Infection of human cells by pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, typically proceeds by cell surface binding to a crucial receptor. The primary receptor for SARS-CoV-2 is the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), yet new studies reveal the importance of additional extracellular co-receptors that mediate binding and host cell invasion by SARS-CoV-2. Vimentin is an intermediate filament protein that is increasingly recognized as being present on the extracellular surface of a subset of cell types, where it can bind to and facilitate pathogens’ cellular uptake. Biophysical and cell infection studies are done to determine whether vimentin might bind SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate its uptake. Dynamic light scattering shows that vimentin binds to pseudovirus coated with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and antibodies against vimentin block in vitro SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus infection of ACE2-expressing cells. The results are consistent with a model in which extracellular vimentin acts as a co-receptor for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with a binding affinity less than that of the spike protein with ACE2. Extracellular vimentin may thus serve as a critical component of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 complex in mediating SARS-CoV-2 cell entry, and vimentin-targeting agents may yield new therapeutic strategies for preventing and slowing SARS-CoV-2 infection.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Feb 10 2022|
- cell membranes
- extracellular vimentin
- spike proteins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)