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1.
PLoS Biol ; 20(11): e3001871, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119367

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological data demonstrate that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) Alpha and Delta are more transmissible, infectious, and pathogenic than previous variants. Phenotypic properties of VOC remain understudied. Here, we provide an extensive functional study of VOC Alpha replication and cell entry phenotypes assisted by reverse genetics, mutational mapping of spike in lentiviral pseudotypes, viral and cellular gene expression studies, and infectivity stability assays in an enhanced range of cell and epithelial culture models. In almost all models, VOC Alpha spread less or equally efficiently as ancestral (B.1) SARS-CoV-2. B.1. and VOC Alpha shared similar susceptibility to serum neutralization. Despite increased relative abundance of specific sgRNAs in the context of VOC Alpha infection, immune gene expression in infected cells did not differ between VOC Alpha and B.1. However, inferior spreading and entry efficiencies of VOC Alpha corresponded to lower abundance of proteolytically cleaved spike products presumably linked to the T716I mutation. In addition, we identified a bronchial cell line, NCI-H1299, which supported 24-fold increased growth of VOC Alpha and is to our knowledge the only cell line to recapitulate the fitness advantage of VOC Alpha compared to B.1. Interestingly, also VOC Delta showed a strong (595-fold) fitness advantage over B.1 in these cells. Comparative analysis of chimeric viruses expressing VOC Alpha spike in the backbone of B.1, and vice versa, showed that the specific replication phenotype of VOC Alpha in NCI-H1299 cells is largely determined by its spike protein. Despite undetectable ACE2 protein expression in NCI-H1299 cells, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out and antibody-mediated blocking experiments revealed that multicycle spread of B.1 and VOC Alpha required ACE2 expression. Interestingly, entry of VOC Alpha, as opposed to B.1 virions, was largely unaffected by treatment with exogenous trypsin or saliva prior to infection, suggesting enhanced resistance of VOC Alpha spike to premature proteolytic cleavage in the extracellular environment of the human respiratory tract. This property may result in delayed degradation of VOC Alpha particle infectivity in conditions typical of mucosal fluids of the upper respiratory tract that may be recapitulated in NCI-H1299 cells closer than in highly ACE2-expressing cell lines and models. Our study highlights the importance of cell model evaluation and comparison for in-depth characterization of virus variant-specific phenotypes and uncovers a fine-tuned interrelationship between VOC Alpha- and host cell-specific determinants that may underlie the increased and prolonged virus shedding detected in patients infected with VOC Alpha.

2.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2073604

ABSTRACT

Ectonucleotidases modulate inflammatory responses by balancing extracellular ATP and adenosine (ADO) and might be involved in COVID-19 immunopathogenesis. Here, we explored the contribution of extracellular nucleotide metabolism to COVID-19 severity in mild and severe cases of the disease. We verified that the gene expression of ectonucleotidases is reduced in the whole blood of patients with COVID-19 and is negatively correlated to levels of CRP, an inflammatory marker of disease severity. In line with these findings, COVID-19 patients present higher ATP levels in plasma and reduced levels of ADO when compared to healthy controls. Cell type-specific analysis revealed higher frequencies of CD39+ T cells in severely ill patients, while CD4+ and CD8+ expressing CD73 are reduced in this same group. The frequency of B cells CD39+CD73+ is also decreased during acute COVID-19. Interestingly, B cells from COVID-19 patients showed a reduced capacity to hydrolyze ATP into ADP and ADO. Furthermore, impaired expression of ADO receptors and a compromised activation of its signaling pathway is observed in COVID-19 patients. The presence of ADO in vitro, however, suppressed inflammatory responses triggered in patients’ cells. In summary, our findings support the idea that alterations in the metabolism of extracellular purines contribute to immune dysregulation during COVID-19, possibly favoring disease severity, and suggest that ADO may be a therapeutic approach for the disease.

3.
Mol Syst Biol ; 18(8): e10961, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1994617

ABSTRACT

Cell-intrinsic responses mounted in PBMCs during mild and severe COVID-19 differ quantitatively and qualitatively. Whether they are triggered by signals emitted by productively infected cells of the respiratory tract or result from physical interaction with virus particles remains unclear. Here, we analyzed susceptibility and expression profiles of PBMCs from healthy donors upon ex vivo exposure to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In line with the absence of detectable ACE2 receptor expression, human PBMCs were refractory to productive infection. RT-PCR experiments and single-cell RNA sequencing revealed JAK/STAT-dependent induction of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) but not proinflammatory cytokines. This SARS-CoV-2-specific response was most pronounced in monocytes. SARS-CoV-2-RNA-positive monocytes displayed a lower ISG signature as compared to bystander cells of the identical culture. This suggests a preferential invasion of cells with a low ISG baseline profile or delivery of a SARS-CoV-2-specific sensing antagonist upon efficient particle internalization. Together, nonproductive physical interaction of PBMCs with SARS-CoV-2- and, to a much lesser extent, SARS-CoV particles stimulate JAK/STAT-dependent, monocyte-accentuated innate immune responses that resemble those detected in vivo in patients with mild COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS Virus , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferons , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Cell Rep ; 40(7): 111214, 2022 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966424

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD) is a severe complication for some respiratory infections. To investigate the potential for VAERD induction in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we evaluate two vaccine leads utilizing a severe hamster infection model: a T helper type 1 (TH1)-biased measles vaccine-derived candidate and a TH2-biased alum-adjuvanted, non-stabilized spike protein. The measles virus (MeV)-derived vaccine protects the animals, but the protein lead induces VAERD, which can be alleviated by dexamethasone treatment. Bulk transcriptomic analysis reveals that our protein vaccine prepares enhanced host gene dysregulation in the lung, exclusively up-regulating mRNAs encoding the eosinophil attractant CCL-11, TH2-driving interleukin (IL)-19, or TH2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) identifies lung macrophages or lymphoid cells as sources, respectively. Our findings imply that VAERD is caused by the concerted action of hyperstimulated macrophages and TH2 cytokine-secreting lymphoid cells and potentially links VAERD to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). In summary, we identify the cytokine drivers and cellular contributors that mediate VAERD after TH2-biased vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , Cricetinae , Cytokines/metabolism , Immunization , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Th1 Cells , Th2 Cells , Vaccination
5.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(6): 1111-1129, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1942304

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Six to 19% of critically ill COVID-19 patients display circulating auto-antibodies against type I interferons (IFN-AABs). Here, we establish a clinically applicable strategy for early identification of IFN-AAB-positive patients for potential subsequent clinical interventions. METHODS: We analyzed sera of 430 COVID-19 patients from four hospitals for presence of IFN-AABs by ELISA. Binding specificity and neutralizing activity were evaluated via competition assay and virus-infection-based neutralization assay. We defined clinical parameters associated with IFN-AAB positivity. In a subgroup of critically ill patients, we analyzed effects of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) on the levels of IFN-AABs, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and clinical outcome. RESULTS: The prevalence of neutralizing AABs to IFN-α and IFN-ω in COVID-19 patients from all cohorts was 4.2% (18/430), while being undetectable in an uninfected control cohort. Neutralizing IFN-AABs were detectable exclusively in critically affected (max. WHO score 6-8), predominantly male (83%) patients (7.6%, 18/237 for IFN-α-AABs and 4.6%, 11/237 for IFN-ω-AABs in 237 patients with critical COVID-19). IFN-AABs were present early post-symptom onset and at the peak of disease. Fever and oxygen requirement at hospital admission co-presented with neutralizing IFN-AAB positivity. IFN-AABs were associated with lower probability of survival (7.7% versus 80.9% in patients without IFN-AABs). TPE reduced levels of IFN-AABs in three of five patients and may increase survival of IFN-AAB-positive patients compared to those not undergoing TPE. CONCLUSION: IFN-AABs may serve as early biomarker for the development of severe COVID-19. We propose to implement routine screening of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for rapid identification of patients with IFN-AABs who most likely benefit from specific therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Autoantibodies , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Interferon-alpha/therapeutic use , Male , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Eur Respir J ; 2022 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902346

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as cellular entry receptor. However, whether SARS-CoV-2 in the alveolar compartment is strictly ACE2-dependent and to what extent virus-induced tissue damage and/or direct immune activation determines early pathogenesis is still elusive. METHODS: Spectral microscopy, single-cell/-nucleus RNA sequencing or ACE2 'gain-of-function' experiments were applied on infected human lung explants and adult stem cell-derived human lung organoids to correlate ACE2 and related host factors with SARS-CoV-2 tropism, propagation, virulence and immune activation compared to SARS-CoV, influenza and MERS-CoV. COVID-19 autopsy material was used to validate ex vivo results. RESULTS: We provide evidence that alveolar ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation and virus-induced tissue damage in the human alveolus. Instead, ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples showed that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2. Single-cell/-nucleus transcriptomics further revealed non-productive virus uptake and a related inflammatory and anti-viral activation, especially in 'inflammatory alveolar macrophages', comparable to those induced by SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV but different from NL63 or influenza virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from a macrophage triggered immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.

7.
mBio ; 13(3): e0073122, 2022 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865140

ABSTRACT

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthritogenic reemerging virus replicating in plasma membrane-derived compartments termed "spherules." Here, we identify the human transmembrane protein CD81 as host factor required for CHIKV replication. Ablation of CD81 results in decreased CHIKV permissiveness, while overexpression enhances infection. CD81 is dispensable for virus uptake but critically required for viral genome replication. Likewise, murine CD81 is crucial for CHIKV permissiveness and is expressed in target cells such as dermal fibroblasts, muscle and liver cells. Whereas related alphaviruses, including Ross River virus (RRV), Semliki Forest virus (SFV), Sindbis virus (SINV) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), also depend on CD81 for infection, RNA viruses from other families, such as coronaviruses, replicate independently of CD81. Strikingly, the replication-enhancing function of CD81 is linked to cholesterol binding. These results define a mechanism exploited by alphaviruses to hijack the membrane microdomain-modeling protein CD81 for virus replication through interaction with cholesterol. IMPORTANCE In this study, we discover the tetraspanin CD81 as a host factor for the globally emerging chikungunya virus and related alphaviruses. We show that CD81 promotes replication of viral genomes in human and mouse cells, while virus entry into cells is independent of CD81. This provides novel insights into how alphaviruses hijack host proteins to complete their life cycle. Alphaviruses replicate at distinct sites of the plasma membrane, which are enriched in cholesterol. We found that the cholesterol-binding ability of CD81 is important for its function as an alphavirus host factor. This discovery thus broadens our understanding of the alphavirus replication process and the use of host factors to reprogram cells into virus replication factories.


Subject(s)
Chikungunya Fever , Chikungunya virus , Viruses , Animals , Chikungunya virus/genetics , Cholesterol/metabolism , Humans , Mice , Tetraspanins/metabolism , Virus Replication/genetics , Viruses/metabolism
8.
mBio ; 13(3): e0036422, 2022 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807325

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) acquired mutations in the spike (S) protein, including E484K, that confer resistance to neutralizing antibodies. However, it is incompletely understood how these mutations impact viral entry into host cells. Here, we analyzed how mutations at position 484 that have been detected in COVID-19 patients impact cell entry and antibody-mediated neutralization. We report that mutation E484D markedly increased SARS-CoV-2 S-driven entry into the hepatoma cell line Huh-7 and the lung cell NCI-H1299 without augmenting ACE2 binding. Notably, mutation E484D largely rescued Huh-7 but not Vero cell entry from blockade by the neutralizing antibody Imdevimab and rendered Huh-7 cell entry ACE2-independent. These results suggest that the naturally occurring mutation E484D allows SARS-CoV-2 to employ an ACE2-independent mechanism for entry that is largely insensitive against Imdevimab, an antibody employed for COVID-19 therapy. IMPORTANCE The interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S) with the cellular receptor ACE2 is considered essential for infection and constitutes the key target for antibodies induced upon infection and vaccination. Here, using a surrogate system for viral entry, we provide evidence that a naturally occurring mutation can liberate SARS-CoV-2 from ACE2-dependence and that ACE2-independent entry may protect the virus from neutralization by an antibody used for COVID-19 therapy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Mutation , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
9.
Mol Ther ; 30(5): 1952-1965, 2022 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783847

ABSTRACT

For coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), effective and well-understood treatment options are still scarce. Since vaccine efficacy is challenged by novel variants, short-lasting immunity, and vaccine hesitancy, understanding and optimizing therapeutic options remains essential. We aimed at better understanding the effects of two standard-of-care drugs, dexamethasone and anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies, on infection and host responses. By using two COVID-19 hamster models, pulmonary immune responses were analyzed to characterize effects of single or combinatorial treatments. Pulmonary viral burden was reduced by anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment and unaltered or increased by dexamethasone alone. Dexamethasone exhibited strong anti-inflammatory effects and prevented fulminant disease in a severe disease model. Combination therapy showed additive benefits with both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory potency. Bulk and single-cell transcriptomic analyses confirmed dampened inflammatory cell recruitment into lungs upon dexamethasone treatment and identified a specifically responsive subpopulation of neutrophils, thereby indicating a potential mechanism of action. Our analyses confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of dexamethasone and suggest possible mechanisms, validate anti-viral effects of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment, and reveal synergistic effects of a combination therapy, thus informing more effective COVID-19 therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cricetinae , Dexamethasone/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome
10.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 2151-2168, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541485

ABSTRACT

Infection by (re-)emerging RNA arboviruses including Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Mayaro virus primarily cause acute febrile disease and transient polyarthralgia. However, in a significant subset of infected individuals, debilitating arthralgia persists for weeks over months up to years. The underlying immunopathogenesis of chronification of arthralgia upon primary RNA-viral infection remains unclear. Here, we analysed cell-intrinsic responses to ex vivo arthritogenic alphaviral infection of primary human synovial fibroblasts isolated from knee joints, one the most affected joint types during acute and chronic CHIKV disease. Synovial fibroblasts were susceptible and permissive to alphaviral infection. Base-line and exogenously added type I interferon (IFN) partially and potently restricted infection, respectively. RNA-seq revealed a CHIKV infection-induced transcriptional profile that comprised upregulation of expression of several hundred IFN-stimulated and arthralgia-mediating genes. Single-cell virus-inclusive RNA-seq uncovered a fine-tuned switch from induction to repression of cell-intrinsic immune responses depending on the abundance of viral RNA in an individual cell. Specifically, responses were most pronounced in cells displaying low-to-intermediate amounts of viral RNA and absence of virus-encoded, fluorescent reporter protein expression, arguing for efficient counteraction of innate immunity in cells expressing viral antagonists at sufficient quantities. In summary, cell-intrinsic sensing of viral RNA that potentially persists or replicates at low levels in synovial fibroblasts and other target cell types in vivo may contribute to the chronic arthralgia induced by alphaviral infections. Our findings might advance our understanding of the immunopathophysiology of long-term pathogenesis of RNA-viral infections.


Subject(s)
Arbovirus Infections/virology , Arboviruses/physiology , Arthralgia/virology , Immunity, Innate , RNA, Viral/genetics , Synovial Fluid/immunology , Arbovirus Infections/genetics , Arbovirus Infections/immunology , Arboviruses/genetics , Arthralgia/genetics , Arthralgia/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Fibroblasts/immunology , Fibroblasts/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis , Synovial Fluid/cytology , Virus Replication
11.
Cell ; 184(26): 6243-6261.e27, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536467

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4584, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387354

