Redox-modulating compounds in the treatment of influenza virus and coronavirus infections.

Proponente Lucia Nencioni - Professore Ordinario
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Marta De Angelis Dottorando/Assegnista/Specializzando componente non strutturato del gruppo di ricerca

Several host factors, including the virus-induced oxidative stress and redox-sensitive pathways, are involved in the regulation of specific steps of respiratory virus replication and inflammatory response. The recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression in favoring viral entry, but also in regulating the cell response to infection, thanks to its ability to modulate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses. ACE2/Spike interaction is strictly dependent on cysteine residues present on both the proteins, keeping them in oxidized form that increases the affinity for ACE2 receptor and favors the viral entry.
Furthermore, the addition of a derivative of glutathione, the main intracellular antioxidant, on influenza virus (IV)-infected cells, by restoring reducing condition and interfering with the protein disulfide isomerase, impaired Hemagglutinin (HA) folding and viral replication.
On the basis of these evidence, treatment with redox-modulating compounds represents a promising approach to impair both viral entry or by regulating the expression of ACE2 and its related antioxidant pathways.
In the present proposal we will evaluate:
a) the effect of thiols on disulfide bounds of Spike and HA, by adding the molecules at different steps of infection;
b) the expression of ACE2 and its related antioxidant pathways in cells already infected with CoV or IV and treated with thiols;
c) the potential anti-inflammatory activity of thiol compounds mediated by redox-sensitive ACE2 pathways.
Our results will provide new knowledge on the mechanisms underlying SARS-CoV-2 and IV pathogenesis and suggest new therapeutic approaches based on redox-modulating compounds impairing oxidative stress and regulating ACE2 expression. This approach would have a beneficial effect at the early stage of viral infection or by impairing viral replication and virus-induced lung injury when infection has already been occurred.

LS6_6, LS6_7, LS6_5

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