Cantuti-Castelvetri L, Ojha R, Pedro LD, Djannatian M, Franz J, Kuivanen S, van der Meer F, Kallio K, Kaya T, Anastasina M, Smura T, Levanov L, Szirovicza L, Tobi A, Kallio-Kokko H, Österlund P, Joensuu M, Meunier FA, Butcher SJ, Winkler MS, Mollenhauer B, Helenius A, Gokce O, Teesalu T, Hepojoki J, Vapalahti O, Stadelmann C, Balistreri G, Simons M
Science. 2020 Oct 20.
The causative agent of coronavirus induced disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). For many viruses, tissue tropism is determined by the availability of virus receptors and entry cofactors on the surface of host cells. Here, we found that neuropilin-1 (NRP1), known to bind furin-cleaved substrates, significantly potentiates SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, an effect blocked by a monoclonal blocking antibody against NRP1. A SARS-CoV-2 mutant with an altered furin cleavage site did not depend on NRP1 for infectivity. Pathological analysis of human COVID-19 autopsies revealed SARS-CoV-2 infected cells including olfactory neuronal cells facing the nasal cavity positive for NRP1. Our data provide insight into SARS-CoV-2 cell infectivity and define a potential target for antiviral intervention.