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1.
Cell Syst ; 2022 Jun 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1930802

ABSTRACT

The determinants of severe COVID-19 in healthy adults are poorly understood, which limits the opportunity for early intervention. We present a multiomic analysis using machine learning to characterize the genomic basis of COVID-19 severity. We use single-cell multiome profiling of human lungs to link genetic signals to cell-type-specific functions. We discover >1,000 risk genes across 19 cell types, which account for 77% of the SNP-based heritability for severe disease. Genetic risk is particularly focused within natural killer (NK) cells and T cells, placing the dysfunction of these cells upstream of severe disease. Mendelian randomization and single-cell profiling of human NK cells support the role of NK cells and further localize genetic risk to CD56bright NK cells, which are key cytokine producers during the innate immune response. Rare variant analysis confirms the enrichment of severe-disease-associated genetic variation within NK-cell risk genes. Our study provides insights into the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 with potential therapeutic targets.

2.
Science ; 377(6604): eabm3125, 2022 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1901907

ABSTRACT

Many pathogens exploit host cell-surface glycans. However, precise analyses of glycan ligands binding with heavily modified pathogen proteins can be confounded by overlapping sugar signals and/or compounded with known experimental constraints. Universal saturation transfer analysis (uSTA) builds on existing nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to provide an automated workflow for quantitating protein-ligand interactions. uSTA reveals that early-pandemic, B-origin-lineage severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike trimer binds sialoside sugars in an "end-on" manner. uSTA-guided modeling and a high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure implicate the spike N-terminal domain (NTD) and confirm end-on binding. This finding rationalizes the effect of NTD mutations that abolish sugar binding in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Together with genetic variance analyses in early pandemic patient cohorts, this binding implicates a sialylated polylactosamine motif found on tetraantennary N-linked glycoproteins deep in the human lung as potentially relevant to virulence and/or zoonosis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2 , Sialic Acids , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , COVID-19/transmission , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Genetic Variation , Humans , Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sialic Acids/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
3.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 05 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869825

ABSTRACT

Thrombosis of small and large vessels is reported as a key player in COVID-19 severity. However, host genetic determinants of this susceptibility are still unclear. Congenital Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is a severe autosomal recessive disorder characterized by uncleaved ultra-large vWF and thrombotic microangiopathy, frequently triggered by infections. Carriers are reported to be asymptomatic. Exome analysis of about 3000 SARS-CoV-2 infected subjects of different severities, belonging to the GEN-COVID cohort, revealed the specific role of vWF cleaving enzyme ADAMTS13 (A disintegrin-like and metalloprotease with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 13). We report here that ultra-rare variants in a heterozygous state lead to a rare form of COVID-19 characterized by hyper-inflammation signs, which segregates in families as an autosomal dominant disorder conditioned by SARS-CoV-2 infection, sex, and age. This has clinical relevance due to the availability of drugs such as Caplacizumab, which inhibits vWF-platelet interaction, and Crizanlizumab, which, by inhibiting P-selectin binding to its ligands, prevents leukocyte recruitment and platelet aggregation at the site of vascular damage.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic , ADAM Proteins/genetics , ADAM Proteins/metabolism , ADAMTS13 Protein/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic/diagnosis , Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , von Willebrand Factor/chemistry , von Willebrand Factor/genetics , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism
4.
Eur J Hum Genet ; 30(8): 899-907, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1864736

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is having a massive impact on public health, societies, and economies worldwide. Despite the ongoing vaccination program, treating COVID-19 remains a high priority; thus, a better understanding of the disease is urgently needed. Initially, susceptibility was associated with age, sex, and other prior existing comorbidities. However, as these conditions alone could not explain the highly variable clinical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the attention was shifted toward the identification of the genetic basis of COVID-19. Thanks to international collaborations like The COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, it became possible the elucidation of numerous genetic markers that are not only likely to help in explaining the varied clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients but can also guide the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Within this framework, this review delineates GWAS and Burden test as traditional methodologies employed so far for the discovery of the human genetic basis of COVID-19, with particular attention to recently emerged predictive models such as the post-Mendelian model. A summary table with the main genome-wide significant genomic loci is provided. Besides, various common and rare variants identified in genes like TLR7, CFTR, ACE2, TMPRSS2, TLR3, and SELP are further described in detail to illustrate their association with disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
Butler-Laporte, Guillaume, Povysil, Gundula, Kosmicki, Jack, Cirulli, Elizabeth, Drivas, Theodore, Furini, Simone, Saad, Chadi, Schmidt, Axel, Olszewski, Pawel, Korotko, Urszula, Quinodoz, Mathieu, Çelik, Elifnaz, Kundu, Kousik, Walter, Klaudia, Jung, Junghyung, Stockwell, Amy, Sloofman, Laura, Charney, Alexander, Jordan, Daniel, Beckmann, Noam, Przychodzen, Bartlomiej, Chang, Timothy, Pottinger, Tess, Shang, Ning, Brand, Fabian, Fava, Francesca, Mari, Francesca, Chwialkowska, Karolina, Niemira, Magdalena, Pula, Szymon, Baillie, Kenneth, Stuckey, Alex, Ganna, Andrea, Karczewski, Konrad, Veerapen, Kumar, Bourgey, Mathieu, Bourque, Guillaume, Eveleigh, Robert J. M.; Forgetta, Vincenzo, Morrison, David, Langlais, David, Lathrop, Mark, Mooser, Vincent, Nakanishi, Tomoko, Frithiof, Robert, Hultström, Michael, Lipcsey, Miklos, Marincevic-Zuniga, Yanara, Nordlund, Jessica, Schiabor Barrett, Kelly, Lee, William, Bolze, Alexandre, White, Simon, Riffle, Stephen, Tanudjaja, Francisco, Sandoval, Efren, Neveux, Iva, Dabe, Shaun, Casadei, Nicolas, Motameny, Susanne, Alaamery, Manal, Massadeh, Salam, Aljawini, Nora, Almutairi, Mansour, Arabi, Yaseen, Alqahtan, Saleh, Al Harthi, Fawz, Almutairi, Amal, Alqubaishi, Fatima, Alotaibi, Sarah, Binowayn, Albandari, Alsolm, Ebtehal, Bardisy, Hadeel El, Fawzy, Mohammad, Geschwind, Daniel, Arteaga, Stephanie, Stephens, Alexis, Butte, Manish, Boutros, Paul, Yamaguchi, Takafumi, Tao, Shu, Eng, Stefan, Sanders, Timothy, Tung, Paul, Broudy, Michael, Pan, Yu, Gonzalez, Alfredo, Chavan, Nikhil, Johnson, Ruth, Pasaniuc, Bogdan, Yaspan, Brian, Smieszek, Sandra, Rivolta, Carlo, Bibert, Stephanie, Bochud, Pierre-Yves, Dabrowski, Maciej, Zawadzki, Pawel, Sypniewski, Mateusz, Kaja, Elżbieta, Chariyavilaskul, Pajaree, Nilaratanakul, Voraphoj, Hirankarn, Nattiya, Shotelersuk, Vorasuk, Pongpanich, Monnat, Phokaew, Chureerat, Chetruengchai, Wanna, Kawai, Yosuke, Hasegawa, Takanori, Naito, Tatsuhiko, Namkoong, Ho, Edahiro, Ryuya, Kimura, Akinori, Ogawa, Seishi, Kanai, Takanori, Fukunaga, Koichi, Okada, Yukinori, Imoto, Seiya, Miyano, Satoru, Mangul, Serghei, Abedalthagafi, Malak, Zeberg, Hugo, Grzymski, Joseph, Washington, Nicole, Ossowski, Stephan, Ludwig, Kerstin, Schulte, Eva, Riess, Olaf, Moniuszko, Marcin, Kwasniewski, Miroslaw, Mbarek, Hamdi, Ismail, Said, Verma, Anurag, Goldstein, David, Kiryluk, Krzysztof, Renieri, Alessandra, Ferreira, Manuel, Richards, Brent, Initiative, Covid- Host Genetics, De, C. O. I. Host Genetics Group, Study, Gen-Covid Multicenter, Gen, Omicc Consortium, Japan, Covid-Task Force, Regeneron Genetics, Center.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-332108

ABSTRACT

Host genetics is a key determinant of COVID-19 outcomes. Previously, the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative genome-wide association study used common variants to identify multiple loci associated with COVID-19 outcomes. However, variants with the largest impact on COVID-19 outcomes are expected to be rare in the population. Hence, studying rare variants may provide additional insights into disease susceptibility and pathogenesis, thereby informing therapeutics development. Here, we combined whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing from 21 cohorts across 12 countries and performed rare variant exome-wide burden analyses for COVID-19 outcomes. In an analysis of 5,048 severe disease cases and 571,009 controls, we observed that carrying a rare deleterious variant in the SARS-CoV-2 sensor toll-like receptor TLR7 (on chromosome X) was associated with a 5.3-fold increase in severe disease (95% CI: 2.75-10.05, p=5.41×10 -7 ). These results further support TLR7 as a genetic determinant of severe disease and suggest that larger studies on rare variants influencing COVID-19 outcomes could provide additional insights.

6.
Genes Immun ; 23(1): 51-56, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585868

ABSTRACT

Toll-like receptors (TLR) are crucial components in the initiation of innate immune responses to a variety of pathogens, triggering the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and type I and II interferons, which are responsible for innate antiviral responses. Among the different TLRs, TLR7 recognizes several single-stranded RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2. We and others identified rare loss-of-function variants in X-chromosomal TLR7 in young men with severe COVID-19 and with no prior history of major chronic diseases, that were associated with impaired TLR7 signaling as well as type I and II IFN responses. Here, we performed RNA sequencing to investigate transcriptome variations following imiquimod stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from patients carrying previously identified hypomorphic, hypofunctional, and loss-of-function TLR7 variants. Our investigation revealed a profound impairment of the TLR7 pathway in patients carrying loss-of-function variants. Of note, a failure in IFNγ upregulation following stimulation was also observed in cells harboring the hypofunctional and hypomorphic variants. We also identified new TLR7 variants in severely affected male patients for which a functional characterization of the TLR7 pathway was performed demonstrating a decrease in mRNA levels in the IFNα, IFNγ, RSAD2, ACOD1, IFIT2, and CXCL10 genes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Toll-Like Receptor 7 , Cytokines/metabolism , Down-Regulation , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Toll-Like Receptor 7/genetics , Toll-Like Receptor 7/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 8/genetics , Toll-Like Receptor 8/metabolism
7.
Autophagy ; 18(7): 1662-1672, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585354

ABSTRACT

The polymorphism L412F in TLR3 has been associated with several infectious diseases. However, the mechanism underlying this association is still unexplored. Here, we show that the L412F polymorphism in TLR3 is a marker of severity in COVID-19. This association increases in the sub-cohort of males. Impaired macroautophagy/autophagy and reduced TNF/TNFα production was demonstrated in HEK293 cells transfected with TLR3L412F-encoding plasmid and stimulated with specific agonist poly(I:C). A statistically significant reduced survival at 28 days was shown in L412F COVID-19 patients treated with the autophagy-inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (p = 0.038). An increased frequency of autoimmune disorders such as co-morbidity was found in L412F COVID-19 males with specific class II HLA haplotypes prone to autoantigen presentation. Our analyses indicate that L412F polymorphism makes males at risk of severe COVID-19 and provides a rationale for reinterpreting clinical trials considering autophagy pathways.Abbreviations: AP: autophagosome; AUC: area under the curve; BafA1: bafilomycin A1; COVID-19: coronavirus disease-2019; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; RAP: rapamycin; ROC: receiver operating characteristic; SARS-CoV-2: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; TLR: toll like receptor; TNF/TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Toll-Like Receptor 3 , Autophagy/genetics , Biomarkers , COVID-19/genetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Male , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Toll-Like Receptor 3/genetics
8.
Hum Genet ; 141(1): 147-173, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565371

ABSTRACT

The combined impact of common and rare exonic variants in COVID-19 host genetics is currently insufficiently understood. Here, common and rare variants from whole-exome sequencing data of about 4000 SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals were used to define an interpretable machine-learning model for predicting COVID-19 severity. First, variants were converted into separate sets of Boolean features, depending on the absence or the presence of variants in each gene. An ensemble of LASSO logistic regression models was used to identify the most informative Boolean features with respect to the genetic bases of severity. The Boolean features selected by these logistic models were combined into an Integrated PolyGenic Score that offers a synthetic and interpretable index for describing the contribution of host genetics in COVID-19 severity, as demonstrated through testing in several independent cohorts. Selected features belong to ultra-rare, rare, low-frequency, and common variants, including those in linkage disequilibrium with known GWAS loci. Noteworthily, around one quarter of the selected genes are sex-specific. Pathway analysis of the selected genes associated with COVID-19 severity reflected the multi-organ nature of the disease. The proposed model might provide useful information for developing diagnostics and therapeutics, while also being able to guide bedside disease management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Phenotype , Severity of Illness Index , Whole Exome Sequencing , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Germany , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Quebec , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden , United Kingdom
9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294331

ABSTRACT

Many host pathogen interactions such as human viruses (including non-SARS-coronaviruses) rely on attachment to host cell-surface glycans. There are conflicting reports about whether the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to sialic acid commonly found on host cell-surface N-linked glycans. In the absence of a biochemical assay, the ability to analyze the binding of glycans to heavily- modified proteins and resolve this issue is limited. Classical Saturation Transfer Difference (STD) NMR can be confounded by overlapping sugar resonances that compound with known experimental constraints. Here we present ‘universal saturation transfer analysis’ (uSTA), an NMR method that builds on existing approaches to provide a general and automated workflow for studying protein-ligand interactions. uSTA reveals that B-origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer binds sialoside sugars in an ‘end on’ manner and modelling guided by uSTA localises binding to the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). The sialylated-polylactosamine motif is found on tetraantennary human N-linked-glycoproteins in deeper lung and may have played a role in zoonosis. Provocatively, sialic acid binding is abolished by mutations in some subsequent SARS- CoV-2 variants-of-concern. A very high resolution cryo-EM structure confirms the NTD location and ‘end on’ mode;it rationalises the effect of NTD mutations and the structure-activity relationship of sialic acid analogues. uSTA is demonstrated to be a robust, rapid and quantitative tool for analysis of binding, even in the most demanding systems. Extended Abstract The surface proteins found on both pathogens and host cells mediate entry (and exit) and influence disease progression and transmission. Both types can bear host-generated post- translational modifications such as glycosylation that are essential for function but can confound biophysical methods used for dissecting key interactions. Several human viruses (including non- SARS-coronaviruses) attach to host cell-surface N -linked glycans that include forms of sialic acid (sialosides). There remains, however, conflicting evidence as to if or how SARS-associated coronaviruses might use such a mechanism. Here, we demonstrate quantitative extension of ‘saturation transfer’ protein NMR methods to a complete mathematical model of the magnetization transfer caused by interactions between protein and ligand. The method couples objective resonance-identification via a deconvolution algorithm with Bloch-McConnell analysis to enable a structural, kinetic and thermodynamic analysis of ligand binding beyond previously-perceived limits of exchange rates, concentration or system. Using an automated and openly available workflow this ‘universal saturation transfer’ analysis (uSTA) can be readily-applied in a range of even heavily-modified systems in a general manner to now obtain quantitative binding interaction parameters (K D , k Ex ). uSTA proved critical in mapping direct interactions between natural sialoside sugar ligands and relevant virus-surface attachment glycoproteins – SARS-CoV-2-spike and influenza-H1N1-haemagglutinin variants – by quantitating ligand signal in spectral regions otherwise occluded by resonances from mobile protein glycans (that also include sialosides). In B- origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer ‘end on’-binding to sialoside sugars was revealed contrasting with ‘extended surface’-binding for heparin sugar ligands;uSTA-derived constraints used in structural modelling suggested sialoside-glycan binding sites in a beta-sheet-rich region of spike N-terminal domain (NTD). Consistent with this, uSTA-glycan binding was minimally- perturbed by antibodies that neutralize the ACE2-binding domain (RBD) but strongly disrupted in spike from the B1.1.7/alpha and B1.351/beta variants-of-concern, which possess hotspot mutations in the NTD. Sialoside binding in B-origin-lineage-NTD was unequivocally pinpointed by cryo-EM to a site that is created from residues that are notably deleted in variants (e.g. H69,V70,Y145 in alpha). An analysis of beneficial genetic variances in cohorts of patients from early 2020 suggests a model in which this site in the NTD of B-origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 (but not in alpha/beta-variants) may have exploited a specific sialylated-polylactosamine motif found on tetraantennary human N -linked-glycoproteins in deeper lung. Together these confirm a novel binding mode mediated by the unusual NTD of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest how it may drive virulence and/or zoonosis via modulation of glycan attachment. Since cell-surface glycans are widely relevant to biology and pathology, uSTA can now provide ready, quantitative, widespread analysis of complex, host-derived and post-translationally modified proteins with putative ligands relevant to disease even in previously confounding complex systems.

