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1.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524167

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread despite the global efforts taken to control it. The 3C-like protease (3CLpro), the major protease of SARS-CoV-2, is one of the most interesting targets for antiviral drug development because it is highly conserved among SARS-CoVs and plays an important role in viral replication. Herein, we developed high throughput screening for SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitor based on AlphaScreen. We screened 91 natural product compounds and found that all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), an FDA-approved drug, inhibited 3CLpro activity. The 3CLpro inhibitory effect of ATRA was confirmed in vitro by both immunoblotting and AlphaScreen with a 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) of 24.7 ± 1.65 µM. ATRA inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu-3 cells, with IC50 = 2.69 ± 0.09 µM in the former and 0.82 ± 0.01 µM in the latter. Further, we showed the anti-SARS-CoV-2 effect of ATRA on the currently circulating variants of concern (VOC); alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. These results suggest that ATRA may be considered as a potential therapeutic agent against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Animals , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
mBio ; 12(2)2021 03 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522913

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a recently emerged virus that causes coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, like SARS-CoV-1, uses the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a cellular receptor to initiate infection. Compounds that interfere with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain protein (RBD)-ACE2 receptor interaction may function as entry inhibitors. Here, we used a dual strategy of molecular docking and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) screening of compound libraries to identify those that bind to human ACE2 or the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD). Molecular modeling screening interrogated 57,641 compounds and focused on the region of ACE2 that is engaged by RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and vice versa. SPR screening used immobilized human ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein to evaluate the binding of these proteins to a library of 3,141 compounds. These combined screens identified compounds from these libraries that bind at KD (equilibrium dissociation constant) <3 µM affinity to their respective targets, 17 for ACE2 and 6 for SARS-CoV-2 RBD. Twelve ACE2 binders and six of the RBD binders compete with the RBD-ACE2 interaction in an SPR-based competition assay. These compounds included registered drugs and dyes used in biomedical applications. A Vero-E6 cell-based SARS-CoV-2 infection assay was used to evaluate infection blockade by candidate entry inhibitors. Three compounds demonstrated dose-dependent antiviral in vitro potency-Evans blue, sodium lifitegrast, and lumacaftor. This study has identified potential drugs for repurposing as SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors or as chemical scaffolds for drug development.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has caused more than 60 million cases worldwide with almost 1.5 million deaths as of November 2020. Repurposing existing drugs is the most rapid path to clinical intervention for emerging diseases. Using an in silico screen of 57,641 compounds and a biophysical screen of 3,141 compounds, we identified 22 compounds that bound to either the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and/or the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD). Nine of these drugs were identified by both screening methods. Three of the identified compounds, Evans blue, sodium lifitegrast, and lumacaftor, were found to inhibit viral replication in a Vero-E6 cell-based SARS-CoV-2 infection assay and may have utility as repurposed therapeutics. All 22 identified compounds provide scaffolds for the development of new chemical entities for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Aminopyridines/pharmacology , Animals , Benzodioxoles/pharmacology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Evans Blue/pharmacology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phenylalanine/analogs & derivatives , Phenylalanine/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sulfones/pharmacology , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Vero Cells
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 750386, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515534

ABSTRACT

Antibodies targeting Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 have been suggested to account for the majority of neutralizing activity in COVID-19 convalescent sera and several neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) have been isolated, characterized and proposed as emergency therapeutics in the form of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). However, SARS-CoV-2 variants are rapidly spreading worldwide from the sites of initial identification. The variants of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.167.2 (Delta) showed mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein potentially able to cause escape from nAb responses with a consequent reduction of efficacy of vaccines and mAbs-based therapy. We produced the recombinant RBD (rRBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein from the Wuhan-Hu 1 reference sequence in a mammalian system, for mice immunization to isolate new mAbs with neutralizing activity. Here we describe four mAbs that were able to bind the rRBD in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and the transmembrane full-length spike protein expressed in HEK293T cells by flow cytometry assay. Moreover, the mAbs recognized the RBD in supernatants of SARS-CoV-2 infected VERO E6 cells by Western Blot under non-reducing condition or in supernatants of cells infected with lentivirus pseudotyped for spike protein, by immunoprecipitation assay. Three out of four mAbs lost their binding efficiency to completely N-deglycosylated rRBD and none was able to bind the same recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli, suggesting that the epitopes recognized by three mAbs are generated by the conformational structure of the glycosylated native protein. Of particular relevance, three mAbs were able to inhibit Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 infection of VERO E6 cells in a plaque-reduction neutralization test and the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 as well as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOC in a pseudoviruses-based neutralization test. These mAbs represent important additional tools for diagnosis and therapy of COVID-19 and may contribute to the understanding of the functional structure of SARS-CoV-2 RBD.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
4.
J Endocrinol Invest ; 44(12): 2675-2684, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504521

