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Life Sci Alliance ; 5(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1614505


The current COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus contains a single linear RNA segment that serves as a template for transcription and replication, leading to the synthesis of positive and negative-stranded viral RNA (vRNA) in infected cells. Tools to visualize vRNA directly in infected cells are critical to analyze the viral replication cycle, screen for therapeutic molecules, or study infections in human tissue. Here, we report the design, validation, and initial application of FISH probes to visualize positive or negative RNA of SARS-CoV-2 (CoronaFISH). We demonstrate sensitive visualization of vRNA in African green monkey and several human cell lines, in patient samples and human tissue. We further demonstrate the adaptation of CoronaFISH probes to electron microscopy. We provide all required oligonucleotide sequences, source code to design the probes, and a detailed protocol. We hope that CoronaFISH will complement existing techniques for research on SARS-CoV-2 biology and COVID-19 pathophysiology, drug screening, and diagnostics.

COVID-19/diagnosis , In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , In Situ Hybridization/methods , Microscopy, Electron/methods , RNA, Viral/ultrastructure , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Vero Cells , Virus Release/drug effects , Virus Release/genetics , Virus Release/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/physiology
Nat Struct Mol Biol ; 28(9): 747-754, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370728


Drug discovery campaigns against COVID-19 are beginning to target the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. The highly conserved frameshift stimulation element (FSE), required for balanced expression of viral proteins, is a particularly attractive SARS-CoV-2 RNA target. Here we present a 6.9 Å resolution cryo-EM structure of the FSE (88 nucleotides, ~28 kDa), validated through an RNA nanostructure tagging method. The tertiary structure presents a topologically complex fold in which the 5' end is threaded through a ring formed inside a three-stem pseudoknot. Guided by this structure, we develop antisense oligonucleotides that impair FSE function in frameshifting assays and knock down SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in A549-ACE2 cells at 100 nM concentration.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Cryoelectron Microscopy/methods , Frameshift Mutation/genetics , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Response Elements/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Animals , Base Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/ultrastructure , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/genetics
Nucleic Acids Res ; 48(3): 1392-1405, 2020 02 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332861


The enterovirus 71 (EV71) 3Dpol is an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) that plays the central role in the viral genome replication, and is an important target in antiviral studies. Here, we report a crystal structure of EV71 3Dpol elongation complex (EC) at 1.8 Å resolution. The structure reveals that the 5'-end guanosine of the downstream RNA template interacts with a fingers domain pocket, with the base sandwiched by H44 and R277 side chains through hydrophobic stacking interactions, and these interactions are still maintained after one in-crystal translocation event induced by nucleotide incorporation, implying that the pocket could regulate the functional properties of the polymerase by interacting with RNA. When mutated, residue R277 showed an impact on virus proliferation in virological studies with residue H44 having a synergistic effect. In vitro biochemical data further suggest that mutations at these two sites affect RNA binding, EC stability, but not polymerase catalytic rate (kcat) and apparent NTP affinity (KM,NTP). We propose that, although rarely captured by crystallography, similar surface pocket interaction with nucleobase may commonly exist in nucleic acid motor enzymes to facilitate their processivity. Potential applications in antiviral drug and vaccine development are also discussed.

Enterovirus A, Human/ultrastructure , Multiprotein Complexes/ultrastructure , Protein Conformation , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/ultrastructure , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Enterovirus A, Human/chemistry , Enterovirus A, Human/genetics , Genome, Viral , Humans , Models, Molecular , Multiprotein Complexes/chemistry , Nucleotides/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/ultrastructure , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Virus Replication/genetics