Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication by blocking membrane fusion

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Siyuan DingS. P. J. Whelan


Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that shows broad antiviral activities against a wide range of enveloped viruses. Here, using an ISG screen against VSV-SARS-CoV and VSV-SARS-CoV-2 chimeric viruses, we identified CH25H and its enzymatic product 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) as potent inhibitors of virus replication. Mechanistically, internalized 25HC accumulates in the late endosomes and blocks cholesterol export, thereby restricting SARS-CoV-2 spike protein catalyzed membrane fusion. Our results highlight a unique antiviral mechanism of 25HC and provide the molecular basis for its possible therapeutic development.

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