Similar to other RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 must (1) enter a target/host cell, (2) reprogram it to ensure its replication, (3) exit the host cell, and (4) repeat this cycle for exponential growth. During the exit step, the virus hijacks the sophisticated machineries that host cells employ to correctly fold, assemble, and transport proteins along the exocytic pathway. Therefore, secretory pathway-mediated assemblage and excretion of infective particles represent appealing targets to reduce the efficacy of virus biogenesis, if not to block it completely. Here, we analyze and discuss the contribution of the molecular machines operating in the early secretory pathway in the biogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and their relevance for potential antiviral targeting. The fact that these molecular machines are conserved throughout evolution, together with the redundancy and tissue specificity of their components, provides opportunities in the search for unique proteins essential for SARS-CoV-2 biology that could also be targeted with therapeutic objectives. Finally, we provide an overview of recent evidence implicating proteins of the early secretory pathway as potential antiviral targets with effective therapeutic applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology