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1.
J Virol ; 94(13)2020 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583223

ABSTRACT

Fusion with, and subsequent entry into, the host cell is one of the critical steps in the life cycle of enveloped viruses. For Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the spike (S) protein is the main determinant of viral entry. Proteolytic cleavage of the S protein exposes its fusion peptide (FP), which initiates the process of membrane fusion. Previous studies on the related severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) FP have shown that calcium ions (Ca2+) play an important role in fusogenic activity via a Ca2+ binding pocket with conserved glutamic acid (E) and aspartic acid (D) residues. SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV FPs share a high sequence homology, and here, we investigated whether Ca2+ is required for MERS-CoV fusion by screening a mutant array in which E and D residues in the MERS-CoV FP were substituted with neutrally charged alanines (A). Upon verifying mutant cell surface expression and proteolytic cleavage, we tested their ability to mediate pseudoparticle (PP) infection of host cells in modulating Ca2+ environments. Our results demonstrate that intracellular Ca2+ enhances MERS-CoV wild-type (WT) PP infection by approximately 2-fold and that E891 is a crucial residue for Ca2+ interaction. Subsequent electron spin resonance (ESR) experiments revealed that this enhancement could be attributed to Ca2+ increasing MERS-CoV FP fusion-relevant membrane ordering. Intriguingly, isothermal calorimetry showed an approximate 1:1 MERS-CoV FP to Ca2+ ratio, as opposed to an 1:2 SARS-CoV FP to Ca2+ ratio, suggesting significant differences in FP Ca2+ interactions of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV FP despite their high sequence similarity.IMPORTANCE Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a major emerging infectious disease with zoonotic potential and has reservoirs in dromedary camels and bats. Since its first outbreak in 2012, the virus has repeatedly transmitted from camels to humans, with 2,468 confirmed cases causing 851 deaths. To date, there are no efficacious drugs and vaccines against MERS-CoV, increasing its potential to cause a public health emergency. In order to develop novel drugs and vaccines, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable the virus to infect host cells. Our data have found that calcium is an important regulator of viral fusion by interacting with negatively charged residues in the MERS-CoV FP region. This information can guide therapeutic solutions to block this calcium interaction and also repurpose already approved drugs for this use for a fast response to MERS-CoV outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Calcium/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Ions/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Internalization , Amino Acid Sequence , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Binding , Proteolysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Virulence , Virus Assembly
2.
Viruses ; 13(1)2020 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1025055

ABSTRACT

Bats are often claimed to be a major source for future viral epidemics, as they are associated with several viruses with zoonotic potential. Here we describe the presence and biodiversity of bats associated with intensive pig farms devoted to the production of heavy pigs in northern Italy. Since chiropters or signs of their presence were not found within animal shelters in our study area, we suggest that fecal viruses with high environmental resistance have the highest likelihood for spillover through indirect transmission. In turn, we investigated the circulation of mammalian orthoreoviruses (MRVs), coronaviruses (CoVs) and astroviruses (AstVs) in pigs and bats sharing the same environment. Results of our preliminary study did not show any bat virus in pigs suggesting that spillover from these animals is rare. However, several AstVs, CoVs and MRVs circulated undetected in pigs. Among those, one MRV was a reassortant strain carrying viral genes likely acquired from bats. On the other hand, we found a swine AstV and a MRV strain carrying swine genes in bat guano, indicating that viral exchange at the bat-pig interface might occur more frequently from pigs to bats rather than the other way around. Considering the indoor farming system as the most common system in the European Union (EU), preventive measures should focus on biosecurity rather than displacement of bats, which are protected throughout the EU and provide critical ecosystem services for rural settings.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera , Swine , Animals , Biodiversity , Chiroptera/virology , DNA Viruses/classification , DNA Viruses/genetics , Ecosystem , Phylogeny , RNA Viruses/classification , RNA Viruses/genetics , Reassortant Viruses/genetics , Swine/virology , Swine Diseases/epidemiology , Swine Diseases/transmission , Swine Diseases/virology , Virus Diseases/veterinary
3.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 538: 2-13, 2021 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152269

ABSTRACT

The loss of biodiversity in the ecosystems has created the general conditions that have favored and, in fact, made possible, the insurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of factors have contributed to it: deforestation, changes in forest habitats, poorly regulated agricultural surfaces, mismanaged urban growth. They have altered the composition of wildlife communities, greatly increased the contacts of humans with wildlife, and altered niches that harbor pathogens, increasing their chances to come in contact with humans. Among the wildlife, bats have adapted easily to anthropized environments such as houses, barns, cultivated fields, orchards, where they found the suitable ecosystem to prosper. Bats are major hosts for αCoV and ßCoV: evolution has shaped their peculiar physiology and their immune system in a way that makes them resistant to viral pathogens that would instead successfully attack other species, including humans. In time, the coronaviruses that bats host as reservoirs have undergone recombination and other modifications that have increased their ability for inter-species transmission: one modification of particular importance has been the development of the ability to use ACE2 as a receptor in host cells. This particular development in CoVs has been responsible for the serious outbreaks in the last two decades, and for the present COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Biodiversity , COVID-19/transmission , Chiroptera/virology , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Zoonoses/transmission , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Variation , Humans , Zoonoses/virology
4.
mBio ; 11(5)2020 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-772277

ABSTRACT

Bats are primary reservoirs for multiple lethal human viruses, such as Ebola, Nipah, Hendra, rabies, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and, most recently, SARS-CoV-2. The innate immune systems of these immensely abundant, anciently diverged mammals remain insufficiently characterized. While bat genomes contain many endogenous retroviral elements indicative of past exogenous infections, little is known about restrictions to extant retroviruses. Here, we describe a major postentry restriction in cells of the yinpterochiropteran bat Pteropus alecto Primate lentiviruses (HIV-1, SIVmac) were potently blocked at early life cycle steps, with up to 1,000-fold decreases in infectivity. The block was specific, because nonprimate lentiviruses such as equine infectious anemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus were unimpaired, as were foamy retroviruses. Interspecies heterokaryons demonstrated a dominant block consistent with restriction of incoming viruses. Several features suggested potential TRIM5 (tripartite motif 5) or myxovirus resistance protein 2 (MX2) protein restriction, including postentry action, cyclosporine sensitivity, and reversal by capsid cyclophilin A (CypA) binding loop mutations. Viral nuclear import was significantly reduced, and this deficit was substantially rescued by cyclosporine treatment. However, saturation with HIV-1 virus-like particles did not relieve the restriction at all. P. alecto TRIM5 was inactive against HIV-1 although it blocked the gammaretrovirus N-tropic murine leukemia virus. Despite major divergence in a critical N-terminal motif required for human MX2 activity, P. alecto MX2 had anti-HIV activity. However, this did not quantitatively account for the restriction and was independent of and synergistic with an additional CypA-dependent restriction. These results reveal a novel, specific restriction to primate lentiviruses in the Pteropodidae and advance understanding of bat innate immunity.IMPORTANCE The COVID-19 pandemic suggests that bat innate immune systems are insufficiently characterized relative to the medical importance of these animals. Retroviruses, e.g., HIV-1, can be severe pathogens when they cross species barriers, and bat restrictions corresponding to retroviruses are comparatively unstudied. Here, we compared the abilities of retroviruses from three genera (Lentivirus, Gammaretrovirus, and Spumavirus) to infect cells of the large fruit-eating bat P. alecto and other mammals. We identified a major, specific postentry restriction to primate lentiviruses. HIV-1 and SIVmac are potently blocked at early life cycle steps, but nonprimate lentiviruses and foamy retroviruses are entirely unrestricted. Despite acting postentry and in a CypA-dependent manner with features reminiscent of antiretroviral factors from other mammals, this restriction was not saturable with virus-like particles and was independent of P. alecto TRIM5, TRIM21, TRIM22, TRIM34, and MX2. These results identify a novel restriction and highlight cyclophilin-capsid interactions as ancient species-specific determinants of retroviral infection.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/immunology , Gammaretrovirus/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Lentiviruses, Primate/immunology , Spumavirus/immunology , 3T3 Cells , Animals , Aotidae , Cats , Cell Line , Chiroptera/virology , Cyclophilin A/metabolism , Ferrets , Gammaretrovirus/growth & development , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lentiviruses, Primate/growth & development , Mice , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , Spumavirus/growth & development , Tripartite Motif Proteins/metabolism
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