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1.
Cell ; 2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588146

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is linked to both dysfunctional immune response and unrestrained immunopathology, and it remains unclear whether T cells contribute to disease pathology. Here, we combined single-cell transcriptomics and single-cell proteomics with mechanistic studies to assess pathogenic T cell functions and inducing signals. We identified highly activated CD16+ T cells with increased cytotoxic functions in severe COVID-19. CD16 expression enabled immune-complex-mediated, T cell receptor-independent degranulation and cytotoxicity not found in other diseases. CD16+ T cells from COVID-19 patients promoted microvascular endothelial cell injury and release of neutrophil and monocyte chemoattractants. CD16+ T cell clones persisted beyond acute disease maintaining their cytotoxic phenotype. Increased generation of C3a in severe COVID-19 induced activated CD16+ cytotoxic T cells. Proportions of activated CD16+ T cells and plasma levels of complement proteins upstream of C3a were associated with fatal outcome of COVID-19, supporting a pathological role of exacerbated cytotoxicity and complement activation in COVID-19.

2.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293429

ABSTRACT

The use of RNA sequencing from wastewater samples is proven to be a valuable way for estimating infection dynamics and circulating lineages of SARS-CoV-2. This approach has the advantage of being independent from patient population testing and symptomatic disease courses. However, it is equally important to develop easily accessible and scalable tools which can highlight critical changes in infection rates and dynamics over time across different locations given the sequencing data from the wastewater. Here we provide the first analysis of variant dynamics in Germany using wastewater sequencing and present PiGx SARS-CoV-2, a bit-by-bit reproducible end-to-end pipeline with comprehensive reports. To our knowledge, this is the first pipeline that includes all steps from raw-data to shareable reports, additional taxonomic analysis, deconvolution and geospatial time series analysis. Using our pipeline on a dataset of wastewater samples, from different locations across Berlin, over the time period from February 2021 to June 2021, we could reconstruct the dynamic of the Variant of Concern (VoC) B.1.1.7 (alpha). Additionally, we detected the unique signature mutation M:T26767C for the VoC B.1.617.2 (delta) and its raise in early June. We also show that SARS-CoV-2 mutation load measured from wastewater sequencing is correlated with actual case numbers and it has potential to be used in a predictive manner. All in all, our study provides additional evidence that systematic wastewater analysis using sequencing and computational methods can be used for modeling the infection dynamics of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the results show that our tool can be used to tease out new mutations and to detect any emerging new lineages of concern before clinical detection. Our approach can support efforts for establishing continuous monitoring and early-warning projects for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease.

3.
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.

4.
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
5.
Nature ; 599(7884): 283-289, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404888

ABSTRACT

Derailed cytokine and immune cell networks account for the organ damage and the clinical severity of COVID-19 (refs. 1-4). Here we show that SARS-CoV-2, like other viruses, evokes cellular senescence as a primary stress response in infected cells. Virus-induced senescence (VIS) is indistinguishable from other forms of cellular senescence and is accompanied by a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which comprises pro-inflammatory cytokines, extracellular-matrix-active factors and pro-coagulatory mediators5-7. Patients with COVID-19 displayed markers of senescence in their airway mucosa in situ and increased serum levels of SASP factors. In vitro assays demonstrated macrophage activation with SASP-reminiscent secretion, complement lysis and SASP-amplifying secondary senescence of endothelial cells, which mirrored hallmark features of COVID-19 such as macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, endothelial damage and widespread thrombosis in affected lung tissue1,8,9. Moreover, supernatant from VIS cells, including SARS-CoV-2-induced senescence, induced neutrophil extracellular trap formation and activation of platelets and the clotting cascade. Senolytics such as navitoclax and a combination of dasatinib plus quercetin selectively eliminated VIS cells, mitigated COVID-19-reminiscent lung disease and reduced inflammation in SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and mice. Our findings mark VIS as a pathogenic trigger of COVID-19-related cytokine escalation and organ damage, and suggest that senolytic targeting of virus-infected cells is a treatment option against SARS-CoV-2 and perhaps other viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Molecular Targeted Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aniline Compounds/pharmacology , Aniline Compounds/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Dasatinib/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Quercetin/pharmacology , Quercetin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/metabolism
6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3358, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397869

ABSTRACT

Early stages of embryogenesis depend on subcellular localization and transport of maternal mRNA. However, systematic analysis of these processes is hindered by a lack of spatio-temporal information in single-cell RNA sequencing. Here, we combine spatially-resolved transcriptomics and single-cell RNA labeling to perform a spatio-temporal analysis of the transcriptome during early zebrafish development. We measure spatial localization of mRNA molecules within the one-cell stage embryo, which allows us to identify a class of mRNAs that are specifically localized at an extraembryonic position, the vegetal pole. Furthermore, we establish a method for high-throughput single-cell RNA labeling in early zebrafish embryos, which enables us to follow the fate of individual maternal transcripts until gastrulation. This approach reveals that many localized transcripts are specifically transported to the primordial germ cells. Finally, we acquire spatial transcriptomes of two xenopus species and compare evolutionary conservation of localized genes as well as enriched sequence motifs.


Subject(s)
Cell Tracking/methods , Embryo, Nonmammalian/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Transcriptome/genetics , Zebrafish/genetics , Animals , Embryo, Nonmammalian/cytology , Embryo, Nonmammalian/embryology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental , Oocytes/cytology , Oocytes/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis/methods , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Species Specificity , Xenopus/embryology , Xenopus/genetics , Xenopus laevis/embryology , Xenopus laevis/genetics , Zebrafish/embryology
7.
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
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3818, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279876

ABSTRACT

Viruses manipulate cellular metabolism and macromolecule recycling processes like autophagy. Dysregulated metabolism might lead to excessive inflammatory and autoimmune responses as observed in severe and long COVID-19 patients. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 modulates cellular metabolism and reduces autophagy. Accordingly, compound-driven induction of autophagy limits SARS-CoV-2 propagation. In detail, SARS-CoV-2-infected cells show accumulation of key metabolites, activation of autophagy inhibitors (AKT1, SKP2) and reduction of proteins responsible for autophagy initiation (AMPK, TSC2, ULK1), membrane nucleation, and phagophore formation (BECN1, VPS34, ATG14), as well as autophagosome-lysosome fusion (BECN1, ATG14 oligomers). Consequently, phagophore-incorporated autophagy markers LC3B-II and P62 accumulate, which we confirm in a hamster model and lung samples of COVID-19 patients. Single-nucleus and single-cell sequencing of patient-derived lung and mucosal samples show differential transcriptional regulation of autophagy and immune genes depending on cell type, disease duration, and SARS-CoV-2 replication levels. Targeting of autophagic pathways by exogenous administration of the polyamines spermidine and spermine, the selective AKT1 inhibitor MK-2206, and the BECN1-stabilizing anthelmintic drug niclosamide inhibit SARS-CoV-2 propagation in vitro with IC50 values of 136.7, 7.67, 0.11, and 0.13 µM, respectively. Autophagy-inducing compounds reduce SARS-CoV-2 propagation in primary human lung cells and intestinal organoids emphasizing their potential as treatment options against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antinematodal Agents/pharmacology , Autophagosomes/metabolism , Autophagy , Autophagy-Related Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Metabolome , Niclosamide/pharmacology , Organoids , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spermidine/pharmacology , Spermine/pharmacology
9.
iScience ; 24(3): 102151, 2021 Mar 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065235

ABSTRACT

Detailed knowledge of the molecular biology of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is crucial for understanding of viral replication, host responses, and disease progression. Here, we report gene expression profiles of three SARS-CoV- and SARS-CoV-2-infected human cell lines. SARS-CoV-2 elicited an approximately two-fold higher stimulation of the innate immune response compared to SARS-CoV in the human epithelial cell line Calu-3, including induction of miRNA-155. Single-cell RNA sequencing of infected cells showed that genes induced by virus infections were broadly upregulated, whereas interferon beta/lambda genes, a pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, were expressed only in small subsets of infected cells. Temporal analysis suggested that transcriptional activities of interferon regulatory factors precede those of nuclear factor κB. Lastly, we identified heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) as a protein relevant for the infection. Inhibition of the HSP90 activity resulted in a reduction of viral replication and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in primary human airway epithelial cells.

10.
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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