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1.
JCI Insight ; 7(11)2022 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1892019

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has been confirmed in over 450 million confirmed cases since 2019. Although several vaccines have been certified by the WHO and people are being vaccinated on a global scale, it has been reported that multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants can escape neutralization by antibodies, resulting in vaccine breakthrough infections. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is known to induce heterologous protection based on trained immune responses. Here, we investigated whether BCG-induced trained immunity protected against SARS-CoV-2 in the K18-hACE2 mouse model. Our data demonstrate that i.v. BCG (BCG-i.v.) vaccination induces robust trained innate immune responses and provides protection against WT SARS-CoV-2, as well as the B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants. Further studies suggest that myeloid cell differentiation and activation of the glycolysis pathway are associated with BCG-induced training immunity in K18-hACE2 mice. Overall, our study provides the experimental evidence that establishes a causal relationship between BCG-i.v. vaccination and protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , BCG Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Melphalan , Mice , gamma-Globulins
2.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(5): 716-725, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852420

ABSTRACT

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to cause waves of new infections globally. Developing effective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants is an urgent task. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive drug target because of its central role in viral replication and its conservation among variants. We herein report a series of potent α-ketoamide-containing Mpro inhibitors obtained using the Ugi four-component reaction. The prioritized compound, Y180, showed an IC50 of 8.1 nM against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and had oral bioavailability of 92.9%, 31.9% and 85.7% in mice, rats and dogs, respectively. Y180 protected against wild-type SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and P.3 (Theta), with EC50 of 11.4, 20.3, 34.4 and 23.7 nM, respectively. Oral treatment with Y180 displayed a remarkable antiviral potency and substantially ameliorated the virus-induced tissue damage in both nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-infected K18-human ACE2 (K18-hACE2) transgenic mice. Therapeutic treatment with Y180 improved the survival of mice from 0 to 44.4% (P = 0.0086) upon B.1.617.1 infection in the lethal infection model. Importantly, Y180 was also highly effective against the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant both in vitro and in vivo. Overall, our study provides a promising lead compound for oral drug development against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Dogs , Humans , Mice , Rats
3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324830

ABSTRACT

Highly pathogenic coronaviruses including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) 1,2 , Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 3,4 , and SARS-CoV-1 5 vary in their transmissibility and pathogenicity. However, infection by all three viruses result in substantial apoptosis in cell culture 6-8 and in patient samples 9-11 , suggesting a potential link between apoptosis and the pathogenesis of coronaviruses. To date, the underlying mechanism of how apoptosis modulates coronavirus pathogenesis is unknown. Here we show that a cysteine-aspartic protease of the apoptosis cascade, caspase-6, serves as an essential host factor for efficient coronavirus replication. We demonstrate that caspase-6 cleaves coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) proteins, generating N fragments that serve as interferon (IFN) antagonists, thus facilitating virus replication. Inhibition of caspase-6 substantially attenuates the lung pathology and body weight loss of SARS-CoV-2-infected golden Syrian hamsters and improves the survival of mouse-adapted MERS-CoV (MERS-CoV MA )-infected human DPP4 knock-in (hDPP4 KI) mice. Overall, our study reveals how coronaviruses exploit a component of the host apoptosis cascade to facilitate their replication. These results further suggest caspase-6 as a potential target of intervention for the treatment of highly pathogenic coronavirus infections including COVID-19 and MERS.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321467

ABSTRACT

Mice are not susceptible to wildtype SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3 contain mutations in spike, which have been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that they may have evolved to expand species tropism to rodents. Here, we investigated the capacity of B.1.1.7 and other emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mouse (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Our results show that B.1.1.7 and P.3, but not B.1 or wildtype SARS-CoV-2, can utilize mouse and rat ACE2 for virus entry in vitro. High infectious virus titers, abundant viral antigen expression, and pathological changes are detected in the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice and rats. Together, these results reveal that the current predominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to rodents.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316481

