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1.
Molecules ; 27(21)2022 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099666

ABSTRACT

As a cellular protease, transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) plays roles in various physiological and pathological processes, including cancer and viral entry, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Herein, we conducted expression, mutation, and prognostic analyses for the TMPRSS2 gene in pan-cancers as well as in COVID-19-infected lung tissues. The results indicate that TMPRSS2 expression was highest in prostate cancer. A high expression of TMPRSS2 was significantly associated with a short overall survival in breast invasive carcinoma (BRCA), sarcoma (SARC), and uveal melanoma (UVM), while a low expression of TMPRSS2 was significantly associated with a short overall survival in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), demonstrating TMPRSS2 roles in cancer patient susceptibility and severity. Additionally, TMPRSS2 expression in COVID-19-infected lung tissues was significantly reduced compared to healthy lung tissues, indicating that a low TMPRSS2 expression may result in COVID-19 severity and death. Importantly, TMPRSS2 mutation frequency was significantly higher in prostate adenocarcinoma (PRAD), and the mutant TMPRSS2 pan-cancer group was significantly associated with long overall, progression-free, disease-specific, and disease-free survival rates compared to the wild-type (WT) TMPRSS2 pan-cancer group, demonstrating loss of functional roles due to mutation. Cancer cell lines were treated with small molecules, including cordycepin (CD), adenosine (AD), thymoquinone (TQ), and TQFL12, to mediate TMPRSS2 expression. Notably, CD, AD, TQ, and TQFL12 inhibited TMPRSS2 expression in cancer cell lines, including the PC3 prostate cancer cell line, implying a therapeutic role for preventing COVID-19 in cancer patients. Together, these findings are the first to demonstrate that small molecules, such as CD, AD, TQ, and TQFL12, inhibit TMPRSS2 expression, providing novel therapeutic strategies for preventing COVID-19 and cancers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lung Neoplasms , Prostatic Neoplasms , Male , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , Prognosis , Adenosine , Mutation , Prostatic Neoplasms/drug therapy , Prostatic Neoplasms/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(20)2022 Oct 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2082255

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can utilize host cell proteases to facilitate cell entry, whereby the Spike (S) protein is cleaved at two specific sites to enable membrane fusion. Furin, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), and cathepsin L (CatL) are the major proteases implicated, and are thus targets for anti-viral therapy. The human serpin (serine protease inhibitor) alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) shows inhibitory activity for TMPRSS2, and has previously been found to suppress cell infection with SARS-CoV-2. Here, we have generated modified serpin inhibitors with increased specificity for these cellular proteases. Using SerpinB3 (SCCA-1), a cross-class inhibitor of CatL, as a scaffold, we have designed and produced reactive centre loop (RCL) variants to more specifically target both furin and TMPRSS2. Two further variants were generated by substituting the RCL P7-P1 with the spike protein S1/S2 cleavage site from either SARS-CoV-2 alpha or delta (P681R) sequences. Altered inhibitory specificity of purified recombinant proteins was verified in protease assays, with attenuated CatL inhibition and gain of furin or TMPRSS2 inhibition, as predicted, and modified serpins were shown to block S protein cleavage in vitro. Furthermore, the serpin variants were able to inhibit S-pseudoparticle entry into A549-ACE2-TMPRSS2 cells and suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication in Vero E6 cells expressing TMPRSS2. The construct designed to inhibit TMPRSS2 (B3-TMP) was most potent. It was more effective than A1AT for TMPRSS2 enzyme inhibition (with an eighteen-fold improvement in the second order inhibition rate constant) and for blocking SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. These findings advance the potential for serpin RCL mutagenesis to generate new inhibitors, and may lead to novel anti-viral biological molecules.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Serpins , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Serpins/genetics , Serpins/pharmacology , Cathepsin L/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Virus Internalization , COVID-19/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Mutagenesis , Recombinant Proteins , Serine , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
3.
Genes (Basel) ; 13(11)2022 10 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2081951

ABSTRACT

The aim of the study was to identify the association between four selected COVID-19 polymorphisms of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 receptors genes with the presence of long-COVID symptomatology in COVID-19 survivors. These genes were selected as they associate with the entry of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the cells, so polymorphisms could be important for the prognoses of long-COVID symptoms. Two hundred and ninety-three (n = 293, 49.5% female, mean age: 55.6 ± 12.9 years) individuals who had been previously hospitalized due to COVID-19 were included. Three potential genotypes of the following single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained from non-stimulated saliva samples of participants: ACE2 (rs2285666), ACE2 (rs2074192), TMPRSS2 (rs12329760), TMPRSS2 (rs2070788). Participants were asked to self-report the presence of any post-COVID defined as a symptom that started no later than one month after SARS-CoV-2 acute infection and whether the symptom persisted at the time of the study. At the time of the study (mean: 17.8, SD: 5.2 months after hospital discharge), 87.7% patients reported at least one symptom. Fatigue (62.8%), pain (39.9%) or memory loss (32.1%) were the most prevalent post-COVID symptoms. Overall, no differences in long-COVID symptoms were dependent on ACE2 rs2285666, ACE2 rs2074192, TMPRSS2 rs12329760, or TMPRSS2 rs2070788 genotypes. The four SNPs assessed, albeit previously associated with COVID-19 severity, do not predispose for developing long-COVID symptoms in people who were previously hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Survivors
4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 6100, 2022 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2077054

ABSTRACT

In cultured cells, SARS-CoV-2 infects cells via multiple pathways using different host proteases. Recent studies have shown that the furin and TMPRSS2 (furin/TMPRSS2)-dependent pathway plays a minor role in infection of the Omicron variant. Here, we confirm that Omicron uses the furin/TMPRSS2-dependent pathway inefficiently and enters cells mainly using the cathepsin-dependent endocytosis pathway in TMPRSS2-expressing VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu-3 cells. This is the case despite efficient cleavage of the spike protein of Omicron. However, in the airways of TMPRSS2-knockout mice, Omicron infection is significantly reduced. We furthermore show that propagation of the mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 QHmusX strain and human clinical isolates of Beta and Gamma is reduced in TMPRSS2-knockout mice. Therefore, the Omicron variant isn't an exception in using TMPRSS2 in vivo, and analysis with TMPRSS2-knockout mice is important when evaluating SARS-CoV-2 variants. In conclusion, this study shows that TMPRSS2 is critically important for SARS-CoV-2 infection of murine airways, including the Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Cathepsins , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Mice, Knockout , Peptide Hydrolases , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
5.
Arch Virol ; 167(10): 1931-1946, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2059867

ABSTRACT

Since 2020, SARS-CoV-2 has caused a pandemic virus that has posed many challenges worldwide. Infection with this virus can result in a number of symptoms, one of which is anosmia. Olfactory dysfunction can be a temporary or long-term viral complication caused by a disorder of the olfactory neuroepithelium. Processes such as inflammation, apoptosis, and neuronal damage are involved in the development of SARS-CoV-2-induced anosmia. One of the receptors that play a key role in the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the host cell is the transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS2, which facilitates this process by cleaving the viral S protein. The gene encoding TMPRSS2 is located on chromosome 21. It contains 15 exons and has many genetic variations, some of which increase the risk of disease. Delta strains have been shown to be more dependent on TMPRSS2 for cell entry than Omicron strains. Blockade of this receptor by serine protease inhibitors such as camostat and nafamostat can be helpful for treating SARS-CoV-2 symptoms, including anosmia. Proper understanding of the different functional aspects of this serine protease can help to overcome the therapeutic challenges of SARS-CoV-2 symptoms, including anosmia. In this review, we describe the cellular and molecular events involved in anosmia induced by SARS-CoV-2 with a focus on the function of the TMPRSS2 receptor.


Subject(s)
Anosmia , COVID-19 , Serine Endopeptidases , Anosmia/virology , COVID-19/complications , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Proteases , Virus Internalization
6.
Front Immunol ; 13: 982839, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2039678

ABSTRACT

The secreted enzyme interleukin four-induced gene 1 (IL4I1) is involved in the negative control of the adaptive immune response. IL4I1 expression in human cancer is frequent and correlates with poor survival and resistance to immunotherapy. Nevertheless, its mechanism of action remains partially unknown. Here, we identified transmembrane serine protease 13 (TMPRSS13) as an immune cell-expressed surface protein that binds IL4I1. TMPRSS13 is a paralog of TMPRSS2, of which the protease activity participates in the cleavage of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and facilitates virus induced-membrane fusion. We show that TMPRSS13 is expressed by human lymphocytes, monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages, can cleave the spike protein and allow SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped virus entry into cells. We identify regions of homology between IL4I1 and spike and demonstrate competition between the two proteins for TMPRSS13 binding. These findings may be relevant for both interfering with SARS-CoV-2 infection and limiting IL4I1-dependent immunosuppressive activity in cancer.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Humans , Interleukins , L-Amino Acid Oxidase , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
Viruses ; 14(9)2022 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2010316

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uses the ACE2 receptor and the cellular protease TMPRSS2 for entry into target cells. The present study aimed to establish if the TMPRSS2 polymorphisms are associated with COVID-19 disease. The study included 609 patients with COVID-19 confirmed by RT-PCR test and 291 individuals negative for the SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR test and without antibodies anti-SARS-CoV-2. Four TMPRSS2 polymorphisms (rs12329760, rs2298659, rs456298, and rs462574) were determined using the 5'exonuclease TaqMan assays. Under different inheritance models, the rs2298659 (pcodominant2 = 0.018, precessive = 0.006, padditive = 0.019), rs456298 (pcodominant1 = 0.014, pcodominant2 = 0.004; pdominant = 0.009, precessive = 0.004, padditive = 0.0009), and rs462574 (pcodominant1 = 0.017, pcodominant2 = 0.004, pdominant = 0.041, precessive = 0.002, padditive = 0.003) polymorphisms were associated with high risk of developing COVID-19. Two risks (ATGC and GAAC) and two protectives (GAGC and GAGT) haplotypes were detected. High levels of lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH) were observed in patients with the rs462574AA and rs456298TT genotypes (p = 0.005 and p = 0.020, respectively), whereas, high heart rate was present in patients with the rs462574AA genotype (p = 0.028). Our data suggest that the rs2298659, rs456298, and rs462574 polymorphisms independently and as haplotypes are associated with the risk of COVID-19. The rs456298 and rs462574 genotypes are related to high levels of LDH and heart rate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Exonucleases , Humans , Lactic Acid , Oxidoreductases , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
8.
Biomolecules ; 12(9)2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2005928

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has disrupted global health systems and brought the entire globe to its knees. Although born as a disease of the respiratory system, COVID-19 can affect different parts of the body, including the skin. Reports of ongoing skin manifestations of COVID-19 have gradually multiplied, pushing researchers to investigate the etiopathogenic mechanisms underlying these phenomena in more depth. In an attempt to investigate the possible association between SARS-CoV-2, ACE2, TMPRSS2 and skin manifestations, we performed immunohistochemical investigations of the ACE2 receptor and TMPRSS2 in nine skin samples from SARS-CoV-2-positive patients compared to a cohort of healthy controls. Furthermore, after consulting public databases regarding ACE2 mRNA expression in various cell populations resident in the skin, we conducted a literature review aimed at outlining the current state of this topic. We did not find statistically different immuno-expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 between the group of SARS-CoV-2-positive patients (nine skin biopsies) and the control group. Regarding ACE2, major immunolabeling was present in the epidermal keratinocytes and, rarely, in the fibroblasts and in the adenomeres of the eccrine sweat glands. Regarding the immune expression of TMPRSS2, we found no significant differences between the two groups, with a weak immune staining only in some skin cytotypes. From the review of the literature, we isolated 35 relevant articles according to the inclusion criteria adopted. ACE2 appears to be a target of SARS-CoV-2, although, other receptor molecules may potentially be implicated, such as TMPRSS2. Future studies with large cases and different molecular investigative methods are needed to further elucidate the mechanisms underlying the skin manifestations of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Skin Diseases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Skin Diseases/diagnosis , Skin Diseases/virology
9.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 11763, 2022 08 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991656

