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1.
Cell ; 2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588146

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is linked to both dysfunctional immune response and unrestrained immunopathology, and it remains unclear whether T cells contribute to disease pathology. Here, we combined single-cell transcriptomics and single-cell proteomics with mechanistic studies to assess pathogenic T cell functions and inducing signals. We identified highly activated CD16+ T cells with increased cytotoxic functions in severe COVID-19. CD16 expression enabled immune-complex-mediated, T cell receptor-independent degranulation and cytotoxicity not found in other diseases. CD16+ T cells from COVID-19 patients promoted microvascular endothelial cell injury and release of neutrophil and monocyte chemoattractants. CD16+ T cell clones persisted beyond acute disease maintaining their cytotoxic phenotype. Increased generation of C3a in severe COVID-19 induced activated CD16+ cytotoxic T cells. Proportions of activated CD16+ T cells and plasma levels of complement proteins upstream of C3a were associated with fatal outcome of COVID-19, supporting a pathological role of exacerbated cytotoxicity and complement activation in COVID-19.

2.
Nature ; 599(7884): 283-289, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404888

ABSTRACT

Derailed cytokine and immune cell networks account for the organ damage and the clinical severity of COVID-19 (refs. 1-4). Here we show that SARS-CoV-2, like other viruses, evokes cellular senescence as a primary stress response in infected cells. Virus-induced senescence (VIS) is indistinguishable from other forms of cellular senescence and is accompanied by a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which comprises pro-inflammatory cytokines, extracellular-matrix-active factors and pro-coagulatory mediators5-7. Patients with COVID-19 displayed markers of senescence in their airway mucosa in situ and increased serum levels of SASP factors. In vitro assays demonstrated macrophage activation with SASP-reminiscent secretion, complement lysis and SASP-amplifying secondary senescence of endothelial cells, which mirrored hallmark features of COVID-19 such as macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, endothelial damage and widespread thrombosis in affected lung tissue1,8,9. Moreover, supernatant from VIS cells, including SARS-CoV-2-induced senescence, induced neutrophil extracellular trap formation and activation of platelets and the clotting cascade. Senolytics such as navitoclax and a combination of dasatinib plus quercetin selectively eliminated VIS cells, mitigated COVID-19-reminiscent lung disease and reduced inflammation in SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and mice. Our findings mark VIS as a pathogenic trigger of COVID-19-related cytokine escalation and organ damage, and suggest that senolytic targeting of virus-infected cells is a treatment option against SARS-CoV-2 and perhaps other viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Molecular Targeted Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aniline Compounds/pharmacology , Aniline Compounds/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Dasatinib/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Quercetin/pharmacology , Quercetin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/metabolism
3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3818, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279876

ABSTRACT

Viruses manipulate cellular metabolism and macromolecule recycling processes like autophagy. Dysregulated metabolism might lead to excessive inflammatory and autoimmune responses as observed in severe and long COVID-19 patients. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 modulates cellular metabolism and reduces autophagy. Accordingly, compound-driven induction of autophagy limits SARS-CoV-2 propagation. In detail, SARS-CoV-2-infected cells show accumulation of key metabolites, activation of autophagy inhibitors (AKT1, SKP2) and reduction of proteins responsible for autophagy initiation (AMPK, TSC2, ULK1), membrane nucleation, and phagophore formation (BECN1, VPS34, ATG14), as well as autophagosome-lysosome fusion (BECN1, ATG14 oligomers). Consequently, phagophore-incorporated autophagy markers LC3B-II and P62 accumulate, which we confirm in a hamster model and lung samples of COVID-19 patients. Single-nucleus and single-cell sequencing of patient-derived lung and mucosal samples show differential transcriptional regulation of autophagy and immune genes depending on cell type, disease duration, and SARS-CoV-2 replication levels. Targeting of autophagic pathways by exogenous administration of the polyamines spermidine and spermine, the selective AKT1 inhibitor MK-2206, and the BECN1-stabilizing anthelmintic drug niclosamide inhibit SARS-CoV-2 propagation in vitro with IC50 values of 136.7, 7.67, 0.11, and 0.13 µM, respectively. Autophagy-inducing compounds reduce SARS-CoV-2 propagation in primary human lung cells and intestinal organoids emphasizing their potential as treatment options against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antinematodal Agents/pharmacology , Autophagosomes/metabolism , Autophagy , Autophagy-Related Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Metabolome , Niclosamide/pharmacology , Organoids , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spermidine/pharmacology , Spermine/pharmacology
4.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 11049, 2021 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1246386

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has challenged researchers at a global scale. The scientific community's massive response has resulted in a flood of experiments, analyses, hypotheses, and publications, especially in the field of drug repurposing. However, many of the proposed therapeutic compounds obtained from SARS-CoV-2 specific assays are not in agreement and thus demonstrate the need for a singular source of COVID-19 related information from which a rational selection of drug repurposing candidates can be made. In this paper, we present the COVID-19 PHARMACOME, a comprehensive drug-target-mechanism graph generated from a compilation of 10 separate disease maps and sources of experimental data focused on SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pathophysiology. By applying our systematic approach, we were able to predict the synergistic effect of specific drug pairs, such as Remdesivir and Thioguanosine or Nelfinavir and Raloxifene, on SARS-CoV-2 infection. Experimental validation of our results demonstrate that our graph can be used to not only explore the involved mechanistic pathways, but also to identify novel combinations of drug repurposing candidates.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/therapeutic use , Combined Modality Therapy , Computational Biology , Drug Synergism , Drug Therapy, Combination , GTP Phosphohydrolases/therapeutic use , Humans , Knowledge Bases , Nelfinavir/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Raloxifene Hydrochloride/therapeutic use
6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 57, 2021 02 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1074110
7.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(2): 168-175, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060446

ABSTRACT

The newly identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes COVID-19, a pandemic respiratory disease. Moreover, thromboembolic events throughout the body, including in the CNS, have been described. Given the neurological symptoms observed in a large majority of individuals with COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 penetrance of the CNS is likely. By various means, we demonstrate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein in anatomically distinct regions of the nasopharynx and brain. Furthermore, we describe the morphological changes associated with infection such as thromboembolic ischemic infarction of the CNS and present evidence of SARS-CoV-2 neurotropism. SARS-CoV-2 can enter the nervous system by crossing the neural-mucosal interface in olfactory mucosa, exploiting the close vicinity of olfactory mucosal, endothelial and nervous tissue, including delicate olfactory and sensory nerve endings. Subsequently, SARS-CoV-2 appears to follow neuroanatomical structures, penetrating defined neuroanatomical areas including the primary respiratory and cardiovascular control center in the medulla oblongata.


Subject(s)
Brain/virology , COVID-19/virology , Olfactory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Central Nervous System , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Smell/physiology , Virus Internalization
8.
Nat Biotechnol ; 38(8): 970-979, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023942

ABSTRACT

To investigate the immune response and mechanisms associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on nasopharyngeal and bronchial samples from 19 clinically well-characterized patients with moderate or critical disease and from five healthy controls. We identified airway epithelial cell types and states vulnerable to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. In patients with COVID-19, epithelial cells showed an average three-fold increase in expression of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2, which correlated with interferon signals by immune cells. Compared to moderate cases, critical cases exhibited stronger interactions between epithelial and immune cells, as indicated by ligand-receptor expression profiles, and activated immune cells, including inflammatory macrophages expressing CCL2, CCL3, CCL20, CXCL1, CXCL3, CXCL10, IL8, IL1B and TNF. The transcriptional differences in critical cases compared to moderate cases likely contribute to clinical observations of heightened inflammatory tissue damage, lung injury and respiratory failure. Our data suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of the CCR1 and/or CCR5 pathways might suppress immune hyperactivation in critical COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory System/pathology , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcriptome , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19 , Cell Communication , Cell Differentiation , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Immune System/pathology , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , Severity of Illness Index
9.
Nat Biotechnol ; 39(6): 705-716, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997913

ABSTRACT

In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are major risk factors for critical disease progression. However, the underlying causes and the effects of the main anti-hypertensive therapies-angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)-remain unclear. Combining clinical data (n = 144) and single-cell sequencing data of airway samples (n = 48) with in vitro experiments, we observed a distinct inflammatory predisposition of immune cells in patients with hypertension that correlated with critical COVID-19 progression. ACEI treatment was associated with dampened COVID-19-related hyperinflammation and with increased cell intrinsic antiviral responses, whereas ARB treatment related to enhanced epithelial-immune cell interactions. Macrophages and neutrophils of patients with hypertension, in particular under ARB treatment, exhibited higher expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines CCL3 and CCL4 and the chemokine receptor CCR1. Although the limited size of our cohort does not allow us to establish clinical efficacy, our data suggest that the clinical benefits of ACEI treatment in patients with COVID-19 who have hypertension warrant further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Chemokine CCL3/genetics , Chemokine CCL4/genetics , Hypertension/drug therapy , Receptors, CCR1/genetics , Adult , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/administration & dosage , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/adverse effects , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Disease Progression , Female , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Hypertension/genetics , Hypertension/pathology , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/virology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA-Seq , Respiratory System/drug effects , Respiratory System/pathology , Respiratory System/virology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Single-Cell Analysis
10.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(2): 168-175, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-952133

ABSTRACT

The newly identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes COVID-19, a pandemic respiratory disease. Moreover, thromboembolic events throughout the body, including in the CNS, have been described. Given the neurological symptoms observed in a large majority of individuals with COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 penetrance of the CNS is likely. By various means, we demonstrate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein in anatomically distinct regions of the nasopharynx and brain. Furthermore, we describe the morphological changes associated with infection such as thromboembolic ischemic infarction of the CNS and present evidence of SARS-CoV-2 neurotropism. SARS-CoV-2 can enter the nervous system by crossing the neural-mucosal interface in olfactory mucosa, exploiting the close vicinity of olfactory mucosal, endothelial and nervous tissue, including delicate olfactory and sensory nerve endings. Subsequently, SARS-CoV-2 appears to follow neuroanatomical structures, penetrating defined neuroanatomical areas including the primary respiratory and cardiovascular control center in the medulla oblongata.


Subject(s)
Brain/virology , COVID-19/virology , Olfactory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Central Nervous System , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Smell/physiology , Virus Internalization
11.
EMBO J ; 39(10): e105114, 2020 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-380778

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic affecting the human respiratory system severely challenges public health and urgently demands for increasing our understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis, especially host factors facilitating virus infection and replication. SARS-CoV-2 was reported to enter cells via binding to ACE2, followed by its priming by TMPRSS2. Here, we investigate ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels and their distribution across cell types in lung tissue (twelve donors, 39,778 cells) and in cells derived from subsegmental bronchial branches (four donors, 17,521 cells) by single nuclei and single cell RNA sequencing, respectively. While TMPRSS2 is strongly expressed in both tissues, in the subsegmental bronchial branches ACE2 is predominantly expressed in a transient secretory cell type. Interestingly, these transiently differentiating cells show an enrichment for pathways related to RHO GTPase function and viral processes suggesting increased vulnerability for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data provide a rich resource for future investigations of COVID-19 infection and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
Bronchi/cytology , Gene Expression , Lung/cytology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Single-Cell Analysis , Adult , Aging , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bronchi/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Chronic Disease/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Germany , Goblet Cells/metabolism , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Reference Standards , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Sex Characteristics , Smoking , Tissue Banks
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