Publications

573 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 573

Abstract (Expand)

The COVID-19 disease has plagued over 110 countries and has resulted in over 4,000 deaths within 10 weeks. We compare the interaction between the human ACE2 receptor and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with that of other pathogenic coronaviruses using molecular dynamics simulations. SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and HCoV-NL63 recognize ACE2 as the natural receptor but present a distinct binding interface to ACE2 and a different network of residue-residue contacts. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 have comparable binding affinities achieved by balancing energetics and dynamics. The SARS-CoV-2–ACE2 complex contains a higher number of contacts, a larger interface area, and decreased interface residue fluctuations relative to SARS-CoV. These findings expose an exceptional evolutionary exploration exerted by coronaviruses toward host recognition. We postulate that the versatility of cell receptor binding strategies has immediate implications on therapeutic strategies.

Authors: Esther S. Brielle, Dina Schneidman-Duhovny, Michal Linial

Date Published: 12th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

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The outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) represents a pandemic threat that has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. The CoV spike (S) glycoprotein is a key target for vaccines, therapeutic antibodies, and diagnostics. To facilitate medical countermeasure development, we determined a 3.5-angstrom-resolution cryo–electron microscopy structure of the 2019-nCoV S trimer in the prefusion conformation. The predominant state of the trimer has one of the three receptor-binding domains (RBDs) rotated up in a receptor-accessible conformation. We also provide biophysical and structural evidence that the 2019-nCoV S protein binds angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) with higher affinity than does severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV S. Additionally, we tested several published SARS-CoV RBD-specific monoclonal antibodies and found that they do not have appreciable binding to 2019-nCoV S, suggesting that antibody cross-reactivity may be limited between the two RBDs. The structure of 2019-nCoV S should enable the rapid development and evaluation of medical countermeasures to address the ongoing public health crisis.

Authors: Daniel Wrapp, Nianshuang Wang, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Jory A. Goldsmith, Ching-Lin Hsieh, Olubukola Abiona, Barney S. Graham, Jason S. McLellan

Date Published: 12th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

As the outbreak of COVID-19 has accelerated, an urgent need for finding strategies to combat the virus is growing. Thus, gaining more knowledge on the pathogenicity mechanism of SARS-CoV2, the causing agent of COVID-19, and its interaction with the immune system is of utmost importance. Although this novel virus is not well known yet, its structural and genetic similarity with SARS-CoV as well as the comparable pattern of age-mortality relations suggest that the previous findings on SARS can be applicable for COVID-19. Therefore, a systems biology study was conducted to investigate the underlying mechanism for the differences in the age-specific mortality of SARS and the most important signaling pathways activated by the virus. The results were then validated through a literature review on COVID-19 and the other closely related viruses, SARS and MERS.

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Date Published: 12th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract

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Authors: Xinmeng Xu, Jan Range, Gudrun Gygli, Jürgen Pleiss

Date Published: 12th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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The new decade of the 21 st century (2020) started with the emergence of novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 that caused an epidemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. It is the third highly pathogenic and transmissible coronavirus after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in humans. The source of origin, transmission to humans and mechanisms associated with the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 are not clear yet, however, its resemblance with SARS-CoV and several other bat coronaviruses was recently confirmed through genome sequencing related studies. The development of therapeutic strategies is necessary in order to prevent further epidemics and cure infected people. In this Review, we summarize current information about the emergence, origin, diversity, and epidemiology of three pathogenic coronaviruses with a specific focus on the current outbreak in Wuhan, China. Furthermore, we discuss the clinical features and potential therapeutic options that may be effective against SARS-CoV-2.

Authors: Suliman Khan, Rabeea Siddique, Muhammad Adnan Shereen, Ashaq Ali, Jianbo Liu, Qian Bai, Nadia Bashir, Mengzhou Xue

Date Published: 11th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Micholas Smith, Jeremy C. Smith

Date Published: 11th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Abstract SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus (CoV), has recently emerged causing an ongoing outbreak of viral pneumonia around the world. While genetically distinct from the original SARS-CoV, both group 2B CoVs share similar genome organization and origins to coronaviruses harbored in bats. Importantly, initial guidance has used insights from SARS-CoV infection to inform treatment and public health strategies. In this report, we evaluate type-I Interferon (IFN-I) sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 relative to the original SARS-CoV. Our results indicate that while SARS-CoV-2 maintains similar viral replication kinetics to SARS-CoV in Vero cell, the novel CoV is much more sensitive to IFN-I pretreatment. Examining transcriptional factor activation and interferon stimulated gene (ISG) induction, SARS-CoV-2 in the context of type I IFN induces phosphorylation of STAT1 and increased ISG proteins. In contrast, the original SARS-CoV has no evidence for STAT1 phosphorylation or ISG protein increases even in the presence of type I IFN pretreatment. Finally, we examined homology between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in viral proteins shown to be interferon antagonist. The absence of open reading frame (ORF) 3b and significant changes to ORF6 suggest the two key IFN antagonists may not maintain equivalent function in SARS-CoV-2. Together, the results identify key differences in susceptibility to the IFN-I response between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. that could help inform disease progression, treatment options, and animal model development. Importance With the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 disease, differences between the SARS-CoV-2 and the original SARS-CoV could be leveraged to inform disease progression and eventual treatment options. In addition, these findings could have key implications for animal model development as well as further research into how SARS-CoV-2 modulates the type I IFN response early during infection. Article Summary SARS-CoV-2 has similar replication kinetics to SARS-CoV, but demonstrates significant sensitivity to type I interferon treatment.

Authors: Kumari G. Lokugamage, Adam Hage, Craig Schindewolf, Ricardo Rajsbaum, Vineet D. Menachery

Date Published: 9th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

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The novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV has caused major outbreaks in many parts of the world. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of COVID-19 is urgently needed. Clinically, it is important to identify who may be susceptible to infection and identify treatments for the disease.

Authors: Shitao Rao, Alexandria Lau, Hon-Cheong So

Date Published: 8th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

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Zoonotic coronaviruses (CoVs) are significant threats to global health, as exemplified by the recent emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)1. Host immune responses to CoV are complex and regulated in part through antiviral interferons. However, the interferon-stimulated gene products that inhibit CoV are not well characterized2. Here, we show that interferon-inducible lymphocyte antigen 6 complex, locus E (LY6E) potently restricts cellular infection by multiple CoVs, including SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Mechanistic studies revealed that LY6E inhibits CoV entry into cells by interfering with spike protein-mediated membrane fusion. Importantly, mice lacking Ly6e in hematopoietic cells were highly susceptible to murine CoV infection. Exacerbated viral pathogenesis in Ly6e knockout mice was accompanied by loss of hepatic and splenic immune cells and reduction in global antiviral gene pathways. Accordingly, we found that Ly6e directly protects primary B cells and dendritic cells from murine CoV infection. Our results demonstrate that LY6E is a critical antiviral immune effector that controls CoV infection and pathogenesis. These findings advance our understanding of immune-mediated control of CoV in vitro and in vivo, knowledge that could help inform strategies to combat infection by emerging CoV.

Authors: Stephanie Pfaender, Katrina B. Mar, Eleftherios Michailidis, Annika Kratzel, Dagny Hirt, Philip V’kovski, Wenchun Fan, Nadine Ebert, Hanspeter Stalder, Hannah Kleine-Weber, Markus Hoffmann, H. Heinrich Hoffmann, Mohsan Saeed, Ronald Dijkman, Eike Steinmann, Mary Wight-Carter, Natasha W. Hanners, Stefan Pöhlmann, Tom Gallagher, Daniel Todt, Gert Zimmer, Charles M. Rice, John W. Schoggins, Volker Thiel

Date Published: 7th Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

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Currently there is no effective antiviral therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infection, which frequently leads to fatal inflammatory responses and acute lung injury. Here, we discuss the various mechanisms of SARS-CoV-mediated inflammation. We also assume that SARS-CoV-2 likely shares similar inflammatory responses. Potential therapeutic tools to reduce SARS-CoV-2 -induced inflammatory responses include various methods to block FcR activation. In the absence of a proven clinical FcR blocker, the use of intravenous immunoglobulin to block FcR activation may be a viable option for the urgent treatment of pulmonary inflammation to prevent severe lung injury. Such treatment may also be combined with systemic anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. However, these strategies, as proposed here, remain to be clinically tested for effectiveness.

Authors: Yajing Fu, Yuanxiong Cheng, Yuntao Wu

Date Published: 3rd Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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Background: The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2) has spread more rapidly than any other betacoronavirus including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. However, the mechanisms responsible for infection and molecular evolution of this virus 5 remained unclear. Methods: We collected and analyzed 120 genomic sequences of 2019-nCoV including 11 novel genomes from patients in China. Through comprehensive analysis of the available genome sequences of 2019-nCoV strains, we have tracked multiple inheritable SNPs and determined the evolution of 2019-nCoV relative to other 10 coronaviruses. Results: Systematic analysis of 120 genomic sequences of 2019-nCoV revealed cocirculation of two genetic subgroups with distinct SNPs markers, which can be used to trace the 2019-nCoV spreading pathways to different regions and countries. Although 2019-nCoV, human and bat SARS-CoV share high homologous in overall genome 15 structures, they evolved into two distinct groups with different receptor entry specificities through potential recombination in the receptor binding regions. In addition, 2019-nCoV has a unique four amino acid insertion between S1 and S2 domains of the spike protein, which created a potential furin or TMPRSS2 cleavage site. Conclusions: Our studies provided comprehensive insights into the evolution and 20

Authors: Aiping Wu, Peihua Niu, Lulan Wang, Hangyu Zhou, Xiang Zhao, Wenling Wang, Jingfeng Wang, Chengyang Ji, Xiao Ding, Xianyue Wang, Roujian Lu, Sarah Gold, Saba Aliyari, Shilei Zhang, Ellee Vikram, Angela Zou, Emily Lenh, Janet Chen, Fei Ye, Na Han, Yousong Peng, Haitao Guo, Guizhen Wu, Taijiao Jiang, Wenjie Tan, Genhong Cheng

Date Published: 2nd Mar 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

The recent emergence of the novel, pathogenic SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in China and its rapid national and international spread pose a global health emergency. Cell entry of coronaviruses depends on binding of the viral spike (S) proteins to cellular receptors and on S protein priming by host cell proteases. Unravelling which cellular factors are used by SARS-CoV-2 for entry might provide insights into viral transmission and reveal therapeutic targets. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 uses the SARS-CoV receptor ACE2 for entry and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for S protein priming. A TMPRSS2 inhibitor approved for clinical use blocked entry and might constitute a treatment option. Finally, we show that the sera from convalescent SARS patients cross-neutralized SARS-2S-driven entry. Our results reveal important commonalities between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infection and identify a potential target for antiviral intervention.

Authors: Markus Hoffmann, Hannah Kleine-Weber, Simon Schroeder, Nadine Krüger, Tanja Herrler, Sandra Erichsen, Tobias S. Schiergens, Georg Herrler, Nai-Huei Wu, Andreas Nitsche, Marcel A. Müller, Christian Drosten, Stefan Pöhlmann

Date Published: 1st Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Fei Xiao, Meiwen Tang, Xiaobin Zheng, Ye Liu, Xiaofeng Li, Hong Shan

Date Published: 1st Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Xiaowei Li, Manman Geng, Yizhao Peng, Liesu Meng, Shemin Lu

Date Published: 1st Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Background Since December, 2019, Wuhan, China, has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been reported but risk factors for mortality and a detailed clinical course of illness, including viral shedding, have not been well described.

Authors: Fei Zhou, Ting Yu, Ronghui Du, Guohui Fan, Ying Liu, Zhibo Liu, Jie Xiang, Yeming Wang, Bin Song, Xiaoying Gu, Lulu Guan, Yuan Wei, Hui Li, Xudong Wu, Jiuyang Xu, Shengjin Tu, Yi Zhang, Hua Chen, Bin Cao

Date Published: 1st Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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The LIBRA compound library is a collection of 522 non-commercial molecules contributed by various Italian academic laboratories. These compounds have been designed and synthesized during different medicinal chemistry programs and are hosted by the Italian Institute of Technology. We report the screening of the LIBRA compound library against Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania major pteridine reductase 1, TbPTR1 and LmPTR1. Nine compounds were active against parasitic PTR1 and were selected for cell-based parasite screening, as single agents and in combination with methotrexate (MTX). The most interesting TbPTR1 inhibitor identified was 4-(benzyloxy)pyrimidine-2,6-diamine (LIB_66). Subsequently, six new LIB_66 derivatives were synthesized to explore its Structure-Activity-Relationship (SAR) and absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) properties. The results indicate that PTR1 has a preference to bind inhibitors, which resemble its biopterin/folic acid substrates, such as the 2,4-diaminopyrimidine derivatives.

Authors: P. Linciano, G. Cullia, C. Borsari, M. Santucci, S. Ferrari, G. Witt, S. Gul, M. Kuzikov, B. Ellinger, N. Santarem, A. Cordeiro da Silva, P. Conti, M. L. Bolognesi, M. Roberti, F. Prati, F. Bartoccini, M. Retini, G. Piersanti, A. Cavalli, L. Goldoni, S. M. Bertozzi, F. Bertozzi, E. Brambilla, V. Rizzo, D. Piomelli, A. Pinto, T. Bandiera, M. P. Costi

Date Published: 1st Mar 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND Since December 2019, when coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China, data have been needed on the clinical characteristics of the affected patients. METHODS We extracted data regarding 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 from 552 hospitals in 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in mainland China through January 29, 2020. The primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the use of mechanical ventilation, or death. The authors’ full names, academic degrees, and affiliations are listed in the Appendix. Address reprint requests to Dr. Zhong at the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, 151 Yanjiang Rd., Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, or at ­nanshan@­vip.­163.­com. RESULTS The median age of the patients was 47 years; 41.9% of the patients were female. The primary composite end point occurred in 67 patients (6.1%), including 5.0% who were admitted to the ICU, 2.3% who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, and 1.4% who died. Only 1.9% of the patients had a history of direct contact with wildlife. Among nonresidents of Wuhan, 72.3% had contact with residents of Wuhan, including 31.3% who had visited the city. The most common symptoms were fever (43.8% on admission and 88.7% during hospitalization) and cough (67.8%). Diarrhea was uncommon (3.8%). The median incubation period was 4 days (interquartile range, 2 to 7). On admission, ground-glass opacity was the most common radiologic finding on chest computed tomography (CT) (56.4%). No radiographic or CT abnormality was found in 157 of 877 patients (17.9%) with nonsevere disease and in 5 of 173 patients (2.9%) with severe disease. Lymphocytopenia was present in 83.2% of the patients on admission. *A list of investigators in the China Medical Treatment Expert Group for Covid-19 study is provided in the Supplementary Appendix, available at NEJM.org. Drs. Guan, Ni, Yu Hu, W. Liang, Ou, He, L. Liu, Shan, Lei, Hui, Du, L. Li, Zeng, and Yuen contributed equally to this article. This article was published on February 28, 2020, and last updated on March 6, 2020, at NEJM.org. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002032 Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society. CONCLUSIONS During the first 2 months of the current outbreak, Covid-19 spread rapidly throughout China and caused varying degrees of illness. Patients often presented without fever, and many did not have abnormal radiologic findings. (Funded by the National Health Commission of China and others.)

