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1.
Viruses ; 14(7)2022 Jul 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1964117

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 infection generates up to nine different sub-genomic mRNAs (sgRNAs), in addition to the genomic RNA (gRNA). The 5'UTR of each viral mRNA shares the first 75 nucleotides (nt.) at their 5'end, called the leader, but differentiates by a variable sequence (0 to 190 nt. long) that follows the leader. As a result, each viral mRNA has its own specific 5'UTR in term of length, RNA structure, uORF and Kozak context; each one of these characteristics could affect mRNA expression. In this study, we have measured and compared translational efficiency of each of the ten viral transcripts. Our data show that most of them are very efficiently translated in all translational systems tested. Surprisingly, the gRNA 5'UTR, which is the longest and the most structured, was also the most efficient to initiate translation. This property is conserved in the 5'UTR of SARS-CoV-1 but not in MERS-CoV strain, mainly due to the regulation imposed by the uORF. Interestingly, the translation initiation mechanism on the SARS-CoV-2 gRNA 5'UTR requires the cap structure and the components of the eIF4F complex but showed no dependence in the presence of the poly(A) tail in vitro. Our data strongly suggest that translation initiation on SARS-CoV-2 mRNAs occurs via an unusual cap-dependent mechanism.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Guide , 5' Untranslated Regions , Genomics , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(32): e2204539119, 2022 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960627

ABSTRACT

Viruses evade the innate immune response by suppressing the production or activity of cytokines such as type I interferons (IFNs). Here we report the discovery of a mechanism by which the SARS-CoV-2 virus coopts an intrinsic cellular machinery to suppress the production of the key immunostimulatory cytokine IFN-ß. We reveal that the SARS-CoV-2 encoded nonstructural protein 2 (NSP2) directly interacts with the cellular GIGYF2 protein. This interaction enhances the binding of GIGYF2 to the mRNA cap-binding protein 4EHP, thereby repressing the translation of the Ifnb1 mRNA. Depletion of GIGYF2 or 4EHP significantly enhances IFN-ß production, which inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our findings reveal a target for rescuing the antiviral innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and other RNA viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carrier Proteins , Interferon Type I , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , COVID-19/genetics , Carrier Proteins/metabolism , Cell Line , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E/metabolism , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
3.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 50(14): 8080-8092, 2022 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1948397

ABSTRACT

Translation of SARS-CoV-2-encoded mRNAs by the host ribosomes is essential for its propagation. Following infection, the early expressed viral protein NSP1 binds the ribosome, represses translation, and induces mRNA degradation, while the host elicits an anti-viral response. The mechanisms enabling viral mRNAs to escape this multifaceted repression remain obscure. Here we show that expression of NSP1 leads to destabilization of multi-exon cellular mRNAs, while intron-less transcripts, such as viral mRNAs and anti-viral interferon genes, remain relatively stable. We identified a conserved and precisely located cap-proximal RNA element devoid of guanosines that confers resistance to NSP1-mediated translation inhibition. Importantly, the primary sequence rather than the secondary structure is critical for protection. We further show that the genomic 5'UTR of SARS-CoV-2 drives cap-independent translation and promotes expression of NSP1 in an eIF4E-independent and Torin1-resistant manner. Upon expression, NSP1 further enhances cap-independent translation. However, the sub-genomic 5'UTRs are highly sensitive to eIF4E availability, rendering viral propagation partially sensitive to Torin1. We conclude that the combined NSP1-mediated degradation of spliced mRNAs and translation inhibition of single-exon genes, along with the unique features present in the viral 5'UTRs, ensure robust expression of viral mRNAs. These features can be exploited as potential therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , 5' Untranslated Regions , Base Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E/genetics , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
5.
J Virol ; 96(1): e0169521, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816694

