TMPRSS2 activates hemagglutinin-esterase glycoprotein of influenza C virus

Ko Sato, Hideki Hayashi, Yoshitaka Shimotai, Mutsuo Yamaya, Seiji Hongo, Kazuyoshi Kawakami, Yoko Matsuzaki, Hidekazu Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Influenza C virus (ICV) has only one kind of spike protein, the hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) glycoprotein. HE functions similarly to hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase of the influenza A and B viruses (IAV and IBV, respectively). It has a monobasic site, which is cleaved by some host enzymes. The cleavage is essential to activating the virus, but the enzyme or enzymes in the respiratory tract have not been identified. This study investigated whether the host serine proteases, transmembrane protease serine S1 member 2 (TMPRSS2) and human airway trypsin-like protease (HAT), which reportedly cleave HA of IAV/IBV, are involved in HE cleavage. We established TMPRSS2- and HAT-expressing MDCK cells (MDCK-TMPRSS2 and MDCK-HAT). ICV showed multicycle replication with HE cleavage without trypsin in MDCK-TMPRSS2 cells as well as IAV did. The HE cleavage and multicycle replication did not appear in MDCK-HAT cells infected with ICV without trypsin, while HA cleavage and multistep growth of IAV appeared in the cells. Amino acid sequences of the HE cleavage site in 352 ICV strains were completely preserved. Camostat and nafamostat suppressed the growth of ICV and IAV in human nasal surface epithelial (HNE) cells. Therefore, this study revealed that, at least, TMPRSS2 is involved in HE cleavage and suggested that nafamostat could be a candidate for therapeutic drugs for ICV infection. IMPORTANCE Influenza C virus (ICV) is a pathogen that causes acute respiratory illness, mostly in children, but there are no anti-ICV drugs. ICV has only one kind of spike protein, the hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) glycoprotein on the virion surface, which possesses receptor-binding, receptor-destroying, and membrane fusion activities. The HE cleavage is essential for the virus to be activated, but the enzyme or enzymes in the respiratory tract have not been identified. This study revealed that transmembrane protease serine S1 member 2 (TMPRSS2), and not human airway trypsin-like protease (HAT), is involved in HE cleavage. This is a novel study on the host enzymes involved in HE cleavage, and the result suggests that the host enzymes, such as TMPRSS2, may be a target for therapeutic drugs of ICV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01296-21
JournalJournal of virology
Volume95
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • HAT
  • HE
  • Influenza C virus
  • Serine protease
  • TMPRSS2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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