ABSTRACT

Besides typical respiratory symptoms, COVID-19 patients also have gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies focusing on the gastrointestinal tumors derived from gastrointestinal tissues have raised a question whether these tumors might express higher levels of SARS-CoV-2 associated genes and therefore patients diagnosed with GI cancers may be more susceptible to the infection. In this study, we have analyzed the expression of SARS-CoV-2 associated genes and their co-expressions in gastrointestinal solid tumors, cancer cell lines and patient-derived organoids relative to their normal counterparts. Moreover, we have found increased co-expression of TMPRSS2-TMPRSS4 in gastrointestinal cancers suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 viral infection known to be mediated by this protease pair might facilitate the effects of viral infection in GI cancer patients. Further, our findings also demonstrate that TRIM31 expression is upregulated in gastrointestinal tumors, while the inhibition of TRIM31 significantly altered viral replication and viral processes associated with cellular pathways in gastrointestinal cancer samples. Taken together, these findings indicate that in addition to the co-expression of TMPRSS2-TMPRSS4 protease pair in GI cancers, TRIM31 expression is positively correlated with this pair and TRIM31 may play a role in providing an increased susceptibility in GI cancer patients to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Subject(s)
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms , Membrane Proteins , Serine Endopeptidases , Tripartite Motif Proteins , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases , COVID-19/genetics , Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/genetics , Gene Expression , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Tripartite Motif Proteins/genetics , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/genetics
10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(16)2022 Aug 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987837

ABSTRACT

During the first wave of COVID-19 infection in Italy, the number of cases and the mortality rates were among the highest compared to the rest of Europe and the world. Several studies demonstrated a severe clinical course of COVID-19 associated with old age, comorbidities, and male gender. However, there are cases of virus infection resistance in subjects living in close contact with infected subjects. Thus, to explain the predisposition to virus infection and to COVID-19 disease progression, we must consider, in addition to the genetic variability of the virus and other environmental or comorbidity conditions, the allelic variants of specific human genes, directly or indirectly related to the life cycle of the virus. Here, we analyzed three human genetic polymorphisms belonging to the TMPRSS2 and CCR5 genes in a sample population from Sicily (Italy) to investigate possible correlations with the resistance to viral infection and/or to COVID-19 disease progression as recently described in other human populations. Our results did not show any correlations of the rs35074065, rs12329760, and rs333 polymorphisms with SARS-CoV-2 infection or with COVID-19 disease severity. Further studies on other human genetic polymorphisms should be performed to identify the major human determinants of SARS-CoV-2 viral resistance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Receptors, CCR5 , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , COVID-19/genetics , Disease Progression , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Humans , Receptors, CCR5/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Sicily
11.
mBio ; 13(4): e0137622, 2022 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973797

ABSTRACT

The continuous emergence of new variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) urges better understanding of the functional motifs in the spike (S) protein and their tolerance to mutations. Here, we focused on the S2' motif, which, during virus entry, requires cleavage by a host cell protease to release the fusion peptide. Though belonging to an immunogenic region, the SARS-CoV-2 S2' motif (811-KPSKR-815) has shown hardly any variation, with its three basic (K/R) residues being >99.99% conserved thus far. By creating a series of mutant pseudoviruses bearing the spikes of Wuhan-Hu-1, its G614 mutant or the Delta and Omicron variants, we show that residue K814 (preceding the scissile R815) is dispensable for TMPRSS2 yet favored by the alternative TMPRSS13 protease. Activation by TMPRSS13 was drastically reduced when the SARS-CoV-2 S2' motif was swapped with that of the low pathogenic 229E coronavirus (685-RVAGR-689), and also, the reverse effect was seen. This swap had no impact on recognition by TMPRSS2. In the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) spike, introducing a dibasic scissile motif was easily accepted by TMPRSS13 but less so by TMPRSS2, confirming that TMPRSS13 favors a sequence rich in K/R residues. Pseudovirus entry experiments in Calu-3 cells confirmed that the S2' mutations have minor impact on TMPRSS2. Our findings are the first to demonstrate which S2' residues are important for SARS-CoV-2 spike activation by these two airway proteases, with TMPRSS2 being more tolerant to variation than TMPRSS13. This preemptive insight will help to estimate the impact of S2' motif changes as they appear in new SARS-CoV-2 variants. IMPORTANCE Since its introduction in humans, SARS-CoV-2 is evolving with frequent appearance of new variants. The surveillance would benefit from proactive characterization of the functional motifs in the spike (S) protein, the most variable viral factor. This is linked to immune evasion but also influences spike functioning. Remarkably, though located in a strongly immunogenic region, the S2' cleavage motif has, thus far, remained highly conserved. This suggests that its sequence is critical for spike activation by airway proteases. To investigate this, we assessed how pseudovirus entry is affected by changes in the S2' motif. We demonstrate that TMPRSS2 readily accepts variations in this motif, whereas the alternative TMPRSS13 protease is more fastidious. The Wuhan-Hu-1, G614, Delta and Omicron spikes showed no difference in this regard. Being the first in its kind, our study will help to assess the impact of S2' variations as soon as they are detected during variant surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Mutation , Peptide Hydrolases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
12.
Cell Rep ; 40(7): 111220, 2022 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966425