ABSTRACT

Interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs 1, 2 and 3) can restrict viral pathogens, but pro- and anti-viral activities have been reported for coronaviruses. Here, we show that artificial overexpression of IFITMs blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, endogenous IFITM expression supports efficient infection of SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells. Our results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein interacts with IFITMs and hijacks them for efficient viral infection. IFITM proteins were expressed and further induced by interferons in human lung, gut, heart and brain cells. IFITM-derived peptides and targeting antibodies inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in human lung cells, cardiomyocytes and gut organoids. Our results show that IFITM proteins are cofactors for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cell types representing in vivo targets for viral transmission, dissemination and pathogenesis and are potential targets for therapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antigens, Differentiation/genetics , Membrane Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antigens, Differentiation/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects
13.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4869, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354100

ABSTRACT

In COVID-19, immune responses are key in determining disease severity. However, cellular mechanisms at the onset of inflammatory lung injury in SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly involving endothelial cells, remain ill-defined. Using Syrian hamsters as a model for moderate COVID-19, we conduct a detailed longitudinal analysis of systemic and pulmonary cellular responses, and corroborate it with datasets from COVID-19 patients. Monocyte-derived macrophages in lungs exert the earliest and strongest transcriptional response to infection, including induction of pro-inflammatory genes, while epithelial cells show weak alterations. Without evidence for productive infection, endothelial cells react, depending on cell subtypes, by strong and early expression of anti-viral, pro-inflammatory, and T cell recruiting genes. Recruitment of cytotoxic T cells as well as emergence of IgM antibodies precede viral clearance at day 5 post infection. Investigating SARS-CoV-2 infected Syrian hamsters thus identifies cell type-specific effector functions, providing detailed insights into pathomechanisms of COVID-19 and informing therapeutic strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Inflammation , Lung/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , Mesocricetus , Monocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Toll-Like Receptors/immunology
14.
iScience ; 24(8): 102908, 2021 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330909

ABSTRACT

The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has created a significant threat to global health. While respiratory aerosols or droplets are considered as the main route of human-to-human transmission, secretions expelled by infected individuals can also contaminate surfaces and objects, potentially creating the risk of fomite-based transmission. Consequently, frequently touched objects such as paper currency and coins have been suspected as potential transmission vehicle. To assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by banknotes and coins, we examined the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and bovine coronavirus, as surrogate with lower biosafety restrictions, on these different means of payment and developed a touch transfer method to examine transfer efficiency from contaminated surfaces to fingertips. Although we observed prolonged virus stability, our results indicate that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via contaminated coins and banknotes is unlikely and requires high viral loads and a timely order of specific events.

15.
J Clin Invest ; 131(14)2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1311204

ABSTRACT

Autoantibodies against IFN-α and IFN-ω (type I IFNs) were recently reported as causative for severe COVID-19 in the general population. Autoantibodies against IFN-α and IFN-ω are present in almost all patients with autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS-1) caused by biallelic deleterious or heterozygous dominant mutations in AIRE. We therefore hypothesized that autoantibodies against type I IFNs also predispose patients with APS-1 to severe COVID-19. We prospectively studied 6 patients with APS-1 between April 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021. Biobanked pre-COVID-19 sera of APS-1 subjects were tested for neutralizing autoantibodies against IFN-α and IFN-ω. The ability of the patients' sera to block recombinant human IFN-α and IFN-ω was assessed by assays quantifying phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) as well as infection-based IFN-neutralization assays. We describe 4 patients with APS-1 and preexisting high titers of neutralizing autoantibodies against IFN-α and IFN-ω who contracted SARS-CoV-2, yet developed only mild symptoms of COVID-19. None of the patients developed dyspnea, oxygen requirement, or high temperature. All infected patients with APS-1 were females and younger than 26 years of age. Clinical penetrance of neutralizing autoantibodies against type I IFNs for severe COVID-19 is not complete.


Subject(s)
Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , Interferon Type I/antagonists & inhibitors , Interferon Type I/immunology , Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune/complications , Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Autoantibodies/blood , Female , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Interferon-alpha/antagonists & inhibitors , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Male , Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index , Transcription Factors/genetics , Virus Replication/immunology , Young Adult
16.
Lancet Microbe ; 2(5): e210-e218, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117258

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 agent, SARS-CoV-2, is conspecific with SARS-CoV, the causal agent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in 2002-03. Although the viruses share a completely homologous repertoire of proteins and use the same cellular entry receptor, their transmission efficiencies and pathogenetic traits differ. We aimed to compare interferon antagonism by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: For this functional study, we infected Vero E6 and Calu-3 cells with strains of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We studied differences in cell line-specific replication (Vero E6 vs Calu-3 cells) and analysed these differences in relation to TMPRSS2-dependent cell entry based on inhibition with the drug camostat mesilate. We evaluated viral sensitivity towards type I interferon treatment and assessed cytokine induction and type I interferon signalling in the host cells by RT-PCR and analysis of transcription factor activation and nuclear translocation. Based on reverse genetic engineering of SARS-CoV, we investigated the contribution of open reading frame 6 (ORF6) to the observed phenotypic differences in interferon signalling, because ORF6 encodes an interferon signalling antagonist. We did a luciferase-based interferon-stimulated response element promotor activation assay to evaluate the antagonistic capacity of SARS-CoV-2 wild-type ORF6 constructs and three mutants (Gln51Glu, Gln56Glu, or both) that represent amino acid substitutions between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 protein 6 in the carboxy-terminal domain. FINDINGS: Overall, replication was higher for SARS-CoV in Vero E6 cells and for SARS-CoV-2 in Calu-3 cells. SARS-CoV-2 was reliant on TMPRSS2, found only in Calu-3 cells, for more efficient entry. SARS-CoV-2 was more sensitive to interferon treatment, less efficient in suppressing cytokine induction via IRF3 nuclear translocation, and permissive of a higher level of induction of interferon-stimulated genes MX1 and ISG56. SARS-CoV-2 ORF6 expressed in the context of a fully replicating SARS-CoV backbone suppressed MX1 gene induction, but this suppression was less efficient than that by SARS-CoV ORF6. Mutagenesis showed that charged amino acids in residues 51 and 56 shift the phenotype towards more efficient interferon antagonism, as seen in SARS-CoV. INTERPRETATION: SARS-CoV-2 ORF6 interferes less efficiently with human interferon induction and interferon signalling than SARS-CoV ORF6. Because of the homology of the genes, onward selection for fitness could involve functional optimisation of interferon antagonism. Charged amino acids at positions 51 and 56 in ORF6 should be monitored for potential adaptive changes. FUNDING: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, EU RECOVER project.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , SARS Virus , Amino Acids/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Interferon Type I/genetics , Reverse Genetics , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/chemistry
17.
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
18.
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
19.
Cell ; 182(6): 1419-1440.e23, 2020 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-694631

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to moderate respiratory tract infection, however, a subset of patients progress to severe disease and respiratory failure. The mechanism of protective immunity in mild forms and the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 associated with increased neutrophil counts and dysregulated immune responses remain unclear. In a dual-center, two-cohort study, we combined single-cell RNA-sequencing and single-cell proteomics of whole-blood and peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to determine changes in immune cell composition and activation in mild versus severe COVID-19 (242 samples from 109 individuals) over time. HLA-DRhiCD11chi inflammatory monocytes with an interferon-stimulated gene signature were elevated in mild COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 was marked by occurrence of neutrophil precursors, as evidence of emergency myelopoiesis, dysfunctional mature neutrophils, and HLA-DRlo monocytes. Our study provides detailed insights into the systemic immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and reveals profound alterations in the myeloid cell compartment associated with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Myeloid Cells/immunology , Myelopoiesis , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adult , Aged , CD11 Antigens/genetics , CD11 Antigens/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/genetics , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myeloid Cells/cytology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Proteome/genetics , Proteome/metabolism , Proteomics , Single-Cell Analysis
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