10.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292413

ABSTRACT

We employed a multifaceted computational strategy to identify the genetic factors contributing to increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection from a Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) dataset of a cohort of 2000 Italian patients. We coupled a stratified k-fold screening, to rank variants more associated with severity, with training of multiple supervised classifiers, to predict severity on the basis of screened features. Feature importance analysis from decision-tree models allowed to identify a handful of 16 variants with highest support which, together with age and gender covariates, were found to be most predictive of COVID-19 severity. When tested on a follow-up cohort, our ensemble of models predicted severity with good accuracy (ACC=81.88%;ROC_AUC=96%;MCC=61.55%). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and clustering of patients on important variants orthogonally identified two groups of individuals with a higher fraction of severe cases. Our model recapitulated a vast literature of emerging molecular mechanisms and genetic factors linked to COVID-19 response and extends previous landmark Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). It revealed a network of interplaying genetic signatures converging on established immune system and inflammatory processes linked to viral infection response, such as JAK-STAT, Cytokine, Interleukin, and C-type lectin receptor signaling. It also identified additional processes cross-talking with immune pathways, such as GPCR signalling, which might offer additional opportunities for therapeutic intervention and patient stratification. Publicly available PheWAS datasets revealed that several variants were significantly associated with phenotypic traits (e.g. “Respiratory or thoracic disease”), confirming their link with COVID-19 severity outcome. Taken together, our analysis suggests that curated genetic information can be effectively integrated along with other patient clinical covariates to forecast COVID-19 disease severity and dissect the underlying host genetic mechanisms for personalized medicine treatments.

11.
J Hematol Oncol ; 14(1): 123, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1365373

ABSTRACT

Thromboembolism is a frequent cause of severity and mortality in COVID-19. However, the etiology of this phenomenon is not well understood. A cohort of 1186 subjects, from the GEN-COVID consortium, infected by SARS-CoV-2 with different severity was stratified by sex and adjusted by age. Then, common coding variants from whole exome sequencing were mined by LASSO logistic regression. The homozygosity of the cell adhesion molecule P-selectin gene (SELP) rs6127 (c.1807G > A; p.Asp603Asn) which has been already associated with thrombotic risk is found to be associated with severity in the male subcohort of 513 subjects (odds ratio = 2.27, 95% Confidence Interval 1.54-3.36). As the SELP gene is downregulated by testosterone, the odd ratio is increased in males older than 50 (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.53-3.82). Asn/Asn homozygotes have increased D-dimers values especially when associated with poly Q ≥ 23 in the androgen receptor (OR 3.26, 95% CI 1.41-7.52). These results provide a rationale for the repurposing of antibodies against P-selectin as adjuvant therapy in rs6127 male homozygotes especially if older than 50 or with an impaired androgen receptor.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , P-Selectin/genetics , Thrombosis/genetics , COVID-19/complications , Down-Regulation , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Point Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Thrombosis/etiology
12.
J Hematol Oncol ; 14(1): 123, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1357037