ABSTRACT

The replication of coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is closely associated with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of infected cells. The unfolded protein response (UPR), which is mediated by ER stress (ERS), is a typical outcome in coronavirus-infected cells and is closely associated with the characteristics of coronaviruses. However, the interaction between virus-induced ERS and coronavirus replication is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that infection with the betacoronavirus porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV) induced ERS and triggered all three branches of the UPR signaling pathway both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, ERS suppressed PHEV replication in mouse neuro-2a (N2a) cells primarily by activating the protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK)-eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) axis of the UPR. Moreover, another eIF2α phosphorylation kinase, interferon (IFN)-induced double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), was also activated and acted cooperatively with PERK to decrease PHEV replication. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the PERK/PKR-eIF2α pathways negatively regulated PHEV replication by attenuating global protein translation. Phosphorylated eIF2α also promoted the formation of stress granules (SGs), which in turn repressed PHEV replication. In summary, our study presents a vital aspect of the host innate response to invading pathogens and reveals attractive host targets (e.g., PERK, PKR, and eIF2α) for antiviral drugs. IMPORTANCE Coronavirus diseases are caused by different coronaviruses of importance in humans and animals, and specific treatments are extremely limited. ERS, which can activate the UPR to modulate viral replication and the host innate response, is a frequent occurrence in coronavirus-infected cells. PHEV, a neurotropic betacoronavirus, causes nerve cell damage, which accounts for the high mortality rates in suckling piglets. However, it remains incompletely understood whether the highly developed ER in nerve cells plays an antiviral role in ERS and how ERS regulates viral proliferation. In this study, we found that PHEV infection induced ERS and activated the UPR both in vitro and in vivo and that the activated PERK/PKR-eIF2α axis inhibited PHEV replication through attenuating global protein translation and promoting SG formation. A better understanding of coronavirus-induced ERS and UPR activation may reveal the pathogenic mechanism of coronavirus and facilitate the development of new treatment strategies for these diseases.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus 1/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2/metabolism , Virus Replication/physiology , eIF-2 Kinase/metabolism , Animals , Betacoronavirus 1/metabolism , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Endoplasmic Reticulum/ultrastructure , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , Mice , Phosphorylation , Protein Biosynthesis , Signal Transduction , Unfolded Protein Response
6.
FEBS Lett ; 596(9): 1203-1213, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1798052

ABSTRACT

Nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1) of SARS-CoV-2 inhibits host cell translation through an interaction between its C-terminal domain and the 40S ribosome. The N-terminal domain (NTD) of Nsp1 is a target of recurring deletions, some of which are associated with altered COVID-19 disease progression. Here, we characterize the efficiency of translational inhibition by clinically observed Nsp1 deletion variants. We show that a frequent deletion of residues 79-89 severely reduces the ability of Nsp1 to inhibit translation while not abrogating Nsp1 binding to the 40S. Notably, while the SARS-CoV-2 5' untranslated region enhances translation of mRNA, it does not protect from Nsp1-mediated inhibition. Finally, thermal stability measurements and structure predictions reveal a correlation between stability of the NTD and the efficiency of translation inhibition.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis , Ribosomes/genetics , Ribosomes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
7.
Cells ; 11(7)2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785535

ABSTRACT

Sarcopenia is a common complication affecting liver disease patients, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We aimed to elucidate the cellular mechanisms that drive sarcopenia progression using an in vitro model of liver disease. C2C12 myotubes were serum and amino acid starved for 1-h and subsequently conditioned with fasted ex vivo serum from four non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients (NAFLD), four decompensated end-stage liver disease patients (ESLD) and four age-matched healthy controls (CON) for 4- or 24-h. After 4-h C2C12 myotubes were treated with an anabolic stimulus (5 mM leucine) for 30-min. Myotube diameter was reduced following treatment with serum from ESLD compared with CON (-45%) and NAFLD (-35%; p < 0.001 for both). A reduction in maximal mitochondrial respiration (24% and 29%, respectively), coupling efficiency (~12%) and mitophagy (~13%) was identified in myotubes conditioned with NAFLD and ESLD serum compared with CON (p < 0.05 for both). Myostatin (43%, p = 0.04) and MuRF-1 (41%, p = 0.03) protein content was elevated in myotubes treated with ESLD serum compared with CON. Here we highlight a novel, experimental platform to further probe changes in circulating markers associated with liver disease that may drive sarcopenia and develop targeted therapeutic interventions.


Subject(s)
End Stage Liver Disease , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease , Sarcopenia , Humans , Muscle Fibers, Skeletal , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/complications , Protein Biosynthesis , Sarcopenia/complications
8.
J Virol ; 96(7): e0013622, 2022 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745828

ABSTRACT

Viruses have evolved diverse strategies to hijack the cellular gene expression system for their replication. The poly(A) binding proteins (PABPs), a family of critical gene expression factors, are viruses' common targets. PABPs act not only as a translation factor but also as a key factor of mRNA metabolism. During viral infections, the activities of PABPs are manipulated by various viruses, subverting the host translation machinery or evading the cellular antiviral defense mechanism. Viruses harness PABPs by modifying their stability, complex formation with other translation initiation factors, or subcellular localization to promote viral mRNAs translation while shutting off or competing with host protein synthesis. For the past decade, many studies have demonstrated the PABPs' roles during viral infection. This review summarizes a comprehensive perspective of PABPs' roles during viral infection and how viruses evade host antiviral defense through the manipulations of PABPs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Host Microbial Interactions , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents , Humans , Poly(A)-Binding Proteins/genetics , Poly(A)-Binding Proteins/immunology , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
9.
RNA ; 28(5): 729-741, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1724733

ABSTRACT

The 5'UTR part of coronavirus genomes plays key roles in the viral replication cycle and translation of viral mRNAs. The first 75-80 nt, also called the leader sequence, are identical for genomic mRNA and subgenomic mRNAs. Recently, it was shown that cooperative actions of a 5'UTR segment and the nonstructural protein NSP1 are essential for both the inhibition of host mRNAs and for specific translation of viral mRNAs. Here, sequence analyses of both the 5'UTR RNA segment and the NSP1 protein have been done for several coronaviruses, with special attention to the betacoronaviruses. The conclusions are: (i) precise specific molecular signatures can be found in both the RNA and the NSP1 protein; (ii) both types of signatures correlate between each other. Indeed, definite sequence motifs in the RNA correlate with sequence motifs in the protein, indicating a coevolution between the 5'UTR and NSP1 in betacoronaviruses. Experimental mutational data on 5'UTR and NSP1 from SARS-CoV-2 using cell-free translation extracts support these conclusions and show that some conserved key residues in the amino-terminal half of the NSP1 protein are essential for evasion to the inhibitory effect of NSP1 on translation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , 5' Untranslated Regions , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
10.
J Vis Exp ; (180)2022 Feb 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715854

ABSTRACT

RNA adopts diverse structural folds, which are essential for its functions and thereby can impact diverse processes in the cell. In addition, the structure and function of an RNA can be modulated by various trans-acting factors, such as proteins, metabolites or other RNAs. Frameshifting RNA molecules, for instance, are regulatory RNAs located in coding regions, which direct translating ribosomes into an alternative open reading frame, and thereby act as gene switches. They may also adopt different folds after binding to proteins or other trans-factors. To dissect the role of RNA-binding proteins in translation and how they modulate RNA structure and stability, it is crucial to study the interplay and mechanical features of these RNA-protein complexes simultaneously. This work illustrates how to employ single-molecule-fluorescence-coupled optical tweezers to explore the conformational and thermodynamic landscape of RNA-protein complexes at a high resolution. As an example, the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 programmed ribosomal frameshifting element with the trans-acting factor short isoform of zinc-finger antiviral protein is elaborated. In addition, fluorescence-labeled ribosomes were monitored using the confocal unit, which would ultimately enable the study of translation elongation. The fluorescence coupled OT assay can be widely applied to explore diverse RNA-protein complexes or trans-acting factors regulating translation and could facilitate studies of RNA-based gene regulation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Optical Tweezers , Humans , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Biophys Chem ; 285: 106780, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1693833

ABSTRACT

Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) serve as blueprints for protein synthesis by the molecular machine the ribosome. The ribosome relies on hydrogen bonding interactions between adaptor aminoacyl-transfer RNA molecules and mRNAs to ensure the rapid and faithful translation of the genetic code into protein. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that chemical modifications to mRNA nucleosides impact the speed and accuracy of protein synthesis by the ribosome. Modulations in translation rates have downstream effects beyond protein production, influencing protein folding and mRNA stability. Given the prevalence of such modifications in mRNA coding regions, it is imperative to understand the consequences of individual modifications on translation. In this review we present the current state of our knowledge regarding how individual mRNA modifications influence ribosome function. Our comprehensive comparison of the impacts of 16 different mRNA modifications on translation reveals that most modifications can alter the elongation step in the protein synthesis pathway. Additionally, we discuss the context dependence of these effects, highlighting the necessity of further study to uncover the rules that govern how any given chemical modification in an mRNA codon is read by the ribosome.


Subject(s)
Peptide Chain Elongation, Translational , Protein Biosynthesis , Codon/analysis , Codon/metabolism , Proteins/metabolism , RNA Stability , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Ribosomes/chemistry , Ribosomes/genetics , Ribosomes/metabolism
12.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(9)2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684241

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly pathogenic virus that evades antiviral immunity by interfering with host protein synthesis, mRNA stability, and protein trafficking. The SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1) uses its C-terminal domain to block the messenger RNA (mRNA) entry channel of the 40S ribosome to inhibit host protein synthesis. However, how SARS-CoV-2 circumvents Nsp1-mediated suppression for viral protein synthesis and if the mechanism can be targeted therapeutically remain unclear. Here, we show that N- and C-terminal domains of Nsp1 coordinate to drive a tuned ratio of viral to host translation, likely to maintain a certain level of host fitness while maximizing replication. We reveal that the stem-loop 1 (SL1) region of the SARS-CoV-2 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) is necessary and sufficient to evade Nsp1-mediated translational suppression. Targeting SL1 with locked nucleic acid antisense oligonucleotides inhibits viral translation and makes SARS-CoV-2 5' UTR vulnerable to Nsp1 suppression, hindering viral replication in vitro at a nanomolar concentration, as well as providing protection against SARS-CoV-2-induced lethality in transgenic mice expressing human ACE2. Thus, SL1 allows Nsp1 to switch infected cells from host to SARS-CoV-2 translation, presenting a therapeutic target against COVID-19 that is conserved among immune-evasive variants. This unique strategy of unleashing a virus' own virulence mechanism against itself could force a critical trade-off between drug resistance and pathogenicity.


Subject(s)
5' Untranslated Regions/genetics , Immune Evasion/genetics , Protein Biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Animals , Base Sequence , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Immune Evasion/drug effects , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Biological , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/pharmacology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
13.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(1): e1009804, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637205

ABSTRACT

Nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a 180-residue protein that blocks translation of host mRNAs in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Although it is known that SARS-CoV-2's own RNA evades nsp1's host translation shutoff, the molecular mechanism underlying the evasion was poorly understood. We performed an extended ensemble molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the mechanism of the viral RNA evasion. Simulation results suggested that the stem loop structure of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA 5'-untranslated region (SL1) binds to both nsp1's N-terminal globular region and intrinsically disordered region. The consistency of the results was assessed by modeling nsp1-40S ribosome structure based on reported nsp1 experiments, including the X-ray crystallographic structure analysis, the cryo-EM electron density map, and cross-linking experiments. The SL1 binding region predicted from the simulation was open to the solvent, yet the ribosome could interact with SL1. Cluster analysis of the binding mode and detailed analysis of the binding poses suggest residues Arg124, Lys47, Arg43, and Asn126 may be involved in the SL1 recognition mechanism, consistent with the existing mutational analysis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Untranslated Regions/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Computational Biology , Humans , Models, Genetic , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24442, 2021 12 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1577650

