Could intracellular mechanics reveal potential therapies for COVID-19?

possible treatments for COVID-19

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A greater understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in human cells is vital to growing therapies.

The world COVID-19 pandemic continues to race throughout the planet with hundreds of latest infections confirmed daily. However, one other race is at the moment underway worldwide – the race to develop an efficient remedy. One of the important thing steps in growing a remedy is gaining an intensive understanding of the illness course of itself. A brand new research printed within the journal Cell examines host-virus interactions that happen by a course of known as phosphorylation (1). Phosphorylation alters the construction and performance of explicit intracellular proteins by including a number of phosphorous-containing molecules (a phosphoryl group). It is hoped that a greater understanding of this phosphorylation course of in COVID-19 will reveal potential targets for drug therapies. 

The strategy the analysis group adopted was to make use of proteomics. This course of measures adjustments each within the portions of varies proteins and in addition of their stage of phosphorylation. They carried out a lab-based experiment utilizing a cell sort that’s notably vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Using proteomics, they measured the affect that an infection had on mobile proteins. 

For most host-cell proteins, an infection appeared to alter phosphorylation ranges quite than altering their abundance. Most of the proteins that confirmed a rise in abundance through the an infection had been viral proteins, reflecting the truth that the virus hijacks mobile equipment to copy itself. Some of the host proteins that had been discovered to be downregulated or switched off by phosphorylation are normally concerned in stopping blood coagulation. This presents a potential mechanism for the blood clotting issues skilled by some coronavirus victims. 

The research additionally examined adjustments that occur to the viral proteins inside a number cell. Proteomics revealed 49 phosphorylation websites unfold throughout seven viral proteins. However, it stays unclear precisely what roles these particular person websites play. There is a few proof to counsel phosphorylation at a few of these websites might affect the binding of the coronavirus “spike protein” to receptors on human cells, the important thing step within the preliminary an infection course of.

In wholesome human cells, phosphorylation performs a task in mobile signalling. Certain “native” signalling pathways concerned in mRNA processing and apoptosis (programmed cell demise) had been boosted by the presence of viral proteins, whereas signalling pathways concerned within the response to an infection are downregulated. This displays the intentions of the virus inside a number cell – to copy its RNA and keep away from an immune response from the host.

The stage of viral protein confirmed a rise roughly eight hours after an infection started, giving a sign of the timeframe from viral entry to replication. The widespread adjustments in host cell protein phosphorylation highlights how the virus operates inside its host. In explicit the adjustments to as many as 97 host kinases spotlight the actual signalling pathways the virus exploits. 

The identification of pathways and proteins concerned within the COVID-19 illness course of allowed the analysis group to check current medication recognized to focus on these particular areas. They examined a complete of 68 medication which are both already accepted to be used in people or in late-stage medical trials. Many of them confirmed antiviral exercise. However, that is in a lab setting solely. It stays to be seen whether or not this exercise can be replicated in people. 

Overall this research gives worthwhile information of how the coronavirus works inside human cells. It identifies most of the pathways and proteins that the virus exploits and because of this, generates a number of targets for drug therapies to interrupt the viral replication. However, extra analysis is required earlier than we are able to confidently determine efficient therapies.

Written by Michael McCarthy 

Washable, reusable face masks out there at:

1. Bouhaddou M, Memon D, Meyer B, White KM, Rezelj VV, Marrero MC, et al. The Global Phosphorylation Landscape of SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Cell. 2020.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

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