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike N-terminal domain (NTD) remains poorly characterized despite enrichment of mutations in this region across variants of concern (VOCs). Here, we examine the contribution of the NTD to infection and cell-cell fusion by constructing chimeric spikes bearing B.1.617 lineage (Delta and Kappa variants) NTDs and generating spike pseudotyped lentivirus. We find that the Delta NTD on a Kappa or wild-type (WT) background increases S1/S2 cleavage efficiency and virus entry, specifically in lung cells and airway organoids, through use of TMPRSS2. Delta exhibits increased cell-cell fusogenicity that could be conferred to WT and Kappa spikes by Delta NTD transfer. However, chimeras of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 spikes with a Delta NTD do not show more efficient TMPRSS2 use or fusogenicity. We conclude that the NTD allosterically modulates S1/S2 cleavage and spike-mediated functions in a spike context-dependent manner, and allosteric interactions may be lost when combining regions from more distantly related VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Virus Internalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
13.
Front Biosci (Landmark Ed) ; 27(7): 217, 2022 07 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1965058

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is enveloped by four structural proteins. The entry of the virus into the host cells is mediated by spike protein binding to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and proteolytic cleavage by transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). In this study, we analyzed the expression of the ACE2 receptor and TMPRSS2 in cases under investigation for SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: The study was carried out using the viral transport medium of consecutive nasopharyngeal swabs from 300 people under examination for SARS-CoV-2 infection. All samples underwent the SARS-CoV-2 transcriptase-mediated amplification assay (Procleix® SARS-CoV-2) to detect the virus. Immunocytochemistry was used in each sample to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein, the ACE2 receptor, and TMPRSS2. RESULTS: An immunocytochemical study with monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleoprotein showed positivity in squamous cells. ACE2 were not detected in the squamous cells obtained from the nasopharyngeal samples. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 predominantly localizes to squamous cells in cytology samples of patients with positive transcriptase-mediated amplification SARS-CoV-2 assay results. The immunocytochemical negativity for ACE2 evidenced in the present study could be related to the cellular heterogeneity present in the nasopharyngeal smear samples and could be related to variations at the genomic level. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 might be present in the nasopharyngeal region because viral cell junctions are weaker. This facilitates viral concentration, infective capacity and migration to specific organs, where SARS-CoV-2 infects target cells by binding to their receptors and then entering.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Nasopharynx/metabolism , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
14.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 251, 2022 07 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1956394
15.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 681, 2022 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1927105

ABSTRACT

The transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) primes the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein for host cell entry and represents a promising target for COVID-19 therapy. Here we describe the in silico development and in vitro characterization of peptidomimetic TMPRSS2 inhibitors. Molecular docking studies identified peptidomimetic binders of the TMPRSS2 catalytic site, which were synthesized and coupled to an electrophilic serine trap. The compounds inhibit TMPRSS2 while demonstrating good off-target selectivity against selected coagulation proteases. Lead candidates are stable in blood serum and plasma for at least ten days. Finally, we show that selected peptidomimetics inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Spike-driven pseudovirus entry and authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection with comparable efficacy as camostat mesylate. The peptidomimetic TMPRSS2 inhibitors also prevent entry of recent SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern Delta and Omicron BA.1. In sum, our study reports antivirally active and stable TMPRSS2 inhibitors with prospects for further preclinical and clinical development as antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 and other TMPRSS2-dependent viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidomimetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Culture Techniques , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptidomimetics/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
16.
J Med Virol ; 94(11): 5225-5243, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1925945