ABSTRACT

Thromboembolism is a frequent cause of severity and mortality in COVID-19. However, the etiology of this phenomenon is not well understood. A cohort of 1186 subjects, from the GEN-COVID consortium, infected by SARS-CoV-2 with different severity was stratified by sex and adjusted by age. Then, common coding variants from whole exome sequencing were mined by LASSO logistic regression. The homozygosity of the cell adhesion molecule P-selectin gene (SELP) rs6127 (c.1807G > A; p.Asp603Asn) which has been already associated with thrombotic risk is found to be associated with severity in the male subcohort of 513 subjects (odds ratio = 2.27, 95% Confidence Interval 1.54-3.36). As the SELP gene is downregulated by testosterone, the odd ratio is increased in males older than 50 (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.53-3.82). Asn/Asn homozygotes have increased D-dimers values especially when associated with poly Q ≥ 23 in the androgen receptor (OR 3.26, 95% CI 1.41-7.52). These results provide a rationale for the repurposing of antibodies against P-selectin as adjuvant therapy in rs6127 male homozygotes especially if older than 50 or with an impaired androgen receptor.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , P-Selectin/genetics , Thrombosis/genetics , COVID-19/complications , Down-Regulation , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Point Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Thrombosis/etiology
13.
J Pers Med ; 11(6)2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270072

ABSTRACT

The clinical presentation of COVID-19 is extremely heterogeneous, ranging from asymptomatic to severely ill patients. Thus, host genetic factors may be involved in determining disease presentation and progression. Given that carriers of single cystic fibrosis (CF)-causing variants of the CFTR gene-CF-carriers-are more susceptible to respiratory tract infections, our aim was to determine their likelihood of undergoing severe COVID-19. We implemented a cohort study of 874 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, during the first pandemic wave in Italy. Whole exome sequencing was performed and validated CF-causing variants were identified. Forty subjects (16 females and 24 males) were found to be CF-carriers. Among mechanically ventilated patients, CF-carriers were more represented (8.7%) and they were significantly (p < 0.05) younger (mean age 51 years) compared to noncarriers (mean age 61.42 years). Furthermore, in the whole cohort, the age of male CF-carriers was lower, compared to noncarriers (p < 0.05). CF-carriers had a relative risk of presenting an abnormal inflammatory response (CRP ≥ 20 mg/dL) of 1.69 (p < 0.05) and their hazard ratio of death at day 14 was 3.10 (p < 0.05) in a multivariate regression model, adjusted for age, sex and comorbidities. In conclusion, CF-carriers are more susceptible to the severe form of COVID-19, showing also higher risk of 14-day death.

14.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(4)2021 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194619

ABSTRACT

The protease encoded by the TMPRSS2 gene facilitates viral infections and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. We analyzed the TMPRSS2 sequence and correlated the protein variants with the clinical features of a cohort of 1177 patients affected by COVID-19 in Italy. Nine relatively common variants (allele frequency > 0.01) and six missense variants which may affect the protease activity according to PolyPhen-2 in HumVar-trained mode were identified. Among them, p.V197M (p.Val197Met) (rs12329760) emerges as a common variant that has a deleterious effect on the protease and a protective effect on the patients. Its role appears particularly relevant in two subgroups of patients-young males and elderly women-and among those affected by co-morbidities, where the variant frequency is higher among individuals who were mildly affected by the disease and did not need hospitalization or oxygen therapy than among those more severely affected, who required oxygen therapy, ventilation or intubation. This study provides useful information for the identification of patients at risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19, and encourages the usage of drugs affecting the expression of TMPRSS2 or inhibiting protein activity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Comorbidity , Female , Gene Frequency , Hospitalization , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Respiration, Artificial , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Treatment Outcome
15.
Elife ; 102021 03 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1112866

