Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication by blocking membrane fusion

Ruochen Zang, James Brett Case, Eylan Yutuc, Xiucui Ma, Sheng Shen, Maria Florencia Gomez Castro, Zhuoming Liu, Qiru Zeng, Haiyan Zhao, Juhee Son, Paul W. Rothlauf, Alex J.B. Kreutzberger, Gaopeng Hou, Hu Zhang, Sayantan Bose, Xin Wang, Michael D. Vahey, Kartik Mani, William J. Griffiths, Tom KirchhausenDaved H. Fremont, Haitao Guo, Abhinav Diwan, Yuqin Wang, Michael S. Diamond, Sean P.J. Whelan, Siyuan Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is an interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene that shows broad antiviral activities against a wide range of enveloped viruses. Here, using an IFN-stimulated gene screen against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-SARS-CoV and VSV-SARS-CoV-2 chimeric viruses, we identified CH25H and its enzymatic product 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) as potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 replication. Internalized 25HC accumulates in the late endosomes and potentially restricts SARS-CoV-2 spike protein catalyzed membrane fusion via blockade of cholesterol export. Our results highlight one of the possible antiviral mechanisms of 25HC and provide the molecular basis for its therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32105-32113
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Innate immunity
  • Interferon
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus entry


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