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses have repeatedly crossed species barriers to cause epidemics 1 . “Pan-coronavirus” antivirals targeting conserved viral components involved in coronavirus replication, such as the extensively glycosylated spike protein, can be designed. Here we show that the rationally engineered H84T-banana lectin (H84T-BanLec), which specifically recognizes high-mannose found on viral proteins but seldom on healthy human cells 2 , potently inhibits the highly virulent MERS-CoV, pandemic SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, and other human-pathogenic coronaviruses at nanomolar concentrations. MERS-CoV-infected human DPP4-transgenic mice treated by H84T-BanLec have significantly higher survival, lower viral burden, and reduced pulmonary damage. Similarly, prophylactic or therapeutic H84T-BanLec is effective against SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters. Importantly, intranasally and intraperitoneally administered H84T-BanLec are comparably effective. Time-of-drug-addition assay shows that H84T-BanLec targets virus entry. Real-time structural analysis with high-speed atomic force microscopy depicts multi-molecular associations of H84T-BanLec dimers with the SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer. Single-molecule force spectroscopy demonstrates binding of H84T-BanLec to multiple SARS-CoV-2 spike mannose sites with high affinity, and that H84T-BanLec competes with SARS-CoV-2 spike for binding to cellular ACE2. Modelling experiments identify distinct high-mannose glycans in spike recognized by H84T-BanLec. The multiple H84T-BanLec binding sites on spike likely account for the activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants and the lack of resistant mutants. The broad-spectrum H84T-BanLec should be clinically evaluated in respiratory viral infections including COVID-19.

6.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has affected over 9 million patients with more than 460,000 deaths in about 6 months. Understanding the factors that contribute to efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cells, which are not previously reported, may provide insights on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and pathogenesis, and reveal targets of intervention. Here, we reported key host and viral determinants that were essential for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human lung. First, we identified heparan sulfate as an important attachment factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Second, we demonstrated that while cell surface sialic acids significantly restricted SARS-CoV infection, SARS-CoV-2 could largely overcome sialic acid-mediated restriction in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissue explants. Third, we demonstrated that the inserted furin-like cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 spike was required for efficient virus replication in human lung but not intestine tissues. Overall, these findings contributed to our understanding on efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lungs.

7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 519-531, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642257

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACTHost circular RNAs (circRNAs) play critical roles in the pathogenesis of viral infections. However, how viruses modulate the biogenesis of host proviral circRNAs to facilitate their replication remains unclear. We have recently shown that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection increases co-expression of circRNAs and their cognate messenger RNAs (mRNAs), possibly by hijacking specific host RNA binding proteins (RBPs). In this study, we systemically analysed the interactions between the representative circRNA-mRNA pairs upregulated upon MERS-CoV infection and host RBPs. Our analysis identified heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C) as a key host factor that governed the expression of numerous MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs, including hsa_circ_0002846, hsa_circ_0002061, and hsa_circ_0004445. RNA immunoprecipitation assay showed that hnRNP C could bind physically to these circRNAs. Specific knockdown of hnRNP C by small interfering RNA significantly (P < 0.05 to P < 0.0001) suppressed MERS-CoV replication in human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3) and human small airway epithelial (HSAEC) cells. Both MERS-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection increased the total and phosphorylated forms of hnRNP C to activate the downstream CRK-mTOR pathway. Treatment of MERS-CoV- (IC50: 0.618 µM) or SARS-CoV-2-infected (IC50: 1.233 µM) Calu-3 cells with the mTOR inhibitor OSI-027 resulted in significantly reduced viral loads. Collectively, our study identified hnRNP C as a key regulator of MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs and their cognate mRNAs, and the potential of targeting hnRNP C-related signalling pathways as an anticoronaviral strategy.


Subject(s)
Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , RNA, Circular/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication , COVID-19 , Cognition , Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C/genetics , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
8.
Nature ; 603(7902): 693-699, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1641975

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 emerged in November 2021 and is rapidly spreading among the human population1. Although recent reports reveal that the Omicron variant robustly escapes vaccine-associated and therapeutic neutralization antibodies2-10, the pathogenicity of the virus remains unknown. Here we show that the replication of Omicron is substantially attenuated in human Calu3 and Caco2 cells. Further mechanistic investigations reveal that Omicron is inefficient in its use of transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) compared with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (HKU-001a) and previous variants, which may explain its reduced replication in Calu3 and Caco2 cells. The replication of Omicron is markedly attenuated in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of infected K18-hACE2 mice compared with that of the wild-type strain and Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, resulting in its substantially ameliorated lung pathology. Compared with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (1.351) and Delta variants, infection by Omicron causes the lowest reduction in body weight and the lowest mortality rate. Overall, our study demonstrates that the replication and pathogenicity of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in mice is attenuated compared with the wild-type strain and other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Caco-2 Cells , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virulence
9.
EBioMedicine ; 73: 103643, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482542

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Wildtype mice are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3, contain mutations in spike that has been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that these SARS-CoV-2 variants may have evolved to expand species tropism to wildtype mouse and potentially other murines. Our study evaluated this possibility with substantial public health importance. METHODS: We investigated the capacity of wildtype (WT) SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Susceptibility to infection was evaluated with RT-qPCR, plaque assays, immunohistological stainings, and neutralization assays. FINDINGS: Our results reveal that B.1.1.7 and other N501Y-carrying variants but not WT SARS-CoV-2 can infect wildtype mice. High viral genome copies and high infectious virus particle titres are recovered from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice for 4-to-7 days post infection. In agreement with these observations, robust expression of viral nucleocapsid protein and histopathological changes are detected from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice but not that of the WT SARS-CoV-2-inoculated mice. Similarly, B.1.1.7 readily infects wildtype rats with production of infectious virus particles. INTERPRETATION: Our study provides direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, as well as other N501Y-carrying variants including B.1.351 and P.3, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to murines and public health measures including stringent murine control should be implemented to facilitate the control of the ongoing pandemic. FUNDING: A full list of funding bodies that contributed to this study can be found in the Acknowledgements section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Tropism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Turbinates/pathology , Turbinates/virology , Virus Internalization
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 134, 2021 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387323

ABSTRACT

Understanding the factors that contribute to efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cells may provide insights on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and pathogenesis, and reveal targets of intervention. Here, we analyze host and viral determinants essential for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissues. We identify heparan sulfate as an important attachment factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Next, we show that sialic acids present on ACE2 prevent efficient spike/ACE2-interaction. While SARS-CoV infection is substantially limited by the sialic acid-mediated restriction in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissues, infection by SARS-CoV-2 is limited to a lesser extent. We further demonstrate that the furin-like cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 spike is required for efficient virus replication in human lung but not intestinal tissues. These findings provide insights on the efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lungs.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/transmission , Sialic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Furin/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Heparitin Sulfate/metabolism , Humans , Intestinal Mucosa/metabolism , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/pathology , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication/physiology
11.
Sci Adv ; 7(25)2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276873

ABSTRACT

Infection by highly pathogenic coronaviruses results in substantial apoptosis. However, the physiological relevance of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of coronavirus infections is unknown. Here, with a combination of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, we demonstrated that protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) signaling mediated the proapoptotic signals in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, which converged in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Inhibiting PERK signaling or intrinsic apoptosis both alleviated MERS pathogenesis in vivo. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and SARS-CoV induced apoptosis through distinct mechanisms but inhibition of intrinsic apoptosis similarly limited SARS-CoV-2- and SARS-CoV-induced apoptosis in vitro and markedly ameliorated the lung damage of SARS-CoV-2-inoculated human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) mice. Collectively, our study provides the first evidence that virus-induced apoptosis is an important disease determinant of highly pathogenic coronaviruses and demonstrates that this process can be targeted to attenuate disease severity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , eIF-2 Kinase/metabolism , Adenine/analogs & derivatives , Adenine/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Apoptosis/physiology , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/etiology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Indoles/pharmacology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Transgenic , eIF-2 Kinase/antagonists & inhibitors , eIF-2 Kinase/genetics
12.
Lancet Microbe ; 1(1): e14-e23, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087358

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was reported from China in January, 2020. SARS-CoV-2 is efficiently transmitted from person to person and, in 2 months, has caused more than 82 000 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 2800 deaths in 46 countries. The total number of cases and deaths has surpassed that of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Although both COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) manifest as pneumonia, COVID-19 is associated with apparently more efficient transmission, fewer cases of diarrhoea, increased mental confusion, and a lower crude fatality rate. However, the underlying virus-host interactive characteristics conferring these observations on transmissibility and clinical manifestations of COVID-19 remain unknown. METHODS: We systematically investigated the cellular susceptibility, species tropism, replication kinetics, and cell damage of SARS-CoV-2 and compared findings with those for SARS-CoV. We compared SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV replication in different cell lines with one-way ANOVA. For the area under the curve comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV replication in Calu3 (pulmonary) and Caco2 (intestinal) cells, we used Student's t test. We analysed cell damage induced by SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV with one-way ANOVA. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 infected and replicated to comparable levels in human Caco2 cells and Calu3 cells over a period of 120 h (p=0·52). By contrast, SARS-CoV infected and replicated more efficiently in Caco2 cells than in Calu3 cells under the same multiplicity of infection (p=0·0098). SARS-CoV-2, but not SARS-CoV, replicated modestly in U251 (neuronal) cells (p=0·036). For animal species cell tropism, both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 replicated in non-human primate, cat, rabbit, and pig cells. SARS-CoV, but not SARS-CoV-2, infected and replicated in Rhinolophus sinicus bat kidney cells. SARS-CoV-2 consistently induced significantly delayed and milder levels of cell damage than did SARS-CoV in non-human primate cells (VeroE6, p=0·016; FRhK4, p=0·0004). INTERPRETATION: As far as we know, our study presents the first quantitative data for tropism, replication kinetics, and cell damage of SARS-CoV-2. These data provide novel insights into the lower incidence of diarrhoea, decreased disease severity, and reduced mortality in patients with COVID-19, with respect to the pathogenesis and high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 compared with SARS-CoV. FUNDING: May Tam Mak Mei Yin, The Shaw Foundation Hong Kong, Richard Yu and Carol Yu, Michael Seak-Kan Tong, Respiratory Viral Research Foundation, Hui Ming, Hui Hoy and Chow Sin Lan Charity Fund, Chan Yin Chuen Memorial Charitable Foundation, Marina Man-Wai Lee, The Hong Kong Hainan Commercial Association South China Microbiology Research Fund, The Jessie & George Ho Charitable Foundation, Perfect Shape Medical, The Consultancy Service for Enhancing Laboratory Surveillance of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Research Capability on Antimicrobial Resistance for the Department of Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, The Theme-Based Research Scheme of the Research Grants Council, Sanming Project of Medicine in Shenzhen, and The High Level-Hospital Program, Health Commission of Guangdong Province, China.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS Virus , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Diarrhea , Humans , Kinetics , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2 , Swine , Tropism
13.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 2663-2672, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-919316

ABSTRACT

Rapid accumulation of viral proteins in host cells render viruses highly dependent on cellular chaperones including heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90). Three highly pathogenic human coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, have emerged in the past 2 decades. However, there is no approved antiviral agent against these coronaviruses. We inspected the role of Hsp90 for coronavirus propagation. First, an Hsp90 inhibitor, 17-AAG, significantly suppressed MERS-CoV propagation in cell lines and physiological-relevant human intestinal organoids. Second, siRNA depletion of Hsp90ß, but not Hsp90α, significantly restricted MERS-CoV replication and abolished virus spread. Third, Hsp90ß interaction with MERS-CoV nucleoprotein (NP) was revealed in a co-immunoprecipitation assay. Hsp90ß is required to maintain NP stability. Fourth, 17-AAG substantially inhibited the propagation of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Collectively, Hsp90 is a host dependency factor for human coronavirus MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-COV-2. Hsp90 inhibitors can be repurposed as a potent and broad-spectrum antiviral against human coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzoquinones/pharmacology , HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/drug effects , Lactams, Macrocyclic/pharmacology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Intestines/virology , Organ Culture Techniques , RNA, Small Interfering , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 11(3): 771-781, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808973

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Besides prominent respiratory involvement, gastrointestinal manifestations are commonly reported in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. We compared infection of ex vivo human intestinal tissues by SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV with respect to their replication kinetics and immune activation profile. METHODS: Human intestinal tissues were obtained from patients while undergoing surgical operations at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. Upon surgical removal, the tissues were immediately processed and infected with SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV. Replication kinetics were determined with immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, and plaque assays. Immune activation in the infected intestinal tissues was assessed by detecting the gene expression of interferons and representative pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 could infect and productively replicate in the ex vivo human intestinal tissues with release of infectious virus particles, but not in ex vivo human liver and kidney tissues. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 replicated less efficiently than SARS-CoV, induced less cytopathology in the human intestinal epithelium, and induced a more robust innate immune response including the activation of both type I and type III interferons, than SARS-CoV in human intestinal tissues. CONCLUSION: Using the ex vivo human intestinal tissues as a physiologically relevant model, our data indicated that SARS-CoV-2 could productively replicate in the human gut and suggested that the gastrointestinal tract might serve as an alternative route of virus dissemination. SARS-CoV-2 replicated less efficiently and induced less cytopathology than SARS-CoV in keeping with the clinical observations reported for COVID-19 and SARS, which might be the result of a more robust immune activation by SARS-CoV-2 than SARS-CoV in the human intestine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Intestinal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Male , Middle Aged , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , Virus Replication/immunology , Virus Replication/physiology
15.
J Infect Dis ; 222(5): 734-745, 2020 08 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-711823

ABSTRACT

Clinical manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vary from asymptomatic virus shedding, nonspecific pharyngitis, to pneumonia with silent hypoxia and respiratory failure. Dendritic cells and macrophages are sentinel cells for innate and adaptive immunity that affect the pathogenesis of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The interplay between SARS-CoV-2 and these cell types remains unknown. We investigated infection and host responses of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) and macrophages (MDMs) infected by SARS-CoV-2. MoDCs and MDMs were permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection and protein expression but did not support productive virus replication. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 launched an attenuated interferon response in both cell types and triggered significant proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine expression in MDMs but not moDCs. Investigations suggested that this attenuated immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in moDCs was associated with viral antagonism of STAT1 phosphorylation. These findings may explain the mild and insidious course of COVID-19 until late deterioration.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , STAT1 Transcription Factor/antagonists & inhibitors , Adaptive Immunity , Animals , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Chemokines/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/metabolism , Dendritic Cells/metabolism , Dendritic Cells/virology , Humans , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/virology , Monocytes/virology , Pandemics , Phosphorylation , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , STAT1 Transcription Factor/immunology , STAT1 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/physiology , Virus Shedding
16.
J Infect ; 81(4): e1-e10, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-665494

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Respiratory and intestinal tract are two primary target organs of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, detailed characterization of the host-virus interplay in infected human lung and intestinal epithelial cells is lacking. METHODS: We utilized immunofluorescence assays, flow cytometry, and RT-qPCR to delineate the virological features and the innate immune response of the host cells against SARS-CoV-2 infection in two prototype human cell lines representing the human lung (Calu3) and intestinal (Caco2) epithelium when compared with SARS-CoV. RESULTS: Lung epithelial cells were significantly more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 compared to SARS-CoV. However, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced an attenuated pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines induction and type I and type II IFN responses. A single dose of 10 U/mL interferon-ß (IFNß) pretreatment potently protected both Calu3 and Caco2 against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Interestingly, SARS-CoV-2 was more sensitive to the pretreatment with IFNß and IFN inducer than SARS-CoV in Calu3. CONCLUSIONS: Despite robust infection in both human lung and intestinal epithelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 could attenuate the virus-induced pro-inflammatory response and IFN response. Pre-activation of the type I IFN signaling pathway primed a highly efficient antiviral response in the host against SARS-CoV-2 infection, which could serve as a potential therapeutic and prophylactic maneuver to COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Interferon Inducers/pharmacology , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Intestinal Mucosa/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line, Tumor , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Lung/immunology , Pandemics , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(6): 1400-1409, 2020 09 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-47605

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging coronavirus that has resulted in more than 2 000 000 laboratory-confirmed cases including over 145 000 deaths. Although SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share a number of common clinical manifestations, SARS-CoV-2 appears to be highly efficient in person-to-person transmission and frequently causes asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. However, the underlying mechanisms that confer these viral characteristics of high transmissibility and asymptomatic infection remain incompletely understood. METHODS: We comprehensively investigated the replication, cell tropism, and immune activation profile of SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung tissues with SARS-CoV included as a comparison. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infected and replicated in human lung tissues more efficiently than SARS-CoV. Within the 48-hour interval, SARS-CoV-2 generated 3.20-fold more infectious virus particles than did SARS-CoV from the infected lung tissues (P < .024). SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV were similar in cell tropism, with both targeting types I and II pneumocytes and alveolar macrophages. Importantly, despite the more efficient virus replication, SARS-CoV-2 did not significantly induce types I, II, or III interferons in the infected human lung tissues. In addition, while SARS-CoV infection upregulated the expression of 11 out of 13 (84.62%) representative proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, SARS-CoV-2 infection only upregulated 5 of these 13 (38.46%) key inflammatory mediators despite replicating more efficiently. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides the first quantitative data on the comparative replication capacity and immune activation profile of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infection in human lung tissues. Our results provide important insights into the pathogenesis, high transmissibility, and asymptomatic infection of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS Virus/physiology , Virus Replication/immunology , COVID-19 , Chemokines/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Humans , Interferons/immunology , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 733-746, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-42285

ABSTRACT

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are an integral component of the host competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network. These noncoding RNAs are characterized by their unique splicing reactions to form covalently closed loop structures and play important RNA regulatory roles in cells. Recent studies showed that circRNA expressions were perturbed in viral infections and circRNAs might serve as potential antiviral targets. We investigated the host ceRNA network changes and biological relevance of circRNAs in human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial (Calu-3) cells infected with the highly pathogenic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). A total of ≥49337 putative circRNAs were predicted. Among the 7845 genes which generated putative circRNAs, 147 (1.9%) of them each generated ≥30 putative circRNAs and were involved in various biological, cellular, and metabolic processes, including viral infections. Differential expression (DE) analysis showed that the proportion of DE circRNAs significantly (P < 0.001) increased at 24 h-post infection. These DE circRNAs were clustered into 4 groups according to their time-course expression patterns and demonstrated inter-cluster and intra-cluster variations in the predicted functions of their host genes. Our comprehensive circRNA-miRNA-mRNA network identified 7 key DE circRNAs involved in various biological processes upon MERS-CoV infection. Specific siRNA knockdown of two selected DE circRNAs (circFNDC3B and circCNOT1) significantly reduced MERS-CoV load and their target mRNA expression which modulates various biological pathways, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and ubiquitination pathways. These results provided novel insights into the ceRNA network perturbations, biological relevance of circRNAs, and potential host-targeting antiviral strategies for MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
MicroRNAs/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , RNA, Circular/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Virus Replication , Cell Line, Tumor , Gene Expression , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Regulatory Networks , Humans , MicroRNAs/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , RNA Interference , RNA, Circular/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering , Transcription, Genetic
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