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The Unfolded Protein Response Components IRE1α and XBP1 Promote Human Coronavirus Infection

By June 13, 2023No Comments

The cellular processes that support human coronavirus replication and contribute to the pathogenesis of severe disease remain incompletely understood. Many viruses, including coronaviruses, cause endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress during infection. IRE1α is a component of the cellular response to ER stress that initiates non-conventional splicing of XBP1 mRNA. Spliced XBP1 encodes a transcription factor that induces the expression of ER-related targets. Activation of the IRE1α–XBP1 pathway occurs in association with risk factors for severe human coronavirus infection. In this study, we found that the human coronaviruses HCoV-OC43 (human coronavirus OC43) and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2) both robustly activate the IRE1α–XBP1 branch of the unfolded protein response in cultured cells.