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Journal Article

Papain-like protease regulates SARS-CoV-2 viral spread and innate immunity

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Baek,  Kheewong
Schulman, Brenda / Molecular Machines and Signaling, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Schulman,  Brenda
Schulman, Brenda / Molecular Machines and Signaling, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Shin, D., Mukherjee, R., Grewe, D., Bojkova, D., Baek, K., Bhattacharya, A., et al. (2020). Papain-like protease regulates SARS-CoV-2 viral spread and innate immunity. Nature, 587, 657-662. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2601-5.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-D560-C
Abstract
Biochemical, structural and functional studies on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) papain-like protease PLpro reveal that it regulates host antiviral responses by preferentially cleaving the ubiquitin-like interferon-stimulated gene 15 protein (ISG15) and identify this protease as a potential therapeutic target for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The papain-like protease PLpro is an essential coronavirus enzyme that is required for processing viral polyproteins to generate a functional replicase complex and enable viral spread(1,2). PLpro is also implicated in cleaving proteinaceous post-translational modifications on host proteins as an evasion mechanism against host antiviral immune responses(3-5). Here we perform biochemical, structural and functional characterization of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) PLpro (SCoV2-PLpro) and outline differences with SARS-CoV PLpro (SCoV-PLpro) in regulation of host interferon and NF-kappa B pathways. SCoV2-PLpro and SCoV-PLpro share 83% sequence identity but exhibit different host substrate preferences; SCoV2-PLpro preferentially cleaves the ubiquitin-like interferon-stimulated gene 15 protein (ISG15), whereas SCoV-PLpro predominantly targets ubiquitin chains. The crystal structure of SCoV2-PLpro in complex with ISG15 reveals distinctive interactions with the amino-terminal ubiquitin-like domain of ISG15, highlighting the high affinity and specificity of these interactions. Furthermore, upon infection, SCoV2-PLpro contributes to the cleavage of ISG15 from interferon responsive factor 3 (IRF3) and attenuates type I interferon responses. Notably, inhibition of SCoV2-PLpro with GRL-0617 impairs the virus-induced cytopathogenic effect, maintains the antiviral interferon pathway and reduces viral replication in infected cells. These results highlight a potential dual therapeutic strategy in which targeting of SCoV2-PLpro can suppress SARS-CoV-2 infection and promote antiviral immunity.