SARS-CoV-2 Uses Neuropilin-1 to Infect Human CellsOctober 28, 2020
New research from two separate papers shows that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, uses a receptor called neuropilin-1 to efficiently infect human cells. Neuropilin-1 is very abundant in many human tissues including the respiratory tract, blood vessels, and neurons.
Unlike other respiratory viruses, SARS-CoV-2 also infects the upper respiratory system including the nasal mucosa, and consequently spreads rapidly. The starting point for the group of Giuseppe Balistreri at the University of Helsinki involved in the first study was, why did SARS-CoV-2 spread in such a different way than SARS-CoV even if they use the same main receptor ACE2?
To understand how these differences can be explained, the researchers looked at the viral surface proteins, the spikes that like hooks, anchor the virus to the cells. Giuseppe Balistreri's group at the University of Helsinki reveals that when the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence became available, they were surprised to see that compared to its older relative, the new coronavirus had acquired an ‘extra piece' on its surface proteins, which is also found in the spikes of many devastating human viruses, including Ebola, HIV, and highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza, among others.
They found that neuropilin-1, known to bind furin-cleaved substrates significantly increases the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2. Pathological analysis of human COVID-19 autopsies revealed SARS-CoV-2 infected cells positive for neuropilin-1. The group established that the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 does indeed bind to neuropilin-1. The researchers were able to significantly reduce infection in laboratory cell cultures by specifically blocking neuropilin-1 with antibodies. Balistreri said, "If you think of ACE2 as a door lock to enter the cell, then neuropilin-1 could be a factor that directs the virus to the door."
For more details, read the article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.
You might also like:
- Researchers Discover SARS-CoV-2 Uses Heparan Sulfate to Get Inside Cells
- International Team of Scientists Identify Common Vulnerabilities in COVID-19 and Other Lethal Coronaviruses
- Researchers Engineer Drug-Like Compounds that Disable SARS-CoV-2's Replication Engine
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
- Initial Tests Show Arthritis Drug Does Not Treat COVID-19
- SARS-CoV-2 Uses Neuropilin-1 to Infect Human Cells
News from Around the World
- International Regulators, Tech Developers Share Experiences on Animal Biotech
- Ghana's Scientists to Seek Commercial Approval for GE Cowpea
- Thai Farmer Highlights Role of Biotech in Changing the Course of Agriculture
- UAE Passes Mandatory Biotech Labeling Law
- Scientists Find Gene for Slim Inflorescence Shape of Barley
- Research Team Finds Hormones Control Root Length
- Higher Income Nations See Harm in GM Food; Lower Income Countries Think they Help People
- Scientists Uncover Molecular Mechanisms in Drought Sensitivity of Rice
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Comprehensive Advancement in Plant Virus Resistance Due to Genetic Engineering
- Genome Editing Offers Solutions to GHG Emission Problems
Subscribe to CBU: