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Functional interrogation of a SARS-CoV-2 host protein interactome identifies unique and shared coronavirus host factors

By H.-H. Hoffmann, William M. Schneider, Francisco J. Sánchez-Rivera, Joseph M. Luna, Alison W. Ashbrook, Yadira M. Soto-Feliciano, Andrew A Leal, Jérémie Le Pen, Inna Ricardo-Lax, Eleftherios Michailidis, Yuan Hao, Ansgar F. Stenzel, Avery Peace, C. David Allis, Scott W. Lowe, Margaret R. MacDonald, John T Poirier, C.M. Rice

Posted 11 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.11.291716

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated the global economy and claimed nearly one million lives, presenting an urgent global health crisis. To identify host factors required for infection by SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal coronaviruses, we designed a focused high-coverage CRISPR-Cas9 library targeting 332 members of a recently published SARS-CoV-2 protein interactome. We leveraged the compact nature of this library to systematically screen four related coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2) at two physiologically relevant temperatures (33 °C and 37 °C), allowing us to probe this interactome at a much higher resolution relative to genome scale studies. This approach yielded several new insights, including unexpected virus and temperature specific differences in Rab GTPase requirements and GPI anchor biosynthesis, as well as identification of multiple pan-coronavirus factors involved in cholesterol homeostasis. This coronavirus essentiality catalog could inform ongoing drug development efforts aimed at intercepting and treating COVID-19, and help prepare for future coronavirus outbreaks. HIGHLIGHTS Focused CRISPR screens targeting host factors in the SARS-CoV-2 interactome were performed for SARS-CoV-2, HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-OC43 coronaviruses. Focused interactome CRISPR screens achieve higher resolution compared to genome-wide screens, leading to the identification of critical factors missed by the latter. Parallel CRISPR screens against multiple coronaviruses uncover host factors and pathways with pan-coronavirus and virus-specific functional roles. The number of host proteins that interact with a viral bait protein is not proportional to the number of functional interactors. Novel SARS-CoV-2 host factors are expressed in relevant cell types in the human airway. ### Competing Interest Statement C.D.A. is a co-founder of Chroma Therapeutics and Constellation Pharmaceuticals and a Scientific Advisory Board member of EpiCypher. S.W.L. is an advisor for and has equity in the following biotechnology companies: ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Faeth Therapeutics, Blueprint Medicines, Geras Bio, Mirimus Inc., PMV Pharmaceuticals, and Constellation Pharmaceuticals. CMR is a founder of Apath LLC, a Scientific Advisory Board member of Imvaq Therapeutics, Vir Biotechnology, and Arbutus Biopharma, and an advisor for Regulus Therapeutics and Pfizer. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.

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