ABSTRACT

Therapeutic interventions targeting viral infections remain a significant challenge for both the medical and scientific communities. While specific antiviral agents have shown success as therapeutics, viral resistance inevitably develops, making many of these approaches ineffective. This inescapable obstacle warrants alternative approaches, such as the targeting of host cellular factors. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the major respiratory pathogen of infants and children worldwide, causes respiratory tract infection ranging from mild upper respiratory tract symptoms to severe life-threatening lower respiratory tract disease. Despite the fact that the molecular biology of the virus, which was originally discovered in 1956, is well described, there is no vaccine or effective antiviral treatment against RSV infection. Here, we demonstrate that targeting host factors, specifically, mTOR signaling, reduces RSV protein production and generation of infectious progeny virus. Further, we show that this approach can be generalizable as inhibition of mTOR kinases reduces coronavirus gene expression, mRNA transcription and protein production. Overall, defining virus replication-dependent host functions may be an effective means to combat viral infections, particularly in the absence of antiviral drugs.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus/metabolism , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/metabolism , TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , A549 Cells , Coronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral/drug effects , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , Rapamycin-Insensitive Companion of mTOR Protein/antagonists & inhibitors , Rapamycin-Insensitive Companion of mTOR Protein/genetics , Rapamycin-Insensitive Companion of mTOR Protein/metabolism , Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR/antagonists & inhibitors , Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR/genetics , Regulatory-Associated Protein of mTOR/metabolism , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/pathology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/drug effects , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/isolation & purification , TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
15.
Antiviral Res ; 197: 105232, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588314

ABSTRACT

We report the in vitro antiviral activity of DZNep (3-Deazaneplanocin A; an inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methyltransferase) against SARS-CoV-2, besides demonstrating its protective efficacy against lethal infection of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV, a member of the Coronaviridae family). DZNep treatment resulted in reduced synthesis of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and proteins without affecting other steps of viral life cycle. We demonstrated that deposition of N6-methyl adenosine (m6A) in SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the infected cells recruits heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNPA1), an RNA binding protein which serves as a m6A reader. DZNep inhibited the recruitment of hnRNPA1 at m6A-modified SARS-CoV-2 RNA which eventually suppressed the synthesis of the viral genome. In addition, m6A-marked RNA and hnRNPA1 interaction was also shown to regulate early translation to replication switch of SARS-CoV-2 genome. Furthermore, abrogation of methylation by DZNep also resulted in defective synthesis of the 5' cap of viral RNA, thereby resulting in its failure to interact with eIF4E (a cap-binding protein), eventually leading to a decreased synthesis of viral proteins. Most importantly, DZNep-resistant mutants could not be observed upon long-term sequential passage of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture. In summary, we report the novel role of methylation in the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 and propose that targeting the methylome using DZNep could be of significant therapeutic value against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Genome, Viral/drug effects , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine/pharmacology , Animals , Chick Embryo , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing , DNA Methylation/drug effects , DNA Methylation/physiology , Drug Resistance, Viral/drug effects , Genome, Viral/genetics , Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein A1/metabolism , Humans , Lethal Dose 50 , Mice , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , RNA, Viral/drug effects , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects , Vero Cells
16.
Acc Chem Res ; 55(1): 24-34, 2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1569196

