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Eur J Immunol ; 52(1): 138-148, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479399


The interferon pathway, a key antiviral defense mechanism, is being considered as a therapeutic target in COVID-19. Both, substitution of interferon and JAK/STAT inhibition to limit cytokine storms have been proposed. However, little is known about possible abnormalities in STAT signaling in immune cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection. We investigated downstream targets of interferon signaling, including STAT1, STAT2, pSTAT1 and 2, and IRF1, 7 and 9 by flow cytometry in 30 patients with COVID-19, 17 with mild, and 13 with severe infection. We report upregulation of STAT1 and IRF9 in mild and severe COVID-19 cases, which correlated with the IFN-signature assessed by Siglec-1 (CD169) expression on peripheral monocytes. Interestingly, Siglec-1 and STAT1 in CD14+ monocytes and plasmablasts showed lower expression among severe cases compared to mild cases. Contrary to the baseline STAT1 expression, the phosphorylation of STAT1 was enhanced in severe COVID-19 cases, indicating a dysbalanced JAK/STAT signaling that fails to induce transcription of interferon stimulated response elements (ISRE). This abnormality persisted after IFN-α and IFN-γ stimulation of PBMCs from patients with severe COVID-19. Data suggest impaired STAT1 transcriptional upregulation among severely infected patients may represent a potential predictive biomarker and would allow stratification of patients for certain interferon-pathway targeted treatments.

COVID-19/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , STAT1 Transcription Factor/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Up-Regulation/immunology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factors/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Phosphorylation/immunology
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253089, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282298


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a devastating global pandemic, infecting over 43 million people and claiming over 1 million lives, with these numbers increasing daily. Therefore, there is urgent need to understand the molecular mechanisms governing SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, immune evasion, and disease progression. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 can block IRF3 and NF-κB activation early during virus infection. We also identify that the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins NSP1 and NSP13 can block interferon activation via distinct mechanisms. NSP1 antagonizes interferon signaling by suppressing host mRNA translation, while NSP13 downregulates interferon and NF-κB promoter signaling by limiting TBK1 and IRF3 activation, as phospho-TBK1 and phospho-IRF3 protein levels are reduced with increasing levels of NSP13 protein expression. NSP13 can also reduce NF-κB activation by both limiting NF-κB phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. Last, we also show that NSP13 binds to TBK1 and downregulates IFIT1 protein expression. Collectively, these data illustrate that SARS-CoV-2 bypasses multiple innate immune activation pathways through distinct mechanisms.

Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Nucleus/immunology , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/immunology , RNA-Binding Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/genetics , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/immunology , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Cell Nucleus/genetics , HeLa Cells , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Phosphorylation/genetics , Phosphorylation/immunology , /immunology , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics