Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

SARS-CoV-2 spike promotes inflammation and apoptosis through autophagy by ROS-suppressed PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling.

Abstract Source:

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2021 Aug 27 ;1867(12):166260. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34461258

Abstract Author(s):

Fei Li, Jingyao Li, Pei-Hui Wang, Nanyan Yang, Junyu Huang, Jinxin Ou, Ting Xu, Xin Zhao, Taoshu Liu, Xueying Huang, Qinghuan Wang, Miao Li, Le Yang, Yunchen Lin, Ying Cai, Haisheng Chen, Qing Zhang

Article Affiliation:

Fei Li


BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection-induced inflammatory responses are largely responsible for the death of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. However, the mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 triggers inflammatory responses remains unclear. Here, we aimed to explore the regulatory role of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in infected cells and attempted to elucidate the molecular mechanism of SARS-CoV-2-induced inflammation.

METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudovirions (SCV-2-S) were generated using the spike-expressing virus packaging system. Western blot, mCherry-GFP-LC3 labeling, immunofluorescence, and RNA-seq were performed to examine the regulatory mechanism of SCV-2-S in autophagic response. The effects of SCV-2-S on apoptosis were evaluated by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), Western blot, and flow cytometry analysis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out to examine the mechanism of SCV-2-S in inflammatory responses.

RESULTS: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-mediated SCV-2-S infection induced autophagy and apoptosis in human bronchial epithelial and microvascular endothelial cells. Mechanistically, SCV-2-S inhibited the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway by upregulating intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, thus promoting the autophagic response. Ultimately, SCV-2-S-induced autophagy triggered inflammatory responses and apoptosis in infected cells. These findings not only improve our understanding of the mechanism underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced pathogenic inflammation but also have important implications for developing anti-inflammatory therapies, such as ROS and autophagy inhibitors, for COVID-19 patients.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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Sayer Ji
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