SARS-CoV-2 escapes direct NK cell killing through Nsp1-mediated downregulation of ligands for NKG2D, 2022, Lee et al

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  1. SNT Gatchaman

    SNT Gatchaman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    SARS-CoV-2 escapes direct NK cell killing through Nsp1-mediated downregulation of ligands for NKG2D
    Madeline J. Lee, Michelle W. Leong, Arjun Rustagi, Aimee Beck, Leiping Zeng, Susan Holmes,4 Lei S. Qi, Catherine A. Blish

    Natural killer (NK) cells are cytotoxic effector cells that target and lyse virally infected cells; many viruses therefore encode mechanisms to escape such NK cell killing. Here, we interrogate the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to modulate NK cell recognition and lysis of infected cells.

    We find that NK cells exhibit poor cytotoxic responses against SARS-CoV-2-infected targets, preferentially killing uninfected bystander cells. We demonstrate that this escape is driven by downregulation of ligands for the activating receptor NKG2D (NKG2D-L). Indeed, early in viral infection, prior to NKG2D-L downregulation, NK cells are able to target and kill infected cells; however, this ability is lost as viral proteins are expressed. Finally, we find that SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 1 (Nsp1) mediates downregulation of NKG2D-L and that Nsp1 alone is sufficient to confer resistance to NK cell killing.

    Collectively, our work demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 evades direct NK cell cytotoxicity and describes a mechanism by which this occurs.

    Link | PDF (Cell Reports)
     
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