Variable oligomerization modes in coronavirus non-structural protein 9.
ABSTRACT: Non-structural protein 9 (Nsp9) of coronaviruses is believed to bind single-stranded RNA in the viral replication complex. The crystal structure of Nsp9 of human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E reveals a novel disulfide-linked homodimer, which is very different from the previously reported Nsp9 dimer of SARS coronavirus. In contrast, the structure of the Cys69Ala mutant of HCoV-229E Nsp9 shows the same dimer organization as the SARS-CoV protein. In the crystal, the wild-type HCoV-229E protein forms a trimer of dimers, whereas the mutant and SARS-CoV Nsp9 are organized in rod-like polymers. Chemical cross-linking suggests similar modes of aggregation in solution. In zone-interference gel electrophoresis assays and surface plasmon resonance experiments, the HCoV-229E wild-type protein is found to bind oligonucleotides with relatively high affinity, whereas binding by the Cys69Ala and Cys69Ser mutants is observed only for the longest oligonucleotides. The corresponding mutations in SARS-CoV Nsp9 do not hamper nucleic acid binding. From the crystal structures, a model for single-stranded RNA binding by Nsp9 is deduced. We propose that both forms of the Nsp9 dimer are biologically relevant; the occurrence of the disulfide-bonded form may be correlated with oxidative stress induced in the host cell by the viral infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has extensively and rapidly spread in the world, causing an outbreak of acute infectious pneumonia. However, no specific antiviral drugs or vaccines can be used. Phillyrin (KD-1), a representative ingredient of Forsythia suspensa, possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antiviral activities. However, little is known about the antiviral abilities and mechanism of KD-1 against SARS-CoV-2 and human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E). PURPOSE:The study was designed to investigate the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities of KD-1 against the novel SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E and its potential effect in regulating host immune response in vitro. METHODS:The antiviral activities of KD-1 against SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E were assessed in Vero E6 cells using cytopathic effect and plaque-reduction assay. Proinflammatory cytokine expression levels upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E infection in Huh-7 cells were measured by real-time quantitative PCR assays. Western blot assay was used to determine the protein expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B) p65, p-NF-?B p65, I?B?, and p-I?B? in Huh-7 cells, which are the key targets of the NF-?B pathway. RESULTS:KD-1 could significantly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E replication in vitro. KD-1 could also markedly reduce the production of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-?, IL-6, IL-1?, MCP-1, and IP-10) at the mRNA levels. Moreover, KD-1 could significantly reduce the protein expression of p-NF-?B p65, NF-?B p65, and p-I?B?, while increasing the expression of I?B? in Huh-7 cells. CONCLUSIONS:KD-1 could significantly inhibit virus proliferation in vitro, the up-regulated expression of proinflammatory cytokines induced by SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E by regulating the activity of the NF-?B signaling pathway. Our findings indicated that KD-1 protected against virus attack and can thus be used as a novel strategy for controlling the coronavirus disease 2019.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Epidemiological, virological and pathogenetic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 infection are under evaluation. A better understanding of the pathophysiology associated with COVID-19 is crucial to improve treatment modalities and to develop effective prevention strategies. Transcriptomic and proteomic data on the host response against SARS-CoV-2 still have anecdotic character; currently available data from other coronavirus infections are therefore a key source of information. METHODS:We investigated selected molecular aspects of three human coronavirus (HCoV) infections, namely SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and HCoV-229E, through a network based-approach. A functional analysis of HCoV-host interactome was carried out in order to provide a theoretic host-pathogen interaction model for HCoV infections and in order to translate the results in prediction for SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. The 3D model of S-glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 was compared to the structure of the corresponding SARS-CoV, HCoV-229E and MERS-CoV S-glycoprotein. SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, HCoV-229E and the host interactome were inferred through published protein-protein interactions (PPI) as well as gene co-expression, triggered by HCoV S-glycoprotein in host cells. RESULTS:Although the amino acid sequences of the S-glycoprotein were found to be different between the various HCoV, the structures showed high similarity, but the best 3D structural overlap shared by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, consistent with the shared ACE2 predicted receptor. The host interactome, linked to the S-glycoprotein of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, mainly highlighted innate immunity pathway components, such as Toll Like receptors, cytokines and chemokines. CONCLUSIONS:In this paper, we developed a network-based model with the aim to define molecular aspects of pathogenic phenotypes in HCoV infections. The resulting pattern may facilitate the process of structure-guided pharmaceutical and diagnostic research with the prospect to identify potential new biological targets.