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Due to relevant repercussions on reproductive medicine, we aimed to evaluate feasibility of RT-PCR as a detection method of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in seminal fluid. METHODS: A qualitative determination of the RT-PCR assays in semen was performed through different approaches: (1) efficiency of RNA extraction from sperm and seminal plasma was determined using PRM1 and PRM2 mRNA and a heterologous system as control; (2) samples obtained by diluting viral preparation from a SARS-CoV-2 panel (virus cultured in Vero E6 cell lines) were tested; (3) viral presence in different fractions of seminal fluid (whole sample, seminal plasma and post-centrifugation pellet) was evaluated. Semen samples from mild and recovered COVID-19 subjects were collected by patients referring to the Infectious Disease Department of the Policlinico Umberto I Hospital - "Sapienza" University of Rome. Control subjects were recruited at the Laboratory of Seminology-Sperm Bank "Loredana Gandini'' of the same hospital. RESULTS: The control panel using viral preparations diluted in saline and seminal fluid showed the capability to detect viral RNA presence with Ct values depending on the initial viral concentration. All tested semen samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2, regardless of the nasopharyngeal swab result or seminal fluid fraction. CONCLUSION: These preliminary data show that RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing appears to be a feasible method for the molecular diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in seminal fluid, supported by results of the control panel. The ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 in semen is extremely important for reproductive medicine, especially in assisted reproductive technology and sperm cryopreservation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Pathology, Molecular/methods , Semen/virology , Adult , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Male , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproductive Techniques , Vero Cells
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21462, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500517

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). More than 143 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported to date, with the global death rate at 2.13%. Currently, there are no licensed therapeutics for controlling SARS-CoV-2 infection. The antiviral effects of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a cytoprotective enzyme that inhibits the inflammatory response and reduces oxidative stress, have been investigated in several viral infections. To confirm whether HO-1 suppresses SARS-CoV-2 infection, we assessed the antiviral activity of hemin, an effective and safe HO-1 inducer, in SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that treatment with hemin efficiently suppressed SARS-CoV-2 replication (selectivity index: 249.7012). Besides, the transient expression of HO-1 using an expression vector also suppressed the growth of the virus in cells. Free iron and biliverdin, which are metabolic byproducts of heme catalysis by HO-1, also suppressed the viral infection. Additionally, hemin indirectly increased the expression of interferon-stimulated proteins known to restrict SARS-CoV-2 replication. Overall, the findings suggested that HO-1, induced by hemin, effectively suppressed SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Therefore, HO-1 could be potential therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Heme Oxygenase-1/metabolism , Hemin/therapeutic use , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Heme Oxygenase-1/antagonists & inhibitors , Heme Oxygenase-1/genetics , Hemin/chemistry , Hemin/pharmacology , Humans , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Up-Regulation/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
6.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(11): 1522-1533, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500484

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can damage cerebral small vessels and cause neurological symptoms. Here we describe structural changes in cerebral small vessels of patients with COVID-19 and elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the vascular pathology. In brains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals and animal models, we found an increased number of empty basement membrane tubes, so-called string vessels representing remnants of lost capillaries. We obtained evidence that brain endothelial cells are infected and that the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) cleaves NEMO, the essential modulator of nuclear factor-κB. By ablating NEMO, Mpro induces the death of human brain endothelial cells and the occurrence of string vessels in mice. Deletion of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK) 3, a mediator of regulated cell death, blocks the vessel rarefaction and disruption of the blood-brain barrier due to NEMO ablation. Importantly, a pharmacological inhibitor of RIPK signaling prevented the Mpro-induced microvascular pathology. Our data suggest RIPK as a potential therapeutic target to treat the neuropathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Microvessels/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
7.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e2952-e2959, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501018

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) does not necessarily indicate shedding of infective virions. There are limited data on the correlation between the isolation of SARS-CoV-2, which likely indicates infectivity, and PCR. METHODS: A total of 195 patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 were tested (outpatients, n = 178; inpatients, n = 12; and critically unwell patients admitted to the intensive care unit [ICU] patients, n = 5). SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive samples were cultured in Vero C1008 cells and inspected daily for cytopathic effect (CPE). SARS-CoV-2-induced CPE was confirmed by PCR of culture supernatant. Where no CPE was observed, PCR was performed on day 4 to confirm absence of virus replication. The cycle thresholds (Cts) of the day 4 PCR (Ctculture) and the PCR of the original clinical sample (Ctsample) were compared, and positive cultures were defined where Ctsample - Ctculture was ≥3. RESULTS: Of 234 samples collected, 228 (97%) were from the upper respiratory tract. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from 56 (24%), including in 28 of 181 (15%), 19 of 42 (45%), and 9 of 11 samples (82%) collected from outpatients, inpatients, and ICU patients, respectively. All 56 samples had Ctsample ≤32; CPE was observed in 46 (20%). The mean duration from symptom onset to culture positivity was 4.5 days (range, 0-18). SARS-CoV-2 was significantly more likely to be isolated from samples collected from inpatients (P < .001) and ICU patients (P < .0001) compared with outpatients, and in samples with lower Ctsample. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 culture may be used as a surrogate marker for infectivity and inform de-isolation protocols.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Critical Care , Humans , Immunologic Tests , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
8.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(44)2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493344

ABSTRACT

Here, we expressed two neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (Abs) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; H4 and B38) in three formats: IgG1, IgA1 monomers (m), and IgA1 dimers (d) in glycoengineered Nicotiana benthamiana plants. All six Ab variants assembled properly and exhibited a largely homogeneous glycosylation profile. Despite modest variation in antigen binding between Ab formats, SARS-CoV-2 neutralization (NT) potency significantly increased in the following manner: IgG1 < IgA1-m < IgA1-d, with an up to 240-fold NT increase of dimers compared to corresponding monomers. Our results underscore that both IgA's structural features and multivalency positively impact NT potency. In addition, they emphasize the versatile use of plants for the rapid expression of complex human proteins.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Immunoglobulin A/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(44)2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493339

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 spillback from humans into domestic and wild animals has been well documented, and an accumulating number of studies illustrate that human-to-animal transmission is widespread in cats, mink, deer, and other species. Experimental inoculations of cats, mink, and ferrets have perpetuated transmission cycles. We sequenced full genomes of Vero cell-expanded SARS-CoV-2 inoculum and viruses recovered from cats (n = 6), dogs (n = 3), hamsters (n = 3), and a ferret (n = 1) following experimental exposure. Five nonsynonymous changes relative to the USA-WA1/2020 prototype strain were near fixation in the stock used for inoculation but had reverted to wild-type sequences at these sites in dogs, cats, and hamsters within 1- to 3-d postexposure. A total of 14 emergent variants (six in nonstructural genes, six in spike, and one each in orf8 and nucleocapsid) were detected in viruses recovered from animals. This included substitutions in spike residues H69, N501, and D614, which also vary in human lineages of concern. Even though a live virus was not cultured from dogs, substitutions in replicase genes were detected in amplified sequences. The rapid selection of SARS-CoV-2 variants in vitro and in vivo reveals residues with functional significance during host switching. These observations also illustrate the potential for spillback from animal hosts to accelerate the evolution of new viral lineages, findings of particular concern for dogs and cats living in households with COVID-19 patients. More generally, this glimpse into viral host switching reveals the unrealized rapidity and plasticity of viral evolution in experimental animal model systems.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Selection, Genetic , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Cats , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dogs , Ferrets , Gene Frequency , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics
10.
J Microbiol ; 59(11): 959-977, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1491414

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has underscored the lack of approved drugs against acute viral diseases. Plants are considered inexhaustible sources of drugs for several diseases and clinical conditions, but plant-derived compounds have seen little success in the field of antivirals. Here, we present the case for the use of compounds from vascular plants, including alkaloids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins, as antivirals, particularly for the treatment of COVID-19. We review current evidence for the use of these phytochemicals against SARS-CoV-2 infection and present their potential targets in the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Pandemics , Phytochemicals , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Phytochemicals/pharmacology , Phytochemicals/therapeutic use , Vero Cells
11.
Mol Syst Biol ; 17(11): e10260, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488874

ABSTRACT

Tremendous progress has been made to control the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, effective therapeutic options are still rare. Drug repurposing and combination represent practical strategies to address this urgent unmet medical need. Viruses, including coronaviruses, are known to hijack host metabolism to facilitate viral proliferation, making targeting host metabolism a promising antiviral approach. Here, we describe an integrated analysis of 12 published in vitro and human patient gene expression datasets on SARS-CoV-2 infection using genome-scale metabolic modeling (GEM), revealing complicated host metabolism reprogramming during SARS-CoV-2 infection. We next applied the GEM-based metabolic transformation algorithm to predict anti-SARS-CoV-2 targets that counteract the virus-induced metabolic changes. We successfully validated these targets using published drug and genetic screen data and by performing an siRNA assay in Caco-2 cells. Further generating and analyzing RNA-sequencing data of remdesivir-treated Vero E6 cell samples, we predicted metabolic targets acting in combination with remdesivir, an approved anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug. Our study provides clinical data-supported candidate anti-SARS-CoV-2 targets for future evaluation, demonstrating host metabolism targeting as a promising antiviral strategy.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/metabolism , Metabolic Networks and Pathways/genetics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Datasets as Topic , Drug Development , Drug Repositioning , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , RNA, Small Interfering , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Vero Cells
12.
Molecules ; 26(21)2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488677

ABSTRACT

Flavonoids are important secondary plant metabolites that have been studied for a long time for their therapeutic potential in inflammatory diseases because of their cytokine-modulatory effects. Five flavonoid aglycones were isolated and identified from the hydrolyzed aqueous methanol extracts of Anastatica hierochuntica L., Citrus reticulata Blanco, and Kickxia aegyptiaca (L.) Nabelek. They were identified as taxifolin (1), pectolinarigenin (2), tangeretin (3), gardenin B (4), and hispidulin (5). These structures were elucidated based on chromatographic and spectral analysis. In this study, molecular docking studies were carried out for the isolated and identified compounds against SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) compared to the co-crystallized inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro (α-ketoamide inhibitor (KI), IC50 = 66.72 µg/mL) as a reference standard. Moreover, in vitro screening against SARS-CoV-2 was evaluated. Compounds 2 and 3 showed the highest virus inhibition with IC50 12.4 and 2.5 µg/mL, respectively. Our findings recommend further advanced in vitro and in vivo studies of the examined isolated flavonoids, especially pectolinarigenin (2), tangeretin (3), and gardenin B (4), either alone or in combination with each other to identify a promising lead to target SARS-CoV-2 effectively. This is the first report of the activity of these compounds against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/drug effects , Flavones/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Brassicaceae/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chromones/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Drug Discovery/methods , Flavones/metabolism , Flavonoids/pharmacology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Quercetin/analogs & derivatives , Quercetin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vero Cells
13.
J Virol ; 95(16): e0018721, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486048

ABSTRACT

Subversion of the host cell cycle to facilitate viral replication is a common feature of coronavirus infections. Coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein can modulate the host cell cycle, but the mechanistic details remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effects of manipulation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) N protein on the cell cycle and the influence on viral replication. Results indicated that PEDV N induced Vero E6 cell cycle arrest at S-phase, which promoted viral replication (P < 0.05). S-phase arrest was dependent on the N protein nuclear localization signal S71NWHFYYLGTGPHADLRYRT90 and the interaction between N protein and p53. In the nucleus, the binding of N protein to p53 maintained consistently high-level expression of p53, which activated the p53-DREAM pathway. The key domain of the N protein interacting with p53 was revealed to be S171RGNSQNRGNNQGRGASQNRGGNN194 (NS171-N194), in which G183RG185 are core residues. NS171-N194 and G183RG185 were essential for N-induced S-phase arrest. Moreover, small molecular drugs targeting the NS171-N194 domain of the PEDV N protein were screened through molecular docking. Hyperoside could antagonize N protein-induced S-phase arrest by interfering with interaction between N protein and p53 and inhibit viral replication (P < 0.05). The above-described experiments were also validated in porcine intestinal cells, and data were in line with results in Vero E6 cells. Therefore, these results reveal the PEDV N protein interacts with p53 to activate the p53-DREAM pathway, and subsequently induces S-phase arrest to create a favorable environment for virus replication. These findings provide new insight into the PEDV-host interaction and the design of novel antiviral strategies against PEDV. IMPORTANCE Many viruses subvert the host cell cycle to create a cellular environment that promotes viral growth. PEDV, an emerging and reemerging coronavirus, has led to substantial economic loss in the global swine industry. Our study is the first to demonstrate that PEDV N-induced cell cycle arrest during the S-phase promotes viral replication. We identified a novel mechanism of PEDV N-induced S-phase arrest, where the binding of PEDV N protein to p53 maintains consistently high levels of p53 expression in the nucleus to mediate S-phase arrest by activating the p53-DREAM pathway. Furthermore, a small molecular compound, hyperoside, targeted the PEDV N protein, interfering with the interaction between the N protein and p53 and, importantly, inhibited PEDV replication by antagonizing cell cycle arrest. This study reveals a new mechanism of PEDV-host interaction and also provides a novel antiviral strategy for PEDV. These data provide a foundation for further research into coronavirus-host interactions.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/drug effects , Quercetin/analogs & derivatives , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nuclear Localization Signals , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/genetics , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Quercetin/chemistry , Quercetin/pharmacology , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/drug effects , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/genetics , Signal Transduction , Swine , Swine Diseases/drug therapy , Swine Diseases/genetics , Swine Diseases/metabolism , Swine Diseases/virology , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/antagonists & inhibitors , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 369, 2021 10 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483125

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Alphavirus , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Replicon , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Female , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
15.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0053721, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476396

ABSTRACT

UV light, more specifically UV-C light at a wavelength of 254 nm, is often used to disinfect surfaces, air, and liquids. In early 2020, at the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic, UV light was identified as an efficient means of eliminating coronaviruses; however, the variability in published sensitivity data is evidence of the need for experimental rigor to accurately quantify the effectiveness of this technique. In the current study, reliable and reproducible UV techniques have been adopted, including accurate measurement of light intensity, consideration of fluid UV absorbance, and confirmation of uniform dose delivery, including dose verification using an established biological target (T1UV bacteriophage) and a resistant recombinant virus (baculovirus). The experimental results establish the UV sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and highlight the potential for surrogate viruses for disinfection studies. All four coronaviruses were found to be easily inactivated by 254 nm irradiation, with UV sensitivities of 1.7, 1.8, 1.7, and 1.2 mJ/cm2/log10 reduction for SARS-CoV-2, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and MHV, respectively. Similar UV sensitivities for these species demonstrate the capacity for HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, and MHV to be considered surrogates for SARS-CoV-2 in UV-inactivation studies, greatly reducing hazards and simplifying procedures for future experimental studies. IMPORTANCE Disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 is of particular importance due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. UV-C irradiation is a compelling disinfection technique because it can be applied to surfaces, air, and water and is commonly used in drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. UV inactivation depends on the dose received by an organism, regardless of the intensity of the light source or the optical properties of the medium in which it is suspended. The 254 nm irradiation sensitivity was accurately determined using benchmark methodology and a collimated beam apparatus for four coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and MHV), a surrogate indicator organism (T1UV), and a resistant recombinant virus (baculovirus vector). Considering the light distribution across the sample surface, the attenuation of light intensity with fluid depth, the optical absorbance of the fluid, and the sample uniformity due to mixing enable accurate measurement of the fundamental inactivation kinetics and UV sensitivity.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 229E, Human/radiation effects , Coronavirus OC43, Human/radiation effects , Murine hepatitis virus/radiation effects , SARS-CoV-2/radiation effects , Ultraviolet Rays , Animals , Baculoviridae/radiation effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disinfection/methods , Humans , Vero Cells
16.
J Virol ; 95(21): e0135721, 2021 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476390

ABSTRACT

One of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virulence factors is the ability to interact with high affinity to the ACE2 receptor, which mediates viral entry into cells. The results of our study demonstrate that within a few passages in cell culture, both the natural isolate of SARS-CoV-2 and the recombinant cDNA-derived variant acquire an additional ability to bind to heparan sulfate (HS). This promotes a primary attachment of viral particles to cells before their further interactions with the ACE2. Interaction with HS is acquired through multiple mechanisms. These include (i) accumulation of point mutations in the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S protein, which increases the positive charge of the surface of this domain, (ii) insertions into the NTD of heterologous peptides containing positively charged amino acids, and (iii) mutation of the first amino acid downstream of the furin cleavage site. This last mutation affects S protein processing, transforms the unprocessed furin cleavage site into the heparin-binding peptide, and makes viruses less capable of syncytium formation. These viral adaptations result in higher affinity of viral particles to heparin, dramatic increase in plaque sizes, more efficient viral spread, higher infectious titers, and 2 orders of magnitude higher infectivity. The detected adaptations also suggest an active role of NTD in virus attachment and entry. As in the case of other RNA-positive (RNA+) viruses, evolution to HS binding may result in virus attenuation in vivo. IMPORTANCE The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a major determinant of viral pathogenesis. It mediates binding to the ACE2 receptor and, later, fusion of viral envelope and cellular membranes. The results of our study demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 rapidly evolves during propagation in cultured cells. Its spike protein acquires mutations in the NTD and in the P1' position of the furin cleavage site (FCS). The amino acid substitutions or insertions of short peptides in NTD are closely located on the protein surface and increase its positive charge. They strongly increase affinity of the virus to heparan sulfate, make it dramatically more infectious for the cultured cells, and decrease the genome equivalent to PFU (GE/PFU) ratio by orders of magnitude. The S686G mutation also transforms the FCS into the heparin-binding peptide. Thus, the evolved SARS-CoV-2 variants efficiently use glycosaminoglycans on the cell surface for primary attachment before the high-affinity interaction of the spikes with the ACE2 receptor.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Heparitin Sulfate/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Adaptation, Biological , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , DNA, Complementary , Furin/metabolism , Heparin/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serial Passage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Attachment
17.
Science ; 371(6536): 1379-1382, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476374

ABSTRACT

Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires reducing viral transmission. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, which is mediated by the viral spike protein. We have designed lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that block this critical first step of infection and, on the basis of in vitro efficacy and in vivo biodistribution, selected a dimeric form for evaluation in an animal model. Daily intranasal administration to ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour cohousing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and thus may readily translate into safe and effective intranasal prophylaxis to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Lipopeptides/administration & dosage , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Ferrets , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Lipopeptides/pharmacokinetics , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Mice , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Distribution , Vero Cells , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacology
18.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20595, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475487

