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1.
Int J Biol Sci ; 18(12): 4714-4730, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1954691

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the biggest public health challenge the world has witnessed in the past decades. SARS-CoV-2 undergoes constant mutations and new variants of concerns (VOCs) with altered transmissibility, virulence, and/or susceptibility to vaccines and therapeutics continue to emerge. Detailed analysis of host factors involved in virus replication may help to identify novel treatment targets. In this study, we dissected the metabolome derived from COVID-19 patients to identify key host factors that are required for efficient SARS-CoV-2 replication. Through a series of metabolomic analyses, in vitro, and in vivo investigations, we identified ATP citrate lyase (ACLY) as a novel host factor required for efficient replication of SARS-CoV-2 wild-type and variants, including Omicron. ACLY should be further explored as a novel intervention target for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , ATP Citrate (pro-S)-Lyase , Humans , Pandemics , Virus Replication/genetics
2.
JCI Insight ; 7(11)2022 06 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
3.
Fa Yi Xue Za Zhi ; 37(6): 847-858, 2021 Dec 25.
Article in English, Chinese | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729047

ABSTRACT

Since the beginning of this century, three types of coronavirus have widely transmitted and caused severe diseases and deaths, which strongly indicates that severe infectious diseases caused by coronavirus infection are not accidental events. Coronavirus-infected diseases are mainly manifested by respiratory symptoms, with multiple organ dysfunctions. Precisely investigating the pathological process, characteristics and pathogenesis of coronavirus-infected diseases will be beneficial for us to understand clinical manifestations and provide targeted suggestions on prophylaxis and treatment. This paper briefly reviews the pathological findings of three known coronavirus-infected diseases, and attempts to construct the pathological spectrum of coronavirus-infected diseases, aiming to provide reference and thinking for autopsy, histopathological examination and animal infection model study of coronavirus-infected diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Autopsy , Forensic Pathology , SARS-CoV-2
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; 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.

6.
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.

7.
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
8.
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
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effect of low environmental temperature on viral shedding and disease severity of COVID-19 is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, clinical, pathological, and immunological changes in hamsters housed at room (21 oC), low (12-15 oC), and high (30-33 oC) temperature after challenge by 10 5 plaque-forming units of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The nasal turbinate, trachea, and lung viral load and live virus titre were significantly higher (~0.5-log10 gene copies/ß-actin, p<0.05) in the low temperature group at 7 days post-infection (dpi). The low temperature group also demonstrated significantly higher level of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1ß, and CCL3, and lower level of the antiviral IFN-α in lung tissues at 4dpi than the other two groups. Their lungs were grossly and diffusely haemorrhagic, with more severe and diffuse alveolar and peribronchiolar inflammatory infiltration, bronchial epithelial cell death, and significantly higher mean total lung histology scores. By 7dpi, the low temperature group still showed persistent and severe alveolar inflammation and haemorrhage, and little alveolar cell proliferative changes of recovery. The viral loads in the oral swabs of the low temperature group were significantly higher from 10-17dpi by about 0.5-1.0-log10 gene copies/ß-actin. The mean neutralizing antibody titre of the low temperature group was significantly (p<0.05) lower than that of the room temperature group at 7dpi and 30dpi. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that low environmental temperature exacerbated the degree of virus shedding, disease severity, and tissue proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines expression, and suppressed the neutralizing antibody response of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters. Keeping warm in winter may reduce the severity of COVID-19.

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.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 1215-1224, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343625

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) urgently calls for more sensitive molecular diagnosis to improve sensitivity of current viral nuclear acid detection. We have developed an anchor primer (AP)-based assay to improve viral RNA stability by bioinformatics identification of RNase-binding site of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA and implementing AP dually targeting the N gene of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and RNase 1, 3, 6. The arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) improvement of viral RNA integrity was supported by (a) the AP increased resistance of the targeted gene (N gene) of SARS-CoV-2 RNA to RNase treatment; (b) the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by AP-PCR with lower cycle threshold values (-2.7 cycles) compared to two commercially available assays; (c) improvement of the viral RNA stability of the ORF gene upon targeting of the N gene and RNase. Furthermore, the improved sensitivity by AP-PCR was demonstrated by detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 70-80% of sputum, nasal, pharyngeal swabs and feces and 36% (4/11) of urine of the confirmed cases (n = 252), 7% convalescent cases (n = 54) and none of 300 negative cases. Lastly, AP-PCR analysis of 306 confirmed and convalescent cases revealed prolonged presence of viral loading for >20 days after the first positive diagnosis. Thus, the AP dually targeting SARS-CoV-2 RNA and RNase improves molecular detection by preserving SARS-CoV-2 RNA integrity and reveals the prolonged viral loading associated with older age and male gender in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Ribonucleases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Aged , Binding Sites , Female , Humans , Male , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load
12.
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
13.
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
14.
Am J Transl Res ; 12(4): 1348-1354, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024940

