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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 829474, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers host kinases and is responsible for heavy phosphorylation in the host and also in the virus. Notably, phosphorylations in virus were achieved using the host enzyme for its better survival and further mutations. We have attempted to study and understand the changes that happened in phosphorylation during and post SARS-CoV-2 infection. There were about 70 phosphorylation sites detected in SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins including N, M, S, 3a, and 9b. Furthermore, more than 15,000 host phosphorylation sites were observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. SARS-CoV-2 affects several kinases including CMGC, CK2, CDK, PKC, PIKFYVE, and EIF2AK2. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 regulates various signaling pathways including MAPK, GFR signaling, TGF-ß, autophagy, and AKT. These elevated kinases and signaling pathways can be potential therapeutic targets for anti-COVID-19 drug discovery. Specific inhibitors of these kinases and interconnected signaling proteins have great potential to cure COVID-19 patients and slow down the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Autophagy/drug effects , Humans , Signal Transduction/drug effects
2.
Inflammation ; 45(1): 172-179, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474041

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (COVID-19) is associated with uncontrolled inflammatory responses. Loss of pulmonary angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) function has been associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aberrant signalling and dysregulated inflammation characteristic of lung cancer have marked similarities with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Spearman's correlation analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets indicated an inverse correlation between ACE2 and IL6 in lung adenocarcinoma. qRT-PCR analysis revealed CoV-2-SRBD-mediated diminished ACE2 expression in lung cancer cells that was concomitant with increased IL6 expression. Western blot and qRT-PCR analysis suggested that treatment with methotrexate (MTx) dampened CoV-2-SRBD-mediated increase in JAK1/STAT3 phosphorylation, gp130, IL6, and folate-binding protein (FBP) expressions. MTx also rescued the diminished expression of ACE2 in CoV-2-SRBD transfected cells. As lung tissue injury in severely affected COVID-19 patients is characterised by aberrant inflammatory response, repurposing MTx as an effective therapy against critical regulators of inflammation in SARS-CoV-2 infection warrants investigation.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Glycyrrhizic Acid/therapeutic use , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Interleukin-6/biosynthesis , Methotrexate/therapeutic use , A549 Cells , Adenocarcinoma of Lung/pathology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line, Tumor , Cytokine Receptor gp130/biosynthesis , Folate Receptor 2/biosynthesis , HMGB1 Protein/antagonists & inhibitors , HMGB1 Protein/metabolism , Humans , Interleukin-6/immunology , Janus Kinase 1/metabolism , Lung Neoplasms/pathology , Phosphorylation/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , STAT3 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
Molecules ; 26(20)2021 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470935

ABSTRACT

Excessive host inflammation following infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with severity and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recently reported that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 subunit (S1) induces pro-inflammatory responses by activating toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling in macrophages. A standardized extract of Asparagus officinalis stem (EAS) is a unique functional food that elicits anti-photoaging effects by suppressing pro-inflammatory signaling in hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet B-exposed skin fibroblasts. To elucidate its potential in preventing excessive inflammation in COVID-19, we examined the effects of EAS on pro-inflammatory responses in S1-stimulated macrophages. Murine peritoneal exudate macrophages were co-treated with EAS and S1. Concentrations and mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Expression and phosphorylation levels of signaling proteins were analyzed using western blotting and fluorescence immunomicroscopy. EAS significantly attenuated S1-induced secretion of interleukin (IL)-6 in a concentration-dependent manner without reducing cell viability. EAS also markedly suppressed the S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1ß. However, among the TLR4 signaling proteins, EAS did not affect the degradation of inhibitor κBα, nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-κB p65 subunit, and phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase p54 subunit after S1 exposure. In contrast, EAS significantly suppressed S1-induced phosphorylation of p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt. Attenuation of S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1ß by the MAPK kinase inhibitor U0126 was greater than that by the Akt inhibitor perifosine, and the effects were potentiated by simultaneous treatment with both inhibitors. These results suggest that EAS attenuates S1-induced IL-6 and IL-1ß production by suppressing p44/42 MAPK and Akt signaling in macrophages. Therefore, EAS may be beneficial in regulating excessive inflammation in patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Asparagus Plant/chemistry , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Macrophages/drug effects , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Animals , Asparagus Plant/metabolism , Butadienes/pharmacology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Interleukin-1beta/genetics , Interleukin-6/genetics , Macrophages/cytology , Macrophages/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1/antagonists & inhibitors , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1/metabolism , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3/antagonists & inhibitors , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Plant Extracts/chemistry , Plant Stems/chemistry , Plant Stems/metabolism , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/antagonists & inhibitors , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects
4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(42)2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447424

ABSTRACT

The coronaviruses responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV, and other coronavirus infections express a nucleocapsid protein (N) that is essential for viral replication, transcription, and virion assembly. Phosphorylation of N from SARS-CoV by glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is required for its function and inhibition of GSK-3 with lithium impairs N phosphorylation, viral transcription, and replication. Here we report that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein contains GSK-3 consensus sequences and that this motif is conserved in diverse coronaviruses, raising the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may be sensitive to GSK-3 inhibitors, including lithium. We conducted a retrospective analysis of lithium use in patients from three major health systems who were PCR-tested for SARS-CoV-2. We found that patients taking lithium have a significantly reduced risk of COVID-19 (odds ratio = 0.51 [0.35-0.74], P = 0.005). We also show that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein is phosphorylated by GSK-3. Knockout of GSK3A and GSK3B demonstrates that GSK-3 is essential for N phosphorylation. Alternative GSK-3 inhibitors block N phosphorylation and impair replication in SARS-CoV-2 infected lung epithelial cells in a cell-type-dependent manner. Targeting GSK-3 may therefore provide an approach to treat COVID-19 and future coronavirus outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3/antagonists & inhibitors , Lithium Compounds/therapeutic use , Adult , Aged , Female , Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lithium Compounds/pharmacology , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Retrospective Studies
5.
Cells ; 10(9)2021 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403545

ABSTRACT

Stroke is the third leading cause of mortality in women and it kills twice as many women as breast cancer. A key role in the pathophysiology of stroke plays the disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) within the neurovascular unit. While estrogen induces vascular protective actions, its influence on stroke remains unclear. Moreover, experiments assessing its impact on endothelial cells to induce barrier integrity are non-conclusive. Since pericytes play an active role in regulating BBB integrity and function, we hypothesize that estradiol may influence BBB by regulating their activity. In this study using human brain vascular pericytes (HBVPs) we investigated the impact of estradiol on key pericyte functions known to influence BBB integrity. HBVPs expressed estrogen receptors (ER-α, ER-ß and GPER) and treatment with estradiol (10 nM) inhibited basal cell migration but not proliferation. Since pericyte migration is a hallmark for BBB disruption following injury, infection and inflammation, we investigated the effects of estradiol on TNFα-induced PC migration. Importantly, estradiol prevented TNFα-induced pericyte migration and this effect was mimicked by PPT (ER-α agonist) and DPN (ER-ß agonist), but not by G1 (GPR30 agonist). The modulatory effects of estradiol were abrogated by MPP and PHTPP, selective ER-α and ER-ß antagonists, respectively, confirming the role of ER-α and ER-ß in mediating the anti-migratory actions of estrogen. To delineate the intracellular mechanisms mediating the inhibitory actions of estradiol on PC migration, we investigated the role of AKT and MAPK activation. While estradiol consistently reduced the TNFα-induced MAPK and Akt phosphorylation, only the inhibition of MAPK, but not Akt, significantly abrogated the migratory actions of TNFα. In transendothelial electrical resistance measurements, estradiol induced barrier function (TEER) in human brain microvascular endothelial cells co-cultured with pericytes, but not in HBMECs cultured alone. Importantly, transcriptomics analysis of genes modulated by estradiol in pericytes showed downregulation of genes known to increase cell migration and upregulation of genes known to inhibit cell migration. Taken together, our findings provide the first evidence that estradiol modulates pericyte activity and thereby improves endothelial integrity.


Subject(s)
Brain/blood supply , Cell Movement/drug effects , Estradiol/pharmacology , Gene Expression Profiling , Pericytes/cytology , Cell Movement/genetics , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism , Pericytes/drug effects , Pericytes/metabolism , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Receptors, Estrogen/metabolism , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
6.
FASEB J ; 35(9): e21870, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373669

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is often characterized by dysregulated inflammatory and immune responses. It has been shown that the Traditional Chinese Medicine formulation Qing-Fei-Pai-Du decoction (QFPDD) is effective in the treatment of the disease, especially for patients in the early stage. Our network pharmacology analyses indicated that many inflammation and immune-related molecules were the targets of the active components of QFPDD, which propelled us to examine the effects of the decoction on inflammation. We found in the present study that QFPDD effectively alleviated dextran sulfate sodium-induced intestinal inflammation in mice. It inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNFα, and promoted the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 by macrophagic cells. Further investigations found that QFPDD and one of its active components wogonoside markedly reduced LPS-stimulated phosphorylation of transcription factor ATF2, an important regulator of multiple cytokines expression. Our data revealed that both QFPDD and wogonoside decreased the half-life of ATF2 and promoted its proteasomal degradation. Of note, QFPDD and wogonoside down-regulated deubiquitinating enzyme USP14 along with inducing ATF2 degradation. Inhibition of USP14 with the small molecular inhibitor IU1 also led to the decrease of ATF2 in the cells, indicating that QFPDD and wogonoside may act through regulating USP14 to promote ATF2 degradation. To further assess the importance of ubiquitination in regulating ATF2, we generated mice that were intestinal-specific KLHL5 deficiency, a CUL3-interacting protein participating in substrate recognition of E3s. In these mice, QFPDD mitigated inflammatory reaction in the spleen, but not intestinal inflammation, suggesting CUL3-KLHL5 may function as an E3 for ATF2 degradation.


Subject(s)
Activating Transcription Factor 2/metabolism , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/pharmacology , Flavanones/pharmacology , Glucosides/pharmacology , Inflammation/drug therapy , Proteolysis/drug effects , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/deficiency , Animals , Cell Line , Colitis/chemically induced , Colitis/drug therapy , Cullin Proteins/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Dextran Sulfate/pharmacology , Dextran Sulfate/therapeutic use , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/therapeutic use , Flavanones/therapeutic use , Glucosides/therapeutic use , Inflammation/chemically induced , Macrophages/drug effects , Macrophages/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex/drug effects , Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex/metabolism , Pyrroles/pharmacology , Pyrrolidines/pharmacology , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/antagonists & inhibitors , Ubiquitination
7.
J Ethnopharmacol ; 271: 113854, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1049827

ABSTRACT

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Since the occurrence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China in December 2019, COVID-19 has been quickly spreading out to other provinces and countries. Considering that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) played an important role during outbreak of SARS and H1N1, finding potential alternative approaches for COVID-19 treatment is necessary before vaccines are developed. According to previous studies, Maxing Shigan decoction (MXSGD) present a prominent antivirus effect and is often used to treat pulmonary diseases. Furthermore, we collected 115 open prescriptions for COVID-19 therapy from the National Health Commission, State Administration of TCM and other organizations, MXSGD was identified as the key formula. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of MXSGD against COVID-19 is still unknown. AIM OF THE STUDY: The present study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic mechanism of MXSGD against COVID-19 by network pharmacology and in vitro experiment verification, and screen the potential components which could bind to key targets of COVID-19 via molecular docking method. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiple open-source databases related to TCM or compounds were employed to screen active ingredients and potential targets of MXSGD. Network pharmacology analysis methods were used to initially predict the antivirus and anti-inflammatory effects of MXSGD against COVID-19. IL-6 induced rat lung epithelial type Ⅱ cells (RLE-6TN) damage was established to explore the anti-inflammatory damage activity of MXSGD. After MXSGD intervention, the expression level of related proteins and their phosphorylation in the IL-6 mediated JAK-STAT signaling pathway were detected by Western blot. Molecular docking technique was used to further identify the potential substances which could bind to three key targets (ACE2, Mpro and RdRp) of COVID-19. RESULTS: In this study, 105 active ingredients and 1025 candidate targets were selected for MXSGD, 83 overlapping targets related to MXSGD and COVID-19 were identified, and the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of MXSGD against COVID-19 was constructed. According to the results of biological enrichment analysis, 63 significant KEGG pathways were enriched, and most of them were related to signal transduction, immune system and virus infection. Furthermore, according the relationship between signal pathways, we confirmed MXSGD could effectively inhibit IL-6 mediated JAK-STAT signal pathway related protein expression level, decreased the protein expression levels of p-JAK2, p-STAT3, Bax and Caspase 3, and increased the protein expression level of Bcl-2, thereby inhibiting RLE-6TN cells damage. In addition, according to the LibDock scores screening results, the components with strong potential affinity (Top 10) with ACE2, Mpro and RdRp are mainly from glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese name: Gancao) and semen armeniacae amarum (Chinese name: Kuxingren). Among them, amygdalin was selected as the optimal candidate component bind to all three key targets, and euchrenone, glycyrrhizin, and glycyrol also exhibited superior affinity interactions with ACE2, Mpro and RdRp, respectively. CONCLUSION: This work explained the positive characteristics of multi-component, multi-target, and multi-approach intervention with MXSGD in combating COVID-19, and preliminary revealed the antiviral and anti-inflammatory pharmacodynamic substances and mechanism of MXSGD, which might provide insights into the vital role of TCM in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemistry , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Computational Biology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/chemistry , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/therapeutic use , Humans , Interleukin-6/immunology , Janus Kinases/metabolism , Medicine, Chinese Traditional/methods , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Protein Interaction Maps/drug effects , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Rats , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , STAT Transcription Factors/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Signal Transduction/immunology
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