SARS-CoV-2 Assembly and Egress Pathway Revealed by Correlative Multi-Modal Multi-Scale Cryo-Imaging
44 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020 Publication Status: Review CompleteMore...
Understanding the genome replication, assembly and egress of SARS-CoV-2, a multistage process that involves different cellular compartments and the activity of many viral and cellular proteins, is critically important as it bears the means of medical intervention to stop infection. However, there is a lack of comprehensive knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 replicative cycle. Here, we investigated SARS-CoV-2 replication in the native cellular context using a unique correlative multi-modal, multi-scale cryo-imaging approach combining soft X-ray cryo-tomography and serial cryoFIB/SEM volume imaging with cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) and subtomogram averaging. Our results reveal not only profound cytopathic effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection at the whole cell level, exemplified by the formation of membrane tunnels through which viruses exit and drastic cytoplasm invasion into nucleus, but also novel processes of SASR-CoV-2 assembly, budding and egress. The integration of multi-scale cryo-imaging data has led us to propose a model for SARS-CoV-2 replication pathway.
Funding Statement: This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant P50AI150481, the UK Wellcome Trust Investigator Award 206422/Z/17/Z, the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant BB/S003339/1, and the grant from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Oxford Institute. Containment level 3 experiments were funded through the generous support of philanthropic donors to the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 Research Response Fund. M.L.K. is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (grant number BB/M011224/1).
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, CryoEM, cryoET, subtomogram averaging, cryoFIB/SEM, soft X-ray cryo-tomography, virus assembly, viral egress, spike
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