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1.
Viruses ; 14(10)2022 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099840

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 cell-cell fusion and syncytiation is an emerging pathomechanism in COVID-19, but the precise factors contributing to the process remain ill-defined. In this study, we show that metalloproteases promote SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-induced syncytiation in the absence of established serine proteases using in vitro cell-cell fusion assays. We also show that metalloproteases promote S2'-activation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and that metalloprotease inhibition significantly reduces the syncytiation of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. In the presence of serine proteases, however, metalloprotease inhibition does not reduce spike protein-induced syncytiation and a combination of metalloprotease and serine protease inhibition is necessitated. Moreover, we show that the spike protein induces metalloprotease-dependent ectodomain shedding of the ACE2 receptor and that ACE2 shedding contributes to spike protein-induced syncytiation. These observations suggest a benefit to the incorporation of pharmacological inhibitors of metalloproteases into treatment strategies for patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Cell Fusion , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Metalloproteases , Serine Proteases
2.
J Leukoc Biol ; 112(3): 569-576, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2047706

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), which causes the disease COVID-19, has caused an unprecedented global pandemic. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the major cellular receptor for SARS-CoV2 entry, which is facilitated by viral Spike priming by cellular TMPRSS2. Macrophages play an important role in innate viral defense and are also involved in aberrant immune activation that occurs in COVID-19, and thus direct macrophage infection might contribute to severity of SARS-CoV2 infection. Here, we demonstrate that monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) under in vitro conditions express low-to-undetectable levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and minimal coexpression. Expression of these receptors remained low in MDM induced to different subtypes such as unpolarized, M1 and M2 polarized. Untreated, unpolarized, M1 polarized, and M2 polarized MDM were all resistant to infection with SARS-CoV2 pseudotyped virions. These findings suggest that direct infection of myeloid cells is unlikely to be a major mechanism of SARS-CoV2 pathogenesis. Summary sentence: Monocytes and macrophages express minimal ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and resist SARS-CoV-2 Spike-mediated infection, suggesting direct myeloid cell infection is unlikely a major contributor to pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Macrophages , Monocytes , Serine Endopeptidases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , Disease Resistance , Humans , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/virology , Monocytes/metabolism , Monocytes/virology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(38): e2209514119, 2022 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2017036

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cell entry starts with membrane attachment and ends with spike (S) protein-catalyzed membrane fusion depending on two cleavage steps, namely, one usually by furin in producing cells and the second by TMPRSS2 on target cells. Endosomal cathepsins can carry out both. Using real-time three-dimensional single-virion tracking, we show that fusion and genome penetration require virion exposure to an acidic milieu of pH 6.2 to 6.8, even when furin and TMPRSS2 cleavages have occurred. We detect the sequential steps of S1-fragment dissociation, fusion, and content release from the cell surface in TMPRRS2-overexpressing cells only when exposed to acidic pH. We define a key role of an acidic environment for successful infection, found in endosomal compartments and at the surface of TMPRSS2-expressing cells in the acidic milieu of the nasal cavity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nasal Cavity , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , Virus Internalization , COVID-19/virology , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Nasal Cavity/chemistry , Nasal Cavity/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Eur J Med Chem ; 240: 114585, 2022 Oct 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1982958

ABSTRACT

The RNA viruses SARS-CoV-2 and dengue pose a major threat to human health worldwide and their proteases (Mpro; NS2B/NS3) are considered as promising targets for drug development. We present the synthesis and biological evaluation of novel benzoxaborole inhibitors of these two proteases. The most active compound achieves single-digit micromolar activity against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro in a biochemical assay. The most active substance against dengue NS2B/NS3 protease has submicromolar activity in cells (EC50 0.54 µM) and inhibits DENV-2 replication in cell culture. Most benzoxaboroles had no relevant cytotoxicity or significant off-target inhibition. Furthermore, the class demonstrated passive membrane penetration and stability against the evaluated proteases. This compound class may contribute to the development of antiviral agents with activity against DENV or SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dengue Virus , Dengue , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Dengue/drug therapy , Dengue Virus/metabolism , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins
5.
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
6.
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
7.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother ; 66(7): e0043922, 2022 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891730

