How SARS-CoV-2 Evades And Suppresses The Immune System (Part 10)

One of the things SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses must do to evade immunity and survive is change the environment of host cells in its favor. These mechanisms I call nonspecific since they affect cellular function broadly and indiscriminately, as opposed to specific mechanisms that have very precise targets. In previous installments I described how nonspecific suppression manifests during protein translation. In this piece I discuss how SARS-CoV-2 avoids ending up in the cell’s waste disposal systems.

The first is sparing viral proteins and nascent virus particles from destruction by autophagocytosis—literally the process by which cells eat their own proteins. The autophagosome is a double membrane vesicle. Its main task is to shuttle cellular detritus to the lysosome, an organelle containing digestive enzymes, where it can be chewed up and recycled. This process, called autophagy, clears out damaged and or dysfunctional proteins.

The second notable change occurs in another process, apoptosis. Similar to autophagy, apoptosis rids the body of that which it no longer needs, though instead of damaged cell parts, it eliminates actual cells—billions of them. In the average adult, apoptosis triggers the death of 50 to 70 billion cells within a single day. Apoptosis is distinct from necrosis, another form of cell death, in that it is highly controlled and thus doesn’t cause inflammation.

Read original article on Forbes

Originally published on Forbes (September 7, 2021)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.