Aging, obesity, and diabetes are major risk factors for the severe progression and outcome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), but the underlying mechanism is not yet fully understood. In this study, we found that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein physically interacts with cell surface GRP78, which promotes the binding to and accumulation in ACE2-expressing cells. GRP78 was highly expressed in adipose tissue and increased in humans and mice with older age, obesity, and diabetes. The overexpression of GRP78 was attributed to hyperinsulinemia in adipocytes, which was in part mediated by the stress-responsive transcription factor XBP-1s. Management of hyperinsulinemia by pharmacological approaches, including metformin, sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor, or β3-adrenergic receptor agonist, decreased GRP78 gene expression in adipose tissue. Environmental interventions, including exercise, calorie restriction, fasting, or cold exposure, reduced the gene expression of GRP78 in adipose tissue. This study provides scientific evidence for the role of GRP78 as a binding partner of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and ACE2, which might be related to the severe progression and outcome of COVID-19 in patients with older age, obesity, and diabetes. The management of hyperinsulinemia and the related GRP78 expression could be a therapeutic or preventative target.
…. more: Diabetes Journals (ADA) (Quelle/Source)