Isabella Spinello, Ernestina Saulle, Maria Teresa Quaranta, Elvira Pelosi, Germana Castelli, Annamaria Cerio, Luca Pasquini, Ornella Morsilli, Maria Luisa Dupuis, Catherine Labbaye

AC-73 and Syrosingopine Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Entry into Megakaryocytes by Targeting CD147 and MCT4

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

Coagulation disorders are described in COVID-19 and long COVID patients. In particular, SARS-CoV-2 infection in megakaryocytes, which are precursors of platelets involved in thrombotic events in COVID-19, long COVID and, in rare cases, in vaccinated individuals, requires further investigation, particularly with the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. CD147, involved in the regulation of inflammation and required to fight virus infection, can facilitate SARS-CoV-2 entry into megakaryocytes. MCT4, a co-binding protein of CD147 and a key player in the glycolytic metabolism, could also play a role in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we investigated the susceptibility of megakaryocytes to SARS-CoV-2 infection via CD147 and MCT4. We performed infection of Dami cells and human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells induced to megakaryocytic differentiation with SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus in the presence of AC-73 and syrosingopine, respective inhibitors of CD147 and MCT4 and inducers of autophagy, a process essential in megakaryocyte differentiation. Both AC-73 and syrosingopine enhance autophagy during differentiation but only AC-73 enhances megakaryocytic maturation. Importantly, we found that AC-73 or syrosingopine significantly inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection of megakaryocytes. Altogether, our data indicate AC-73 and syrosingopine as inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 infection via CD147 and MCT4 that can be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 binding and entry into megakaryocytes, which are precursors of platelets involved in COVID-19-associated coagulopathy.

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