Authors: Wei-jie Guan, Zheng-yi Ni, Yu Hu, Wen-hua Liang, Chun-quan Ou, Jian-xing He, Lei Liu, Hong Shan, Chun-liang Lei, David S.C. Hui, Bin Du, Lan-juan Li, Guang Zeng, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Ru-chong Chen, Chun-li Tang, Tao Wang, Ping-yan Chen, Jie Xiang, Shi-yue Li, Jin-lin Wang, Zi-jing Liang, Yi-xiang Peng, Li Wei, Yong Liu, Ya-hua Hu, Peng Peng, Jian-ming Wang, Ji-yang Liu, Zhong Chen, Gang Li, Zhi-jian Zheng, Shao-qin Qiu, Jie Luo, Chang-jiang Ye, Shao-yong Zhu, Nan-shan Zhong

Date Published: 28th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, etiological agent of recently named Coronavirus infected disease (COVID-19) by WHO, has caused more than 2, 000 deaths worldwide since its emergency in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China, in December, 2019. The symptoms of COVID-19 varied from modest, mild to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and the latter of which is generally associated with deregulated immune cytokine production; however, we currently know little as to the interplay between the extent of clinical symptoms and the compositions of lung immune microenvironment. Here, we comprehensively characterized the lung immune microenvironment with the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from 3 severe and 3 mild COVID-19 patients and 8 previously reported healthy lung controls through single-cell RNA sequence (scRNA-seq) combined with TCR-seq. Our data shows that monocyte-derived FCN1+ macrophages, whereas notFABP4+ alveolar macrophages that represent a predominant macrophage subset in BALF from patients with mild diseases, overwhelm in the severely damaged lungs from patients with ARDS. These cells are highly inflammatory and enormous chemokine producers implicated in cytokine storm. Furthermore, the formation of tissue resident, highly expanded clonal CD8+ T cells in the lung microenvironment of mild symptom patients suggests a robust adaptive immune response connected to a better control of COVID-19. This study first reported the cellular atlas of lung bronchoalveolar immune microenvironment in COVID-19 patients at the single-cell resolution, and unveiled the potential immune mechanisms underlying disease progression and protection in COVID-19.

Authors: Minfeng Liao, Yang Liu, Jin Yuan, Yanling Wen, Gang Xu, Juanjuan Zhao, Lin Chen, Jinxiu Li, Xin Wang, Fuxiang Wang, Lei Liu, Shuye Zhang, Zheng Zhang

Date Published: 26th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

The mechanisms of organ size control remain poorly understood. A key question is how cells collectively sense the overall status of a tissue. We addressed this problem focusing on mouse liver regeneration. Using digital tissue reconstruction and quantitative image analysis, we found that the apical surface of hepatocytes forming the bile canalicular network expands concomitant with an increase in F-actin and phospho-myosin, to compensate an overload of bile acids. These changes are sensed by the Hippo transcriptional co-activator YAP, which localizes to apical F-actin-rich regions and translocates to the nucleus in dependence of the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton. This mechanism tolerates moderate bile acid fluctuations under tissue homeostasis, but activates YAP in response to sustained bile acid overload. Using an integrated biophysical-biochemical model of bile pressure and Hippo signaling, we explained this behavior by the existence of a mechano-sensory mechanism that activates YAP in a switch-like manner. We propose that the apical surface of hepatocytes acts as a self-regulatory mechano-sensory system that responds to critical levels of bile acids as readout of tissue status.

Authors: K. Meyer, H. Morales-Navarrete, S. Seifert, M. Wilsch-Braeuninger, U. Dahmen, E. M. Tanaka, L. Brusch, Y. Kalaidzidis, M. Zerial

Date Published: 25th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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There is a rising global concern for the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Full genomic sequences have been released by the worldwide scientific community in the last few weeks to understand the evolutionary origin and molecular characteristics of this virus. Taking advantage of all the genomic information currently available, we constructed a phylogenetic tree including also representatives of other coronaviridae, such as Bat coronavirus (BCoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome. We confirm high sequence similarity (\textgreater99%) between all sequenced 2019-nCoVs genomes available, with the closest BCoV sequence sharing 96.2% sequence identity, confirming the notion of a zoonotic origin of 2019-nCoV. Despite the low heterogeneity of the 2019-nCoV genomes, we could identify at least two hypervariable genomic hotspots, one of which is responsible for a Serine/Leucine variation in the viral ORF8-encoded protein. Finally, we perform a full proteomic comparison with other coronaviridae, identifying key aminoacidic differences to be considered for antiviral strategies deriving from previous anti-coronavirus approaches.

Authors: Carmine Ceraolo, Federico M. Giorgi

Date Published: 24th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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A novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infectious disease has broken out in Wuhan, Hubei Province since December 2019, and spread rapidly from Wuhan to other areas, which has been listed as an international concerning public health emergency. We compared the Spike proteins from four sources, SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and Bat-CoVRaTG13, and found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus sequence had redundant PRRA sequences. Through a series of analyses, we propose the reason why SARS-CoV-2is more infectious than other coronaviruses. And through structure based virtual ligand screening, we foundpotentialfurin inhibitors, which might be used in the treatment of new coronary pneumonia.

Authors: Canrong Wu, Yueying Yang, Yang Liu, Peng Zhang, Yali Wang, Hua Li, Qiqi Wang, Yang Xu, Mingxue Li, Mengzhu Zheng, Lixia Chen

Date Published: 23rd Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

SUMMARY The recent emergence of a novel coronavirus associated with an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia (Covid-2019) resulted in infections of more than 72,000 people and claimed over 1,800 lives. Coronavirus spike (S) glycoprotein trimers promote entry into cells and are the main target of the humoral immune response. We show here that SARS-CoV-2 S mediates entry in VeroE6 cells and in BHK cells transiently transfected with human ACE2, establishing ACE2 as a functional receptor for this novel coronavirus. We further demonstrate that the receptor-binding domains of SARS-CoV-2 S and SARS-CoV S bind with similar affinities to human ACE2, which correlates with the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 among humans. We found that the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein harbors a furin cleavage site at the boundary between the S 1 /S 2 subunits, which is processed during biogenesis and sets this virus apart from SARS-CoV and other SARS-related CoVs. We determined a cryo-electron microscopy structure of the SARS-CoV-2 S ectodomain trimer, demonstrating spontaneous opening of the receptor-binding domain, and providing a blueprint for the design of vaccines and inhibitors of viral entry. Finally, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV S murine polyclonal sera potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated entry into target cells, thereby indicating that cross-neutralizing antibodies targeting conserved S epitopes can be elicited upon vaccination.

Authors: Alexandra C. Walls, Young-Jun Park, M. Alexandra Tortorici, Abigail Wall, Andrew T. McGuire, David Veesler

Date Published: 20th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has posed great threat to human health, which has been declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the WHO. T cells play a critical role in antiviral immunity but their numbers and functional state in COVID-19 patients remain largely unclear. METHODS We retrospectively reviewed the counts of total T cells, CD4+, CD8+ T cell subsets, and serum cytokine concentration from inpatient data of 522 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, admitted into two hospitals in Wuhan from December 2019 to January 2020, and 40 healthy controls, who came to the hospitals for routine physical examination. In addition, the expression of T cell exhaustion markers PD-1 and Tim-3 were measured by flow cytometry in the peripheral blood of 14 COVID-19 cases. RESULTS The number of total T cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were dramatically reduced in COVID-19 patients, especially among elderly patients (≥60 years of age) and in patients requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU) care. Counts of total T cells, CD8+T cells or CD4+T cells lower than 800/μL, 300/μL, or 400/μL, respectively, are negatively correlated with patient survival. Statistical analysis demonstrated that T cell numbers are negatively correlated to serum IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α concentration, with patients in decline period showing reduced IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α concentrations and restored T cell counts. Finally, T cells from COVID-19 patients have significantly higher levels of the exhausted marker PD-1 as compared to health controls. Moreover, increasing PD-1 and Tim-3 expression on T cells could be seen as patients progressed from prodromal to overtly symptomatic stages, further indicative of T cell exhaustion. CONCLUSIONS T cell counts are reduced significantly in COVID-19 patients, and the surviving T cells appear functionally exhausted. Non-ICU patients, with total T cells, CD8+T cells CD4+T cells counts lower than 800/μL, 300/μL, and 400/μL, respectively, may still require aggressive intervention even in the immediate absence of more severe symptoms due to a high risk for further deterioration in condition.

Authors: Bo Diao, Chenhui Wang, Yingjun Tan, Xiewan Chen, Ying Liu, Lifeng Ning, Li Chen, Min Li, Yueping Liu, Gang Wang, Zilin Yuan, Zeqing Feng, Yuzhang Wu, Yongwen Chen

Date Published: 20th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

The NACHT, LRR, and PYD domains-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is an oligomeric complex comprised of the NOD-like receptor NLRP3, the adaptor ASC, and caspase-1. This complex is crucial to the host’s defense against microbes as it promotes IL-1β and IL-18 secretion and induces pyroptosis. NLRP3 recognizes variety of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) generated during viral replication that triggers the NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent antiviral immune responses and facilitates viral eradication. Meanwhile, several viruses have evolved elaborate strategies to evade the immune system by targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome. In this review, we will focus on the crosstalk between the NLRP3 inflammasome and viruses, provide an overview of viral infection-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and the immune escape strategies of viruses through their modulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome activity.

Authors: Chunyuan Zhao, Wei Zhao

Date Published: 18th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Abstract At the end of 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 induces an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia in China 1 , even more spread than SARS-CoV infection 2 . The entry of SARS-CoV into host cells mainly depends on the cell receptor (ACE2) recognition and spike protein cleavage-induced cell membrane fusion 3,4 . The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 also binds to ACE2 with a similar affinity, whereas its spike protein cleavage remains unclear 5,6 . Here we show that an insertion sequence in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 enhances the cleavage efficiency, and besides pulmonary alveoli, intestinal and esophagus epithelium were also the target tissues of SARS-CoV-2. Compared with SARS-CoV, we found a SPRR insertion in the S1/S2 protease cleavage sites of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein increasing the cleavage efficiency by the protein sequence aligment and furin score calculation. Additionally, the insertion sequence facilitates the formation of an extended loop which was more suitable for protease recognition by the homology modeling and molicular docking. Furthermore, the single-cell transcriptomes identified that ACE2 and TMPRSSs are highly coexpressed in AT2 cells of lung, along with esophageal upper epithelial cells and absorptive enterocytes. Our results provide the bioinformatics evidence for the increased spike protein cleavage of SARS-CoV-2 and indicate its potential target cells.

Authors: Tong Meng, Hao Cao, Hao Zhang, Zijian Kang, Da Xu, Haiyi Gong, Jing Wang, Zifu Li, Xingang Cui, Huji Xu, Haifeng Wei, Xiuwu Pan, Rongrong Zhu, Jianru Xiao, Wang Zhou, Liming Cheng, Jianmin Liu

Date Published: 11th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

Background: Since December 2019, acute respiratory disease (ARD) due to 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China. We sought to delineate the clinical characteristics of these cases.

Authors: Wei-jie Guan, Zheng-yi Ni, Yu Hu, Wen-hua Liang, Chun-quan Ou, Jian-xing He, Lei Liu, Hong Shan, Chun-liang Lei, David SC Hui, Bin Du, Lan-juan Li, Guang Zeng, Kowk-Yung Yuen, Ru-chong Chen, Chun-li Tang, Tao Wang, Ping-yan Chen, Jie Xiang, Shi-yue Li, Jin-lin Wang, Zi-jing Liang, Yi-xiang Peng, Li Wei, Yong Liu, Ya-hua Hu, Peng Peng, Jian-ming Wang, Ji-yang Liu, Zhong Chen, Gang Li, Zhi-jian Zheng, Shao-qin Qiu, Jie Luo, Chang-jiang Ye, Shao-yong Zhu, Nan-shan Zhong

Date Published: 9th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Tech report

Abstract (Expand)

The recent emergence of a novel coronavirus (2019‐nCoV), which is causing an outbreak of unusual viral pneumonia in patients in Wuhan, a central city in China, is another warning of the risk of CoVs posed to public health. In this minireview, we provide a brief introduction of the general features of CoVs and describe diseases caused by different CoVs in humans and animals. This review will help understand the biology and potential risk of CoVs that exist in richness in wildlife such as bats.

Authors: Yu Chen, Qianyun Liu, Deyin Guo

Date Published: 7th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are by far the largest group of known positive-sense RNA viruses having an extensive range of natural hosts. In the past few decades, newly evolved Coronaviruses have posed a global threat to public health. The immune response is essential to control and eliminate CoV infections, however, maladjusted immune responses may result in immunopathology and impaired pulmonary gas exchange. Gaining a deeper understanding of the interaction between Coronaviruses and the innate immune systems of the hosts may shed light on the development and persistence of inflammation in the lungs and hopefully can reduce the risk of lung inflammation caused by CoVs. In this review, we provide an update on CoV infections and relevant diseases, particularly the host defense against CoV-induced inflammation of lung tissue, as well as the role of the innate immune system in the pathogenesis and clinical treatment.

Authors: Geng Li, Yaohua Fan, Yanni Lai, Tiantian Han, Zonghui Li, Peiwen Zhou, Pan Pan, Wenbiao Wang, Dingwen Hu, Xiaohong Liu, Qiwei Zhang, Jianguo Wu

Date Published: 7th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients.

Authors: Chaolin Huang, Yeming Wang, Xingwang Li, Lili Ren, Jianping Zhao, Yi Hu, Li Zhang, Guohui Fan, Jiuyang Xu, Xiaoying Gu, Zhenshun Cheng, Ting Yu, Jiaan Xia, Yuan Wei, Wenjuan Wu, Xuelei Xie, Wen Yin, Hui Li, Min Liu, Yan Xiao, Hong Gao, Li Guo, Jungang Xie, Guangfa Wang, Rongmeng Jiang, Zhancheng Gao, Qi Jin, Jianwei Wang, Bin Cao

Date Published: 1st Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Non-Saccharomyces yeasts have long been considered spoilage microorganisms. Currently, oenological interest in those species is increasing, mostly due to their positive contribution to wine quality. In this work, the fermentative capacity and nitrogen consumption of several non-Saccharomyces wine yeast (Torulaspora delbrueckii, Lachancea thermotolerans, Starmerella bacillaris, Hanseniaspora uvarum, and Metschnikowia pulcherrima) were analyzed. For this purpose, synthetic must with three different nitrogen compositions was used: a mixture of amino acids and ammonium, only organic or inorganic nitrogen. The fermentation kinetics, nitrogen consumption, and yeast growth were measured over time. Our results showed that the good fermentative strains, T. delbrueckii and L. thermotolerans, had high similarities with Saccharomyces cerevisiae in terms of growth, fermentation profile, and nitrogen assimilation preferences, although L. thermotolerans presented an impaired behavior when only amino acids or ammonia were used, being strain-specific. M. pulcherrima was the non-Saccharomyces strain least affected by the nitrogen composition of the medium. The other two poor fermentative strains, H. uvarum and S. bacillaris, behaved similarly regarding amino acid uptake, which occurred earlier than that of the good fermentative species in the absence of ammonia. The results obtained in single non-Saccharomyces fermentations highlighted the importance of controlling nitrogen requirements of the wine yeasts, mainly in sequential fermentations, in order to manage a proper nitrogen supplementation, when needed.

Authors: Helena Roca-Mesa, Sonia Sendra, Albert Mas, Gemma Beltran, María-Jesús Torija

Date Published: 1st Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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