The COVID-19 global pandemic is caused by SARS-CoV-2, and represents an urgent medical and social issue. Unfortunately, there is still not a single proven effective drug available, and therefore, current therapeutic guidelines recommend supportive care including oxygen administration and treatment with antibiotics. Recently, patients have been also treated with off-label therapies which comprise antiretrovirals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antiparasitic agents and plasma from convalescent patients, all with controversial results. The ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) is important for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, and plays a pivotal role in viral replication processes. In this review, we discuss several aspects of the UPS and the effects of its inhibition with particular regard to the life cycle of the coronaviruses (CoVs). In fact, proteasome inhibition by various chemical compounds, such as MG132, epoxomycin and bortezomib, may reduce the virus entry into the eucariotic cell, the synthesis of RNA, and the subsequent protein expression necessary for CoVs. Importantly, since UPS inhibitors reduce the cytokine storm associated with various inflammatory conditions, it is reasonable to assume that they might be repurposed for SARS-CoV-2, thus providing an additional tool to counteract both virus replication as well as its most deleterious consequences triggered by abnormal immunological response.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited