ResearchPad - sars-coronavirus https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Are pangolins the intermediate host of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14545 Recently, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, caused a still ongoing pandemic. Epidemiological study suggested this virus was associated with a wet market in Wuhan, China. However, the exact source of this virus is still unknown. In this study, we attempted to assemble the complete genome of a coronavirus identified from two groups of sick Malayan pangolins, which were likely to be smuggled for black market trade. The molecular and evolutionary analyses showed that this pangolin coronavirus we assembled was genetically associated with the SARS-CoV-2 but was not likely its precursor. This study suggested that pangolins are natural hosts of coronaviruses. Determining the spectrum of coronaviruses in pangolins can help understand the natural history of coronaviruses in wildlife and at the animal-human interface, and facilitate the prevention and control of coronavirus-associated emerging diseases.

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<![CDATA[The SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 expression of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs by single-cell transcriptome study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6fc22072-15f3-4c64-b34f-34474f5cf931

The new type of pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) has been declared as a global public health concern by WHO. As of April 3, 2020, more than 1,000,000 human infections have been diagnosed around the world, which exhibited apparent person-to-person transmission characteristics of this virus. The capacity of vertical transmission in SARS-CoV-2 remains controversial recently. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is now confirmed as the receptor of SARS-CoV-2 and plays essential roles in human infection and transmission. In present study, we collected the online available single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data to evaluate the cell specific expression of ACE2 in maternal-fetal interface as well as in multiple fetal organs. Our results revealed that ACE2 was highly expressed in maternal-fetal interface cells including stromal cells and perivascular cells of decidua, and cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast in placenta. Meanwhile, ACE2 was also expressed in specific cell types of human fetal heart, liver and lung, but not in kidney. And in a study containing series fetal and post-natal mouse lung, we observed ACE2 was dynamically changed over the time, and ACE2 was extremely high in neonatal mice at post-natal day 1~3. In summary, this study revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor was widely spread in specific cell types of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs. And thus, both the vertical transmission and the placenta dysfunction/abortion caused by SARS-CoV-2 need to be further carefully investigated in clinical practice.

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<![CDATA[The papain-like protease determines a virulence trait that varies among members of the SARS-coronavirus species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bb28de840307c1c9537c362

SARS-coronavirus (CoV) is a zoonotic agent derived from rhinolophid bats, in which a plethora of SARS-related, conspecific viral lineages exist. Whereas the variability of virulence among reservoir-borne viruses is unknown, it is generally assumed that the emergence of epidemic viruses from animal reservoirs requires human adaptation. To understand the influence of a viral factor in relation to interspecies spillover, we studied the papain-like protease (PLP) of SARS-CoV. This key enzyme drives the early stages of infection as it cleaves the viral polyprotein, deubiquitinates viral and cellular proteins, and antagonizes the interferon (IFN) response. We identified a bat SARS-CoV PLP, which shared 86% amino acid identity with SARS-CoV PLP, and used reverse genetics to insert it into the SARS-CoV genome. The resulting virus replicated like SARS-CoV in Vero cells but was suppressed in IFN competent MA-104 (3.7-fold), Calu-3 (2.6-fold) and human airway epithelial cells (10.3-fold). Using ectopically-expressed PLP variants as well as full SARS-CoV infectious clones chimerized for PLP, we found that a protease-independent, anti-IFN function exists in SARS-CoV, but not in a SARS-related, bat-borne virus. This PLP-mediated anti-IFN difference was seen in primate, human as well as bat cells, thus independent of the host context. The results of this study revealed that coronavirus PLP confers a variable virulence trait among members of the species SARS-CoV, and that a SARS-CoV lineage with virulent PLPs may have pre-existed in the reservoir before onset of the epidemic.

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<![CDATA[Cryo-EM structure of the SARS coronavirus spike glycoprotein in complex with its host cell receptor ACE2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b87a4ed40307c48d04ad264

The trimeric SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) surface spike (S) glycoprotein consisting of three S1-S2 heterodimers binds the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and mediates fusion of the viral and cellular membranes through a pre- to postfusion conformation transition. Here, we report the structure of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein in complex with its host cell receptor ACE2 revealed by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The complex structure shows that only one receptor-binding domain of the trimeric S glycoprotein binds ACE2 and adopts a protruding “up” conformation. In addition, we studied the structures of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein and its complexes with ACE2 in different in vitro conditions, which may mimic different conformational states of the S glycoprotein during virus entry. Disassociation of the S1-ACE2 complex from some of the prefusion spikes was observed and characterized. We also characterized the rosette-like structures of the clustered SARS-CoV S2 trimers in the postfusion state observed on electron micrographs. Structural comparisons suggested that the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein retains a prefusion architecture after trypsin cleavage into the S1 and S2 subunits and acidic pH treatment. However, binding to the receptor opens up the receptor-binding domain of S1, which could promote the release of the S1-ACE2 complex and S1 monomers from the prefusion spike and trigger the pre- to postfusion conformational transition.

