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Through DNA sensors and hidden mitochondrial effects of SARS-CoV-2

Vitor Pedro Targhetta1, Mariana Abrantes Amaral2, Niels Olsen Saraiva Camara1 [ + show more ]

J Venom Anim Toxins incl Trop Dis, 2021, 27:e20200183
Received: 13 December 2020 | Accepted: 08 April 2021 | Published online: 23 August 2021
Collection: Inflammation: from bench to bedside


The COVID-19 pandemic brought attention to studies about viral infections and their impact on the cell machinery. SARS-CoV-2, for example, invades the host cells by ACE2 interaction and possibly hijacks the mitochondria. To better understand the disease and to propose novel treatments, crucial aspects of SARS-CoV-2 enrolment with host mitochondria must be studied. The replicative process of the virus leads to consequences in mitochondrial function, and cell metabolism. The hijacking of mitochondria, on the other hand, can drive the extrusion of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to the cytosol. Extracellular mtDNA evoke robust proinflammatory responses once detected, that may act in different pathways, eliciting important immune responses. However, few receptors are validated and are able to detect and respond to mtDNA. In this review, we propose that the mtDNA and its detection might be important in the immune process generated by SARS-CoV-2 and that this mechanism might be important in the lung pathogenesis seen in clinical symptoms. Therefore, investigating the mtDNA receptors and their signaling pathways might provide important clues for therapeutic interventions.


Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Mitochondria; Innate receptors; Cytokine storm.

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