Gary A. Weisman, PhD

Gary A. Weisman, PhD

The Curators of the University of Missouri

Research Project:
P2Y2 receptor-integrin interactions in Spike- and ACE2-mediated SARS-CoV-2 entry in lung alveolar epithelial cells

Grant Awarded:

  • COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award

Research Topic:

  • basic biologic mechanisms

Research Disease:

  • COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Our research focuses on the cell-surface P2Y2 receptor (P2Y2R) that has unique structural characteristics similar to those used by SARS-CoV-2 to bind and infiltrate host cells. The overall goal of these studies is to evaluate whether P2Y2R modulates the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in cells called alveolar epithelial cells that are targeted by the virus in the human lung. Our hope is that P2Y2R can be a therapeutic target for the prevention and/or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


We have made significant progress in our investigation of whether SARS-CoV-2 infection in lung cells involves the P2Y2 receptor and the cell-surface receptor integrin. Preliminary experiments have suggested that treatment of lung cells with drugs that block cell-surface integrins may reduce viral uptake. Future experiments will definitively determine whether integrins and/or P2Y2Rs represent effective therapeutic targets to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our research findings from this award could have significant value in the development of novel approaches to prevent or treat COVID-19 in a worldwide population.

Page last updated: November 17, 2022

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