November 27, 2022

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COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cell’s “Quality Control System”?

COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cell’s “Quality Control System”?



 

COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cell’s “Quality Control System”?


In the process of studying diseases caused by close relatives of the COVID-19 virus, a team of scientists discovered a compound that has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of coronavirus infection.

 

Teams from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, affiliated to the U.S. Department of Energy, studied the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Although MERS is not as widespread as COVID-19, it is more deadly.

 

The team set out to learn more about how the virus that causes MERS harms patients and their lungs. In the course of laboratory research, the team analyzed tens of thousands of measurements of proteins, molecular messengers, and other signals that occur after infection.

They identified a molecular process that is part of the human body’s quality control mechanism and played a central role in the harm caused by the coronavirus to the body.

 

Then, the team searched a huge database of compounds and determined that a compound called AMG PERK 44 could prevent the virus from replicating in human tissues.

They also found that the compound is very effective in mice infected with the virus. The compound enhanced the lung function of mice, especially male mice, and reduced lung damage and weight loss.

 

 

 


Extensive prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases

 

Battelle and UNC, which operate PNNL, have applied for a patent for the use of PERK inhibitors to treat coronavirus infections. But scientists emphasize that it is too early to know whether this compound can help patients. It is not currently used as a medicine.

 

Their research results were published in the “mBio” magazine under the title “Unfolded Protein Response Inhibition Reduces Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-Induced Acute Lung Injury”. The paper will help to gain a deeper understanding of respiratory diseases in the future.

 

COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cell's "Quality Control System"?

 


PNNL virologist Amy Sims and scientist Hugh Mitchell are the first authors of the paper. They said: “Studies like this will help us understand more about how deadly respiratory viruses work and why they attack the lungs. Some parts of the head but not others.”

 

Sims added: “Study on how these viruses work helps us understand why patients have these symptoms, and ultimately will help us treat or prevent diseases.”

 

Sims has been studying the coronavirus for more than 20 years. She and her colleagues started the study eight years ago, when the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 had not yet appeared. Many years after Sims and colleagues started this research, the results may affect millions of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Sims said: “How is a vaccine for COVID-19 quickly developed? And how is a new drug to treat this disease quickly developed? Such a speed is because when the virus appears, scientists do not start from scratch. They can On the basis of years of research, continue to work hard to understand how the immune system works and how it responds to the coronavirus. You never know when a certain study will play a vital role in the future.”

 

COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cells Quality Control System?

 

 

 


Emergency response to damaged protein

 

The team studies proteins and the main molecules of human cells. Protein has multiple functions, allowing organisms (such as humans) to stay healthy. The body will pay close attention to it to ensure that its protein is intact and functioning.

 

When the body starts to produce protein that does not meet the standard for any reason (including infection), the protein repair mechanism in the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell will enter an emergency response mode. The organelle is like a triage center for damaged proteins. When it is overwhelmed by misfolded protein, the unfolded protein response (UPR) starts. UPR temporarily stops all cellular activities related to the production of new proteins. This gives the cell the necessary time to repair the misfolded protein.

 

If too many proteins are damaged and the protein repair and folding mechanism cannot be restored, the system will trigger other proteins to kill the cell. The PNNL-UNC team found that when the body responds to MERS infection, the system is very active in certain lung cells.

 

In the current study, the treatment of lung tissue and mice was performed in a UNC laboratory led by Ralph Baric, one of the world’s top coronavirus researchers. Scientists at PNNL measure and interpret large amounts of data about molecular information. Sims worked at Baric Labs when he was at UNC and joined PNNL early last year; the two organizations have been cooperating for many years.

 

Baric said: “Coronavirus infection can lead to complex disease phenotypes, and new methods are needed to rationalize which routes of infection to the host can lead to serious, life-threatening results.”

 

 

 

Reference:

https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mBio.01572-21

COVID-19 infection is actually caused by the cell’s “Quality Control System”?

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