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1.
Genome Biol ; 22(1): 242, 2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370944

ABSTRACT

To date, the locus with the most robust human genetic association to COVID-19 severity is 3p21.31. Here, we integrate genome-scale CRISPR loss-of-function screens and eQTLs in diverse cell types and tissues to pinpoint genes underlying COVID-19 risk. Our findings identify SLC6A20 and CXCR6 as putative causal genes that modulate COVID-19 risk and highlight the usefulness of this integrative approach to bridge the divide between correlational and causal studies of human biology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics , Quantitative Trait Loci , Receptors, CXCR6/genetics , Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3/genetics , Humans , Phenotype
2.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 66, 2021 04 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197350

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The large airway epithelial barrier provides one of the first lines of defense against respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Substantial inter-individual variability in individual disease courses is hypothesized to be partially mediated by the differential regulation of the genes that interact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or are involved in the subsequent host response. Here, we comprehensively investigated non-genetic and genetic factors influencing COVID-19-relevant bronchial epithelial gene expression. METHODS: We analyzed RNA-sequencing data from bronchial epithelial brushings obtained from uninfected individuals. We related ACE2 gene expression to host and environmental factors in the SPIROMICS cohort of smokers with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and replicated these associations in two asthma cohorts, SARP and MAST. To identify airway biology beyond ACE2 binding that may contribute to increased susceptibility, we used gene set enrichment analyses to determine if gene expression changes indicative of a suppressed airway immune response observed early in SARS-CoV-2 infection are also observed in association with host factors. To identify host genetic variants affecting COVID-19 susceptibility in SPIROMICS, we performed expression quantitative trait (eQTL) mapping and investigated the phenotypic associations of the eQTL variants. RESULTS: We found that ACE2 expression was higher in relation to active smoking, obesity, and hypertension that are known risk factors of COVID-19 severity, while an association with interferon-related inflammation was driven by the truncated, non-binding ACE2 isoform. We discovered that expression patterns of a suppressed airway immune response to early SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to other viruses, are similar to patterns associated with obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, which may thus contribute to a COVID-19-susceptible airway environment. eQTL mapping identified regulatory variants for genes implicated in COVID-19, some of which had pheWAS evidence for their potential role in respiratory infections. CONCLUSIONS: These data provide evidence that clinically relevant variation in the expression of COVID-19-related genes is associated with host factors, environmental exposures, and likely host genetic variation.


Subject(s)
Bronchi , COVID-19/genetics , Respiratory Mucosa , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Asthma/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Cardiovascular Diseases/genetics , Cardiovascular Diseases/immunology , Gene Expression , Genetic Variation , Humans , Middle Aged , Obesity/genetics , Obesity/immunology , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/genetics , Quantitative Trait Loci , Risk Factors , Smoking/genetics
3.
Cell ; 184(1): 92-105.e16, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064907

ABSTRACT

To better understand host-virus genetic dependencies and find potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19, we performed a genome-scale CRISPR loss-of-function screen to identify host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 viral infection of human alveolar epithelial cells. Top-ranked genes cluster into distinct pathways, including the vacuolar ATPase proton pump, Retromer, and Commander complexes. We validate these gene targets using several orthogonal methods such as CRISPR knockout, RNA interference knockdown, and small-molecule inhibitors. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we identify shared transcriptional changes in cholesterol biosynthesis upon loss of top-ranked genes. In addition, given the key role of the ACE2 receptor in the early stages of viral entry, we show that loss of RAB7A reduces viral entry by sequestering the ACE2 receptor inside cells. Overall, this work provides a genome-scale, quantitative resource of the impact of the loss of each host gene on fitness/response to viral infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , A549 Cells , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Biosynthetic Pathways , COVID-19/metabolism , Cholesterol/biosynthesis , Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats , Endosomes/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Gene Knockout Techniques/methods , Genome-Wide Association Study , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , RNA Interference , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Single-Cell Analysis , Viral Load/drug effects , rab GTP-Binding Proteins/genetics
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