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1.
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
2.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259703, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506037

ABSTRACT

Two mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273) against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are globally authorized as a two-dose regimen. Understanding the magnitude and duration of protective immune responses is vital to curbing the pandemic. We enrolled 461 high-risk health services workers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and first responders in the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) to assess the humoral responses in previously infected (PI) and infection naïve (NPI) individuals to mRNA-based vaccines (BNT162b2/Pfizer- BioNTech or mRNA-1273/Moderna). A chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay was used to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 Spike in vaccinees prior to (n = 21) and following each vaccine dose (n = 246 following dose 1 and n = 315 following dose 2), and at days 31-60 (n = 110) and 61-90 (n = 190) following completion of the 2-dose series. Both vaccines induced robust antibody responses in all immunocompetent individuals. Previously infected individuals achieved higher median peak titers (p = 0.002) and had a slower rate of decay (p = 0.047) than infection-naïve individuals. mRNA-1273 vaccinated infection-naïve individuals demonstrated modestly higher titers following each dose (p = 0.005 and p = 0.029, respectively) and slower rates of antibody decay (p = 0.003) than those who received BNT162b2. A subset of previously infected individuals (25%) required both doses in order to reach peak antibody titers. The biologic significance of the differences between previously infected individuals and between the mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2 vaccines remains uncertain, but may have important implications for booster strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2 , Academic Medical Centers , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation , California/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services , Emergency Responders , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoassay , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Universities
3.
Mayo Clin Proc ; 95(7): 1354-1368, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500136

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To explore the transcriptomic differences between patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and controls. PATIENTS AND METHODS: RNA was extracted from cardiac tissue flash frozen at therapeutic surgical septal myectomy for 106 patients with HCM and 39 healthy donor hearts. Expression profiling of 37,846 genes was performed using the Illumina Human HT-12v3 Expression BeadChip. All patients with HCM were genotyped for pathogenic variants causing HCM. Technical validation was performed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot. This study was started on January 1, 1999, and final analysis was completed on April 20, 2020. RESULTS: Overall, 22% of the transcriptome (8443 of 37,846 genes) was expressed differentially between HCM and control tissues. Analysis by genotype revealed that gene expression changes were similar among genotypic subgroups of HCM, with only 4% (1502 of 37,846) to 6% (2336 of 37,846) of the transcriptome exhibiting differential expression between genotypic subgroups. The qRT-PCR confirmed differential expression in 92% (11 of 12 genes) of tested transcripts. Notably, in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the transcript for angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a negative regulator of the angiotensin system, was the single most up-regulated gene in HCM (fold-change, 3.53; q-value =1.30×10-23), which was confirmed by qRT-PCR in triplicate (fold change, 3.78; P=5.22×10-4), and Western blot confirmed greater than 5-fold overexpression of ACE2 protein (fold change, 5.34; P=1.66×10-6). CONCLUSION: More than 20% of the transcriptome is expressed differentially between HCM and control tissues. Importantly, ACE2 was the most up-regulated gene in HCM, indicating perhaps the heart's compensatory effort to mount an antihypertrophic, antifibrotic response. However, given that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses ACE2 for viral entry, this 5-fold increase in ACE2 protein may confer increased risk for COVID-19 manifestations and outcomes in patients with increased ACE2 transcript expression and protein levels in the heart.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/genetics , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/virology , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/metabolism , Case-Control Studies , Child , Genotype , Humans , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
4.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 369, 2021 10 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483125

ABSTRACT

The lung is the prophylaxis target against SARS-CoV-2 infection, and neutralizing antibodies are a leading class of biological products against various infectious viral pathogen. In this study, we develop a safe and cost-effective platform to express neutralizing antibody in the lung with replicating mRNA basing on alphavirus replicon particle (VRP) delivery system, to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections. First, a modified VEEV replicon with two subgenomic (sg) promoters was engineered to translate the light and heavy chains of antibody simultaneously, for expression and assembly of neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody CB6. Second, the feasibility and protective efficacy of replicating mRNA against SARS-CoV-2 infection were demonstrated through both in vitro and in vivo assays. The lung target delivery with the help of VRP system resulted in efficiently block SARS-CoV-2 infection with reducing viral titer and less tissue damage in the lung of mice. Overall, our data suggests that expressing neutralizing antibodies in the lungs with the help of self-replicating mRNA could potentially be a promising prophylaxis approach against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Alphavirus , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Replicon , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Female , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
5.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(43): 17975-17982, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483092

ABSTRACT

Targeted and efficient delivery of nucleic acids with viral and synthetic vectors is the key step of genetic nanomedicine. The four-component lipid nanoparticle synthetic delivery systems consisting of ionizable lipids, phospholipids, cholesterol, and a PEG-conjugated lipid, assembled by microfluidic or T-tube technology, have been extraordinarily successful for delivery of mRNA to provide Covid-19 vaccines. Recently, we reported a one-component multifunctional sequence-defined ionizable amphiphilic Janus dendrimer (IAJD) synthetic delivery system for mRNA relying on amphiphilic Janus dendrimers and glycodendrimers developed in our laboratory. Amphiphilic Janus dendrimers consist of functional hydrophilic dendrons conjugated to hydrophobic dendrons. Co-assembly of IAJDs with mRNA into dendrimersome nanoparticles (DNPs) occurs by simple injection in acetate buffer, rather than by microfluidic devices, and provides a very efficient system for delivery of mRNA to lung. Here we report the replacement of most of the hydrophilic fragment of the dendron from IAJDs, maintaining only its ionizable amine, while changing its interconnecting group to the hydrophobic dendron from amide to ester. The resulting IAJDs demonstrated that protonated ionizable amines play dual roles of hydrophilic fragment and binding ligand for mRNA, changing delivery from lung to spleen and/or liver. Replacing the interconnecting ester with the amide switched the delivery back to lung. Delivery predominantly to liver is favored by pairs of odd and even alkyl groups in the hydrophobic dendron. This simple structural change transformed the targeted delivery of mRNA mediated with IAJDs, from lung to liver and spleen, and expands the utility of DNPs from therapeutics to vaccines.


Subject(s)
Dendrimers/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , Amines/chemistry , Animals , Esters/chemistry , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Ions/chemistry , Mice , Nanoparticles/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/immunology , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Vaccines, Synthetic/chemistry , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/metabolism
6.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1215, 2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479821

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 replication requires the synthesis of a set of structural proteins expressed through discontinuous transcription of ten subgenomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs). Here, we have fine-tuned droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assays to accurately detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 genomic ORF1ab and sgmRNAs for the nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins. We analyzed 166 RNA samples from anonymized SARS-CoV-2 positive subjects and we observed a recurrent and characteristic pattern of sgmRNAs expression in relation to the total viral RNA content. Additionally, expression profiles of sgmRNAs, as determined by meta-transcriptomics sequencing of a subset of 110 RNA samples, were highly correlated with those obtained by ddPCR. By providing a comprehensive and dynamic snapshot of the levels of SARS-CoV-2 sgmRNAs in infected individuals, our results may contribute a better understanding of the dynamics of transcription and expression of the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate the development of more accurate molecular diagnostic tools for the stratification of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Transcriptome , Computational Biology , Humans , Limit of Detection , Open Reading Frames , Phosphoproteins , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproducibility of Results
7.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009947, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470670

ABSTRACT

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) preferentially infects and causes Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in male patients. However, the biological mechanisms are largely unknown. This study was novel in confirming the extensive nuclear distribution of the androgen receptor (AR) and its co-localization with viral oncoprotein of latency-associated nuclear antigen in KS lesions, indicating a transcription way of AR in KS pathogenesis. The endogenous AR was also remarkably higher in KSHV-positive B cells than in KSHV-negative cells and responded to the ligand treatment of 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the agonist of AR. Then, the anti-AR antibody-based chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-associated sequencing was used to identify the target viral genes of AR, revealing that the AR bound to multiple regions of lytic genes in the KSHV genome. The highest peak was enriched in the core promoter sequence of polyadenylated nuclear RNA (PAN), and the physical interaction was verified by ChIP-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Consistently, male steroid treatment significantly transactivated the promoter activity of PAN in luciferase reporter assay, consequently leading to extensive lytic gene expression and KSHV production as determined by real-time quantitative PCR, and the deletion of nuclear localization signals of AR resulted in the loss of nuclear transport and transcriptional activity in the presence of androgen and thus impaired the expression of PAN RNA. Oncogenically, this study identified that the AR was a functional prerequisite for cell invasion, especially under the context of KSHV reactivation, through hijacking the PAN as a critical effector. Taken together, a novel mechanism from male sex steroids to viral noncoding RNA was identified, which might provide a clue to understanding the male propensity in KS.


Subject(s)
RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Receptors, Androgen/metabolism , Sarcoma, Kaposi/metabolism , Sex Characteristics , Carcinogenesis/metabolism , Female , Herpesvirus 8, Human , Humans , Male , RNA, Untranslated/metabolism
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 718136, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468341

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a receptor for the spike protein of SARS-COV-2 that allows viral binding and entry and is expressed on the surface of several pulmonary and non-pulmonary cell types, with induction of a "cytokine storm" upon binding. Other cell types present the receptor and can be infected, including cardiac, renal, intestinal, and endothelial cells. High ACE2 levels protect from inflammation. Despite the relevance of ACE2 levels in COVID-19 pathogenesis, experimental studies to comprehensively address the question of ACE2 regulations are still limited. A relevant observation from the clinic is that, besides the pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-1ß, the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 is also elevated in worse prognosis patients. This could represent somehow a "danger signal", an alarmin from the host organism, given the immuno-regulatory properties of the cytokine. Here, we investigated whether IL-10 could increase ACE2 expression in the lung-derived Calu-3 cell line. We provided preliminary evidence of ACE2 mRNA increase in cells of lung origin in vitro, following IL-10 treatment. Endothelial cell infection by SARS-COV-2 is associated with vasculitis, thromboembolism, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. We confirmed ACE2 expression enhancement by IL-10 treatment also on endothelial cells. The sartans (olmesartan and losartan) showed non-statistically significant ACE2 modulation in Calu-3 and endothelial cells, as compared to untreated control cells. We observed that the antidiabetic biguanide metformin, a putative anti-inflammatory agent, also upregulates ACE2 expression in Calu-3 and endothelial cells. We hypothesized that IL-10 could be a danger signal, and its elevation could possibly represent a feedback mechanism fighting inflammation. Although further confirmatory studies are required, inducing IL-10 upregulation could be clinically relevant in COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and vasculitis, by reinforcing ACE2 levels.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Interleukin-10/pharmacology , Lung/drug effects , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Lung/enzymology , Lung/immunology , Metformin/pharmacology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation
9.
Eur J Med Chem ; 227: 113910, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458683

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 epidemic has greatly accelerated the application of mRNA technology to our real world, and during this battle mRNA has proven it's unique advantages compared to traditional biopharmaceutical and vaccine technology. In order to overcome mRNA instability in human physiological environments, mRNA chemical modifications and nano delivery systems are two key factors for their in vivo applications. In this review, we would like to summarize the challenges for clinical translation of mRNA-based therapeutics, with an emphasis on recent advances in innovative materials and delivery strategies. The nano delivery systems include lipid delivery systems (lipid nanoparticles and liposomes), polymer complexes, micelles, cationic peptides and so on. The similarities and differences of lipid nanoparticles and liposomes are also discussed. In addition, this review also present the applications of mRNA to other areas than COVID-19 vaccine, such as infectious diseases, tumors, and cardiovascular disease, for which a variety of candidate vaccines or drugs have entered clinical trials. Furthermore, mRNA was found that it might be used to treat some genetic disease, overcome the immaturity of the immune system due to the small fetal size in utero, treat some neurological diseases that are difficult to be treated surgically, even be used in advancing the translation of iPSC technology et al. In short, mRNA has a wide range of applications, and its era has just begun.


Subject(s)
/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , Humans , Liposomes/chemistry , Micelles , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Peptides/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
12.
Cells ; 10(10)2021 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438524

ABSTRACT

The ability of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) to self-replicate, combined with a unique cocktail of chemical properties, suggested the existence of an RNA world at the origin of life. Nowadays, this hypothesis is supported by innovative high-throughput and biochemical approaches, which definitively revealed the essential contribution of RNA-mediated mechanisms to the regulation of fundamental processes of life. With the recent development of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-based vaccines, the potential of RNA as a therapeutic tool has received public attention. Due to its intrinsic single-stranded nature and the ease with which it is synthesized in vitro, RNA indeed represents the most suitable tool for the development of drugs encompassing every type of human pathology. The maximum effectiveness and biochemical versatility is achieved in the guise of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which are emerging as multifaceted regulators of tissue specification and homeostasis. Here, we report examples of coding and ncRNAs involved in muscle regeneration and discuss their potential as therapeutic tools. Small ncRNAs, such as miRNA and siRNA, have been successfully applied in the treatment of several diseases. The use of longer molecules, such as lncRNA and circRNA, is less advanced. However, based on the peculiar properties discussed below, they represent an innovative pool of RNA biomarkers and possible targets of clinical value.


Subject(s)
MicroRNAs/metabolism , Muscle, Skeletal/metabolism , Muscle, Skeletal/pathology , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Untranslated/genetics , Regeneration , Animals , Biomarkers/metabolism , COVID-19 , Homeostasis , Humans , Mice , Muscle, Skeletal/virology , Myocardium/metabolism , Origin of Life , RNA, Circular , RNA, Long Noncoding/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA, Small Untranslated/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
13.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5536, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428813

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human pathogens for which no specific treatment is available. Here, we provide evidence that pharmacological reprogramming of ER stress pathways can be exploited to suppress CoV replication. The ER stress inducer thapsigargin efficiently inhibits coronavirus (HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2) replication in different cell types including primary differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells, (partially) reverses the virus-induced translational shut-down, improves viability of infected cells and counteracts the CoV-mediated downregulation of IRE1α and the ER chaperone BiP. Proteome-wide analyses revealed specific pathways, protein networks and components that likely mediate the thapsigargin-induced antiviral state, including essential (HERPUD1) or novel (UBA6 and ZNF622) factors of ER quality control, and ER-associated protein degradation complexes. Additionally, thapsigargin blocks the CoV-induced selective autophagic flux involving p62/SQSTM1. The data show that thapsigargin hits several central mechanisms required for CoV replication, suggesting that this compound (or derivatives thereof) may be developed into broad-spectrum anti-CoV drugs.


Subject(s)
Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Animals , Autophagy/drug effects , Bronchi/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cell Extracts , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/genetics , Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Macrolides/pharmacology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Proteome/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thapsigargin/pharmacology , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Biochemistry (Mosc) ; 86(9): 1060-1094, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1416611

ABSTRACT

Viruses exploit the translation machinery of an infected cell to synthesize their proteins. Therefore, viral mRNAs have to compete for ribosomes and translation factors with cellular mRNAs. To succeed, eukaryotic viruses adopt multiple strategies. One is to circumvent the need for m7G-cap through alternative instruments for ribosome recruitment. These include internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs), which make translation independent of the free 5' end, or cap-independent translational enhancers (CITEs), which promote initiation at the uncapped 5' end, even if located in 3' untranslated regions (3' UTRs). Even if a virus uses the canonical cap-dependent ribosome recruitment, it can still perturb conventional ribosomal scanning and start codon selection. The pressure for genome compression often gives rise to internal and overlapping open reading frames. Their translation is initiated through specific mechanisms, such as leaky scanning, 43S sliding, shunting, or coupled termination-reinitiation. Deviations from the canonical initiation reduce the dependence of viral mRNAs on translation initiation factors, thereby providing resistance to antiviral mechanisms and cellular stress responses. Moreover, viruses can gain advantage in a competition for the translational machinery by inactivating individual translational factors and/or replacing them with viral counterparts. Certain viruses even create specialized intracellular "translation factories", which spatially isolate the sites of their protein synthesis from cellular antiviral systems, and increase availability of translational components. However, these virus-specific mechanisms may become the Achilles' heel of a viral life cycle. Thus, better understanding of the unconventional mechanisms of viral mRNA translation initiation provides valuable insight for developing new approaches to antiviral therapy.


