Spike Protein the Bad Guy?
SARS–CoV–2 Spike Impairs DNA Damage Repair and Inhibits V(D)J Recombination In Vitro. (1)
From the Paper:
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS–CoV–2) has led to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) pandemic, severely affecting public health and the global economy. Adaptive immunity plays a crucial role in fighting against SARS–CoV–2 infection and directly influences the clinical outcomes of patients. Clinical studies have indicated that patients with severe COVID–19 exhibit delayed and weak adaptive immune responses; however, the mechanism by which SARS–CoV–2 impedes adaptive immunity remains unclear. Here, by using an in vitro cell line, we report that the SARS–CoV–2 spike protein significantly inhibits DNA damage repair, which is required for effective V(D)J recombination in adaptive immunity. Mechanistically, we found that the spike protein localizes in the nucleus and inhibits DNA damage repair by impeding key DNA repair protein BRCA1 and 53BP1 recruitment to the damage site. Our findings reveal a potential molecular mechanism by which the spike protein might impede adaptive immunity and underscore the potential side effects of full-length spike-based vaccines.
“SARS–CoV–2 spike protein significantly inhibits DNA damage repair”
Both Covid-19 and the MRNA viruses create the Spike protein. This could account for the reduced immunity found in populations with high vaccination rates. eg. “Thousands of people across the UK are coming down with the “worst cold ever” as the country reopens from coronavirus lockdowns.” (2)
From the Paper:
Our findings provide evidence of the spike protein hijacking the DNA damage repair machinery and adaptive immune machinery in vitro. We propose a potential mechanism by which spike proteins may impair adaptive immunity by inhibiting DNA damage repair. Although no evidence has been published that SARS–CoV–2 can infect thymocytes or bone marrow lymphoid cells, our in vitro V(D)J reporter assay shows that the spike protein intensely impeded V(D)J recombination. Consistent with our results, clinical observations also show that the risk of severe illness or death with COVID–19 increases with age, especially older adults who are at the highest risk. This may be because SARS–CoV–2 spike proteins can weaken the DNA repair system of older people and consequently impede V(D)J recombination and adaptive immunity. In contrast, our data provide valuable details on the involvement of spike protein subunits in DNA damage repair, indicating that full–length spike–based vaccines may inhibit the recombination of V(D)J in B cells, which is also consistent with a recent study that a full–length spike–based vaccine induced lower antibody titers compared to the RBD–based vaccine. This suggests that the use of antigenic epitopes of the spike as a SARS–CoV–2 vaccine might be safer and more efficacious than the full–length spike. Taken together, we identified one of the potentially important mechanisms of SARS–CoV–2 suppression of the host adaptive immune machinery. Furthermore, our findings also imply a potential side effect of the full–length spike–based vaccine. This work will improve the understanding of COVID–19 pathogenesis and provide new strategies for designing more efficient and safer vaccines.