ABSTRACT

An essential step in the infection life cycle of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the proteolytic activation of the viral spike (S) protein, which enables membrane fusion and entry into the host cell. Two distinct classes of host proteases have been implicated in the S protein activation step: cell-surface serine proteases, such as the cell-surface transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2), and endosomal cathepsins, leading to entry through either the cell-surface route or the endosomal route, respectively. In cells expressing TMPRSS2, inhibiting endosomal proteases using nonspecific cathepsin inhibitors such as E64d or lysosomotropic compounds such as hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent viral entry, suggesting that the endosomal route of entry is unimportant; however, mechanism-based toxicities and poor efficacy of these compounds confound our understanding of the importance of the endosomal route of entry. Here, to identify better pharmacological agents to elucidate the role of the endosomal route of entry, we profiled a panel of molecules identified through a high-throughput screen that inhibit endosomal pH and/or maturation through different mechanisms. Among the three distinct classes of inhibitors, we found that inhibiting vacuolar-ATPase using the macrolide bafilomycin A1 was the only agent able to potently block viral entry without associated cellular toxicity. Using both pseudotyped and authentic virus, we showed that bafilomycin A1 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection both in the absence and presence of TMPRSS2. Moreover, synergy was observed upon combining bafilomycin A1 with Camostat, a TMPRSS2 inhibitor, in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 entry into TMPRSS2-expressing cells. Overall, this study highlights the importance of the endosomal route of entry for SARS-CoV-2 and provides a rationale for the generation of successful intervention strategies against this virus that combine inhibitors of both entry pathways.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases , COVID-19/drug therapy , Endosomes/metabolism , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
8.
Nat Chem Biol ; 18(9): 963-971, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1886218

ABSTRACT

Transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2) has been identified as key host cell factor for viral entry and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. Specifically, TMPRSS2 proteolytically processes the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein, enabling virus-host membrane fusion and infection of the airways. We present here a recombinant production strategy for enzymatically active TMPRSS2 and characterization of its matured proteolytic activity, as well as its 1.95 Å X-ray cocrystal structure with the synthetic protease inhibitor nafamostat. Our study provides a structural basis for the potent but nonspecific inhibition by nafamostat and identifies distinguishing features of the TMPRSS2 substrate binding pocket that explain specificity. TMPRSS2 cleaved SARS-CoV-2 S protein at multiple sites, including the canonical S1/S2 cleavage site. We ranked the potency of clinical protease inhibitors with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations ranging from 1.4 nM to 120 µM and determined inhibitor mechanisms of action, providing the groundwork for drug development efforts to selectively inhibit TMPRSS2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
9.
Eur J Clin Invest ; 52(8): e13786, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774786

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individuals with chronic kidney disease are affected by acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) due to multiple comorbidities and altered immune system. The first step of the infection process is the binding of SARS-CoV-2 with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, followed by its priming by transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). We hypothesized that circulating soluble ACE2 levels, as well as the expressions of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the microvasculature, are increased in patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). METHODS: A total of 210 participants were enrolled, representing 80 ESKD patients and 73 non-CKD controls for soluble ACE2, and 31 ESKD and 26 non-CKD controls for vasculature and fat tissue bioassays. We have assessed ACE2 expression in blood using ELISA and in tissue using immunofluorescence. RESULTS: Soluble ACE2 levels were higher in ESKD patients compared to controls; however, there is no sex difference observed. In ESKD and controls, soluble ACE2 positively correlated with Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP), respectively. Similarly, ACE2 tissue expression in the vasculature was higher in ESKD patients; moreover, this higher ACE2 expression was observed only in male ESKD patients. In addition, TMPRSS2 expression was observed in vessels from males and females but showed no sex difference. The expression of ACE2 receptor was higher in ESKD patients on ACE-inhibitor/angiotensin blocker treatment. CONCLUSION: ESKD is associated with increased ACE2 levels in the circulation and pronounced in male vasculature; however, further studies are warranted to assess possible sex differences on specific treatment regime(s) for different comorbidities present in ESKD.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Kidney Failure, Chronic , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Female , Humans , Male , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine
10.
J Virol ; 96(8): e0012822, 2022 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765079

