Wednesday, 16 December 2020 11:36

Neuropilin-1 is a host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection

James L Daly, Boris Simonetti, Katja Klein, Kai-En Chen, Maia Kavanagh Williamson, Carlos Antón-Plágaro, Deborah K Shoemark, Lorena Simón-Gracia, Michael Bauer, Reka Hollandi, Urs F Greber, Peter Horvath, Richard B Sessions, Ari Helenius, Julian A Hiscox, Tambet Teesalu, David A Matthews, Andrew D Davidson, Brett M Collins, Peter J Cullen, Yohei Yamauchi.
Science 2020 Nov 13;370(6518):861-865.
doi:10.1126/science.abd3072. Epub 2020 Oct 20

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), uses the viral spike (S) protein for host cell attachment and entry. The host protease furin cleaves the full-length precursor S glycoprotein into two associated polypeptides: S1 and S2. Cleavage of S generates a polybasic Arg-Arg-Ala-Arg carboxyl-terminal sequence on S1, which conforms to a C-end rule (CendR) motif that binds to cell surface neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and NRP2 receptors. We used x-ray crystallography and biochemical approaches to show that the S1 CendR motif directly bound NRP1. Blocking this interaction by RNA interference or selective inhibitors reduced SARS-CoV-2 entry and infectivity in cell culture. NRP1 thus serves as a host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and may potentially provide a therapeutic target for COVID-19.