ABSTRACT

Background: Recently, loss-of-function variants in TLR7 were identified in two families in which COVID-19 segregates like an X-linked recessive disorder environmentally conditioned by SARS-CoV-2. We investigated whether the two families represent the tip of the iceberg of a subset of COVID-19 male patients. Methods: This is a nested case-control study in which we compared male participants with extreme phenotype selected from the Italian GEN-COVID cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected participants (<60 y, 79 severe cases versus 77 control cases). We applied the LASSO Logistic Regression analysis, considering only rare variants on young male subsets with extreme phenotype, picking up TLR7 as the most important susceptibility gene. Results: Overall, we found TLR7 deleterious variants in 2.1% of severely affected males and in none of the asymptomatic participants. The functional gene expression profile analysis demonstrated a reduction in TLR7-related gene expression in patients compared with controls demonstrating an impairment in type I and II IFN responses. Conclusions: Young males with TLR7 loss-of-function variants and severe COVID-19 represent a subset of male patients contributing to disease susceptibility in up to 2% of severe COVID-19. Funding: Funded by private donors for the Host Genetics Research Project, the Intesa San Paolo for 2020 charity fund, and the Host Genetics Initiative. Clinical trial number: NCT04549831.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Toll-Like Receptor 7/genetics , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Case-Control Studies , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index
16.
EBioMedicine ; 65: 103246, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1108220

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While SARS-CoV-2 similarly infects men and women, COVID-19 outcome is less favorable in men. Variability in COVID-19 severity may be explained by differences in the host genome. METHODS: We compared poly-amino acids variability from WES data in severely affected COVID-19 patients versus SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive oligo-asymptomatic subjects. FINDINGS: Shorter polyQ alleles (≤22) in the androgen receptor (AR) conferred protection against severe outcome in COVID-19 in the first tested cohort (both males and females) of 638 Italian subjects. The association between long polyQ alleles (≥23) and severe clinical outcome (p = 0.024) was also validated in an independent cohort of Spanish men <60 years of age (p = 0.014). Testosterone was higher in subjects with AR long-polyQ, possibly indicating receptor resistance (p = 0.042 Mann-Whitney U test). Inappropriately low serum testosterone level among carriers of the long-polyQ alleles (p = 0.0004 Mann-Whitney U test) predicted the need for intensive care in COVID-19 infected men. In agreement with the known anti-inflammatory action of testosterone, patients with long-polyQ and age ≥60 years had increased levels of CRP (p = 0.018, not accounting for multiple testing). INTERPRETATION: We identify the first genetic polymorphism that appears to predispose some men to develop more severe disease. Failure of the endocrine feedback to overcome AR signaling defects by increasing testosterone levels during the infection leads to the polyQ tract becoming dominant to serum testosterone levels for the clinical outcome. These results may contribute to designing reliable clinical and public health measures and provide a rationale to test testosterone as adjuvant therapy in men with COVID-19 expressing long AR polyQ repeats. FUNDING: MIUR project "Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2020" to Department of Medical Biotechnologies University of Siena, Italy (Italian D.L. n.18 March 17, 2020) and "Bando Ricerca COVID-19 Toscana" project to Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Senese. Private donors for COVID-19 research and charity funds from Intesa San Paolo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Peptides/genetics , Receptors, Androgen/genetics , Aged , Case-Control Studies , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Female , Genome, Human/genetics , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Spain , Testosterone/blood
17.
Eur J Hum Genet ; 29(5): 745-759, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033853

