Targeting CTP Synthetase 1 to Restore Interferon Induction and Impede Nucleotide Synthesis in SARS-CoV-2 Infection

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. RaoPinghui Feng


The newly emerged SARS-CoV-2 caused a global pandemic with astonishing mortality and morbidity. The mechanisms underpinning its highly infectious nature remain poorly understood. We report here that SARS-CoV-2 exploits cellular CTP synthetase 1 (CTPS1) to promote CTP synthesis and suppress interferon (IFN) induction. Screening a SARS-CoV-2 expression library identified ORF7b and ORF8 that suppressed IFN induction via inducing the deamidation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3). Deamidated IRF3 fails to bind the promoters of classic IRF3-responsible genes, thus muting IFN induction. Conversely, a shRNA-mediated screen focused on cellular glutamine amidotransferases corroborated that CTPS1 deamidates IRF3 to inhibit IFN induction. Functionally, ORF7b and ORF8 activate CTPS1 to promote de novo CTP synthesis while shutting down IFN induction. De novo synthesis of small-molecule inhibitors of CTPS1 enabled CTP depletion and IFN induction in SARS-CoV-2 infection, thus impeding SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our work uncovers a strategy that a viral pathogen couples immune evasion to metabolic activation to fuel viral replication. Inhibition of the cellular CTPS1 offers an attractive means for developing antiviral therapy that would be ...Continue Reading

Methods Mentioned

nuclear translocation
fluorescence imaging

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