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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(5)2021 Mar 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134168


The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been used to understand fundamental principles of genetics and biology for over a century. Drosophila is now also considered an essential tool to study mechanisms underlying numerous human genetic diseases. In this review, we will discuss how flies can be used to deepen our knowledge of infectious disease mechanisms in vivo. Flies make effective and applicable models for studying host-pathogen interactions thanks to their highly conserved innate immune systems and cellular processes commonly hijacked by pathogens. Drosophila researchers also possess the most powerful, rapid, and versatile tools for genetic manipulation in multicellular organisms. This allows for robust experiments in which specific pathogenic proteins can be expressed either one at a time or in conjunction with each other to dissect the molecular functions of each virulent factor in a cell-type-specific manner. Well documented phenotypes allow large genetic and pharmacological screens to be performed with relative ease using huge collections of mutant and transgenic strains that are publicly available. These factors combine to make Drosophila a powerful tool for dissecting out host-pathogen interactions as well as a tool to better understand how we can treat infectious diseases that pose risks to public health, including COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Communicable Diseases/immunology , Communicable Diseases/metabolism , Drosophila melanogaster/immunology , Drosophila melanogaster/metabolism , Animals , Communicable Diseases/microbiology , Communicable Diseases/virology , Drosophila melanogaster/microbiology , Drosophila melanogaster/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Immunity, Innate , Signal Transduction , Virulence Factors/metabolism
Sci Adv ; 7(6)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066794


The ongoing unprecedented severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak worldwide has highlighted the need for understanding viral-host interactions involved in mechanisms of virulence. Here, we show that the virulence factor Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the host messenger RNA (mRNA) export receptor heterodimer NXF1-NXT1, which is responsible for nuclear export of cellular mRNAs. Nsp1 prevents proper binding of NXF1 to mRNA export adaptors and NXF1 docking at the nuclear pore complex. As a result, a significant number of cellular mRNAs are retained in the nucleus during infection. Increased levels of NXF1 rescues the Nsp1-mediated mRNA export block and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, antagonizing the Nsp1 inhibitory function on mRNA export may represent a strategy to restoring proper antiviral host gene expression in infected cells.

COVID-19/metabolism , Gene Expression , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virulence Factors/metabolism , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Nuclear Pore/metabolism , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/genetics , Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Transfection , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics