Hong Kong Med J 2009;15(Suppl 2):S37-40
Roles of spike protein in the pathogenesis of SARS coronavirus
DY Jin, BJ Zheng
Department of Biochemistry, The University of Hong Kong
1. Infection with SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) induces a cellular stress condition known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR induction is mediated primarily by viral spike (S) protein. The modulation of UPR by S protein involves activation of PERK protein kinase. Other branches of the UPR pathways controlled by IRE1 and ATF6 proteins, respectively, are not involved.
2. The protease inhibitor Ben-HCl effectively suppresses SARS-CoV infection by blocking virus entry. Viral infectivity is associated with the cleavage of S protein by the cellular protease factor Xa.
3. Two new aspects of the interaction between SARS-CoV S protein and the cell have been defined. These have important implications in the pathogenesis of SARS, providing opportunities for developing vaccines and antivirals against SARS-CoV.
4. Counteracting the UPR and targeting the cleavage of S protein with small molecule pharmaceutical agents represent two new anti-SARS-CoV strategies. 5. The receptor-binding domain of S protein delivered via adeno-associated virus can efficiently induce mucosal immunity and provide long-term protection against SARS-CoV infection.