Revealing the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 entry and cell-to-cell spread might provide insights for understanding the underlying mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, tropism, and virulence. The signaling pathways involved in SARS-CoV-2 entry and viral spike-mediated cell-to-cell fusion remain elusive. In the current study, we found that macropinocytosis inhibitors significantly suppressed SARS-CoV-2 infection at both the entry and viral spike-mediated cell-to-cell fusion steps. We demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 entry required the small GTPase Rac1 and its effector kinase p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1) by dominant-negative and RNAi assays in HEK293T-ACE2 cells and that the serine protease TMPRSS2 reversed the decrease in SARS-CoV-2 entry caused by the macropinocytosis inhibitors. Moreover, in the cell-to-cell fusion assay, we confirmed that macropinocytosis inhibitors significantly decreased viral spike-mediated cell-to-cell fusion. Overall, we provided evidence that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes a macropinocytosis pathway to enter target cells and to efficiently promote viral spike-mediated cell-to-cell fusion.

Fuente: Journal of Biological Chemistry
Available online 19 September 2022, 102511
In Press, Journal Pre-proof