The impact of cellular senescence on the severity of COVID-19
Novartis-Stiftung für therapeutische Forschung
Aging is a known risk factor for increased mortality and morbidity of the novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our study aimed to investigate the impact of cellular senescence as a hallmark of aging on infections with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). For this, we analyzed Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), a cleavage protein being present as transmembrane-bound and soluble form (sDPP4), on a SARS-CoV-2 infection. By using CRISP/Cas9 technology we were able to investigate the effect of the overexpression on the pathogen load. Our results show that the expression and the activity of DPP4 are upregulated during senescence. In addition, the plasma of COVID-19 patients indicates DPP4 as increased in severe infections.