The papain-like protease determines a virulence trait that varies among members of the SARS-coronavirus species.

Niemeyer, Daniela; Mösbauer, Kirstin; Klein, Eva M; Sieberg, Andrea; Mettelman, Robert C; Mielech, Anna M; Dijkman, Ronald; Baker, Susan C; Drosten, Christian; Müller, Marcel A (2018). The papain-like protease determines a virulence trait that varies among members of the SARS-coronavirus species. PLoS pathogens, 14(9), e1007296. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007296

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SARS-coronavirus (CoV) is a zoonotic agent derived from rhinolophid bats, in which a plethora of SARS-related, conspecific viral lineages exist. Whereas the variability of virulence among reservoir-borne viruses is unknown, it is generally assumed that the emergence of epidemic viruses from animal reservoirs requires human adaptation. To understand the influence of a viral factor in relation to interspecies spillover, we studied the papain-like protease (PLP) of SARS-CoV. This key enzyme drives the early stages of infection as it cleaves the viral polyprotein, deubiquitinates viral and cellular proteins, and antagonizes the interferon (IFN) response. We identified a bat SARS-CoV PLP, which shared 86% amino acid identity with SARS-CoV PLP, and used reverse genetics to insert it into the SARS-CoV genome. The resulting virus replicated like SARS-CoV in Vero cells but was suppressed in IFN competent MA-104 (3.7-fold), Calu-3 (2.6-fold) and human airway epithelial cells (10.3-fold). Using ectopically-expressed PLP variants as well as full SARS-CoV infectious clones chimerized for PLP, we found that a protease-independent, anti-IFN function exists in SARS-CoV, but not in a SARS-related, bat-borne virus. This PLP-mediated anti-IFN difference was seen in primate, human as well as bat cells, thus independent of the host context. The results of this study revealed that coronavirus PLP confers a variable virulence trait among members of the species SARS-CoV, and that a SARS-CoV lineage with virulent PLPs may have pre-existed in the reservoir before onset of the epidemic.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Host-Pathogen Interaction
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Virology and Immunology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Dijkman, Ronald

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1553-7366

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Achim Braun Parham

Date Deposited:

21 May 2019 16:08

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 02:24

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.ppat.1007296

PubMed ID:

30248143

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.127515

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/127515

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