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1.
Circulation ; 145(18): 1398-1411, 2022 05 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779500

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, enters human cells using the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) protein as a receptor. ACE2 is thus key to the infection and treatment of the coronavirus. ACE2 is highly expressed in the heart and respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, playing important regulatory roles in the cardiovascular and other biological systems. However, the genetic basis of the ACE2 protein levels is not well understood. METHODS: We have conducted the largest genome-wide association meta-analysis of plasma ACE2 levels in >28 000 individuals of the SCALLOP Consortium (Systematic and Combined Analysis of Olink Proteins). We summarize the cross-sectional epidemiological correlates of circulating ACE2. Using the summary statistics-based high-definition likelihood method, we estimate relevant genetic correlations with cardiometabolic phenotypes, COVID-19, and other human complex traits and diseases. We perform causal inference of soluble ACE2 on vascular disease outcomes and COVID-19 severity using mendelian randomization. We also perform in silico functional analysis by integrating with other types of omics data. RESULTS: We identified 10 loci, including 8 novel, capturing 30% of the heritability of the protein. We detected that plasma ACE2 was genetically correlated with vascular diseases, severe COVID-19, and a wide range of human complex diseases and medications. An X-chromosome cis-protein quantitative trait loci-based mendelian randomization analysis suggested a causal effect of elevated ACE2 levels on COVID-19 severity (odds ratio, 1.63 [95% CI, 1.10-2.42]; P=0.01), hospitalization (odds ratio, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.05-2.21]; P=0.03), and infection (odds ratio, 1.60 [95% CI, 1.08-2.37]; P=0.02). Tissue- and cell type-specific transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis revealed that the ACE2 regulatory variants were enriched for DNA methylation sites in blood immune cells. CONCLUSIONS: Human plasma ACE2 shares a genetic basis with cardiovascular disease, COVID-19, and other related diseases. The genetic architecture of the ACE2 protein is mapped, providing a useful resource for further biological and clinical studies on this coronavirus receptor.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Genome-Wide Association Study , Humans , Receptors, Coronavirus , SARS-CoV-2
2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329816

ABSTRACT

Pulmonary inflammation drives critical illness in Covid-19, creating a clinically homogeneous extreme phenotype, which we have previously shown to be highly efficient for discovery of genetic associations. Despite the advanced stage of illness, we have found that immunomodulatory therapies have strong beneficial effects in this group. Further genetic discoveries may identify additional therapeutic targets to modulate severe disease. In this new data release from the GenOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality in Critical Care) study we include new microarray genotyping data from additional critically-ill cases in the UK and Brazil, together with cohorts of severe Covid-19 from the ISARIC4C and SCOURGE studies, and meta-analysis with previously-reported data. We find an additional umconvincingnew new genetic associations. Many are in potentially druggable targets, in inflammatory signalling (JAK1, PDE4A), monocyte-macrophage differentiation (CSF2), immunometabolism (SLC2A5, AK5), and host factors required for viral entry and replication (TMPRSS2, RAB2A). As with our previous work, these results provide tractable therapeutic targets for modulation of harmful host-mediated inflammation in Covid-19.

3.
Nature ; 2022 Mar 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730298

ABSTRACT

Critical COVID-19 is caused by immune-mediated inflammatory lung injury. Host genetic variation influences the development of illness requiring critical care1 or hospitalization2-4 after infection with SARS-CoV-2. The GenOMICC (Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care) study enables the comparison of genomes from individuals who are critically ill with those of population controls to find underlying disease mechanisms. Here we use whole-genome sequencing in 7,491 critically ill individuals compared with 48,400 controls to discover and replicate 23 independent variants that significantly predispose to critical COVID-19. We identify 16 new independent associations, including variants within genes that are involved in interferon signalling (IL10RB and PLSCR1), leucocyte differentiation (BCL11A) and blood-type antigen secretor status (FUT2). Using transcriptome-wide association and colocalization to infer the effect of gene expression on disease severity, we find evidence that implicates multiple genes-including reduced expression of a membrane flippase (ATP11A), and increased expression of a mucin (MUC1)-in critical disease. Mendelian randomization provides evidence in support of causal roles for myeloid cell adhesion molecules (SELE, ICAM5 and CD209) and the coagulation factor F8, all of which are potentially druggable targets. Our results are broadly consistent with a multi-component model of COVID-19 pathophysiology, in which at least two distinct mechanisms can predispose to life-threatening disease: failure to control viral replication; or an enhanced tendency towards pulmonary inflammation and intravascular coagulation. We show that comparison between cases of critical illness and population controls is highly efficient for the detection of therapeutically relevant mechanisms of disease.

4.
Curr Res Transl Med ; 70(2): 103333, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683570

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The human protein transmembrane protease serine type 2 (TMPRSS2) plays a key role in SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it is required to activate the virus' spike protein, facilitating entry into target cells. We hypothesized that naturally-occurring TMPRSS2 human genetic variants affecting the structure and function of the TMPRSS2 protein may modulate the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We focused on the only common TMPRSS2 non-synonymous variant predicted to be damaging (rs12329760 C>T, p.V160M), which has a minor allele frequency ranging from 0.14 in Ashkenazi Jewish to 0.38 in East Asians. We analysed the association between the rs12329760 and COVID-19 severity in 2,244 critically ill patients with COVID-19 from 208 UK intensive care units recruited as part of the GenOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care) study. Logistic regression analyses were adjusted for sex, age and deprivation index. For in vitro studies, HEK293 cells were co-transfected with ACE2 and either TMPRSS2 wild type or mutant (TMPRSS2V160M). A SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry assay was used to investigate the ability of TMPRSS2V160M to promote viral entry. RESULTS: We show that the T allele of rs12329760 is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing severe COVID-19 (OR 0.87, 95%CI:0.79-0.97, p = 0.01). This association was stronger in homozygous individuals when compared to the general population (OR 0.65, 95%CI:0.50-0.84, p = 1.3 × 10-3). We demonstrate in vitro that this variant, which causes the amino acid substitution valine to methionine, affects the catalytic activity of TMPRSS2 and is less able to support SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated entry into cells. CONCLUSION: TMPRSS2 rs12329760 is a common variant associated with a significantly decreased risk of severe COVID-19. Further studies are needed to assess the expression of TMPRSS2 across different age groups. Moreover, our results identify TMPRSS2 as a promising drug target, with a potential role for camostat mesilate, a drug approved for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis and postoperative reflux esophagitis, in the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical trials are needed to confirm this.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Frequency , HEK293 Cells , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Virus Internalization
5.
Nat Genet ; 54(2): 125-127, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625297

ABSTRACT

The OAS1/2/3 cluster has been identified as a risk locus for severe COVID-19 among individuals of European ancestry, with a protective haplotype of approximately 75 kilobases (kb) derived from Neanderthals in the chromosomal region 12q24.13. This haplotype contains a splice variant of OAS1, which occurs in people of African ancestry independently of gene flow from Neanderthals. Using trans-ancestry fine-mapping approaches in 20,779 hospitalized cases, we demonstrate that this splice variant is likely to be the SNP responsible for the association at this locus, thus strongly implicating OAS1 as an effector gene influencing COVID-19 severity.


Subject(s)
2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Physical Chromosome Mapping , RNA Splicing/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , /genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , Humans , Linkage Disequilibrium/genetics , Risk Factors , /genetics
6.
Current research in translational medicine ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1615101

ABSTRACT

Background : The human protein transmembrane protease serine type 2 (TMPRSS2) plays a key role in SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it is required to activate the virus’ spike protein, facilitating entry into target cells. We hypothesized that naturally-occurring TMPRSS2 human genetic variants affecting the structure and function of the TMPRSS2 protein may modulate the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods : We focused on the only common TMPRSS2 non-synonymous variant predicted to be damaging (rs12329760 C>T, p.V160M), which has a minor allele frequency ranging from from 0.14 in Ashkenazi Jewish to 0.38 in East Asians. We analysed the association between the rs12329760 and COVID-19 severity in 2,244 critically ill patients with COVID-19 from 208 UK intensive care units recruited as part of the GenOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care) study. Logistic regression analyses were adjusted for sex, age and deprivation index. For in vitro studies, HEK293 cells were co-transfected with ACE2 and either TMPRSS2 wild type or mutant (TMPRSS2V160M). A SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry assay was used to investigate the ability of TMPRSS2V160M to promote viral entry. Results : We show that the T allele of rs12329760 is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing severe COVID-19 (OR 0.87, 95%CI:0.79-0.97, p=0.01). This association was stronger in homozygous individuals when compared to the general population (OR 0.65, 95%CI:0.50-0.84, p=1.3 × 10−3). We demonstrate in vitro that this variant, which causes the amino acid substitution valine to methionine, affects the catalytic activity of TMPRSS2 and is less able to support SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated entry into cells. Conclusion : TMPRSS2 rs12329760 is a common variant associated with a significantly decreased risk of severe COVID-19. Further studies are needed to assess the expression of TMPRSS2 across different age groups. Moreover, our results identify TMPRSS2 as a promising drug target, with a potential role for camostat mesilate, a drug approved for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis and postoperative reflux esophagitis, in the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical trials are needed to confirm this.

7.
Hum Genet ; 141(1): 147-173, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565371

ABSTRACT

The combined impact of common and rare exonic variants in COVID-19 host genetics is currently insufficiently understood. Here, common and rare variants from whole-exome sequencing data of about 4000 SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals were used to define an interpretable machine-learning model for predicting COVID-19 severity. First, variants were converted into separate sets of Boolean features, depending on the absence or the presence of variants in each gene. An ensemble of LASSO logistic regression models was used to identify the most informative Boolean features with respect to the genetic bases of severity. The Boolean features selected by these logistic models were combined into an Integrated PolyGenic Score that offers a synthetic and interpretable index for describing the contribution of host genetics in COVID-19 severity, as demonstrated through testing in several independent cohorts. Selected features belong to ultra-rare, rare, low-frequency, and common variants, including those in linkage disequilibrium with known GWAS loci. Noteworthily, around one quarter of the selected genes are sex-specific. Pathway analysis of the selected genes associated with COVID-19 severity reflected the multi-organ nature of the disease. The proposed model might provide useful information for developing diagnostics and therapeutics, while also being able to guide bedside disease management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Phenotype , Severity of Illness Index , Whole Exome Sequencing , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Germany , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Quebec , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden , United Kingdom
8.
Elife ; 102021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1339712

ABSTRACT

Many host RNA sensors are positioned in the cytosol to detect viral RNA during infection. However, most positive-strand RNA viruses replicate within a modified organelle co-opted from intracellular membranes of the endomembrane system, which shields viral products from cellular innate immune sensors. Targeting innate RNA sensors to the endomembrane system may enhance their ability to sense RNA generated by viruses that use these compartments for replication. Here, we reveal that an isoform of oligoadenylate synthetase 1, OAS1 p46, is prenylated and targeted to the endomembrane system. Membrane localization of OAS1 p46 confers enhanced access to viral replication sites and results in increased antiviral activity against a subset of RNA viruses including flaviviruses, picornaviruses, and SARS-CoV-2. Finally, our human genetic analysis shows that the OAS1 splice-site SNP responsible for production of the OAS1 p46 isoform correlates with protection from severe COVID-19. This study highlights the importance of endomembrane targeting for the antiviral specificity of OAS1 and suggests that early control of SARS-CoV-2 replication through OAS1 p46 is an important determinant of COVID-19 severity.


Subject(s)
2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , CRISPR-Cas Systems , Cell Line , Gene Editing , Humans , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
9.
Nature ; 591(7848): 92-98, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-971937

ABSTRACT

Host-mediated lung inflammation is present1, and drives mortality2, in the critical illness caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Host genetic variants associated with critical illness may identify mechanistic targets for therapeutic development3. Here we report the results of the GenOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care) genome-wide association study in 2,244 critically ill patients with COVID-19 from 208 UK intensive care units. We have identified and replicated the following new genome-wide significant associations: on chromosome 12q24.13 (rs10735079, P = 1.65 × 10-8) in a gene cluster that encodes antiviral restriction enzyme activators (OAS1, OAS2 and OAS3); on chromosome 19p13.2 (rs74956615, P = 2.3 × 10-8) near the gene that encodes tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2); on chromosome 19p13.3 (rs2109069, P = 3.98 ×  10-12) within the gene that encodes dipeptidyl peptidase 9 (DPP9); and on chromosome 21q22.1 (rs2236757, P = 4.99 × 10-8) in the interferon receptor gene IFNAR2. We identified potential targets for repurposing of licensed medications: using Mendelian randomization, we found evidence that low expression of IFNAR2, or high expression of TYK2, are associated with life-threatening disease; and transcriptome-wide association in lung tissue revealed that high expression of the monocyte-macrophage chemotactic receptor CCR2 is associated with severe COVID-19. Our results identify robust genetic signals relating to key host antiviral defence mechanisms and mediators of inflammatory organ damage in COVID-19. Both mechanisms may be amenable to targeted treatment with existing drugs. However, large-scale randomized clinical trials will be essential before any change to clinical practice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , Critical Illness , 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Chromosomes, Human, Pair 12/genetics , Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19/genetics , Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21/genetics , Critical Care , Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases/genetics , Drug Repositioning , Female , Genome-Wide Association Study , Humans , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/pathology , Inflammation/physiopathology , Lung/pathology , Lung/physiopathology , Lung/virology , Male , Multigene Family/genetics , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, CCR2/genetics , TYK2 Kinase/genetics , United Kingdom
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