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2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(11)2021 May 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389398

ABSTRACT

Trypsin-like proteases (TLPs) belong to a family of serine enzymes with primary substrate specificities for the basic residues, lysine and arginine, in the P1 position. Whilst initially perceived as soluble enzymes that are extracellularly secreted, a number of novel TLPs that are anchored in the cell membrane have since been discovered. Muco-obstructive lung diseases (MucOLDs) are characterised by the accumulation of hyper-concentrated mucus in the small airways, leading to persistent inflammation, infection and dysregulated protease activity. Although neutrophilic serine proteases, particularly neutrophil elastase, have been implicated in the propagation of inflammation and local tissue destruction, it is likely that the serine TLPs also contribute to various disease-relevant processes given the roles that a number of these enzymes play in the activation of both the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). More recently, significant attention has focused on the activation of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 by host TLPs. The purpose of this review was to highlight key TLPs linked to the activation of ENaC and PAR2 and their association with airway dehydration and inflammatory signalling pathways, respectively. The role of TLPs in viral infectivity will also be discussed in the context of the inhibition of TLP activities and the potential of these proteases as therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/enzymology , Lung Diseases, Obstructive/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Trypsin/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Epithelial Sodium Channels/metabolism , Humans , Lung Diseases, Obstructive/pathology , Receptor, PAR-2/metabolism
3.
Life Sci ; 269: 119046, 2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1030918

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought a global public health crisis. However, the pathogenesis underlying COVID-19 are barely understood. METHODS: In this study, we performed proteomic analyses of airway mucus obtained by bronchoscopy from severe COVID-19 patients. In total, 2351 and 2073 proteins were identified and quantified in COVID-19 patients and healthy controls, respectively. RESULTS: Among them, 92 differentiated expressed proteins (DEPs) (46 up-regulated and 46 down-regulated) were found with a fold change >1.5 or <0.67 and a p-value <0.05, and 375 proteins were uniquely present in airway mucus from COVID-19 patients. Pathway and network enrichment analyses revealed that the 92 DEPs were mostly associated with metabolic, complement and coagulation cascades, lysosome, and cholesterol metabolism pathways, and the 375 COVID-19 only proteins were mainly enriched in amino acid degradation (Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine degradation), amino acid metabolism (beta-Alanine, Tryptophan, Cysteine and Methionine metabolism), oxidative phosphorylation, phagosome, and cholesterol metabolism pathways. CONCLUSIONS: This study aims to provide fundamental data for elucidating proteomic changes of COVID-19, which may implicate further investigation of molecular targets directing at specific therapy.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids/metabolism , COVID-19/physiopathology , Mucus/virology , Proteins/metabolism , Aged , Bronchoscopy , Case-Control Studies , Cholesterol/metabolism , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Proteomics , Severity of Illness Index
4.
Cell Res ; 30(12): 1078-1087, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912896

ABSTRACT

Silent hypoxia has emerged as a unique feature of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, we show that mucins are accumulated in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of COVID-19 patients and are upregulated in the lungs of severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected mice and macaques. We find that induction of either interferon (IFN)-ß or IFN-γ upon SARS-CoV-2 infection results in activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling through an IDO-Kyn-dependent pathway, leading to transcriptional upregulation of the expression of mucins, both the secreted and membrane-bound, in alveolar epithelial cells. Consequently, accumulated alveolar mucus affects the blood-gas barrier, thus inducing hypoxia and diminishing lung capacity, which can be reversed by blocking AhR activity. These findings potentially explain the silent hypoxia formation in COVID-19 patients, and suggest a possible intervention strategy by targeting the AhR pathway.


Subject(s)
Interferons/metabolism , Mucus/metabolism , Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Hypoxia , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Interferon-gamma/pharmacology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Macaca , Mice , Mice, Inbred ICR , Mice, Transgenic , Mucins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction , Up-Regulation/drug effects
5.
Ann Biomed Eng ; 48(12): 3003-3013, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880328

ABSTRACT

In patients with critically ill COVID-19 pneumonia, lower airways are filled with plenty of highly viscous exudates or mucus, leading to airway occlusion. The estimation of airway opening pressures and effective mucus clearance are therefore two issues that clinicians are most concerned about during mechanical ventilation. In this study we retrospectively analyzed respiratory data from 24 critically ill patients with COVID-19 who received invasive mechanical ventilation and recruitment maneuver at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, China. Among 24 patients, the mean inspiratory plateau pressure was 52.4 ± 4.4 cmH2O (mean ± [SD]). Particularly, the capnograms presented an upward slope during the expiratory plateau, indicting the existence of airway obstruction. A computational model of airway opening was subsequently introduced to investigate possible fluid dynamic mechanisms for the extraordinarily high inspiratory plateau pressures among these patients. Our simulation results showed that the predicted airway opening pressures could be as high as 40-50 cmH2O and the suction pressure could exceed 20 kPa as the surface tension and viscosity of secretion simulants markedly increased, likely causing the closures of the distal airways. We concluded that, in some critically ill patients with COVID-19, limiting plateau pressure to 30 cmH2O may not guarantee the opening of airways due to the presence of highly viscous lower airway secretions, not to mention spontaneous inspiratory efforts. Active airway humidification and effective expectorant drugs are therefore strongly recommended during airway management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Computer Simulation , Lung/physiopathology , Models, Biological , Pulmonary Gas Exchange , Respiratory Mechanics , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Air Pressure , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies
6.
New Microbes New Infect ; 37: 100756, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-805707

ABSTRACT

Dornase alfa, the recombinant form of the human DNase I enzyme, breaks down neutrophil extracellular traps (NET) that include a vast amount of DNA fragments, histones, microbicidal proteins and oxidant enzymes released from necrotic neutrophils in the highly viscous mucus of cystic fibrosis patients. Dornase alfa has been used for decades in patients with cystic fibrosis to reduce the viscoelasticity of respiratory tract secretions, to decrease the severity of respiratory tract infections, and to improve lung function. Previous studies have linked abnormal NET formations to lung diseases, especially to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is well known that novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia progresses to ARDS and even multiple organ failure. High blood neutrophil levels are an early indicator of COVID-19 and predict severe respiratory diseases. Also it is reported that mucus structure in COVID-19 is very similar to that in cystic fibrosis due to the accumulation of excessive NET in the lungs. In this study, we showed the recovery of three individuals with COVID-19 after including dornase alfa in their treatment. We followed clinical improvement in the radiological analysis (two of three cases), oxygen saturation (Spo2), respiratory rate, disappearance of dyspnoea, coughing and a decrease in NET formation and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral load after the treatment. Also here, we share our preliminary results suggesting that dornase alfa has an anti-viral effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a green monkey kidney cell line, Vero, and a bovine kidney cell line, MDBK, without determined cytotoxicity on healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

7.
Microb Risk Anal ; 16: 100140, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-779468

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infect the human respiratory tract. A prototype thermodynamic equilibrium model is presented here for the probability of the virions getting through the mucus barrier and infecting epithelial cells based on the binding affinity (Kmucin) of the virions to mucin molecules in the mucus and parameters for binding and infection of the epithelial cell. Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 bind strongly to their cellular receptors, DDP4 and ACE2, respectively, and infect very efficiently both bronchus and lung ex vivo cell cultures which are not protected by a mucus barrier. According to the model, mucin binding could reduce the infectivity for MERS-CoV compared to SARS-CoV-2 by at least 100-fold depending on the magnitude of Kmucin. Specifically Kmucin values up to 106 M-1 have little protective effect and thus the mucus barrier would not remove SARS-CoV-2 which does not bind to sialic acids (SA) and hence would have a very low Kmucin. Depending on the viability of individual virions, the ID50 for SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be ~500 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 1 to 2 pfu. In contrast MERS-CoV binds both SA and human mucin and a Kmucin of 5 × 109 M-1 as reported for lectins would mop up 99.83% of the virus according to the model with the ID50 for MERS-CoV estimated to be ~295,000 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 819 pfu. This could in part explain why MERS-CoV is poorly transmitted from human to human compared to SARS-CoV-2. Some coronaviruses use an esterase to escape the mucin, although MERS-CoV does not. Instead, it is shown here that "clustering" of virions into single aerosol particles as recently reported for rotavirus in extracellular vesicles could provide a co-operative mechanism whereby MERS-CoV could theoretically overcome the mucin barrier locally and a small proportion of 10 µm diameter aerosol particles could contain ~70 virions based on reported maximum levels in saliva. Although recent evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 initiates infection in the nasal epithelium, the thermodynamic equilibrium models presented here could complement published approaches for modelling the physical entry of pathogens to the lung based on the fate and transport of the pathogen particles (as for anthrax spores) to develop a dose-response model for aerosol exposure to respiratory viruses. This would enable the infectivity through aerosols to be defined based on molecular parameters as well as physical parameters. The role of the spike proteins of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 binding to SA and heparan sulphate, respectively, may be to aid non-specific attachment to the host cell. It is proposed that a high Kmucin is the cost for subsequent binding of MERS-CoV to SAs on the cell surface to partially overcome the unfavourable entropy of immobilisation as the virus adopts the correct orientation for spike protein interactions with its protein cellular receptor DPP4.

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