As an enveloped virus, SARS-CoV-2 delivers its viral genome into host cells via fusion of the viral and cell membranes. Here, we show that ANO6/TMEM16F-mediated cell surface exposure of phosphatidylserine is critical for SARS-CoV-2 entry, and that ANO6-selective inhibitors are effective against SARS-CoV-2 infections. Application of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike pseudotyped virus (SARS2-PsV) evokes a cytosolic Ca2+ elevation and ANO6-dependent phosphatidylserine externalization in ACE2/TMPRSS2-positive mammalian cells. A high-throughput screening of drug-like chemical libraries identifies three different structural classes of chemicals showing ANO6 inhibitory effects. Among them, A6-001 displays the highest potency and ANO6-selectivity and it inhibits the single-round infection of SARS2-PsV in ACE2/TMPRSS2-positive HEK 293T cells. More importantly, A6-001 strongly inhibits authentic SARS-CoV-2-induced phosphatidylserine scrambling and SARS-CoV-2 viral replications in Vero, Calu-3, and primarily cultured human nasal epithelial cells. These results provide mechanistic insights into the viral entry process and offer a potential target for pharmacological intervention to protect against COVID-19.

Fuente: Cell Reports
Available online 4 July 2022, 111117