Project description:We investigated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibodies and T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 and human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E and OC43 in 11 SARS-CoV-2 serodiscordant couples in Strausbourg, France, in which 1 partner had evidence of mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and in 10 unexposed healthy controls. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 were considered index patients and their partners close contacts. All index patients displayed positive SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody and T-cell responses that lasted up to 102 days after symptom onset. All contacts remained seronegative for SARS-CoV-2; however, 6 reported COVID-19 symptoms within a median of 7 days after their partners, and 4 of those showed a positive SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell response against 3 or 4 SARS-CoV-2 antigens that lasted up to 93 days after symptom onset. The 11 couples and controls displayed positive T-cell responses against HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43. These data suggest that exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can induce virus-specific T-cell responses without seroconversion.
Project description:The coronavirus (CoV) N protein oligomerizes via its carboxyl terminus. However, the oligomerization mechanism of the C-terminal domains (CTD) of CoV N proteins remains unclear. Based on the protein disorder prediction system, a comprehensive series of HCoV-229E N protein mutants with truncated CTD was generated and systematically investigated by biophysical and biochemical analyses to clarify the role of the C-terminal tail of the HCoV-229E N protein in oligomerization. These results indicate that the last C-terminal tail plays an important role in dimer-dimer association. The C-terminal tail peptide is able to interfere with the oligomerization of the CTD of HCoV-229E N protein and performs the inhibitory effect on viral titre of HCoV-229E. This study may assist the development of anti-viral drugs against HCoV.
Project description:Nonstructural proteins 7 and 8 of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) have previously been shown by X-ray crystallography to form an 8:8 hexadecamer. In addition, it has been demonstrated that N-terminally His(6)-tagged SARS-CoV Nsp8 is a primase able to synthesize RNA oligonucleotides with a length of up to 6 nucleotides. We present here the 2.6-? crystal structure of the feline coronavirus (FCoV) Nsp7:Nsp8 complex, which is a 2:1 heterotrimer containing two copies of the ?-helical Nsp7 with conformational differences between them, and one copy of Nsp8 that consists of an ?/? domain and a long-?-helix domain. The same stoichiometry is found for the Nsp7:Nsp8 complex in solution, as demonstrated by chemical cross-linking, size exclusion chromatography, and small-angle X-ray scattering. Furthermore, we show that FCoV Nsp8, like its SARS-CoV counterpart, is able to synthesize short oligoribonucleotides of up to 6 nucleotides in length when carrying an N-terminal His(6) tag. Remarkably, the same protein harboring the sequence GPLG instead of the His(6) tag at its N terminus exhibits a substantially increased, primer-independent RNA polymerase activity. Upon addition of Nsp7, the RNA polymerase activity is further enhanced so that RNA up to template length (67 nucleotides) can be synthesized. Further, we show that the unprocessed intermediate polyprotein Nsp7-10 of human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E is also capable of synthesizing oligoribonucleotides up to a chain length of six. These results indicate that in case of FCoV as well as of HCoV 229E, the formation of a hexadecameric Nsp7:Nsp8 complex is not necessary for RNA polymerase activity. Further, the FCoV Nsp7:Nsp8 complex functions as a noncanonical RNA polymerase capable of synthesizing RNA of up to template length.
Project description:The 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is one of the most promising targets for anti-SARS-CoV drugs due to its crucial role in the viral life cycle. In this study, a database containing structural information of more than 8,000 existing drugs was virtually screened by a docking approach to identify potential binding molecules of SARS-CoV 3CLpro. As a target for screening, both a homology model and the crystallographic structure of the binding pocket of the enzyme were used. Cinanserin (SQ 10,643), a well-characterized serotonin antagonist that has undergone preliminary clinical testing in humans in the 1960s, showed a high score in the screening and was chosen for further experimental evaluation. Binding of both cinanserin and its hydrochloride to bacterially expressed 3CLpro of SARS-CoV and the related human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) was demonstrated by surface plasmon resonance technology. The catalytic activity of both enzymes was inhibited with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 5 microM, as tested with a fluorogenic substrate. The antiviral activity of cinanserin was further evaluated in tissue culture assays, namely, a replicon system based on HCoV-229E and quantitative test assays with infectious SARS-CoV and HCoV-229E. All assays revealed a strong inhibition of coronavirus replication at nontoxic drug concentrations. The level of virus RNA and infectious particles was reduced by up to 4 log units, with IC50 values ranging from 19 to 34 microM. These findings demonstrate that the old drug cinanserin is an inhibitor of SARS-CoV replication, acting most likely via inhibition of the 3CL proteinase.
Project description::There are seven known coronaviruses that infect humans: four mild coronaviruses, including HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-HKU1, only cause mild respiratory diseases, and three severe coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, can cause severe respiratory diseases even death of infected patients. Both infection and death caused by SARS-CoV-2 are still rapidly increasing worldwide. In this study, we demonstrate that viral coding proteins of SARS-CoV-2 have distinct features and are most, medium and least conserved with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and the rest four mild coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-HKU1), respectively. Moreover, expression of host responsive genes (HRG), HRG-enriched biological processes, and HRG-enriched KEGG pathways upon infection of SARS-CoV-2 show slightly overlapping with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV but distinctive to the four mild coronaviruses. Interestingly, enrichment of overactivation of neutrophil by HRGs is only and commonly found in infections of severe SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV but not in the other four mild coronaviruses, and the related gene networks show different patterns. Clinical data supports that overactivation of neutrophil for severe patients can be one major factor for the similar clinical symptoms observed in SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to infections of the other two severe coronavirus (SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV). Taken together, our study provides a mechanistic insight into SARS-CoV-2 epidemic via revealing the conserved and distinct features of SARS-CoV-2, raising the critical role of dysregulation of neutrophil for SARS-CoV-2 infection. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Project description:With the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the highly infective, highly pathogenic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has attracted great attention. Currently, a method to simultaneously diagnose the seven known types human coronaviruses remains lacking and is urgently needed. In this work, we successfully developed a portable microfluidic system for the rapid, accurate, and simultaneous detection of SARS-CoV, middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2, and four other human coronaviruses (HCoVs) including HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-HKU1. The disk-like microfluidic platform integrated with loop-mediated isothermal amplification provides highly accurate, sensitive, and specific results with a wide linear range within 40 min. The diagnostic tool achieved 100% consistency with the "gold standard" polymerase chain reaction in detecting 54 real clinical samples. The integrated system, with its simplicity, is urgently needed for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:Three human coronaviruses are known to exist: human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), HCoV-OC43 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Here we report the identification of a fourth human coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, using a new method of virus discovery. The virus was isolated from a 7-month-old child suffering from bronchiolitis and conjunctivitis. The complete genome sequence indicates that this virus is not a recombinant, but rather a new group 1 coronavirus. The in vitro host cell range of HCoV-NL63 is notable because it replicates on tertiary monkey kidney cells and the monkey kidney LLC-MK2 cell line. The viral genome contains distinctive features, including a unique N-terminal fragment within the spike protein. Screening of clinical specimens from individuals suffering from respiratory illness identified seven additional HCoV-NL63-infected individuals, indicating that the virus was widely spread within the human population.
Project description:In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, studies that work to understand SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed. In turn, the less severe human coronaviruses such as HCoV-229E and OC43 are drawing newfound attention. These less severe coronaviruses can be used as a model to facilitate our understanding of the host immune response to coronavirus infection. SARS-CoV-2 must be handled under biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) conditions. Therefore, HCoV-229E and OC43, which can be handled at BSL-2 provide an alternative to SARS-CoV-2 for preclinical screening and designing of antivirals. However, to date, there is no published effective and efficient method to titrate HCoVs other than expensive indirect immunostaining. Here we present an improved approach using an agarose-based conventional plaque assay to titrate HCoV 229E and OC43 with mink lung epithelial cells, Mv1Lu. Our results indicate that titration of HCoV 229E and OC43 with Mv1Lu is consistent and reproducible. The titers produced are also comparable to those produced using human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells. More importantly, Mv1Lu cells display a higher tolerance for cell-cell contact stress, decreased temperature sensitivity, and a faster growth rate. We believe that our improved low-cost plaque assay can serve as an easy tool for researchers conducting HCoV research.