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mBio ; 12(2)2021 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388457


Mammalian cells detect microbial molecules known as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) as indicators of potential infection. Upon PAMP detection, diverse defensive responses are induced by the host, including those that promote inflammation and cell-intrinsic antimicrobial activities. Host-encoded molecules released from dying or damaged cells, known as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), also induce defensive responses. Both DAMPs and PAMPs are recognized for their inflammatory potential, but only the latter are well established to stimulate cell-intrinsic host defense. Here, we report a class of DAMPs that engender an antiviral state in human epithelial cells. These DAMPs include oxPAPC (oxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine), PGPC (1-palmitoyl-2-glutaryl phosphatidylcholine), and POVPC [1-palmitoyl-2-(5-oxovaleroyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine], oxidized lipids that are naturally released from dead or dying cells. Exposing cells to these DAMPs prior to vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection limits viral replication. Mechanistically, these DAMPs prevent viral entry, thereby limiting the percentage of cells that are productively infected and consequently restricting viral load. We found that the antiviral actions of oxidized lipids are distinct from those mediated by the PAMP Poly I:C, in that the former induces a more rapid antiviral response without the induction of the interferon response. These data support a model whereby interferon-independent defensive activities can be induced by DAMPs, which may limit viral replication before PAMP-mediated interferon responses are induced. This antiviral activity may impact viruses that disrupt interferon responses in the oxygenated environment of the lung, such as influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2.IMPORTANCE In this work, we explored how a class of oxidized lipids, spontaneously created during tissue damage and unprogrammed cell lysis, block the earliest events in RNA virus infection in the human epithelium. This gives us novel insight into the ways that we view infection models, unveiling a built-in mechanism to slow viral growth that neither engages the interferon response nor is subject to known viral antagonism. These oxidized phospholipids act prior to infection, allowing time for other, better-known innate immune mechanisms to take effect. This discovery broadens our understanding of host defenses, introducing a soluble factor that alters the cellular environment to protect from RNA virus infection.

Alarmins/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , RNA Viruses/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , A549 Cells , Cell Death/drug effects , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferons/genetics , Interferons/metabolism , Kinetics , Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules/pharmacology , Phosphatidylcholines/pharmacology , RNA Viruses/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vesiculovirus/drug effects , Vesiculovirus/physiology , Viral Load
J Biol Chem ; 296: 100701, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198856


The acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide system has been shown to be important for cellular infection with at least some viruses, for instance, rhinovirus or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Functional inhibition of the acid sphingomyelinase using tricyclic antidepressants prevented infection of epithelial cells, for instance with SARS-CoV-2. The structure of ambroxol, that is, trans-4-[(2,4-dibromanilin-6-yl)-methyamino]-cyclohexanol, a mucolytic drug applied by inhalation, suggests that the drug might inhibit the acid sphingomyelinase and thereby infection with SARS-CoV-2. To test this, we used vesicular stomatitis virus pseudoviral particles presenting SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on their surface (pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike), a bona fide system for mimicking SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells. Viral uptake and formation of ceramide localization were determined by fluorescence microscopy, activity of the acid sphingomyelinase by consumption of [14C]sphingomyelin and ceramide was quantified by a kinase method. We found that entry of pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike required activation of acid sphingomyelinase and release of ceramide, events that were all prevented by pretreatment with ambroxol. We also obtained nasal epithelial cells from human volunteers prior to and after inhalation of ambroxol. Inhalation of ambroxol reduced acid sphingomyelinase activity in nasal epithelial cells and prevented pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike-induced acid sphingomyelinase activation, ceramide release, and entry of pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike ex vivo. The addition of purified acid sphingomyelinase or C16 ceramide restored entry of pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike into ambroxol-treated epithelial cells. We propose that ambroxol might be suitable for clinical studies to prevent coronavirus disease 2019.

Ambroxol/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/genetics , Vesiculovirus/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Administration, Inhalation , Animals , Biological Transport , Ceramides/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/enzymology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Expectorants , Gene Expression , Humans , Primary Cell Culture , Reassortant Viruses/drug effects , Reassortant Viruses/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/antagonists & inhibitors , Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/metabolism , Sphingomyelins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Vesiculovirus/physiology
PLoS One ; 15(12): e0243965, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978945


The response to the COVID-19 epidemic is generating severe shortages of personal protective equipment around the world. In particular, the supply of N95 respirator masks has become severely depleted, with supplies having to be rationed and health care workers having to use masks for prolonged periods in many countries. We sought to test the ability of 7 different decontamination methods: autoclave treatment, ethylene oxide gassing (ETO), low temperature hydrogen peroxide gas plasma (LT-HPGP) treatment, vaporous hydrogen peroxide (VHP) exposure, peracetic acid dry fogging (PAF), ultraviolet C irradiation (UVCI) and moist heat (MH) treatment to decontaminate a variety of different N95 masks following experimental contamination with SARS-CoV-2 or vesicular stomatitis virus as a surrogate. In addition, we sought to determine whether masks would tolerate repeated cycles of decontamination while maintaining structural and functional integrity. All methods except for UVCI were effective in total elimination of viable virus from treated masks. We found that all respirator masks tolerated at least one cycle of all treatment modalities without structural or functional deterioration as assessed by fit testing; filtration efficiency testing results were mostly similar except that a single cycle of LT-HPGP was associated with failures in 3 of 6 masks assessed. VHP, PAF, UVCI, and MH were associated with preserved mask integrity to a minimum of 10 cycles by both fit and filtration testing. A similar result was shown with ethylene oxide gassing to the maximum 3 cycles tested. Pleated, layered non-woven fabric N95 masks retained integrity in fit testing for at least 10 cycles of autoclaving but the molded N95 masks failed after 1 cycle; filtration testing however was intact to 5 cycles for all masks. The successful application of autoclaving for layered, pleated masks may be of particular use to institutions globally due to the virtually universal accessibility of autoclaves in health care settings. Given the ability to modify widely available heating cabinets on hospital wards in well-resourced settings, the application of moist heat may allow local processing of N95 masks.

Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , N95 Respirators/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Ethylene Oxide/pharmacology , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Peracetic Acid/pharmacology , Plasma Gases/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/radiation effects , Ultraviolet Rays , Vesiculovirus/drug effects , Vesiculovirus/radiation effects