ABSTRACT

The spike protein (S) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) directs infection of the lungs and other tissues following its binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. For effective infection, the S protein is cleaved at two sites: S1/S2 and S2'. The "priming" of the surface S protein at S1/S2 (PRRAR685↓) [the underlined basic amino acids refer to critical residues needed for the furin recognition] by furin has been shown to be important for SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in cells and small-animal models. In this study, for the first time we unambiguously identified by proteomics the fusion activation site S2' as KPSKR815↓ (the underlined basic amino acids refer to critical residues needed for the furin recognition) and demonstrated that this cleavage was strongly enhanced by ACE2 engagement with the S protein. Novel pharmacological furin inhibitors (BOS inhibitors) effectively blocked endogenous S protein processing at both sites in HeLa cells, and SARS-CoV-2 infection of lung-derived Calu-3 cells was completely prevented by combined inhibitors of furin (BOS) and type II transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) (camostat). Quantitative analyses of cell-to-cell fusion and S protein processing revealed that ACE2 shedding by TMPRSS2 was required for TMPRSS2-mediated enhancement of fusion in the absence of S1/S2 priming. We further demonstrated that the collectrin dimerization domain of ACE2 was essential for the effect of TMPRSS2 on cell-to-cell fusion. Overall, our results indicate that furin and TMPRSS2 act synergistically in viral entry and infectivity, supporting the combination of furin and TMPRSS2 inhibitors as potent antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of COVID-19, has so far resulted in >6.1 million deaths worldwide. The spike protein (S) of the virus directs infection of the lungs and other tissues by binding the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. For effective infection, the S protein is cleaved at two sites: S1/S2 and S2'. Cleavage at S1/S2 induces a conformational change favoring the S protein recognition by ACE2. The S2' cleavage is critical for triggering membrane fusion and virus entry into host cells. Our study highlights the complex dynamics of interaction between the S protein, ACE2, and the host proteases furin and TMPRSS2 during SARS-CoV-2 entry and suggests that the combination of a nontoxic furin inhibitor with a TMPRSS2 inhibitor significantly reduces viral entry in lung cells, as evidenced by an average synergistic ∼95% reduction of viral infection. This represents a powerful novel antiviral approach to reduce viral spread in individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 or future related coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Furin , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Furin/metabolism , HeLa Cells , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
11.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
12.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(6)2022 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742493

ABSTRACT

Advanced prostate cancer (PCa) patients with bone metastases are treated with androgen pathway directed therapy (APDT). However, this treatment invariably fails and the cancer becomes castration resistant. To elucidate resistance mechanisms and to provide a more predictive pre-clinical research platform reflecting tumor heterogeneity, we established organoids from a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of bone metastatic prostate cancer, PCSD1. APDT-resistant PDX-derived organoids (PDOs) emerged when cultured without androgen or with the anti-androgen, enzalutamide. Transcriptomics revealed up-regulation of neurogenic and steroidogenic genes and down-regulation of DNA repair, cell cycle, circadian pathways and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 host viral entry factors, ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Time course analysis of the cell cycle in live cells revealed that enzalutamide induced a gradual transition into a reversible dormant state as shown here for the first time at the single cell level in the context of multi-cellular, 3D living organoids using the Fucci2BL fluorescent live cell cycle tracker system. We show here a new mechanism of castration resistance in which enzalutamide induced dormancy and novel basal-luminal-like cells in bone metastatic prostate cancer organoids. These PDX organoids can be used to develop therapies targeting dormant APDT-resistant cells and host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 viral entry.


Subject(s)
Bone Neoplasms/genetics , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic/genetics , Organoids/metabolism , Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant/genetics , Androgens/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Benzamides/pharmacology , Bone Neoplasms/metabolism , Bone Neoplasms/secondary , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Drug Resistance, Neoplasm/drug effects , Drug Resistance, Neoplasm/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic/drug effects , Humans , Male , Mice , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phenylthiohydantoin/pharmacology , Prostatic Neoplasms/genetics , Prostatic Neoplasms/metabolism , Prostatic Neoplasms/pathology , Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant/metabolism , Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant/pathology , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Transplantation, Heterologous , Virus Internalization
13.
J Virol ; 96(5): e0218621, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736028

ABSTRACT

Recent emergence of SARS-CoV-1 variants demonstrates the potential of this virus for targeted evolution, despite its overall genomic stability. Here we show the dynamics and the mechanisms behind the rapid adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to growth in Vero E6 cells. The selective advantage for growth in Vero E6 cells is due to increased cleavage efficiency by cathepsins at the mutated S1/S2 site. S1/S2 site also constitutes a heparan sulfate (HS) binding motif that influenced virus growth in Vero E6 cells, but HS antagonist did not inhibit virus adaptation in these cells. The entry of Vero E6-adapted virus into human cells is defective because the mutated spike variants are poorly processed by furin or TMPRSS2. Minor subpopulation that lack the furin cleavage motif in the spike protein rapidly become dominant upon passaging through Vero E6 cells, but wild type sequences are maintained at low percentage in the virus swarm and mediate a rapid reverse adaptation if the virus is passaged again on TMPRSS2+ human cells. Our data show that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 can rapidly adapt itself to available proteases and argue for deep sequence surveillance to identify the emergence of novel variants. IMPORTANCE Recently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (alpha variant), B.1.617.2 (delta variant), and B.1.1.529 (omicron variant) harbor spike mutations and have been linked to increased virus pathogenesis. The emergence of these novel variants highlights coronavirus adaptation and evolution potential, despite the stable consensus genotype of clinical isolates. We show that subdominant variants maintained in the virus population enable the virus to rapidly adapt to selection pressure. Although these adaptations lead to genotype change, the change is not absolute and genomes with original genotype are maintained in the virus swarm. Thus, our results imply that the relative stability of SARS-CoV-2 in numerous independent clinical isolates belies its potential for rapid adaptation to new conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Adaptation, Physiological , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , Furin/genetics , HEK293 Cells , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
14.
J Med Virol ; 93(9): 5487-5504, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1733919

ABSTRACT

Along with the control and prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 transmission, infected animals might have potential to carry the virus to spark new outbreaks. However, very few studies explore the susceptibility of animals to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Viral attachment as a crucial step for cross-species infection requires angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor and depends on TMPRSS2 protease activity. Here, we searched the genomes of metazoans from different classes using an extensive BLASTP survey and found ACE2 and TMPRSS2 occur in vertebrates, but some vertebrates lack Tmprss2. We identified 6 amino acids among 25 known human ACE2 residues are highly associated with the binding of ACE2 to SARS-CoV-2 (p value < .01) by Fisher exact test, and following this, calculated the probability of viral attachment within each species by the randomForest function from R randomForest library. Furthermore, we observed that Ace2 selected from seven animals based on the above analysis lack the hydrophobic contacts identified on human ACE2, indicating less affinity of SARS-CoV-2 to Ace2 in animals than humans. Finally, the alignment of 3D structure between human ACE2 and other animals by I-TASSER and TM-align displayed a reasonable structure for viral attachment within these species. Taken together, our data may shed light on the human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vertebrates/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Susceptibility , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Humans , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vertebrates/genetics , Virus Attachment , Virus Internalization , Virus Release
15.
Front Immunol ; 13: 811430, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731772

ABSTRACT

Despite significant research efforts, treatment options for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remain limited. This is due in part to a lack of therapeutics that increase host defense to the virus. Replication of SARS-CoV-2 in lung tissue is associated with marked infiltration of macrophages and activation of innate immune inflammatory responses that amplify tissue injury. Antagonists of the androgen (AR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors have shown efficacy in models of COVID-19 and in clinical studies because the cell surface proteins required for viral entry, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2), are transcriptionally regulated by these receptors. We postulated that the GR and AR modulator, PT150, would reduce infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 and prevent inflammatory lung injury in the Syrian golden hamster model of COVID-19 by down-regulating expression of critical genes regulated through these receptors. Animals were infected intranasally with 2.5 × 104 TCID50/ml equivalents of SARS-CoV-2 (strain 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020) and PT150 was administered by oral gavage at 30 and 100 mg/Kg/day for a total of 7 days. Animals were examined at 3, 5 and 7 days post-infection (DPI) for lung histopathology, viral load and production of proteins regulating the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results indicated that oral administration of PT150 caused a dose-dependent decrease in replication of SARS-CoV-2 in lung, as well as in expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Lung hypercellularity and infiltration of macrophages and CD4+ T-cells were dramatically decreased in PT150-treated animals, as was tissue damage and expression of IL-6. Molecular docking studies suggest that PT150 binds to the co-activator interface of the ligand-binding domain of both AR and GR, thereby acting as an allosteric modulator and transcriptional repressor of these receptors. Phylogenetic analysis of AR and GR revealed a high degree of sequence identity maintained across multiple species, including humans, suggesting that the mechanism of action and therapeutic efficacy observed in Syrian hamsters would likely be predictive of positive outcomes in patients. PT150 is therefore a strong candidate for further clinical development for the treatment of COVID-19 across variants of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Glucocorticoids/metabolism , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Inflammation/drug therapy , Receptors, Androgen/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/virology , Lung/virology , Male , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Load/drug effects
16.
Pediatr Infect Dis J ; 41(2): e36-e45, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722659