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since December 2019, there had been an outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. At present, diagnosis COVID-19 were based on real-time RT-PCR, which have to be performed in biosafe laboratory and is unsatisfactory for suspect case screening. Therefore, there is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic performance and clinical utility of the colloidal gold immunochromatography assay for SARS-Cov-2 specific IgM/IgG anti-body detection in suspected COVID-19 cases. METHODS: In the prospective cohort, 150 patients with fever or respiratory symptoms were enrolled in Taizhou Public Health Medical Center, Taizhou Hospital, Zhejiang province, China, between January 20 to February 2, 2020. All patients were tested by the colloidal gold immunochromatography assay for COVID-19. At least two samples of each patient were collected for RT-PCR assay analysis, and the PCR results were performed as the reference standard of diagnosis. Meanwhile 26 heathy blood donor were recruited. The sensitivity and specificity of the immunochromatography assay test were evaluated. Subgroup analysis were performed with respect to age, sex, period from symptom onset and clinical severity. RESULTS: The immunochromatography assay test had 69 positive result in the 97 PCR-positive cases, achieving sensitivity 71.1% [95% CI 0.609-0.797], and had 2 positive result in the 53 PCR-negative cases, achieving specificity 96.2% [95% CI 0.859-0.993]. In 26 healthy donor blood samples, the immunochromatography assay had 0 positive result. In subgroup analysis, the sensitivity was significantly higher in patients with symptoms more than 14 days 95.2% [95% CI 0.741-0.998] and patients with severe clinical condition 86.0% [95% CI 0.640-0.970]. CONCLUSIONS: The colloidal gold immunochromatography assay for SARS-Cov-2 specific IgM/IgG anti-body had 71.1% sensitivity and 96.2% specificity in this population, showing the potential for a useful rapid diagnosis test for COVID-19. Further investigations should be done to evaluate this assay in variety of clinical settings and populations.

15.
J Virol ; 94(20)2020 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024213

ABSTRACT

The Chinese horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus sinicus), reservoir host of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), carries many bat SARS-related CoVs (SARSr-CoVs) with high genetic diversity, particularly in the spike gene. Despite these variations, some bat SARSr-CoVs can utilize the orthologs of the human SARS-CoV receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), for entry. It is speculated that the interaction between bat ACE2 and SARSr-CoV spike proteins drives diversity. Here, we identified a series of R. sinicus ACE2 variants with some polymorphic sites involved in the interaction with the SARS-CoV spike protein. Pseudoviruses or SARSr-CoVs carrying different spike proteins showed different infection efficiencies in cells transiently expressing bat ACE2 variants. Consistent results were observed by binding affinity assays between SARS-CoV and SARSr-CoV spike proteins and receptor molecules from bats and humans. All tested bat SARSr-CoV spike proteins had a higher binding affinity to human ACE2 than to bat ACE2, although they showed a 10-fold lower binding affinity to human ACE2 compared with that of their SARS-CoV counterpart. Structure modeling revealed that the difference in binding affinity between spike and ACE2 might be caused by the alteration of some key residues in the interface of these two molecules. Molecular evolution analysis indicates that some key residues were under positive selection. These results suggest that the SARSr-CoV spike protein and R. sinicus ACE2 may have coevolved over time and experienced selection pressure from each other, triggering the evolutionary arms race dynamics.IMPORTANCE Evolutionary arms race dynamics shape the diversity of viruses and their receptors. Identification of key residues which are involved in interspecies transmission is important to predict potential pathogen spillover from wildlife to humans. Previously, we have identified genetically diverse SARSr-CoVs in Chinese horseshoe bats. Here, we show the highly polymorphic ACE2 in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. These ACE2 variants support SARS-CoV and SARSr-CoV infection but with different binding affinities to different spike proteins. The higher binding affinity of SARSr-CoV spike to human ACE2 suggests that these viruses have the capacity for spillover to humans. The positive selection of residues at the interface between ACE2 and SARSr-CoV spike protein suggests long-term and ongoing coevolutionary dynamics between them. Continued surveillance of this group of viruses in bats is necessary for the prevention of the next SARS-like disease.


Subject(s)
Biological Coevolution , Chiroptera/virology , SARS Virus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Binding Sites , Chiroptera/classification , Chiroptera/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Variation , HeLa Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Selection, Genetic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
16.
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
19.
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
20.
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
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