Dong et al.have discovered that Factor Xa, a blood clotting enzyme, can cleave the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevent the virus from entering human cells. By using a variety of biochemical and biophysical methods, the team showed that Factor Xa cleaves the spike protein at a specific site, resulting in the inability of the virus to fuse with human cells. This finding not only provides insights into the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but also suggest that certain Factor Xa inhibitors, which are used for blood clotting disorders, may result in adverse outcomes in COVID-19 patients and should be used with caution.
The study demonstrates the power of interdisciplinary research in tackling complex biological problems and has significant implications for the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The full publication can be found in Nature Communications.
Wenjuan Dong, Jing Wang, Lei Tian, Jianying Zhang, Erik W. Settles, Chao Qin, Daniel R. Steinken-Kollath, Ashley N. Itogawa, Kimberly R. Celona, Jinhee Yi, Mitchell Bryant, Heather Mead, Sierra A. Jaramillo, Hongjia Lu, Aimin Li, Ross E. Zumwalt, Sanjeet Dadwal, Pinghui Feng, Weiming Yuan, Sean P. J. Whelan, Paul S. Keim, Bridget Marie Barker, Michael A. Caligiuri & Jianhua Yu
Factor Xa cleaves SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to block viral entry and infection