Biology Faculty Articles

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PLOS Pathogens


SARS CoV 2, COVID 19, Angiogenesis, Olfactory receptor neurons, Central nervous system, Endothelial cells, Respiratory infections, Olfactory bulb







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Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1), a member of a family of signaling proteins, was shown to serve as an entry factor and potentiate SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infectivity in vitro. This cell surface receptor with its disseminated expression is important in angiogenesis, tumor progression, viral entry, axonal guidance, and immune function. NRP-1 is implicated in several aspects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection including possible spread through the olfactory bulb and into the central nervous system and increased NRP-1 RNA expression in lungs of severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Up-regulation of NRP-1 protein in diabetic kidney cells hint at its importance in a population at risk of severe COVID-19. Involvement of NRP-1 in immune function is compelling, given the role of an exaggerated immune response in disease severity and deaths due to COVID-19. NRP-1 has been suggested to be an immune checkpoint of T cell memory. It is unknown whether involvement and up-regulation of NRP-1 in COVID-19 may translate into disease outcome and long-term consequences, including possible immune dysfunction. It is prudent to further research NRP-1 and its possibility of serving as a therapeutic target in SARS-CoV-2 infections. We anticipate that widespread expression, abundance in the respiratory and olfactory epithelium, and the functionalities of NRP-1 factor into the multiple systemic effects of COVID-19 and challenges we face in management of disease and potential long-term sequelae.


© 2021 Mayi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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