ABSTRACT

Although there are many hypotheses for the age-related difference in the severity of COVID-19, differences in innate, adaptive and heterologous immunity, together with differences in endothelial and clotting function, are the most likely mechanisms underlying the marked age gradient. Children have a faster and stronger innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2, especially in the nasal mucosa, which rapidly controls the virus. In contrast, adults can have an overactive, dysregulated and less effective innate response that leads to uncontrolled pro-inflammatory cytokine production and tissue injury. More recent exposure to other viruses and routine vaccines in children might be associated with protective cross-reactive antibodies and T cells against SARS-CoV-2. There is less evidence to support other mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the age-related difference in outcome following SARS-CoV-2 infection, including pre-existing immunity from exposure to common circulating coronaviruses, differences in the distribution and expression of the entry receptors ACE2 and TMPRSS2, and difference in viral load.


Subject(s)
Adaptive Immunity , Age Factors , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Heterologous , Immunity, Innate , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Blood Coagulation/immunology , Child , Cross Protection , Cross Reactions , Endothelium/immunology , Humans , Patient Acuity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Viral Load/immunology
17.
Mol Med Rep ; 25(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715860

ABSTRACT

In addition to the angiotensin­converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a number of host cell entry mediators have been identified for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus­2 (SARS­CoV­2), including transmembrane protease serine 4 (TMPRSS4). The authors have recently demonstrated the upregulation of TMPRSS4 in 11 different cancers, as well as its specific expression within the central nervous system using in silico tools. The present study aimed to expand the initial observations and, using immunohistochemistry, TMPRSS4 protein expression in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and lungs was further mapped. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue arrays and lung tissues of patients with non­small cell lung cancer with concurrent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID­19) infection using TMPRSS4 antibody. The results revealed that TMPRSS4 was abundantly expressed in the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, jejunum, ileum, colon, liver and pancreas. Moreover, the extensive TMPRSS4 protein expression in the lungs of a deceased patient with COVID­19 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchial carcinoma, as well in the adjacent normal tissue, was demonstrated for the first time, at least to the best of our knowledge. On the whole, the immunohistochemistry data of the present study suggest that TMPRSS4 may be implicated in the broader (pulmonary and extra­pulmonary) COVID­19 symptomatology; thus, it may be responsible for the tropism of this coronavirus both in the GI tract and lungs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Gastrointestinal Tract/pathology , Lung Neoplasms/pathology , Lung/pathology , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Lung/virology , Lung Neoplasms/complications , Male , Membrane Proteins/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/analysis , Virus Internalization
18.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(5)2022 Feb 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715407

ABSTRACT

The overall impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on our society is unprecedented. The identification of small natural ligands that could prevent the entry and/or replication of the coronavirus remains a pertinent approach to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Previously, we showed that the phenolic compounds corilagin and 1,3,6-tri-O-galloyl-ß-D-glucose (TGG) inhibit the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the SARS-CoV-2 target receptor on the cell membrane of the host organism. Building on these promising results, we now assess the effects of these phenolic ligands on two other crucial targets involved in SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and replication, respectively: transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and 3-chymotrypsin like protease (3CLpro) inhibitors. Since corilagin, TGG, and tannic acid (TA) share many physicochemical and structural properties, we investigate the binding of TA to these targets. In this work, a combination of experimental methods (biochemical inhibition assays, surface plasmon resonance, and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring) confirms the potential role of TA in the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity through the inhibition of extracellular RBD/ACE2 interactions and TMPRSS2 and 3CLpro activity. Moreover, molecular docking prediction followed by dynamic simulation and molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MMPBSA) free energy calculation also shows that TA binds to RBD, TMPRSS2, and 3CLpro with higher affinities than TGG and corilagin. Overall, these results suggest that naturally occurring TA is a promising candidate to prevent and inhibit the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Tannins/pharmacology , Algorithms , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Glucosides/chemistry , Glucosides/metabolism , Glucosides/pharmacology , Humans , Hydrolyzable Tannins/chemistry , Hydrolyzable Tannins/metabolism , Hydrolyzable Tannins/pharmacology , Kinetics , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Tannins/chemistry , Tannins/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
19.
PLoS Med ; 19(3): e1003922, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714706

