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1.
Viruses ; 14(10)2022 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2110268

ABSTRACT

RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs) represent a distinctive yet versatile class of nucleic acid polymerases encoded by RNA viruses for the replication and transcription of their genome. The structure of the RdRP is comparable to that of a cupped right hand consisting of fingers, palm, and thumb subdomains. Despite the presence of a common structural core, the RdRPs differ significantly in the mechanistic details of RNA binding and polymerization. The present review aims at exploring these incongruities in light of recent structural studies of RdRP complexes with diverse cofactors, RNA moieties, analogs, and inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Nucleic Acids , RNA Viruses , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA Viruses/genetics , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases , RNA , RNA, Viral/genetics
2.
Molecules ; 27(22)2022 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2110189

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is the causative agent of the COVID-19 global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 has a highly conserved non-structural protein 12 (NSP-12) involved in RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity. For the identification of potential inhibitors for NSP-12, computational approaches such as the identification of homologous proteins that have been previously targeted by FDA-approved antivirals can be employed. Herein, homologous proteins of NSP-12 were retrieved from Protein DataBank (PDB) and the evolutionary conserved sequence and structure similarity of the active site of the RdRp domain of NSP-12 was characterized. The identified homologous structures of NSP-12 belonged to four viral families: Coronaviridae, Flaviviridae, Picornaviridae, and Caliciviridae, and shared evolutionary conserved relationships. The multiple sequences and structural alignment of homologous structures showed highly conserved amino acid residues that were located at the active site of the RdRp domain of NSP-12. The conserved active site of the RdRp domain of NSP-12 was evaluated for binding affinity with the FDA-approved antivirals, i.e., Sofosbuvir and Dasabuvir in a molecular docking study. The molecular docking of Sofosbuvir and Dasabuvir with the active site that contains conserved motifs (motif A-G) of the RdRp domain of NSP-12 revealed significant binding affinity. Furthermore, MD simulation also inferred the potency of Sofosbuvir and Dasabuvir. In conclusion, targeting the active site of the RdRp domain of NSP-12 with Dasabuvir and Sofosbuvir might reduce viral replication and pathogenicity and could be further studied for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Drug Repositioning , Sofosbuvir , Molecular Docking Simulation , COVID-19/drug therapy , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use
3.
Molecules ; 27(19)2022 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066282

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has stressed the global health system to a significant level, which has not only resulted in high morbidity and mortality but also poses a threat for future pandemics. This situation warrants efforts to develop novel therapeutics to manage SARS-CoV-2 in specific and other emerging viruses in general. This study focuses on SARS-CoV2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) mutations collected from Saudi Arabia and their impact on protein structure and function. The Saudi SARS-CoV-2 RdRp sequences were compared with the reference Wuhan, China RdRp using a variety of computational and biophysics-based approaches. The results revealed that three mutations-A97V, P323I and Y606C-may affect protein stability, and hence the relationship of protein structure to function. The apo wild RdRp is more dynamically stable with compact secondary structure elements compared to the mutants. Further, the wild type showed stable conformational dynamics and interaction network to remdesivir. The net binding energy of wild-type RdRp with remdesivir is -50.76 kcal/mol, which is more stable than the mutants. The findings of the current study might deliver useful information regarding therapeutic development against the mutant RdRp, which may further furnish our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation , Pandemics , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saudi Arabia
4.
Viruses ; 14(8)2022 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2039975

ABSTRACT

The on-going global pandemic of COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, which features a proofreading mechanism to facilitate the replication of its large RNA genome. The 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease (ExoN) activity of SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 14 (nsp14) removes nucleotides misincorporated during RNA synthesis by the low-fidelity viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and thereby compromises the efficacy of antiviral nucleoside/nucleotide analogues. Here we show biochemically that SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 can excise the natural antiviral chain-terminating nucleotide, 3'-deoxy-3',4'-didehydro-cytidine 5'-monophosphate (ddhCMP), incorporated by RdRp at the 3' end of an RNA strand. Nsp14 ExoN processes an RNA strand terminated with ddhCMP more efficiently than that with a non-physiological chain terminator 3'-deoxy-cytidine monophosphate (3'-dCMP), whereas RdRp is more susceptible to chain termination by 3'-dCTP than ddhCTP. These results suggest that nsp14 ExoN could play a role in protecting SARS-CoV-2 from ddhCTP, which is produced as part of the innate immune response against viral infections, and that the SARS-CoV-2 enzymes may have adapted to minimize the antiviral effect of ddhCTP.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Exoribonucleases , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cytidine/pharmacology , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Mutation , Nucleotides , RNA , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
5.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(5): e0121922, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2019780

ABSTRACT

The efforts of the scientific community to tame the recent pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seem to have been diluted by the emergence of new viral strains. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the effect of mutations on viral evolution. We performed a time series analysis on 59,541 SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences from around the world to gain insights into the kinetics of the mutations arising in the viral genomes. These 59,541 genomes were grouped according to month (January 2020 to March 2021) based on the collection date. Meta-analysis of these data led us to identify significant mutations in viral genomes. Pearson correlation of these mutations led us to the identification of 16 comutations. Among these comutations, some of the individual mutations have been shown to contribute to viral replication and fitness, suggesting a possible role of other unexplored mutations in viral evolution. We observed that the mutations 241C>T in the 5' untranslated region (UTR), 3037C>T in nsp3, 14408C>T in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and 23403A>G in spike are correlated with each other and were grouped in a single cluster by hierarchical clustering. These mutations have replaced the wild-type nucleotides in SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Additionally, we employed a suite of computational tools to investigate the effects of T85I (1059C>T), P323L (14408C>T), and Q57H (25563G>T) mutations in nsp2, RdRp, and the ORF3a protein of SARS-CoV-2, respectively. We observed that the mutations T85I and Q57H tend to be deleterious and destabilize the respective wild-type protein, whereas P323L in RdRp tends to be neutral and has a stabilizing effect. IMPORTANCE We performed a meta-analysis on SARS-CoV-2 genomes categorized by collection month and identified several significant mutations. Pearson correlation analysis of these significant mutations identified 16 comutations having absolute correlation coefficients of >0.4 and a frequency of >30% in the genomes used in this study. The correlation results were further validated by another statistical tool called hierarchical clustering, where mutations were grouped in clusters on the basis of their similarity. We identified several positive and negative correlations among comutations in SARS-CoV-2 isolates from around the world which might contribute to viral pathogenesis. The negative correlations among some of the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 identified in this study warrant further investigations. Further analysis of mutations such as T85I in nsp2 and Q57H in ORF3a protein revealed that these mutations tend to destabilize the protein relative to the wild type, whereas P323L in RdRp is neutral and has a stabilizing effect. Thus, we have identified several comutations which can be further characterized to gain insights into SARS-CoV-2 evolution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , 5' Untranslated Regions , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Mutation , Nucleotides
6.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 9593, 2022 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984417

ABSTRACT

The replication complex (RC) of SARS-CoV-2 was recently shown to be one of the fastest RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of any known coronavirus. With this rapid elongation, the RC is more prone to incorporate mismatches during elongation, resulting in a highly variable genomic sequence. Such mutations render the design of viral protein targets difficult, as drugs optimized for a given viral protein sequence can quickly become inefficient as the genomic sequence evolves. Here, we use biochemical experiments to characterize features of RNA template recognition and elongation fidelity of the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, and the role of the exonuclease, nsp14. Our study highlights the 2'OH group of the RNA ribose as a critical component for RdRp template recognition and elongation. We show that RdRp fidelity is reduced in the presence of the 3' deoxy-terminator nucleotide 3'dATP, which promotes the incorporation of mismatched nucleotides (leading to U:C, U:G, U:U, C:U, and A:C base pairs). We find that the nsp10-nsp14 heterodimer is unable to degrade RNA products lacking free 2'OH or 3'OH ribose groups. Our results suggest the potential use of 3' deoxy-terminator nucleotides in RNA-derived oligonucleotide inhibitors as antivirals against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Nucleotides/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Ribose , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/pharmacology , Virus Replication/genetics
7.
Biochimie ; 195: 71-76, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1981362

ABSTRACT

As ZIKV continues to spread, many "unknowns" remain and research is needed to advance the understanding of this important pathogen. Viral RNA dependent-RNA polymerases (RdRp) are validated targets for inhibitors of the replication of several viruses. Several studies have set up in vitro enzymatic assays of the RdRp of the Zika virus for testing of candidate inhibitors. While most of these studies use short synthetic polymers, we have shown in a previous work that the Zika polymerase domain is capable of a de novo synthesis of the viral genome using the natural viral RNA as template. Here we have studied the role of the sequences at the 3'end of the minus-strand RNA in the initiation of the RNA synthesis by the Zika isolated RdRp. Our results strongly suggest that the region containing the 105 first nucleotides from the 3' end of the minus-strand RNA is important for initiation of the positive RNA synthesis. This indicates that this region displays all the primary and secondary structures to be efficiently recognized by the recombinant RdRp in vitro. Moreover, we show that the 46 nucleotides are sufficient to initiate RNA synthesis. In addition, the ZIKV polymerase domain poorly replicated the RNA of other RNA viruses and appeared highly selective for its own RNA.


Subject(s)
RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Zika Virus Infection , Zika Virus , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Virus Replication , Zika Virus/enzymology , Zika Virus/genetics , Zika Virus/physiology
8.
J Virol ; 96(16): e0067122, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973790

ABSTRACT

Positive-strand RNA viruses replicate their genomes using virally encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRP) with a common active-site structure and closure mechanism upon which replication speed and fidelity can evolve to optimize virus fitness. Coronaviruses (CoV) form large multicomponent RNA replication-transcription complexes containing a core RNA synthesis machine made of the nsp12 RdRP protein with one nsp7 and two nsp8 proteins as essential subunits required for activity. We show that assembly of this complex can be accelerated 5-fold by preincubation of nsp12 with nsp8 and further optimized with the use of a novel nsp8L7 heterodimer fusion protein construct. Using rapid kinetics methods, we measure elongation rates of up to 260 nucleotides (nt)/s for the core replicase, a rate that is unusually fast for a viral polymerase. To address the origin of this fast rate, we examined the roles of two CoV-specific residues in the RdRP active site: Ala547, which replaces a conserved glutamate above the bound NTP, and Ser759, which mutates the palm domain GDD sequence to SDD. Our data show that Ala547 allows for a doubling of replication rate, but this comes at a fidelity cost that is mitigated by using a SDD sequence in the palm domain. Our biochemical data suggest that fixation of mutations in polymerase motifs F and C played a key role in nidovirus evolution by tuning replication rate and fidelity to accommodate their large genomes. IMPORTANCE Replicating large genomes represents a challenge for RNA viruses because fast RNA synthesis is needed to escape innate immunity defenses, but faster polymerases are inherently low-fidelity enzymes. Nonetheless, the coronaviruses replicate their ≈30-kb genomes using the core polymerase structure and mechanism common to all positive-strand RNA viruses. The classic explanation for their success is that the large-genome nidoviruses have acquired an exonuclease-based repair system that compensates for the high polymerase mutation rate. In this work, we establish that the nidoviral polymerases themselves also play a key role in maintaining genome integrity via mutations at two key active-site residues that enable very fast replication rates while maintaining typical mutation rates. Our findings further demonstrate the evolutionary plasticity of the core polymerase platform by showing how it has adapted during the expansion from short-genome picornaviruses to long-genome nidoviruses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , SARS Virus , Catalytic Domain , Genome, Viral , RNA/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS Virus/physiology , Virus Replication
9.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(4): e0074422, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1901936

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused unprecedented loss of life and economic trouble all over the world, though the mechanism of its replication remains poorly understood. In this study, antibodies were generated and used to systematically determine the expression profile and subcellular distribution of 11 SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural replicase proteins (nsp1, nsp2, nsp3, nsp5, nsp7, nsp8, nsp9, nsp10, nsp13, nsp14, and nsp15) by Western blot and immunofluorescence assay. Nsp3, nsp5, and nsp8 were detected in perinuclear foci at different time points, with diffusion and stronger fluorescence observed over time. In particular, colocalization of nsp8 and nsp13 with different replicase proteins suggested viral protein-protein interaction, which may be key to understanding their functions and potential molecular mechanisms. Viral intermediate dsRNA was detected in perinuclear foci as early as 2-h postinfection, indicating the initiation of virus replication. With the passage of time, these perinuclear dsRNA foci became larger and brighter, and nearly all colocalized with N protein, consistent with viral growth over time. Thus, the development of these anti-nsp antibodies provides basic tools for the further study of replication and diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. IMPORTANCE The intracellular localization of SARS-CoV-2 replicase nonstructural proteins (nsp) during infection has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we systematically analyzed the expression and subcellular localization of 11 distinct viral nsp and dsRNA over time in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells by using individual antibody against these replicase proteins. The data indicated that nsp gene expression is highly regulated in space and time, which could be useful to understand the function of viral replicases and future development of diagnostics and potential antiviral strategies against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Open Reading Frames , Pandemics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
10.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(5): e1010328, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1885352

ABSTRACT

During annual influenza epidemics, influenza B viruses (IBVs) co-circulate with influenza A viruses (IAVs), can become predominant and cause severe morbidity and mortality. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that IAVs (primarily avian viruses) and IBVs (primarily human viruses) have diverged over long time scales. Identifying their common and distinctive features is an effective approach to increase knowledge about the molecular details of influenza infection. The virus-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (FluPolB and FluPolA) are PB1-PB2-PA heterotrimers that perform transcription and replication of the viral genome in the nucleus of infected cells. Initiation of viral mRNA synthesis requires a direct association of FluPol with the host RNA polymerase II (RNAP II), in particular the repetitive C-terminal domain (CTD) of the major RNAP II subunit, to enable "cap-snatching" whereby 5'-capped oligomers derived from nascent RNAP II transcripts are pirated to prime viral transcription. Here, we present the first high-resolution co-crystal structure of FluPolB bound to a CTD mimicking peptide at a binding site crossing from PA to PB2. By performing structure-based mutagenesis of FluPolB and FluPolA followed by a systematic investigation of FluPol-CTD binding, FluPol activity and viral phenotype, we demonstrate that IBVs and IAVs have evolved distinct binding interfaces to recruit the RNAP II CTD, despite the CTD sequence being highly conserved across host species. We find that the PB2 627 subdomain, a major determinant of FluPol-host cell interactions and IAV host-range, is involved in CTD-binding for IBVs but not for IAVs, and we show that FluPolB and FluPolA bind to the host RNAP II independently of the CTD. Altogether, our results suggest that the CTD-binding modes of IAV and IBV may represent avian- and human-optimized binding modes, respectively, and that their divergent evolution was shaped by the broader interaction network between the FluPol and the host transcriptional machinery.


Subject(s)
Influenza A virus , Influenza, Human , Humans , Influenza A virus/genetics , Influenza B virus/metabolism , Phylogeny , RNA Polymerase II/genetics , RNA Polymerase II/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
11.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 03 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1834920

ABSTRACT

In only two years, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a devastating effect on public health all over the world and caused irreparable economic damage across all countries. Due to the limited therapeutic management of COVID-19 and the lack of tailor-made antiviral agents, finding new methods to combat this viral illness is now a priority. Herein, we report on a specific oligonucleotide-based RNA inhibitor targeting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It displayed remarkable spontaneous cellular uptake, >94% efficiency in reducing RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) RNA levels in transfected lung cell lines, and >98% efficiency in reducing SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels in samples from patients hospitalized with COVID-19 following a single application.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Oligonucleotides , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Oligonucleotides/pharmacology , Oligonucleotides/therapeutic use , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
12.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(656): eabo0718, 2022 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816673

