The SARS-CoV-2 Nsp3 macrodomain reverses PARP9/DTX3L-dependent ADP-ribosylation induced by interferon signalling

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
L. C. RussoNicolas Carlos Hoch

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 3 (Nsp3) contains a macrodomain that is essential for virus replication and is thus an attractive target for drug development. This macrodomain is thought to counteract the host interferon (IFN) response, an important antiviral signalling cascade, via the removal of ADP-ribose modifications catalysed by host poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs). Here, we show that activation of the IFN response induces ADP-ribosylation of host proteins and that ectopic expression of the SARS-CoV-2 Nsp3 macrodomain reverses this modification in human cells. We further demonstrate that this can be used to screen for cell-active macrodomain inhibitors without the requirement for BSL-3 facilities. This IFN-induced ADP-ribosylation is dependent on the PARP9/DTX3L heterodimer, but surprisingly the expression of Nsp3 macrodomain or PARP9/DTX3L deletion do not impair STAT1 phosphorylation or the induction of IFN-responsive genes. Our results suggest that PARP9/DTX3L-dependent ADP-ribosylation is a downstream effector of the host IFN response and that the cellular function of the SARS-CoV-2 Nsp3 macrodomain is to hydrolyse this end product of IFN signalling, and not to suppress the IFN response itself.

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