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The risk of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission through corneal graft is an ongoing debate and leads to strict restrictions in corneas procurement, leading to a major decrease in eye banking activity. The aims of this study are to specifically assess the capacity of human cornea to be infected by SARS-CoV-2 and promote its replication ex vivo, and to evaluate the real-life risk of corneal contamination by detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in corneas retrieved in donors diagnosed with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and nonaffected donors. METHODS AND FINDINGS: To assess the capacity of human cornea to be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the expression pattern of SARS-CoV-2 receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) and activators TMPRSS2 and Cathepsins B and L in ocular surface tissues from nonaffected donors was explored by immunohistochemistry (n = 10 corneas, 78 ± 11 years, 40% female) and qPCR (n = 5 corneas, 80 ± 12 years, 40% female). Additionally, 5 freshly excised corneas (80 ± 12 years, 40% female) were infected ex vivo with highly concentrated SARS-CoV-2 solution (106 median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50)/mL). Viral RNA was extracted from tissues and culture media and quantified by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) (viral RNA copies) 30 minutes (H0) and 24 hours (H24) after infection. To assess the risk of corneal contamination by SARS-CoV-2, viral RNA was tested by RT-qPCR (Ct value) in both corneas and organ culture media from 14 donors diagnosed with COVID-19 (74 ± 10 years, 29% female) and 26 healthy donors (79 ± 13 years, 57% female), and in organ culture media only from 133 consecutive nonaffected donors from 2 eye banks (73 ± 13 years, 29% female). The expression of receptor and activators was variable among samples at both protein and mRNA level. Based on immunohistochemistry findings, ACE-2 was localized mainly in the most superficial epithelial cells of peripheral cornea, limbus, and conjunctiva, whereas TMPRSS2 was mostly expressed in all layers of bulbar conjunctiva. A significant increase in total and positive strands of IP4 RNA sequence (RdRp viral gene) was observed from 30 minutes to 24 hours postinfection in central cornea (1.1 × 108 [95% CI: 6.4 × 107 to 2.4 × 108] to 3.0 × 109 [1.4 × 109 to 5.3 × 109], p = 0.0039 and 2.2 × 107 [1.4 × 107 to 3.6 × 107] to 5.1 × 107 [2.9 × 107 to 7.5 × 107], p = 0.0117, respectively) and in corneoscleral rim (4.5 × 109 [2.7 × 109 to 9.6 × 109] to 3.9 × 1010 [2.6 × 1010 to 4.4 × 1010], p = 0.0039 and 3.1 × 108 [1.2 × 108 to 5.3 × 108] to 7.8 × 108 [3.9 × 108 to 9.9 × 108], p = 0.0391, respectively). Viral RNA copies in ex vivo corneas were highly variable from one donor to another. Finally, viral RNA was detected in 3 out of 28 corneas (11%) from donors diagnosed with COVID-19. All samples from the 159 nonaffected donors were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The main limitation of this study relates to the limited sample size, due to limited access to donors diagnosed with COVID-19 and concomitant decrease in the procurement corneas from nonaffected donors. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed the expression of SARS-CoV-2 receptors and activators at the human ocular surface and a variable increase in viral RNA copies 24 hours after experimental infection of freshly excised human corneas. We also found viral RNA only in a very limited percentage of donors with positive nasopharyngeal PCR. The low rate of positivity in donors diagnosed with COVID-19 calls into question the utility of donor selection algorithms. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Agence de la Biomédecine, PFS-20-011 https://www.agence-biomedecine.fr/.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Cornea/virology , Corneal Diseases/virology , Eye Infections, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cathepsins/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cornea/metabolism , Culture Media , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Culture Techniques , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
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