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Front Microbiol ; 13: 840911, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715015


Viruses play a key role in explaining the pathogenesis of various autoimmune disorders, whose underlying principle is defined by the activation of autoreactive T-cells. In many cases, T-cells escape self-tolerance due to the failure in encountering certain MHC-I self-peptide complexes at substantial levels, whose peptides remain invisible from the immune system. Over the years, contribution of unstable defective ribosomal products (DRiPs) in immunosurveillance has gained prominence. A class of unstable products emerge from non-canonical translation and processing of unannotated mammalian and viral ORFs and their peptides are cryptic in nature. Indeed, high throughput sequencing and proteomics have revealed that a substantial portion of our genomes comprise of non-canonical ORFs, whose generation is significantly modulated during disease. Many of these ORFs comprise short ORFs (sORFs) and upstream ORFs (uORFs) that resemble DRiPs and may hence be preferentially presented. Here, we discuss how such products, normally "hidden" from the immune system, become abundant in viral infections activating autoimmune T-cells, by discussing their emerging role in infection and disease. Finally, we provide a perspective on how these mechanisms can explain several autoimmune disorders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312281


Herpesviruses have mastered host cell modulation and immune evasion to augment productive infection, life-long latency and reactivation thereof 1,2. A long appreciated, yet elusively defined relationship exists between the lytic-latent switch and viral non-coding RNAs 3,4. Here, we identify miRNA-mediated inhibition of miRNA processing as a novel cellular mechanism that human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) exploits to disrupt mitochondrial architecture, evade intrinsic host defense and drive the latent-lytic switch. We demonstrate that virus-encoded miR-aU14 selectively inhibits the processing of multiple miR-30 family members by direct interaction with the respective pri-miRNA hairpin loops. Subsequent loss of miR-30 and activation of miR-30/p53/Drp1 axis triggers a profound disruption of mitochondrial architecture, which impairs induction of type I interferons and is necessary for both productive infection and virus reactivation. Ectopic expression of miR-aU14 was sufficient to trigger virus reactivation from latency thereby identifying it as a readily drugable master regulator of the herpesvirus latent-lytic switch. Our results show that miRNA-mediated inhibition of miRNA processing represents a generalized cellular mechanism that can be exploited to selectively target individual members of miRNA families. We anticipate that targeting miR-aU14 provides exciting therapeutic options for preventing herpesvirus reactivations in HHV-6-associated disorders like myalgic encephalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long-COVID.

Cell ; 184(26): 6243-6261.e27, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536467


COVID-19-induced "acute respiratory distress syndrome" (ARDS) is associated with prolonged respiratory failure and high mortality, but the mechanistic basis of lung injury remains incompletely understood. Here, we analyze pulmonary immune responses and lung pathology in two cohorts of patients with COVID-19 ARDS using functional single-cell genomics, immunohistology, and electron microscopy. We describe an accumulation of CD163-expressing monocyte-derived macrophages that acquired a profibrotic transcriptional phenotype during COVID-19 ARDS. Gene set enrichment and computational data integration revealed a significant similarity between COVID-19-associated macrophages and profibrotic macrophage populations identified in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. COVID-19 ARDS was associated with clinical, radiographic, histopathological, and ultrastructural hallmarks of pulmonary fibrosis. Exposure of human monocytes to SARS-CoV-2, but not influenza A virus or viral RNA analogs, was sufficient to induce a similar profibrotic phenotype in vitro. In conclusion, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 triggers profibrotic macrophage responses and pronounced fibroproliferative ARDS.

COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/virology , Macrophages/pathology , Macrophages/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Cell Communication , Cohort Studies , Fibroblasts/pathology , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/diagnostic imaging , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/pathology , Phenotype , Proteome/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/diagnostic imaging , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Transcription, Genetic