top of page

Altered ISGylation drives aberrant macrophage-dependent immune responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection

In this new publication in Nature Immunology, Qiwen Teo (co-first author), HKU-Pasteur PhD student who just graduated, Chris Mok and Sumana Sanyal, both former PIs at HKU-Pasteur, tried to address the scientific question of the function of ISG15 (a downstream antiviral protein of IFN) regulation during the infection of SARS-CoV-2, influenza or Zika viruses.

They found that while influenza and Zika viruses induce ISGylation, SARS-CoV-2 triggers deISGylation instead to generate free ISG15. The altered free and conjugated ISG15 dysregulates macrophage responses and probably contributes to the cytokine storms triggered by SARS-CoV-2. Their findings thus provide a new angle to understand the pathogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2. The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused more than 240 million cases of COVID-19 and over 5 millions deaths. To face this challenge, interferons (IFNs) are the first line of defence against virus infections and are critical drivers of the innate immune response. Chris Mok


bottom of page