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1.
iScience ; : 104223, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1783436

ABSTRACT

Summary The effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on placental function is not well understood. Analysis of placentas from women who tested positive at delivery showed SARS-CoV-2 genomic and subgenomic RNA in 22 out of 52 placentas. Placentas from two mothers with symptomatic COVID-19 whose pregnancies resulted in adverse outcomes for the fetuses contained high levels of viral Alpha variant RNA. The RNA was localized to the trophoblasts that cover the fetal chorionic villi that are in direct contact with maternal blood. The intervillous spaces and villi were infiltrated with maternal macrophages and T cells. Transcriptome analysis showed increased expression of chemokines and pathways associated with viral infection and inflammation. Infection of placental cultures with live SARS-CoV-2 and spike protein-pseudotyped lentivirus showed infection of syncytiotrophoblast and, in rare cases, endothelial cells mediated by ACE2 and Neuropilin-1. Viruses with Alpha, Beta and Delta variant spikes infected the placental cultures at significantly greater levels.

2.
Nat Methods ; 19(4): 418-428, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784012

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is one of the deadliest pandemics in history. SARS-CoV-2 not only infects the respiratory tract, but also causes damage to many organs. Organoids, which can self-renew and recapitulate the various physiology of different organs, serve as powerful platforms to model COVID-19. In this Perspective, we overview the current effort to apply both human pluripotent stem cell-derived organoids and adult organoids to study SARS-CoV-2 tropism, host response and immune cell-mediated host damage, and perform drug discovery and vaccine development. We summarize the technologies used in organoid-based COVID-19 research, discuss the remaining challenges and provide future perspectives in the application of organoid models to study SARS-CoV-2 and future emerging viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pluripotent Stem Cells , Adult , Humans , Organoids , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Circ Res ; 130(7): 963-977, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence suggests that cardiac arrhythmias are frequent clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sinus node damage may lead to bradycardia. However, it is challenging to explore human sinoatrial node (SAN) pathophysiology due to difficulty in isolating and culturing human SAN cells. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can be a source to derive human SAN-like pacemaker cells for disease modeling. METHODS: We used both a hamster model and human ESC (hESC)-derived SAN-like pacemaker cells to explore the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on the pacemaker cells of the heart. In the hamster model, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunostaining were used to detect viral RNA and protein, respectively. We then created a dual knock-in SHOX2:GFP;MYH6:mCherry hESC reporter line to establish a highly efficient strategy to derive functional human SAN-like pacemaker cells, which was further characterized by single-cell RNA sequencing. Following exposure to SARS-CoV-2, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunostaining, and RNA sequencing were used to confirm infection and determine the host response of hESC-SAN-like pacemaker cells. Finally, a high content chemical screen was performed to identify drugs that can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection, and block SARS-CoV-2-induced ferroptosis. RESULTS: Viral RNA and spike protein were detected in SAN cells in the hearts of infected hamsters. We established an efficient strategy to derive from hESCs functional human SAN-like pacemaker cells, which express pacemaker markers and display SAN-like action potentials. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 infection causes dysfunction of human SAN-like pacemaker cells and induces ferroptosis. Two drug candidates, deferoxamine and imatinib, were identified from the high content screen, able to block SARS-CoV-2 infection and infection-associated ferroptosis. CONCLUSIONS: Using a hamster model, we showed that primary pacemaker cells in the heart can be infected by SARS-CoV-2. Infection of hESC-derived functional SAN-like pacemaker cells demonstrates ferroptosis as a potential mechanism for causing cardiac arrhythmias in patients with COVID-19. Finally, we identified candidate drugs that can protect the SAN cells from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ferroptosis , Humans , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Sinoatrial Node/metabolism
6.
Cell Rep ; 37(6): 109920, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1530684

ABSTRACT

It is urgent to develop disease models to dissect mechanisms regulating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Here, we derive airway organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-AOs). The hPSC-AOs, particularly ciliated-like cells, are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using this platform, we perform a high content screen and identify GW6471, which blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection. GW6471 can also block infection of the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis suggests that GW6471 blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection at least in part by inhibiting hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha (HIF1α), which is further validated by chemical inhibitor and genetic perturbation targeting HIF1α. Metabolic profiling identifies decreased rates of glycolysis upon GW6471 treatment, consistent with transcriptome profiling. Finally, xanthohumol, 5-(tetradecyloxy)-2-furoic acid, and ND-646, three compounds that suppress fatty acid biosynthesis, also block SARS-CoV-2 infection. Together, a high content screen coupled with transcriptome and metabolic profiling reveals a key role of the HIF1α-glycolysis axis in mediating SARS-CoV-2 infection of human airway epithelium.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Glycolysis/physiology , Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/metabolism , Lung/metabolism , Organoids/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Transcriptome/physiology , Vero Cells
7.
Physiology (Bethesda) ; 37(2): 88-100, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484087

ABSTRACT

The lung is the major target organ of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes COVID-19. Here, we outline the multistep mechanisms of lung epithelial and endothelial injury induced by SARS-CoV-2: direct viral infection, chemokine/cytokine-mediated damage, and immune cell-mediated lung injury. Finally, we discuss the recent progress in terms of antiviral therapeutics as well as the development of anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory therapeutic approaches. This review also provides a systematic overview of the models for studying SARS-CoV-2 infection and discusses how an understanding of mechanisms of lung injury will help identify potential targets for future drug development to mitigate lung injury.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lung Injury , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/complications , Humans , Lung , Lung Injury/drug therapy , Lung Injury/virology , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Mol Med ; 27(1): 105, 2021 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403209

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccination programs have been launched worldwide to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, the identification of existing, safe compounds with combined treatment and prophylactic properties would be beneficial to individuals who are waiting to be vaccinated, particularly in less economically developed countries, where vaccine availability may be initially limited. METHODS: We used a data-driven approach, combining results from the screening of a large transcriptomic database (L1000) and molecular docking analyses, with in vitro tests using a lung organoid model of SARS-CoV-2 entry, to identify drugs with putative multimodal properties against COVID-19. RESULTS: Out of thousands of FDA-approved drugs considered, we observed that atorvastatin was the most promising candidate, as its effects negatively correlated with the transcriptional changes associated with infection. Atorvastatin was further predicted to bind to SARS-CoV-2's main protease and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and was shown to inhibit viral entry in our lung organoid model. CONCLUSIONS: Small clinical studies reported that general statin use, and specifically, atorvastatin use, are associated with protective effects against COVID-19. Our study corroborrates these findings and supports the investigation of atorvastatin in larger clinical studies. Ultimately, our framework demonstrates one promising way to fast-track the identification of compounds for COVID-19, which could similarly be applied when tackling future pandemics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Atorvastatin/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Lung/drug effects , Organoids/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Atorvastatin/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cell Line , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Doxycycline/pharmacology , Drug Approval , Drug Repositioning , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Lung/virology , Models, Biological , Molecular Docking Simulation , Organoids/virology , Raloxifene Hydrochloride/chemistry , Raloxifene Hydrochloride/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Trifluoperazine/chemistry , Trifluoperazine/pharmacology , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Vesiculovirus/genetics , Virus Internalization/drug effects
9.
Stem Cell Reports ; 16(9): 2274-2288, 2021 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360129

ABSTRACT

Heart injury has been reported in up to 20% of COVID-19 patients, yet the cause of myocardial histopathology remains unknown. Here, using an established in vivo hamster model, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in cardiomyocytes of infected animals. Furthermore, we found damaged cardiomyocytes in hamsters and COVID-19 autopsy samples. To explore the mechanism, we show that both human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-derived CMs) and adult cardiomyocytes (CMs) can be productively infected by SARS-CoV-2, leading to secretion of the monocyte chemoattractant cytokine CCL2 and subsequent monocyte recruitment. Increased CCL2 expression and monocyte infiltration was also observed in the hearts of infected hamsters. Although infected CMs suffer damage, we find that the presence of macrophages significantly reduces SARS-CoV-2-infected CMs. Overall, our study provides direct evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infects CMs in vivo and suggests a mechanism of immune cell infiltration and histopathology in heart tissues of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Chemokine CCL2/metabolism , Heart Injuries/virology , Monocytes/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Animals , Cell Communication/physiology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Macrophages/immunology , Male , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Vero Cells
10.
Cell Metab ; 33(8): 1577-1591.e7, 2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240259

ABSTRACT

Recent clinical data have suggested a correlation between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and diabetes. Here, we describe the detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen in pancreatic beta cells in autopsy samples from individuals with COVID-19. Single-cell RNA sequencing and immunostaining from ex vivo infections confirmed that multiple types of pancreatic islet cells were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, eliciting a cellular stress response and the induction of chemokines. Upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, beta cells showed a lower expression of insulin and a higher expression of alpha and acinar cell markers, including glucagon and trypsin1, respectively, suggesting cellular transdifferentiation. Trajectory analysis indicated that SARS-CoV-2 induced eIF2-pathway-mediated beta cell transdifferentiation, a phenotype that could be reversed with trans-integrated stress response inhibitor (trans-ISRIB). Altogether, this study demonstrates an example of SARS-CoV-2 infection causing cell fate change, which provides further insight into the pathomechanisms of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Cell Transdifferentiation , Insulin-Secreting Cells/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Acetamides/pharmacology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , COVID-19/mortality , Cell Transdifferentiation/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cyclohexylamines/pharmacology , Cytokines/metabolism , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2/metabolism , Female , Glucagon , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Insulin/metabolism , Insulin-Secreting Cells/drug effects , Insulin-Secreting Cells/metabolism , Insulin-Secreting Cells/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Signal Transduction , Tissue Culture Techniques , Trypsin/metabolism , Vero Cells , Young Adult
12.
Stem Cell Res ; 53: 102207, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091643

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected over 200 countries and territories worldwide and resulted in more than 2.5 million deaths. In a pressing search for treatments and vaccines, research models based on human stem cells are emerging as crucial tools to investigate SARS-CoV-2 infection mechanisms and cellular responses across different tissues. Here, we provide an overview of the variety of human pluripotent stem cell-based platforms adopted in SARS-CoV-2 research, comprising monolayer cultures and organoids, which model the multitude of affected tissues in vitro. We highlight the strengths of these platforms, including their application to assess both the susceptible cell types and the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. We describe their use to identify drug candidates for further investigation in addition to discussing their limitations in fully recapitulating COVID-19 pathophysiology. Overall, stem cell models are facilitating the understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and prove to be versatile platforms for studying infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pluripotent Stem Cells , Drug Discovery , Humans , Organoids , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Nature ; 589(7841): 270-275, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065893

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need to create novel models using human disease-relevant cells to study severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) biology and to facilitate drug screening. Here, as SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects the respiratory tract, we developed a lung organoid model using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-LOs). The hPSC-LOs (particularly alveolar type-II-like cells) are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and showed robust induction of chemokines following SARS-CoV-2 infection, similar to what is seen in patients with COVID-19. Nearly 25% of these patients also have gastrointestinal manifestations, which are associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes1. We therefore also generated complementary hPSC-derived colonic organoids (hPSC-COs) to explore the response of colonic cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that multiple colonic cell types, especially enterocytes, express ACE2 and are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using hPSC-LOs, we performed a high-throughput screen of drugs approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and identified entry inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2, including imatinib, mycophenolic acid and quinacrine dihydrochloride. Treatment at physiologically relevant levels of these drugs significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection of both hPSC-LOs and hPSC-COs. Together, these data demonstrate that hPSC-LOs and hPSC-COs infected by SARS-CoV-2 can serve as disease models to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide a valuable resource for drug screening to identify candidate COVID-19 therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Colon/cytology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Lung/cytology , Organoids/drug effects , Organoids/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Colon/drug effects , Colon/virology , Drug Approval , Female , Heterografts/drug effects , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Lung/drug effects , Lung/virology , Male , Mice , Organoids/cytology , Organoids/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Viral Tropism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
14.
Res Sq ; 2020 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-946476

ABSTRACT

Heart injury has been reported in up to 20% of COVID-19 patients, yet the cause of myocardial histopathology remains unknown. In order to study the cause of myocardial pathology in COVID-19 patients, we used a hamster model to determine whether following infection SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, can be detected in heart tissues. Here, we clearly demonstrate that viral RNA and nucleocapsid protein is present in cardiomyocytes in the hearts of infected hamsters. Interestingly, functional cardiomyocyte associated gene expression was decreased in infected hamster hearts, corresponding to an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). This data using an animal model was further validated using autopsy heart samples of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, we show that both human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-derived CMs) and adult cardiomyocytes (CMs) can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 and that CCL2 is secreted upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, leading to monocyte recruitment. Increased CCL2 expression and macrophage infiltration was also observed in the hearts of infected hamsters. Using single cell RNA-seq, we also show that macrophages are able to decrease SARS-CoV-2 infection of CMs. Overall, our study provides direct evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infects CMs in vivo and proposes a mechanism of immune-cell infiltration and pathology in heart tissue of COVID-19 patients.

16.
Res Sq ; 2020 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-729814

ABSTRACT

Dysfunctional immune responses contribute critically to the progression of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) from mild to severe stages including fatality, with pro-inflammatory macrophages as one of the main mediators of lung hyper-inflammation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the interactions among SARS-CoV-2 permissive cells, macrophage, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby offering important insights into new therapeutic strategies. Here, we used directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to establish a lung and macrophage co-culture system and model the host-pathogen interaction and immune response caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among the hPSC-derived lung cells, alveolar type II and ciliated cells are the major cell populations expressing the viral receptor ACE2 and co-effector TMPRSS2, and both were highly permissive to viral infection. We found that alternatively polarized macrophages (M2) and classically polarized macrophages (M1) had similar inhibitory effects on SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, only M1 macrophages significantly up-regulated inflammatory factors including IL-6 and IL-18, inhibiting growth and enhancing apoptosis of lung cells. Inhibiting viral entry into target cells using an ACE2 blocking antibody enhanced the activity of M2 macrophages, resulting in nearly complete clearance of virus and protection of lung cells. These results suggest a potential therapeutic strategy, in that by blocking viral entrance to target cells while boosting anti-inflammatory action of macrophages at an early stage of infection, M2 macrophages can eliminate SARS-CoV-2, while sparing lung cells and suppressing the dysfunctional hyper-inflammatory response mediated by M1 macrophages.

17.
Cell Stem Cell ; 27(1): 125-136.e7, 2020 07 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-610467

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need for physiological models to study SARS-CoV-2 infection using human disease-relevant cells. COVID-19 pathophysiology includes respiratory failure but involves other organ systems including gut, liver, heart, and pancreas. We present an experimental platform comprised of cell and organoid derivatives from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). A Spike-enabled pseudo-entry virus infects pancreatic endocrine cells, liver organoids, cardiomyocytes, and dopaminergic neurons. Recent clinical studies show a strong association with COVID-19 and diabetes. We find that human pancreatic beta cells and liver organoids are highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection, further validated using adult primary human islets and adult hepatocyte and cholangiocyte organoids. SARS-CoV-2 infection caused striking expression of chemokines, as also seen in primary human COVID-19 pulmonary autopsy samples. hPSC-derived cells/organoids provide valuable models for understanding the cellular responses of human tissues to SARS-CoV-2 infection and for disease modeling of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Models, Biological , Organoids/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Tropism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Autopsy , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Hepatocytes/pathology , Hepatocytes/virology , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Liver/pathology , Mice , Pancreas/pathology , Pancreas/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization
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