ABSTRACT

Heterogeneity in symptoms associated with COVID-19 in infected patients remains unclear. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 gene variants are considered possible risk factors for COVID-19. In this study, a retrospective comparative genome analysis of the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 variants from 946 whole-exome sequencing data was conducted. Allele frequencies of all variants were calculated and filtered to remove variants with allele frequencies lower than 0.003 and to prioritize functional coding variants. The majority of detected variants were intronic, only two ACE2 and three TMPRSS2 nonsynonymous variants were detected in the analyzed cohort. The main ACE2 variants that putatively have a protective or susceptibility effect on SARS-CoV-2 have not yet been determined in the Turkish population. The Turkish genetic makeup likely lacks any ACE2 variant that increases susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. TMPRSS2 rs75603675 and rs12329760 variants that were previously defined as common variants that have different allele frequencies among populations and may have a role in SARS-CoV-2 attachment to host cells were determined in the population. Overall, these data will contribute to the formation of a national variation database and may also contribute to further studies of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the Turkish population and differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection among other populations.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Whole Exome Sequencing
17.
Viruses ; 14(7)2022 Jun 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911648

ABSTRACT

New variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continue to emerge, causing surges, breakthrough infections, and devastating losses-underscoring the importance of identifying SARS-CoV-2 antivirals. A simple, accessible human cell culture model permissive to SARS-CoV-2 variants is critical for identifying and assessing antivirals in a high-throughput manner. Although human alveolar A549 cells are a valuable model for studying respiratory virus infections, they lack two essential host factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection: angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2). SARS-CoV-2 uses the ACE2 receptor for viral entry and TMPRSS2 to prime the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, both of which are negligibly expressed in A549 cells. Here, we report the generation of a suitable human cell line for SARS-CoV-2 studies by transducing human ACE2 and TMPRSS2 into A549 cells. We show that subclones highly expressing ACE2 and TMPRSS2 ("ACE2plus" and the subclone "ACE2plusC3") are susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2, including the delta and omicron variants. These subclones express more ACE2 and TMPRSS2 transcripts than existing commercial A549 cells engineered to express ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Additionally, the antiviral drugs EIDD-1931, remdesivir, nirmatrelvir, and nelfinavir strongly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 variants in our infection model. Our data show that ACE2plusC3 cells are highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can be used to identify anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0270609, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910688

ABSTRACT

Covid-19 progression shows sex-dependent features. It is hypothesized that a better Covid-19 survival rate in females can be attributed to the presence of higher 17ß-estradiol (E2) levels in women than in men. Virus SARS-CoV-2 is enabled to enter the cell with the use of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The expression of several renin-angiotensin system components has been shown to exert a rhythmic pattern, and a role of the circadian system in their regulation has been implicated. Therefore, the aim of the study is to elucidate possible interference between E2 signalling and the circadian system in the regulation of the expression of ACE2 mRNA and functionally related molecules. E2 was administered at a dosage of 40 µg/kg/day for 7 days to male Wistar rats, and sampling of the lungs and colon was performed during a 24-h cycle. The daily pattern of expression of molecules facilitating SARS-CoV-2 entry into the cell, clock genes and E2 receptors was analysed. As a consequence of E2 administration, a rhythm in ACE2 and TMPRSS2 mRNA expression was observed in the lungs but not in the colon. ADAM17 mRNA expression showed a pronounced rhythmic pattern in both tissues that was not influenced by E2 treatment. ESR1 mRNA expression exerted a rhythmic pattern, which was diminished by E2 treatment. The influence of E2 administration on ESR2 and GPER1 mRNA expression was greater in the lungs than in the colon as a significant rhythm in ESR2 and GPER1 mRNA expression appeared only in the lungs after E2 treatment. E2 administration also increased the amplitude of bmal1 expression in the lungs, which implicates altered functioning of peripheral oscillators in response to E2 treatment. The daily pattern of components of the SARS-CoV-2 entrance pathway and their responsiveness to E2 should be considered in the timing of pharmacological therapy for Covid-19.