ABSTRACT

Within the GEN-COVID Multicenter Study, biospecimens from more than 1000 SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals have thus far been collected in the GEN-COVID Biobank (GCB). Sample types include whole blood, plasma, serum, leukocytes, and DNA. The GCB links samples to detailed clinical data available in the GEN-COVID Patient Registry (GCPR). It includes hospitalized patients (74.25%), broken down into intubated, treated by CPAP-biPAP, treated with O2 supplementation, and without respiratory support (9.5%, 18.4%, 31.55% and 14.8, respectively); and non-hospitalized subjects (25.75%), either pauci- or asymptomatic. More than 150 clinical patient-level data fields have been collected and binarized for further statistics according to the organs/systems primarily affected by COVID-19: heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, chemosensors, innate or adaptive immunity, and clotting system. Hierarchical clustering analysis identified five main clinical categories: (1) severe multisystemic failure with either thromboembolic or pancreatic variant; (2) cytokine storm type, either severe with liver involvement or moderate; (3) moderate heart type, either with or without liver damage; (4) moderate multisystemic involvement, either with or without liver damage; (5) mild, either with or without hyposmia. GCB and GCPR are further linked to the GCGDR, which includes data from whole-exome sequencing and high-density SNP genotyping. The data are available for sharing through the Network for Italian Genomes, found within the COVID-19 dedicated section. The study objective is to systematize this comprehensive data collection and begin identifying multi-organ involvement in COVID-19, defining genetic parameters for infection susceptibility within the population, and mapping genetically COVID-19 severity and clinical complexity among patients.


Subject(s)
Biological Specimen Banks , COVID-19/genetics , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Registries , SARS-CoV-2 , Specimen Handling , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male
18.
PLoS One ; 15(11): e0242534, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934336

ABSTRACT

Clinical and molecular characterization by Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) is reported in 35 COVID-19 patients attending the University Hospital in Siena, Italy, from April 7 to May 7, 2020. Eighty percent of patients required respiratory assistance, half of them being on mechanical ventilation. Fiftyone percent had hepatic involvement and hyposmia was ascertained in 3 patients. Searching for common genes by collapsing methods against 150 WES of controls of the Italian population failed to give straightforward statistically significant results with the exception of two genes. This result is not unexpected since we are facing the most challenging common disorder triggered by environmental factors with a strong underlying heritability (50%). The lesson learned from Autism-Spectrum-Disorders prompted us to re-analyse the cohort treating each patient as an independent case, following a Mendelian-like model. We identified for each patient an average of 2.5 pathogenic mutations involved in virus infection susceptibility and pinpointing to one or more rare disorder(s). To our knowledge, this is the first report on WES and COVID-19. Our results suggest a combined model for COVID-19 susceptibility with a number of common susceptibility genes which represent the favorite background in which additional host private mutations may determine disease progression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Whole Exome Sequencing , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis
20.
Eur J Hum Genet ; 28(11): 1602-1614, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-650252

ABSTRACT

In December 2019, an initial cluster of interstitial bilateral pneumonia emerged in Wuhan, China. A human-to-human transmission was assumed and a previously unrecognized entity, termed coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) due to a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was described. The infection has rapidly spread out all over the world and Italy has been the first European country experiencing the endemic wave with unexpected clinical severity in comparison with Asian countries. It has been shown that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as host receptor and host proteases for cell surface binding and internalization. Thus, a predisposing genetic background can give reason for interindividual disease susceptibility and/or severity. Taking advantage of the Network of Italian Genomes (NIG), here we mined whole-exome sequencing data of 6930 Italian control individuals from five different centers looking for ACE2 variants. A number of variants with a potential impact on protein stability were identified. Among these, three more common missense changes, p.(Asn720Asp), p.(Lys26Arg), and p.(Gly211Arg) were predicted to interfere with protein structure and stabilization. Rare variants likely interfering with the internalization process, namely p.(Leu351Val) and p.(Pro389His), predicted to interfere with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding, were also observed. Comparison of ACE2 WES data between a cohort of 131 patients and 258 controls allowed identifying a statistically significant (P value < 0.029) higher allelic variability in controls compared with patients. These findings suggest that a predisposing genetic background may contribute to the observed interindividual clinical variability associated with COVID-19, allowing an evidence-based risk assessment leading to personalized preventive measures and therapeutic options.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Databases, Genetic , Female , Frameshift Mutation , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation, Missense , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Stability , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Whole Exome Sequencing
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