Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by an RNA virus, SARS-CoV-2. The genome of SARS-CoV-2 lacks a nuclear phase in its life cycle and is replicated in the cytoplasm. However, interfering with nuclear trafficking using pharmacological inhibitors greatly reduces virus infection and virus replication of other coronaviruses is blocked in enucleated cells, suggesting a critical role of the nucleus in virus infection. Here, we summarize the alternations of nuclear pathways caused by SARS-CoV-2, including nuclear translocation pathways, innate immune responses, mRNA metabolism, epigenetic mechanisms, DNA damage response, cytoskeleton regulation, and nuclear rupture. We consider how these alternations contribute to virus replication and discuss therapeutic treatments that target these pathways, focusing on small molecule drugs that are being used in clinical studies.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, nuclear transport, innate immunity, epigenetics, cilia, DNA damage