Apr 15, 2020

TMPRSS2 and furin are both essential for proteolytic activation and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cells and provide promising drug targets

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. BestleEva Bottcher-Friebertshauser


In December 2019, a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 first reported in Wuhan, China, emerged and rapidly spread to numerous other countries globally, causing the current pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 causes acute infection of the respiratory tract (COVID-19) that can result in severe disease and lethality. Currently, there is no approved antiviral drug for treating COVID-19 patients and there is an urgent need for specific antiviral therapies and vaccines. In order for SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells, its surface glycoprotein spike (S) must be cleaved at two different sites by host cell proteases, which therefore represent potential drug targets. In the present study we investigated which host cell proteases activate the SARS-CoV-2 S protein in Calu-3 human airway epithelial cells. We show that S can be cleaved by both the proprotein convertase furin at the S1/S2 site and the transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) at the S2 site. We demonstrate that TMPRSS2 is essential for activation of SARS-CoV-2 S in Calu-3 cells through antisense-mediated knockdown of TMPRSS2 expression. Further, we show that SARS-CoV-2 replication can be efficiently inhibited by two synthetic inhibitors of TMPRSS2 and also by the broad range serine protease inhibito...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
MRNA Maturation
T-lymphocyte Secretory Granule Maturation
Tetrahymena thermophila
Molecular Probe Techniques
Biologic Development
Thyroid Hormone Plasma Membrane Transport Defect

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