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/drug effects , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nuclear Localization Signals , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Transport , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
17.
J Biol Chem ; 297(1): 100821, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240418

ABSTRACT

Viral proteins are known to be methylated by host protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) necessary for the viral life cycle, but it remains unknown whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) proteins are methylated. Herein, we show that PRMT1 methylates SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein at residues R95 and R177 within RGG/RG motifs, preferred PRMT target sequences. We confirmed arginine methylation of N protein by immunoblotting viral proteins extracted from SARS-CoV-2 virions isolated from cell culture. Type I PRMT inhibitor (MS023) or substitution of R95 or R177 with lysine inhibited interaction of N protein with the 5'-UTR of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA, a property required for viral packaging. We also defined the N protein interactome in HEK293 cells, which identified PRMT1 and many of its RGG/RG substrates, including the known interacting protein G3BP1 as well as other components of stress granules (SGs), which are part of the host antiviral response. Methylation of R95 regulated the ability of N protein to suppress the formation of SGs, as R95K substitution or MS023 treatment blocked N-mediated suppression of SGs. Also, the coexpression of methylarginine reader Tudor domain-containing protein 3 quenched N protein-mediated suppression of SGs in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, pretreatment of VeroE6 cells with MS023 significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 replication. Because type I PRMT inhibitors are already undergoing clinical trials for cancer treatment, inhibiting arginine methylation to target the later stages of the viral life cycle such as viral genome packaging and assembly of virions may represent an additional therapeutic application of these drugs.


Subject(s)
Arginine/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Amino Acid Motifs , COVID-19/genetics , Cytoplasmic Granules/genetics , Cytoplasmic Granules/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Methylation , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , RNA Stability , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication
18.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 529(2): 251-256, 2020 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220683

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid protein is significant in the formation of viral RNA of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), accounting for the largest proportion of viral structural proteins. Here, we report for the first time that the 11S proteasomal activator PA28γ regulates the intracellular abundance of the SARS-CoV-2 N protein (nCoV N). Furthermore, we have identified proteasome activator PA28γ as a nCoV N binding protein by co-immunoprecipitation assay. As a result of their interaction, nCoV N could be degraded by PA28γ-20S in vitro degradation assay. This was also demonstrated by blocking de novo protein synthesis with cycloheximide. The stability of nCoV N in PA28γ-knockout cells was greater than in PA28γ-wildtype cells. Notably, immunofluorescence staining revealed that knockout of the PA28γ gene in cells led to the transport of nCoV N from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Overexpression of PA28γ enhanced proteolysis of nCoV N compared to that in PA28γ-N151Y cells containing a dominant-negative PA28γ mutation, which reduced this process. These results suggest that PA28γ binding is important in regulating 20S proteasome activity, which in turn regulates levels of the critical nCoV N nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2, furthering our understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Autoantigens/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex/metabolism , Proteolysis , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , HEK293 Cells , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Binding , Protein Stability , Protein Transport , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Cells ; 10(4)2021 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178118

ABSTRACT

Research on infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) is currently restricted to BSL-3 laboratories. SARS-CoV2 virus-like particles (VLPs) offer a BSL-1, replication-incompetent system that can be used to evaluate virus assembly and virus-cell entry processes in tractable cell culture conditions. Here, we describe a SARS-CoV2 VLP system that utilizes nanoluciferase (Nluc) fragment complementation to track assembly and entry. We utilized the system in two ways. Firstly, we investigated the requirements for VLP assembly. VLPs were produced by concomitant synthesis of three viral membrane proteins, spike (S), envelope (E), and matrix (M), along with the cytoplasmic nucleocapsid (N). We discovered that VLP production and secretion were highly dependent on N proteins. N proteins from related betacoronaviruses variably substituted for the homologous SARS-CoV2 N, and chimeric betacoronavirus N proteins effectively supported VLP production if they contained SARS-CoV2 N carboxy-terminal domains (CTD). This established the CTDs as critical features of virus particle assembly. Secondly, we utilized the system by investigating virus-cell entry. VLPs were produced with Nluc peptide fragments appended to E, M, or N proteins, with each subsequently inoculated into target cells expressing complementary Nluc fragments. Complementation into functional Nluc was used to assess virus-cell entry. We discovered that each of the VLPs were effective at monitoring virus-cell entry, to various extents, in ways that depended on host cell susceptibility factors. Overall, we have developed and utilized a VLP system that has proven useful in identifying SARS-CoV2 assembly and entry features.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virion/physiology , Virus Assembly , Virus Internalization , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
20.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2114, 2021 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174670

ABSTRACT

Lack of detailed knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 infection has been hampering the development of treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we report that RNA triggers the liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein, N. By analyzing all 29 proteins of SARS-CoV-2, we find that only N is predicted as an LLPS protein. We further confirm the LLPS of N during SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among the 100,849 genome variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the GISAID database, we identify that ~37% (36,941) of the genomes contain a specific trio-nucleotide polymorphism (GGG-to-AAC) in the coding sequence of N, which leads to the amino acid substitutions, R203K/G204R. Interestingly, NR203K/G204R exhibits a higher propensity to undergo LLPS and a greater effect on IFN inhibition. By screening the chemicals known to interfere with N-RNA binding in other viruses, we find that (-)-gallocatechin gallate (GCG), a polyphenol from green tea, disrupts the LLPS of N and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication. Thus, our study reveals that targeting N-RNA condensation with GCG could be a potential treatment for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution/drug effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Catechin/analogs & derivatives , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , COVID-19/virology , Catechin/pharmacology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Liquid-Liquid Extraction , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
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