Subject(s)
Eukaryotic Cells/virology , Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational/physiology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Animals , Eukaryotic Cells/physiology , Humans , Internal Ribosome Entry Sites/physiology , RNA, Circular/genetics , Viral Proteins/physiology
15.
Cells ; 10(9)2021 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1408628

ABSTRACT

The present study sought to identify gene networks that are hallmarks of the developing inguinal subcutaneous adipose tissue (iWAT) and the interscapular brown adipose tissue (BAT) in the mouse. RNA profiling revealed that the iWAT of postnatal (P) day 6 mice expressed thermogenic and lipid catabolism transcripts, along with the abundance of transcripts associated with the beige adipogenesis program. This was an unexpected finding, as thermogenic BAT was believed to be the only site of nonshivering thermogenesis in the young mouse. However, the transcriptional landscape of BAT in P6 mice suggests that it is still undergoing differentiation and maturation, and that the iWAT temporally adopts thermogenic and lipolytic potential. Moreover, P6 iWAT and adult (P56) BAT were similar in their expression of immune gene networks, but P6 iWAT was unique in the abundant expression of antimicrobial proteins and virus entry factors, including a possible receptor for SARS-CoV-2. In summary, postnatal iWAT development is associated with a metabolic shift from thermogenesis and lipolysis towards fat storage. However, transcripts of beige-inducing signal pathways including ß-adrenergic receptors and interleukin-4 signaling were underrepresented in young iWAT, suggesting that the signals for thermogenic fat differentiation may be different in early postnatal life and in adulthood.


Subject(s)
Adipocytes, Beige/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic , Adipose Tissue, Brown/metabolism , Adipose Tissue, White/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Newborn , Biomarkers/metabolism , Cell Cycle/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental , Gene Ontology , Gene Regulatory Networks , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Models, Biological , Muscle Development/genetics , Neuropeptides/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Signal Transduction
16.
Sci Signal ; 14(689)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406596

ABSTRACT

Capping of viral messenger RNAs is essential for efficient translation, for virus replication, and for preventing detection by the host cell innate response system. The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes the 2'-O-methyltransferase nsp16, which, when bound to the coactivator nsp10, uses S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a donor to transfer a methyl group to the first ribonucleotide of the mRNA in the final step of viral mRNA capping. Here, we provide biochemical and structural evidence that this reaction requires divalent cations, preferably Mn2+, and a coronavirus-specific four-residue insert. We determined the x-ray structures of the SARS-CoV-2 2'-O-methyltransferase (the nsp16-nsp10 heterodimer) in complex with its reaction substrates, products, and divalent metal cations. These structural snapshots revealed that metal ions and the insert stabilize interactions between the capped RNA and nsp16, resulting in the precise alignment of the ribonucleotides in the active site. Comparison of available structures of 2'-O-methyltransferases with capped RNAs from different organisms revealed that the four-residue insert unique to coronavirus nsp16 alters the backbone conformation of the capped RNA in the binding groove, thereby promoting catalysis. This insert is highly conserved across coronaviruses, and its absence in mammalian methyltransferases makes this region a promising site for structure-guided drug design of selective coronavirus inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Manganese/metabolism , Methylation , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Stability , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/chemistry , S-Adenosylmethionine/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
17.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3358, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397869

ABSTRACT

Early stages of embryogenesis depend on subcellular localization and transport of maternal mRNA. However, systematic analysis of these processes is hindered by a lack of spatio-temporal information in single-cell RNA sequencing. Here, we combine spatially-resolved transcriptomics and single-cell RNA labeling to perform a spatio-temporal analysis of the transcriptome during early zebrafish development. We measure spatial localization of mRNA molecules within the one-cell stage embryo, which allows us to identify a class of mRNAs that are specifically localized at an extraembryonic position, the vegetal pole. Furthermore, we establish a method for high-throughput single-cell RNA labeling in early zebrafish embryos, which enables us to follow the fate of individual maternal transcripts until gastrulation. This approach reveals that many localized transcripts are specifically transported to the primordial germ cells. Finally, we acquire spatial transcriptomes of two xenopus species and compare evolutionary conservation of localized genes as well as enriched sequence motifs.


Subject(s)
Cell Tracking/methods , Embryo, Nonmammalian/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Transcriptome/genetics , Zebrafish/genetics , Animals , Embryo, Nonmammalian/cytology , Embryo, Nonmammalian/embryology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental , Oocytes/cytology , Oocytes/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis/methods , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Species Specificity , Xenopus/embryology , Xenopus/genetics , Xenopus laevis/embryology , Xenopus laevis/genetics , Zebrafish/embryology
18.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 715, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387495

ABSTRACT

While SARS-CoV-2 is causing modern human history's most serious health crisis and upending our way of life, clinical and basic research on the virus is advancing rapidly, leading to fascinating discoveries. Two studies have revealed how the viral virulence factor, nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1), binds human ribosomes to inhibit host cell translation. Here, we examine the main conclusions on the molecular activity of Nsp1 and its role in suppressing innate immune responses. We discuss different scenarios potentially explaining how the viral RNA can bypass its own translation blockage and speculate on the suitability of Nsp1 as a therapeutic target.


Subject(s)
Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Ribosomes/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , 5' Untranslated Regions , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Protein Biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Ribosomes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
19.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 13533, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387483

ABSTRACT

The host receptor for SARS-CoV-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is highly expressed in small intestine. Our aim was to study colonic ACE2 expression in Crohn's disease (CD) and non-inflammatory bowel disease (non-IBD) controls. We hypothesized that the colonic expression levels of ACE2 impacts CD course. We examined the expression of colonic ACE2 in 67 adult CD and 14 NIBD control patients using RNA-seq and quantitative (q) RT-PCR. We validated ACE2 protein expression and localization in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded matched colon and ileal tissues using immunohistochemistry. The impact of increased ACE2 expression in CD for the risk of surgery was evaluated by a multivariate regression analysis and a Kaplan-Meier estimator. To provide critical support for the generality of our findings, we analyzed previously published RNA-seq data from two large independent cohorts of CD patients. Colonic ACE2 expression was significantly higher in a subset of adult CD patients which was defined as the ACE2-high CD subset. IHC in a sampling of ACE2-high CD patients confirmed high ACE2 protein expression in the colon and ileum compared to ACE2-low CD and NIBD patients. Notably, we found that ACE2-high CD patients are significantly more likely to undergo surgery within 5 years of CD diagnosis, and a Cox regression analysis found that high ACE2 levels is an independent risk factor for surgery (OR 2.17; 95% CI, 1.10-4.26; p = 0.025). Increased intestinal expression of ACE2 is associated with deteriorated clinical outcomes in CD patients. These data point to the need for molecular stratification that can impact CD disease-related outcomes.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Crohn Disease/pathology , Adolescent , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Crohn Disease/metabolism , Crohn Disease/surgery , Female , Humans , Ileum/metabolism , Ileum/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/metabolism , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/pathology , Male , Prognosis , Proportional Hazards Models , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Risk Factors , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Young Adult
20.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(14): 5413-5424, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387160

ABSTRACT

Methods for tracking RNA inside living cells without perturbing their natural interactions and functions are critical within biology and, in particular, to facilitate studies of therapeutic RNA delivery. We present a stealth labeling approach that can efficiently, and with high fidelity, generate RNA transcripts, through enzymatic incorporation of the triphosphate of tCO, a fluorescent tricyclic cytosine analogue. We demonstrate this by incorporation of tCO in up to 100% of the natural cytosine positions of a 1.2 kb mRNA encoding for the histone H2B fused to GFP (H2B:GFP). Spectroscopic characterization of this mRNA shows that the incorporation rate of tCO is similar to cytosine, which allows for efficient labeling and controlled tuning of labeling ratios for different applications. Using live cell confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, we show that the tCO-labeled mRNA is efficiently translated into H2B:GFP inside human cells. Hence, we not only develop the use of fluorescent base analogue labeling of nucleic acids in live-cell microscopy but also, importantly, show that the resulting transcript is translated into the correct protein. Moreover, the spectral properties of our transcripts and their translation product allow for their straightforward, simultaneous visualization in live cells. Finally, we find that chemically transfected tCO-labeled RNA, unlike a state-of-the-art fluorescently labeled RNA, gives rise to expression of a similar amount of protein as its natural counterpart, hence representing a methodology for studying natural, unperturbed processing of mRNA used in RNA therapeutics and in vaccines, like the ones developed against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Fluorescence , Fluorescent Dyes/analysis , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Molecular Imaging , RNA, Messenger/analysis , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Cytosine/analogs & derivatives , Cytosine/analysis , Cytosine/chemical synthesis , Cytosine/chemistry , Fluorescent Dyes/chemical synthesis , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Histones/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Structure , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/therapeutic use , Spectrometry, Fluorescence
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