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Stem Cell Reports ; 17(3): 538-555, 2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692861


To date, the direct causative mechanism of SARS-CoV-2-induced endotheliitis remains unclear. Here, we report that human ECs barely express surface ACE2, and ECs express less intracellular ACE2 than non-ECs of the lungs. We ectopically expressed ACE2 in hESC-ECs to model SARS-CoV-2 infection. ACE2-deficient ECs are resistant to the infection but are more activated than ACE2-expressing ones. The virus directly induces endothelial activation by increasing monocyte adhesion, NO production, and enhanced phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-associated protein kinase (MAPK), NF-κB, and eNOS in ACE2-expressing and -deficient ECs. ACE2-deficient ECs respond to SARS-CoV-2 through TLR4 as treatment with its antagonist inhibits p38 MAPK/NF-κB/ interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß) activation after viral exposure. Genome-wide, single-cell RNA-seq analyses further confirm activation of the TLR4/MAPK14/RELA/IL-1ß axis in circulating ECs of mild and severe COVID-19 patients. Circulating ECs could serve as biomarkers for indicating patients with endotheliitis. Together, our findings support a direct role for SARS-CoV-2 in mediating endothelial inflammation in an ACE2-dependent or -independent manner.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/cytology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Interleukin-1beta/genetics , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , NF-kappa B/antagonists & inhibitors , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Single-Cell Analysis , Toll-Like Receptor 4/antagonists & inhibitors , Toll-Like Receptor 4/genetics , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/genetics , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism
Cell ; 182(3): 685-712.e19, 2020 08 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-624826


The causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, highlighting an urgent need to develop antiviral therapies. Here we present a quantitative mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics survey of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vero E6 cells, revealing dramatic rewiring of phosphorylation on host and viral proteins. SARS-CoV-2 infection promoted casein kinase II (CK2) and p38 MAPK activation, production of diverse cytokines, and shutdown of mitotic kinases, resulting in cell cycle arrest. Infection also stimulated a marked induction of CK2-containing filopodial protrusions possessing budding viral particles. Eighty-seven drugs and compounds were identified by mapping global phosphorylation profiles to dysregulated kinases and pathways. We found pharmacologic inhibition of the p38, CK2, CDK, AXL, and PIKFYVE kinases to possess antiviral efficacy, representing potential COVID-19 therapies.

Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Proteomics/methods , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Caco-2 Cells , Casein Kinase II/antagonists & inhibitors , Casein Kinase II/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cyclin-Dependent Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cyclin-Dependent Kinases/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/metabolism , Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Phosphorylation , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Proto-Oncogene Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Proto-Oncogene Proteins/metabolism , Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism
J Mol Cell Cardiol ; 144: 63-65, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-276660


COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is a major source of morbidity and mortality due to its inflammatory effects in the lungs and heart. The p38 MAPK pathway plays a crucial role in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and has been implicated in acute lung injury and myocardial dysfunction. The overwhelming inflammatory response in COVID-19 infection may be caused by disproportionately upregulated p38 activity, explained by two mechanisms. First, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) activity is lost during SARS-CoV-2 viral entry. ACE2 is highly expressed in the lungs and heart and converts Angiotensin II into Angiotensin 1-7. Angiotensin II signals proinflammatory, pro-vasoconstrictive, pro-thrombotic activity through p38 MAPK activation, which is countered by Angiotensin 1-7 downregulation of p38 activity. Loss of ACE2 upon viral entry may tip the balance towards destructive p38 signaling through Angiotensin II. Second, SARS-CoV was previously shown to directly upregulate p38 activity via a viral protein, similar to other RNA respiratory viruses that may hijack p38 activity to promote replication. Given the homology between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, the latter may employ a similar mechanism. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 may induce overwhelming inflammation by directly activating p38 and downregulating a key inhibitory pathway, while simultaneously taking advantage of p38 activity to replicate. Therapeutic inhibition of p38 could therefore attenuate COVID-19 infection. Interestingly, a prior preclinical study showed protective effects of p38 inhibition in a SARS-CoV mouse model. A number of p38 inhibitors are in the clinical stage and should be considered for clinical trials in serious COVID-19 infection.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/enzymology , Enzyme Activation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/virology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/physiopathology , Lung/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2 , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism