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1.
mBio ; : e0375121, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741580

ABSTRACT

The widespread coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Currently, we have limited understanding of which cells become infected with SARS-CoV-2 in human tissues and where viral RNA localizes on the subcellular level. Here, we present a platform for preparing autopsy tissue for visualizing SARS-CoV-2 RNA using RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with amplification by hybridization chain reaction. We developed probe sets that target different regions of SARS-CoV-2 (including ORF1a and N), as well as probe sets that specifically target SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic mRNAs. We validated these probe sets in cell culture and tissues (lung, lymph node, and placenta) from infected patients. Using this technology, we observe distinct subcellular localization patterns of the ORF1a and N regions. In human lung tissue, we performed multiplexed RNA FISH HCR for SARS-CoV-2 and cell-type-specific marker genes. We found viral RNA in cells containing the alveolar type 2 (AT2) cell marker gene (SFTPC) and the alveolar macrophage marker gene (MARCO) but did not identify viral RNA in cells containing the alveolar type 1 (AT1) cell marker gene (AGER). Moreover, we observed distinct subcellular localization patterns of viral RNA in AT2 cells and alveolar macrophages. In sum, we demonstrate the use of RNA FISH HCR for visualizing different RNA species from SARS-CoV-2 in cell lines and FFPE (formalin fixation and paraffin embedding) autopsy specimens. We anticipate that this platform could be broadly useful for studying SARS-CoV-2 pathology in tissues, as well as extended for other applications, including investigating the viral life cycle, viral diagnostics, and drug screening. IMPORTANCE Here, we developed an in situ RNA detection assay for RNA generated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We found viral RNA in lung, lymph node, and placenta samples from pathology specimens from COVID patients. Using high-magnification microscopy, we can visualize the subcellular distribution of these RNA in single cells.

2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(16)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165017

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection; induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung; and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, whereas PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2-infected Calu-3 and A549ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however, activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling and OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but is similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Immunity, Innate , Lung/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , A549 Cells , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Nose/virology , Virus Replication , eIF-2 Kinase
3.
J Clin Microbiol ; 59(5)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083610

ABSTRACT

Community-based health care clinics and hospital outreach services have the potential to expand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnostics to rural areas. However, reduced specimen stability during extended transport, the absence of a cold chain to centralized laboratories, and biosafety concerns surrounding specimen handling have limited this expansion. In the following study, we evaluated eNAT (Copan Italia, Brescia, Italy) as an alternative transport system to address the biosafety and stability challenges associated with expanding COVID-19 diagnostics to rural and remote regions. In this study, we demonstrated that high-titer severe acute respiratory virus syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lysate placed into eNAT medium cannot be propagated in cell culture, supporting viral inactivation. To account for off-site testing in these settings, we assessed the stability of contrived nasopharyngeal (NP) specimens stored for up to 14 days in various transport media (eNAT, eSwab, viral transport medium [VTM], saline, and phosphate-buffered saline [PBS]) at 4°C, 22 to 25°C, and 35°C. The molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 was unaffected by sample storage temperature over the 2 weeks when stored in eNAT or PBS (change in cycle threshold, ≤1). In contrast, variable stability was observed across test conditions for other transport media. As eNAT can inactivate SARS-CoV-2, it may support COVID-19 diagnostics at the point of care. Evaluation of compatibility of eNAT with Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 assay demonstrated diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity equivalent to those of VTM. Taken together, these findings suggest that the implementation of eNAT as a collection device can expand COVID-19 testing to areas with limited health care access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Culture Media , Specimen Handling/standards , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Temperature
4.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808974

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung, and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, while PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2 infected Calu-3 and A549 ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to MERS-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling as well as OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, both OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549 ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549 ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. SIGNIFICANCE: SARS-CoV-2 emergence in late 2019 led to the COVID-19 pandemic that has had devastating effects on human health and the economy. Early innate immune responses are essential for protection against virus invasion. While inadequate innate immune responses are associated with severe COVID-19 diseases, understanding of the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with host antiviral pathways is minimal. We have characterized the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infections in relevant respiratory tract derived cells and cardiomyocytes and found that SARS-CoV-2 activates two antiviral pathways, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR), while inducing minimal levels of interferon. This in contrast to MERS-CoV which inhibits all three pathways. Activation of these pathways may contribute to the distinctive pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.

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