Subject(s)
ADAM17 Protein , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Colon , Estradiol , Lung , Receptors, Estradiol , ADAM17 Protein/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Colon/drug effects , Colon/metabolism , Estradiol/pharmacology , Female , Lung/metabolism , Male , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Rats , Rats, Wistar , Receptors, Estradiol/genetics , Receptors, Estradiol/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects , Virus Internalization
19.
mBio ; 13(4): e0051922, 2022 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1901927

ABSTRACT

The ongoing global vaccination program to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, the causative agent of COVID-19, has had significant success. However, recently, virus variants that can evade the immunity in a host achieved through vaccination have emerged. Consequently, new therapeutic agents that can efficiently prevent infection from these new variants, and hence COVID-19 spread, are urgently required. To achieve this, extensive characterization of virus-host cell interactions to identify effective therapeutic targets is warranted. Here, we report a cell surface entry pathway of SARS-CoV-2 that exists in a cell type-dependent manner and is TMPRSS2 independent but sensitive to various broad-spectrum metalloproteinase inhibitors such as marimastat and prinomastat. Experiments with selective metalloproteinase inhibitors and gene-specific small interfering RNAS (siRNAs) revealed that a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) is partially involved in the metalloproteinase pathway. Consistent with our finding that the pathway is unique to SARS-CoV-2 among highly pathogenic human coronaviruses, both the furin cleavage motif in the S1/S2 boundary and the S2 domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein are essential for metalloproteinase-dependent entry. In contrast, the two elements of SARS-CoV-2 independently contributed to TMPRSS2-dependent S2 priming. The metalloproteinase pathway is involved in SARS-CoV-2-induced syncytium formation and cytopathicity, leading us to theorize that it is also involved in the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Thus, targeting the metalloproteinase pathway in addition to the TMPRSS2 and endosomal pathways could be an effective strategy by which to cure COVID-19 in the future. IMPORTANCE To develop effective therapeutics against COVID-19, it is necessary to elucidate in detail the infection mechanism of the causative agent, SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the cell surface receptor ACE2 via the spike protein, and then the spike protein is cleaved by host proteases to enable entry. Here, we found that the metalloproteinase-mediated pathway is important for SARS-CoV-2 infection in addition to the TMPRSS2-mediated pathway and the endosomal pathway. The metalloproteinase-mediated pathway requires both the prior cleavage of spike into two domains and a specific sequence in the second domain, S2, conditions met by SARS-CoV-2 but lacking in the related human coronavirus SARS-CoV. Besides the contribution of metalloproteinases to SARS-CoV-2 infection, inhibition of metalloproteinases was important in preventing cell death, which may cause organ damage. Our study provides new insights into the complex pathogenesis unique to COVID-19 and relevant to the development of effective therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Virus Internalization , Humans , Metalloproteases/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
20.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) ; 13: 862789, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1896674

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although males and females are at equivalent risk of infection, males are more prone to develop a higher severity disease, regardless of age. The factors that mediate susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and transmission are still under investigation. A potential role has been attributed to differences in the immune systems response to viral antigens between males and females as well as to different regulatory actions played by sex-related hormones on the two crucial molecular effectors for SARS-CoV-2 infection, TMPRSS2 and ACE2. While few and controversial data about TMPRSS2 transcript regulation in lung cells are emerging, no data on protein expression and activity of TMPRSS2 have been reported. Aim of the present study was to search for possible modulatory actions played by sex-related hormones on TMPRSS2 and ACE2 expression in Calu-3 cells, to test the effects of sex-steroids on the expression of the 32kDa C-term fragment derived from autocatalitic cleavage of TMPRSS2 and its impact on priming of transiently transfected spike protein. Cells were stimulated with different concentrations of methyltrienolone (R1881) or estradiol for 30 h. No difference in mRNA and protein expression levels of full length TMPRSS2 was observed. However, the 32 kDa cleaved serine protease domain was increased after 100 nM R1881 (+2.36 ± 1.13 fold-increase vs control untreated cells, p < 0.05) and 10 nM estradiol (+1.90 ± 0.64, fold-increase vs control untreated cells, p < 0.05) treatment. Both R1881 and estradiol significantly increased the activating proteolytic cleavage of SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) transfected in Calu-3 cells (+1.76 ± 0.18 and +1.99±,0.76 increase in S cleavage products at R1881 100nM and 10 nM estradiol treatment, respectively, p < 0.001 and p < 0.05 vs control untreated cells, respectively). Finally, no significant differences in ACE2 expression were observed between hormones-stimulated cells and untreated control cells. Altogether, these data suggest that both male and female sex-related hormones are able to induce a proteolityc activation of TMPRSS2, thus promoting viral infection, in agreement with the observation that males and females are equally infected by SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Serine Endopeptidases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , Cell Line , Estradiol/pharmacology , Female , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Male , Metribolone/pharmacology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
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