Spike-mediated viral membrane fusion is inhibited by a specific anti-IFITM2 monoclonal antibody.Antiviral Res. 2023 03; 211:105546.AR
The early steps of viral infection involve protein complexes and structural lipid rearrangements which characterize the peculiar strategies of each virus to invade permissive host cells. Members of the human immune-related interferon-induced transmembrane (IFITM) protein family have been described as inhibitors of the entry of a broad range of viruses into the host cells. Recently, it has been shown that SARS-CoV-2 is able to hijack IFITM2 for efficient infection. Here, we report the characterization of a newly generated specific anti-IFITM2 mAb able to impair Spike-mediated internalization of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells and, consequently, to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effects and syncytia formation. Furthermore, the anti-IFITM2 mAb reduced HSVs- and RSV-dependent cytopathic effects, suggesting that the IFITM2-mediated mechanism of host cell invasion might be shared with other viruses besides SARS-CoV-2. These results show the specific role of IFITM2 in mediating viral entry into the host cell and its candidacy as a cell target for antiviral therapeutic strategies.