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<![CDATA[Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf08c1dd5eed0c4849dcad8

A large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoV) have been detected in horseshoe bats since 2005 in different areas of China. However, these bat SARSr-CoVs show sequence differences from SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in different genes (S, ORF8, ORF3, etc) and are considered unlikely to represent the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV. Herein, we report the findings of our 5-year surveillance of SARSr-CoVs in a cave inhabited by multiple species of horseshoe bats in Yunnan Province, China. The full-length genomes of 11 newly discovered SARSr-CoV strains, together with our previous findings, reveals that the SARSr-CoVs circulating in this single location are highly diverse in the S gene, ORF3 and ORF8. Importantly, strains with high genetic similarity to SARS-CoV in the hypervariable N-terminal domain (NTD) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the S1 gene, the ORF3 and ORF8 region, respectively, were all discovered in this cave. In addition, we report the first discovery of bat SARSr-CoVs highly similar to human SARS-CoV in ORF3b and in the split ORF8a and 8b. Moreover, SARSr-CoV strains from this cave were more closely related to SARS-CoV in the non-structural protein genes ORF1a and 1b compared with those detected elsewhere. Recombination analysis shows evidence of frequent recombination events within the S gene and around the ORF8 between these SARSr-CoVs. We hypothesize that the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV may have originated after sequential recombination events between the precursors of these SARSr-CoVs. Cell entry studies demonstrated that three newly identified SARSr-CoVs with different S protein sequences are all able to use human ACE2 as the receptor, further exhibiting the close relationship between strains in this cave and SARS-CoV. This work provides new insights into the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV and highlights the necessity of preparedness for future emergence of SARS-like diseases.

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<![CDATA[Comparative Epidemiology of Human Infections with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronaviruses among Healthcare Personnel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae3ab0ee8fa60bbc597

The largest nosocomial outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) occurred in South Korea in 2015. Health Care Personnel (HCP) are at high risk of acquiring MERS-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections, similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infections first identified in 2003. This study described the similarities and differences in epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 183 confirmed global MERS cases and 98 SARS cases in Taiwan associated with HCP. The epidemiological findings showed that the mean age of MERS-HCP and total MERS cases were 40 (24~74) and 49 (2~90) years, respectively, much older than those in SARS [SARS-HCP: 35 (21~68) years, p = 0.006; total SARS: 42 (0~94) years, p = 0.0002]. The case fatality rates (CFR) was much lower in MERS-HCP [7.03% (9/128)] or SARS-HCP [12.24% (12/98)] than the MERS-non-HCP [36.96% (34/92), p<0.001] or SARS-non-HCP [24.50% (61/249), p<0.001], however, no difference was found between MERS-HCP and SARS-HCP [p = 0.181]. In terms of clinical period, the days from onset to death [13 (4~17) vs 14.5 (0~52), p = 0.045] and to discharge [11 (5~24) vs 24 (0~74), p = 0.010] and be hospitalized days [9.5 (3~22) vs 22 (0~69), p = 0.040] were much shorter in MERS-HCP than SARS-HCP. Similarly, days from onset to confirmation were shorter in MERS-HCP than MERS-non-HCP [6 (1~14) vs 10 (1~21), p = 0.044]. In conclusion, the severity of MERS-HCP and SARS-HCP was lower than that of MERS-non-HCP and SARS-non-HCP due to younger age and early confirmation in HCP groups. However, no statistical difference was found in MERS-HCP and SARS-HCP. Thus, prevention of nosocomial infections involving both novel Coronavirus is crucially important to protect HCP.

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<![CDATA[Different residues in the SARS-CoV spike protein determine cleavage and activation by the host cell protease TMPRSS2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1157

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) mediates viral entry into target cells. Cleavage and activation of SARS S by a host cell protease is essential for infectious viral entry and the responsible enzymes are potential targets for antiviral intervention. The type II transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS2 cleaves and activates SARS S in cell culture and potentially also in the infected host. Here, we investigated which determinants in SARS S control cleavage and activation by TMPRSS2. We found that SARS S residue R667, a previously identified trypsin cleavage site, is also required for S protein cleavage by TMPRSS2. The cleavage fragments produced by trypsin and TMPRSS2 differed in their decoration with N-glycans, suggesting that these proteases cleave different SARS S glycoforms. Although R667 was required for SARS S cleavage by TMPRSS2, this residue was dispensable for TMPRSS2-mediated S protein activation. Conversely, residue R797, previously reported to be required for SARS S activation by trypsin, was dispensable for S protein cleavage but required for S protein activation by TMPRSS2. Collectively, these results show that different residues in SARS S control cleavage and activation by TMPRSS2, suggesting that these processes are more complex than initially appreciated.

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<![CDATA[Reversal of the Progression of Fatal Coronavirus Infection in Cats by a Broad-Spectrum Coronavirus Protease Inhibitor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9eab0ee8fa60ba49c9

Coronaviruses infect animals and humans causing a wide range of diseases. The diversity of coronaviruses in many mammalian species is contributed by relatively high mutation and recombination rates during replication. This dynamic nature of coronaviruses may facilitate cross-species transmission and shifts in tissue or cell tropism in a host, resulting in substantial change in virulence. Feline enteric coronavirus (FECV) causes inapparent or mild enteritis in cats, but a highly fatal disease, called feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), can arise through mutation of FECV to FIP virus (FIPV). The pathogenesis of FIP is intimately associated with immune responses and involves depletion of T cells, features shared by some other coronaviruses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. The increasing risks of highly virulent coronavirus infections in humans or animals call for effective antiviral drugs, but no such measures are yet available. Previously, we have reported the inhibitors that target 3C-like protease (3CLpro) with broad-spectrum activity against important human and animal coronaviruses. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of our 3CLpro inhibitor in laboratory cats with FIP. Experimental FIP is 100% fatal once certain clinical and laboratory signs become apparent. We found that antiviral treatment led to full recovery of cats when treatment was started at a stage of disease that would be otherwise fatal if left untreated. Antiviral treatment was associated with a rapid improvement in fever, ascites, lymphopenia and gross signs of illness and cats returned to normal health within 20 days or less of treatment. Significant reduction in viral titers was also observed in cats. These results indicate that continuous virus replication is required for progression of immune-mediated inflammatory disease of FIP. These findings may provide important insights into devising therapeutic strategies and selection of antiviral compounds for further development for important coronaviruses in animals and humans.

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<![CDATA[Potent and selective inhibition of pathogenic viruses by engineered ubiquitin variants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be03b7

The recent Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks exemplify the continued threat of (re-)emerging viruses to human health, and our inability to rapidly develop effective therapeutic countermeasures. Many viruses, including MERS-CoV and the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) encode deubiquitinating (DUB) enzymes that are critical for viral replication and pathogenicity. They bind and remove ubiquitin (Ub) and interferon stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) from cellular proteins to suppress host antiviral innate immune responses. A variety of viral DUBs (vDUBs), including the MERS-CoV papain-like protease, are responsible for cleaving the viral replicase polyproteins during replication, and are thereby critical components of the viral replication cycle. Together, this makes vDUBs highly attractive antiviral drug targets. However, structural similarity between the catalytic cores of vDUBs and human DUBs complicates the development of selective small molecule vDUB inhibitors. We have thus developed an alternative strategy to target the vDUB activity through a rational protein design approach. Here, we report the use of phage-displayed ubiquitin variant (UbV) libraries to rapidly identify potent and highly selective protein-based inhibitors targeting the DUB domains of MERS-CoV and CCHFV. UbVs bound the vDUBs with high affinity and specificity to inhibit deubiquitination, deISGylation and in the case of MERS-CoV also viral replicative polyprotein processing. Co-crystallization studies further revealed critical molecular interactions between UbVs and MERS-CoV or CCHFV vDUBs, accounting for the observed binding specificity and high affinity. Finally, expression of UbVs during MERS-CoV infection reduced infectious progeny titers by more than four orders of magnitude, demonstrating the remarkable potency of UbVs as antiviral agents. Our results thereby establish a strategy to produce protein-based inhibitors that could protect against a diverse range of viruses by providing UbVs via mRNA or protein delivery technologies or through transgenic techniques.

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