ABSTRACT

The delivery of safe, visible wavelengths of light can be an effective, pathogen-agnostic, countermeasure that would expand the current portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 intervention strategies beyond the conventional approaches of vaccine, antibody, and antiviral therapeutics. Employing custom biological light units, that incorporate optically engineered light-emitting diode (LED) arrays, we harnessed monochromatic wavelengths of light for uniform delivery across biological surfaces. We demonstrated that primary 3D human tracheal/bronchial-derived epithelial tissues tolerated high doses of a narrow spectral band of visible light centered at a peak wavelength of 425 nm. We extended these studies to Vero E6 cells to understand how light may influence the viability of a mammalian cell line conventionally used for assaying SARS-CoV-2. The exposure of single-cell monolayers of Vero E6 cells to similar doses of 425 nm blue light resulted in viabilities that were dependent on dose and cell density. Doses of 425 nm blue light that are well-tolerated by Vero E6 cells also inhibited infection and replication of cell-associated SARS-CoV-2 by > 99% 24 h post-infection after a single five-minute light exposure. Moreover, the 425 nm blue light inactivated cell-free betacoronaviruses including SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 up to 99.99% in a dose-dependent manner. Importantly, clinically applicable doses of 425 nm blue light dramatically inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication in primary human 3D tracheal/bronchial tissue. Safe doses of visible light should be considered part of the strategic portfolio for the development of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic countermeasures to mitigate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Light , SARS-CoV-2 , Trachea/radiation effects , Virus Replication/radiation effects , Adult , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bronchi , Calibration , Cell-Free System , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelium/pathology , Female , Humans , Respiratory Mucosa/radiation effects , Trachea/virology , Vero Cells
19.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20615, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475482

ABSTRACT

Differential kinetics of RNA loads and infectious viral levels in the upper respiratory tract between asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected adult outpatients remain unclear limiting recommendations that may guide clinical management, infection control measures and occupational health decisions. In the present investigation, 496 (2.8%) of 17,911 French adult outpatients were positive for an upper respiratory tract SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection by a quantitative RT-PCR assay, of which 180 (36.3%) were COVID-19 asymptomatic. Of these adult asymptomatic viral shedders, 75% had mean to high RNA viral loads (Ct values < 30) which median value was significantly higher than that observed in symptomatic subjects (P = 0.029), and 50.6% were positive by cell culture assays of their upper respiratory tract specimens. Our findings indicate that COVID-19 asymptomatic adult outpatients are significant viable SARS-CoV-2 shedders in their upper respiratory tract playing a major potential role as SARS-CoV-2 transmitters in various epidemiological transmission chains, promoting COVID-19 resurgence in populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Outpatients , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Shedding , Adolescent , Adult , Animals , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , France , Humans , Kinetics , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral , Respiratory System/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Load , Young Adult
20.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6055, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475294

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become a global pandemic. 3CL protease is a virally encoded protein that is essential across a broad spectrum of coronaviruses with no close human analogs. PF-00835231, a 3CL protease inhibitor, has exhibited potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 as a single agent. Here we report, the design and characterization of a phosphate prodrug PF-07304814 to enable the delivery and projected sustained systemic exposure in human of PF-00835231 to inhibit coronavirus family 3CL protease activity with selectivity over human host protease targets. Furthermore, we show that PF-00835231 has additive/synergistic activity in combination with remdesivir. We present the ADME, safety, in vitro, and in vivo antiviral activity data that supports the clinical evaluation of PF-07304814 as a potential COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Indoles/administration & dosage , Leucine/administration & dosage , Pyrrolidinones/administration & dosage , Adenosine Monophosphate/administration & dosage , Adenosine Monophosphate/adverse effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacokinetics , Alanine/administration & dosage , Alanine/adverse effects , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacokinetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus 229E, Human/enzymology , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/adverse effects , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Drug Synergism , Drug Therapy, Combination , HeLa Cells , Humans , Indoles/adverse effects , Indoles/pharmacokinetics , Infusions, Intravenous , Leucine/adverse effects , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mice , Pyrrolidinones/adverse effects , Pyrrolidinones/pharmacokinetics , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Vero Cells
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