Session topic

Title: Host cell proteases drive early or late SARS-CoV-2 penetration
ID: P 160
Type: ePoster self study
Session: ePoster self study
Receptors and entry

Speaker: Jana Koch (Heidelberg/DE)

Abstract - Text

Abstract text (incl. references and figure legends)

SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerged coronavirus (CoV) that spread through human populations worldwide in early 2020. CoVs rely on host cell proteases for activation and infection. The trypsin-like protease TMPRSS2 at the cell surface, cathepsin L in endolysosomes, and furin in the Golgi have all been implicated in the SARS-CoV-2 proteolytic processing. Whether SARS-CoV-2 depends on endocytosis internalization and vacuolar acidification for infectious entry remains unclear. Here, we examined the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 activation during the cell entry process in tissue culture. Using four cell lines representative of lung, colon, and kidney epithelial tissues, we found that TMPRSS2 determines the SARS-CoV-2 entry pathways. In TMPRSS2-positive cells, infection was sensitive to aprotinin, a TMPRSS2 inhibitor, but not to SB412515, a drug that impairs cathepsin L. Infectious penetration was marginally dependent on endosomal acidification, and the virus passed the protease-sensitive step within 10 min. In a marked contrast, in TMPRSS2-negative cells cathepsin L and low pH were required for SARS-CoV-2 entry. The cathepsin L-activated penetration occurred within 40-60 min after internalization and required intact endolysosomal functions. Importantly, pre-activation of the virus allowed it to bypass the need for endosomal acidification for viral fusion and productive entry. Overall, our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 shares with other CoVs a strategy of differential use of host cell proteases for activation and infectious penetration. This study also highlights the importance of TMPRSS2 in dictating the entry pathway used by SARS-CoV-2.