ABSTRACT

Over just the last 2 years, mRNA therapeutics and vaccines have undergone a rapid transition from an intriguing concept to real-world impact. However, whereas some aspects of mRNA therapeutics, such as the use of chemical modifications to increase stability and reduce immunogenicity, have been extensively optimized for over two decades, other aspects, particularly the selection and design of the noncoding leader and trailer sequences which control translation efficiency and stability, have received comparably less attention. In practice, such 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) are often borrowed from highly expressed human genes with few or no modifications, as in the case for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine. Focusing on the 5'UTR, we here argue that model-driven design is a promising alternative that provides unprecedented control over 5'UTR function. We review recent work that combines synthetic biology with machine learning to build quantitative models that relate ribosome loading, and thus translation efficiency, to the 5'UTR sequence. We first introduce an experimental approach that uses polysome profiling and high-throughput sequencing to quantify ribosome loading for hundreds of thousands of 5'UTRs in parallel. We apply this approach to measure ribosome loading in synthetic RNA libraries with a random sequence inserted into the 5'UTR. We then review Optimus 5-Prime, a convolutional neural network model trained on the experimental data. We highlight that very accurate models of biological regulation can be learned from synthetic data sets with degenerate 5'UTRs. We validate model predictions not only on held-out data sets from our random library but also on a large library of over 30 000 human 5'UTR fragments and using translation reporter data collected independently by other groups. Both the experiment and model are compatible with commonly used chemically modified nucleosides, in particular, pseudouridine (Ψ) and 1-methyl-pseudouridine (m1Ψ). We find that, in general, 5'UTRs have very similar impacts when combined with different protein-coding sequences and even in the context of different chemical modifications. We demonstrate that Optimus 5-Prime can be combined with design algorithms to generate de novo sequences with precisely defined translation efficiencies. We emphasize recent developments in design algorithms that rely on activation maximization and generative modeling to improve both the fitness and diversity of designed sequences. Compared with prior approaches such as genetic algorithms, we show that these approaches are not only faster but also less likely to get stuck in local sequence optima. Finally, we discuss how the approach reviewed here can be generalized to other gene regions and applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Protein Biosynthesis , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Machine Learning , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6777, 2021 11 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528015

ABSTRACT

Lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-formulated mRNA vaccines were rapidly developed and deployed in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Due to the labile nature of mRNA, identifying impurities that could affect product stability and efficacy is crucial to the long-term use of nucleic-acid based medicines. Herein, reversed-phase ion pair high performance liquid chromatography (RP-IP HPLC) was used to identify a class of impurity formed through lipid:mRNA reactions; such reactions are typically undetectable by traditional mRNA purity analytical techniques. The identified modifications render the mRNA untranslatable, leading to loss of protein expression. Specifically, electrophilic impurities derived from the ionizable cationic lipid component are shown to be responsible. Mechanisms implicated in the formation of reactive species include oxidation and subsequent hydrolysis of the tertiary amine. It thus remains critical to ensure robust analytical methods and stringent manufacturing control to ensure mRNA stability and high activity in LNP delivery systems.


Subject(s)
Drug Delivery Systems , Liposomes/chemistry , Nanoparticles/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , Vaccine Potency , Aldehydes/chemistry , Chromatography, Liquid , Humans , Ions/chemistry , Lipids/chemistry , Nucleosides/chemistry , Oxidation-Reduction , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA Stability , /chemistry
18.
RNA Biol ; 18(sup2): 804-817, 2021 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522048

ABSTRACT

Nsp1 of SARS-CoV-2 regulates the translation of host and viral mRNAs in cells. Nsp1 inhibits host translation initiation by occluding the entry channel of the 40S ribosome subunit. The structural study of the Nsp1-ribosomal complexes reported post-termination 80S complex containing Nsp1, eRF1 and ABCE1. Considering the presence of Nsp1 in the post-termination 80S ribosomal complex, we hypothesized that Nsp1 may be involved in translation termination. Using a cell-free translation system and reconstituted in vitro translation system, we show that Nsp1 stimulates peptide release and formation of termination complexes. Detailed analysis of Nsp1 activity during translation termination stages reveals that Nsp1 facilitates stop codon recognition. We demonstrate that Nsp1 stimulation targets eRF1 and does not affect eRF3. Moreover, Nsp1 increases amount of the termination complexes at all three stop codons. The activity of Nsp1 in translation termination is provided by its N-terminal domain and the minimal required part of eRF1 is NM domain. We assume that the biological meaning of Nsp1 activity in translation termination is binding with the 80S ribosomes translating host mRNAs and remove them from the pool of the active ribosomes.


Subject(s)
Protein Biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/physiology , Animals , Cell-Free System , Codon, Terminator/metabolism , GTP Phosphohydrolases/metabolism , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mutation , Peptide Chain Termination, Translational , Peptide Termination Factors/chemistry , Peptide Termination Factors/metabolism , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Rabbits , Ribosomes/metabolism
19.
Acc Chem Res ; 54(23): 4272-4282, 2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510543

ABSTRACT

Synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA), once delivered into cells, can be readily translated into proteins by ribosomes, which do not distinguish exogenous mRNAs from endogenous transcripts. Until recently, the intrinsic instability and immunostimulatory property of exogenous RNAs largely hindered the therapeutic application of synthetic mRNAs. Thanks to major technological innovations, such as introduction of chemically modified nucleosides, synthetic mRNAs have become programmable therapeutic reagents. Compared to DNA or protein-based therapeutic reagents, synthetic mRNAs bear several advantages: flexible design, easy optimization, low-cost preparation, and scalable synthesis. Therapeutic mRNAs are commonly designed to encode specific antigens to elicit organismal immune response to pathogens like viruses, express functional proteins to replace defective ones inside cells, or introduce novel enzymes to achieve unique functions like genome editing. Recent years have witnessed stunning progress on the development of mRNA vaccines against SARS-Cov2. This success is built upon our fundamental understanding of mRNA metabolism and translational control, a knowledge accumulated during the past several decades. Given the astronomical number of sequence combinations of four nucleotides, sequence-dependent control of mRNA translation remains incompletely understood. Rational design of synthetic mRNAs with robust translation and optimal stability remains challenging. Massively paralleled reporter assay (MPRA) has been proven to be powerful in identifying sequence elements in controlling mRNA translatability and stability. Indeed, a completely randomized sequence in 5' untranslated region (5'UTR) drives a wide range of translational outputs. In this Account, we will discuss general principles of mRNA translation in eukaryotic cells and elucidate the role of coding and noncoding regions in the translational regulation. From the therapeutic perspective, we will highlight the unique features of 5' cap, 5'UTR, coding region (CDS), stop codon, 3'UTR, and poly(A) tail. By focusing on the design strategies in mRNA engineering, we hope this Account will contribute to the rational design of synthetic mRNAs with broad therapeutic potential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Protein Biosynthesis , Humans , Protein Biosynthesis/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Cell Rep ; 37(2): 109806, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466094

ABSTRACT

Tactical disruption of protein synthesis is an attractive therapeutic strategy, with the first-in-class eIF4A-targeting compound zotatifin in clinical evaluation for cancer and COVID-19. The full cellular impact and mechanisms of these potent molecules are undefined at a proteomic level. Here, we report mass spectrometry analysis of translational reprogramming by rocaglates, cap-dependent initiation disruptors that include zotatifin. We find effects to be far more complex than simple "translational inhibition" as currently defined. Translatome analysis by TMT-pSILAC (tandem mass tag-pulse stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture mass spectrometry) reveals myriad upregulated proteins that drive hitherto unrecognized cytotoxic mechanisms, including GEF-H1-mediated anti-survival RHOA/JNK activation. Surprisingly, these responses are not replicated by eIF4A silencing, indicating a broader translational adaptation than currently understood. Translation machinery analysis by MATRIX (mass spectrometry analysis of active translation factors using ribosome density fractionation and isotopic labeling experiments) identifies rocaglate-specific dependence on specific translation factors including eEF1ε1 that drive translatome remodeling. Our proteome-level interrogation reveals that the complete cellular response to these historical "translation inhibitors" is mediated by comprehensive translational landscape remodeling.


Subject(s)
Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Protein Synthesis Inhibitors/pharmacology , Animals , Benzofurans/pharmacology , Cell Line, Tumor , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A/drug effects , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A/metabolism , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred NOD , Primary Cell Culture , Protein Biosynthesis/physiology , Proteomics/methods , Ribosomes/metabolism , Transcriptome/drug effects , Transcriptome/genetics , Triterpenes/pharmacology
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