ABSTRACT

The nucleoside analog remdesivir (RDV) is a Food and Drug Administration-approved antiviral for treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Thus, it is critical to understand factors that promote or prevent RDV resistance. We passaged SARS-CoV-2 in the presence of increasing concentrations of GS-441524, the parent nucleoside of RDV. After 13 passages, we isolated three viral lineages with phenotypic resistance as defined by increases in half-maximal effective concentration from 2.7- to 10.4-fold. Sequence analysis identified nonsynonymous mutations in nonstructural protein 12 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (nsp12-RdRp): V166A, N198S, S759A, V792I, and C799F/R. Two lineages encoded the S759A substitution at the RdRp Ser759-Asp-Asp active motif. In one lineage, the V792I substitution emerged first and then combined with S759A. Introduction of S759A and V792I substitutions at homologous nsp12 positions in murine hepatitis virus demonstrated transferability across betacoronaviruses; introduction of these substitutions resulted in up to 38-fold RDV resistance and a replication defect. Biochemical analysis of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp encoding S759A demonstrated a roughly 10-fold decreased preference for RDV-triphosphate (RDV-TP) as a substrate, whereas nsp12-V792I diminished the uridine triphosphate concentration needed to overcome template-dependent inhibition associated with RDV. The in vitro-selected substitutions identified in this study were rare or not detected in the greater than 6 million publicly available nsp12-RdRp consensus sequences in the absence of RDV selection. The results define genetic and biochemical pathways to RDV resistance and emphasize the need for additional studies to define the potential for emergence of these or other RDV resistance mutations in clinical settings.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Drug Resistance, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , SARS-CoV-2 , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Resistance, Viral/genetics , Humans , Mice , Mutation/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
13.
Front Immunol ; 13: 844749, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809396

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2), a member of the coronavirus family, appeared in 2019 and has caused the largest global public health and economic emergency in recent history, affecting almost all sectors of society. SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus that relies on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity in viral transcription and replication. Due to its high sequence and structural conservation in coronavirus and new SARS-CoV-2 variants, RdRp has been recognized as the key therapeutic target to design novel antiviral strategies. Nucleotide analogs (NAs), such as remdesivir, is the most promising class of RdRp inhibitors to be used in the treatment of COVID-19. However, the presence of exonucleases in SARS-CoV-2 caused a great challenge to NAs; the excision of incorporated NAs will lead to viral resistance to this group of inhibitors. Here, we expressed active RdRp protein in both a eukaryotic expression system of baculovirus-infected insect cells and a prokaryotic expression system of Escherichia coli cells. Nsp7 and nsp8 of the functional RdRp holoenzyme were generated in E. coli. An in vitro RdRp activity assay has been established with a reconstituted nsp12/nsp7/nsp8 complex and biotin-labeled self-priming RNAs, and the activity of the RdRp complex was determined by detecting binding and extension of RNAs. Moreover, to meet the needs of high-throughput drug screening, we developed a fluorometric approach based on dsRNA quantification to assess the catalytic activity of the RdRp complex, which is also suitable for testing in 96-well plates. We demonstrated that the active triphosphate form of remdesivir (RTP) and several reported non-nucleotide analog viral polymerase inhibitors blocked the RdRp in the in vitro RdRp activity assay and high-throughput screening model. This high-throughput screening model has been applied to a custom synthetic chemical and natural product library of thousands of compounds for screening SARS-CoV-2 RdRp inhibitors. Our efficient RdRp inhibitor discovery system provides a powerful platform for the screening, validation, and evaluation of novel antiviral molecules targeting SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, particularly for non-nucleotide antivirals drugs (NNAs).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics
14.
J Virol Methods ; 301: 114463, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796383

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: With the rise of the different Variants of Concern (VOC) and Variants of Interest (VOI) in order to control the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, strategies for accurately tracking these different variants have been developed. While most of these strategies rely heavily on specific PCRs targeting the characteristic mutations of some lineages, several approaches using the alterations at the cycle threshold (Ct) of different commercial PCR diagnostic tests have been described. The objective of this study is to analyse the use of the Ct difference at the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay (Seegene, Korea) between the Nucleocapside (N) and the Spike (S) or RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) genes as a preliminary screening for variant tracking. METHODS: The samples analysed with the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay from 1st of March 2021 to 26th of December 2021 were selected. The Ct values for N, S, RdRP were collected, and the differences between N and S (ΔS) and N and RdRP (ΔRdRP) were calculated. Using ΔS and ΔRdRP a diagnostic test was designed and these results were compared to the routine Variant assessment. RESULTS: The mean ΔS and ΔRdRP were characteristic for Alpha and Delta. This difference was statistically significant. For Every analysed Variant the diagnostic test achieved a higher than 90% sensitivity with a noteworthy performance with the Omicron variant (97% sensitivity and 90% specificity). CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of the Ct alterations at the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay may be a suitable method for an early approach to SARS-CoV-2 variant assessment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics
15.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767152

ABSTRACT

Influenza virus transcription is catalyzed by the viral RNA-polymerase (FluPol) through a cap-snatching activity. The snatching of the cap of cellular mRNA by FluPol is preceded by its binding to the flexible C-terminal domain (CTD) of the RPB1 subunit of RNA-polymerase II (Pol II). To better understand how FluPol brings the 3'-end of the genomic RNAs in close proximity to the host-derived primer, we hypothesized that FluPol may recognize additional Pol II subunits/domains to ensure cap-snatching. Using binary complementation assays between the Pol II and influenza A FluPol subunits and their structural domains, we revealed an interaction between the N-third domain of PB2 and RPB4. This interaction was confirmed by a co-immunoprecipitation assay and was found to occur with the homologous domains of influenza B and C FluPols. The N-half domain of RPB4 was found to be critical in this interaction. Punctual mutants generated at conserved positions between influenza A, B, and C FluPols in the N-third domain of PB2 exhibited strong transcriptional activity defects. These results suggest that FluPol interacts with several domains of Pol II (the CTD to bind Pol II), initiating host transcription and a second transcription on RPB4 to locate FluPol at the proximity of the 5'-end of nascent host mRNA.


Subject(s)
Influenza, Human , Orthomyxoviridae , Humans , Orthomyxoviridae/genetics , RNA Polymerase II/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Viral Transcription , Virus Replication
16.
Virol J ; 18(1): 177, 2021 08 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767103

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The development of an influenza RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) inhibitor is required; therefore, a method for evaluating the activity of influenza RdRp needs to be developed. The current method uses an ultracentrifuge to separate viral particles and quantifies RdRp activity with radioisotope-labeled nucleosides, such as 32P-GTP. This method requires special equipment and radioisotope management, so it cannot be implemented in all institutions. We have developed a method to evaluate the mRNA transcription activity of RdRp without using ultracentrifugation and radioisotopes. RESULTS: RdRp was extracted from viral particles that were purified from the culture supernatant using anionic polymer-coated magnetic beads that can concentrate influenza virus particles from the culture supernatant in approximately 30 min. A strand-specific real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method was developed based on reverse transcription using tagged primers. RT primers were designed to bind to a sequence near the 3' end of mRNA containing a poly A tail for specific recognition of the mRNA, with an 18-nucleotide tag attached to the 5' end of the sequence. The RT reaction was performed with this tagged RT primer, and the amount of mRNA was analyzed using real-time qPCR. Real-time qPCR using the tag sequence as the forward primer and a segment-specific reverse primer ensured the specificity for quantifying the mRNA of segments 1, 4, and 5. The temperature, reaction time, and Mg2+ concentration were determined to select the optimum conditions for in vitro RNA synthesis by RdRp, and the amount of synthesized mRNAs of segments 1, 4, and 5 was determined with a detection sensitivity of 10 copies/reaction. In addition, mRNA synthesis was inhibited by ribavirin triphosphate, an RdRp inhibitor, thus indicating the usefulness of this evaluation method for screening RdRp inhibitors. CONCLUSION: This method makes it possible to analyze the RdRp activity even in a laboratory where ultracentrifugation and radioisotopes cannot be used. This novel method for measuring influenza virus polymerase activity will further promote research to identify compounds that inhibit viral mRNA transcription activity of RdRp.


Subject(s)
Influenza, Human , Orthomyxoviridae , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Reverse Transcription , Humans , Orthomyxoviridae/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
17.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726024

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) worldwide has highlighted the importance of reliable and rapid diagnostic testing to prevent and control virus circulation. Dozens of monoplex in-house RT-qPCR assays are already available; however, the development of dual-target assays is suited to avoid false-negative results caused by polymorphisms or point mutations, that can compromise the accuracy of diagnostic and screening tests. In this study, two mono-target assays recommended by WHO (E-Sarbeco (enveloppe gene, Charite University, Berlin, Germany) and RdRp-IP4 (RdRp, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France)) were selected and combined in a unique robust test; the resulting duo SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR assay was compared to the two parental monoplex tests. The duo SARS-CoV-2 assay performed equally, or better, in terms of sensitivity, specificity, linearity and signal intensity. We demonstrated that combining two single systems into a dual-target assay (with or without an MS2-based internal control) did not impair performances, providing a potent tool adapted for routine molecular diagnosis in clinical microbiology laboratories.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , World Health Organization
18.
J Med Virol ; 94(3): 1035-1049, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718369

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has evolved into eight fundamental clades with four of these clades (G, GH, GR, and GV) globally prevalent in 2020. To explain plausible epistatic effects of the signature co-occurring mutations of these circulating clades on viral replication and transmission fitness, we proposed a hypothetical model using in silico approach. Molecular docking and dynamics analyses showed the higher infectiousness of a spike mutant through more favorable binding of G614 with the elastase-2. RdRp mutation p.P323L significantly increased genome-wide mutations (p < 0.0001), allowing for more flexible RdRp (mutated)-NSP8 interaction that may accelerate replication. Superior RNA stability and structural variation at NSP3:C241T might impact protein, RNA interactions, or both. Another silent 5'-UTR:C241T mutation might affect translational efficiency and viral packaging. These four G-clade-featured co-occurring mutations might increase viral replication. Sentinel GH-clade ORF3a:p.Q57H variants constricted the ion-channel through intertransmembrane-domain interaction of cysteine(C81)-histidine(H57). The GR-clade N:p.RG203-204KR would stabilize RNA interaction by a more flexible and hypo-phosphorylated SR-rich region. GV-clade viruses seemingly gained the evolutionary advantage of the confounding factors; nevertheless, N:p.A220V might modulate RNA binding with no phenotypic effect. Our hypothetical model needs further retrospective and prospective studies to understand detailed molecular events and their relationship to the fitness of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Epistasis, Genetic , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation , Prospective Studies , RNA , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
19.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 154, 2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1699831

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has an exonuclease-based proofreader, which removes nucleotide inhibitors such as Remdesivir that are incorporated into the viral RNA during replication, reducing the efficacy of these drugs for treating COVID-19. Combinations of inhibitors of both the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the exonuclease could overcome this deficiency. Here we report the identification of hepatitis C virus NS5A inhibitors Pibrentasvir and Ombitasvir as SARS-CoV-2 exonuclease inhibitors. In the presence of Pibrentasvir, RNAs terminated with the active forms of the prodrugs Sofosbuvir, Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Molnupiravir and AT-527 were largely protected from excision by the exonuclease, while in the absence of Pibrentasvir, there was rapid excision. Due to its unique structure, Tenofovir-terminated RNA was highly resistant to exonuclease excision even in the absence of Pibrentasvir. Viral cell culture studies also demonstrate significant synergy using this combination strategy. This study supports the use of combination drugs that inhibit both the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase and exonuclease for effective COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Exonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Amino Acid Sequence , Anilides/pharmacology , Animals , Base Sequence , Benzimidazoles/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Synergism , Exonucleases/genetics , Exonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Proline/pharmacology , Pyrrolidines/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Valine/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/genetics
20.
J Cell Biochem ; 123(4): 807-818, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1669494

ABSTRACT

The antiviral drug molnupiravir targets the SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) enzyme. Early treatment with molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in at-risk, unvaccinated adults with COVID-19, according to phase 3 clinical trials. Many mutations have occurred within this virus as a result of its widespread distribution. The current study sought to determine whether mutations in the RdRP of Delta subvariant AY.4 (D-AY.4 RdRP) influence the interaction of the enzyme with molnupiravir triphosphate (MTP), the active metabolite of molnupiravir. The interactions between the wild-type (WT) RdRP and D-AY.4 RdRP with MTP were evaluated based on molecular docking and dynamic simulation (MD) studies. The results show that the MTP interaction is stronger and more stable with D-AY.4 RdRP than with WT RdRP. This study provides insight into the potential significance of administering MTP to patients infected with D-AY.4 RdRP, which may have a more favorable chance of alleviating the illness. According to the findings of this study, MTP has a high likelihood of becoming widely used as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent. The fact that MTP is not only cytotoxic but also mutagenic to mammalian cells, as well as the possibility that it may cause DNA damage in the host, have all been raised as potential concerns.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Humans , Hydroxylamines , Mammals , Molecular Docking Simulation , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
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