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2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329667

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 spike requires proteolytic processing for viral entry. The presence of a polybasic furin-cleavage site (FCS) in spike, and evolution towards an optimised FCS by dominant variants of concern (VOCs), are linked to enhanced infectivity and transmission. Guanylate binding proteins (GBP) are interferon-inducible restriction factors that target furin-mediated processing of viral envelope proteins and limit infectivity. Here we investigated whether GBPs restrict SARS-CoV-2 infection, and whether VOCs have evolved spikes that escape restriction. We show that GBP2 and 5 interfere with cleavage of the spike proteins of Wuhan-Hu-1, Alpha, Delta and Omicron, consistent with furin inhibition by GBPs. However, while GBP2/5 restrict Wuhan-Hu-1 infectivity, Alpha and Delta escape restriction. GBP exposure in producer cells influences viral entry route into target cells, with a shift towards endosomal entry. We therefore investigated whether GBP-targeting of spike alters sensitivity to endosomal restriction factors, IFITMs. We find IFITM1, but not IFITM 2 or 3, inhibit infection of naturally-permissive epithelial cells by early-lineage SARS-CoV-2, as well as Alpha and Delta, however GBPs did not sensitise to IFITM restriction. Strikingly, we find Omicron is unique amongst VOCs, being sensitive to restriction by GBP2/5, and also IFITM1, 2 and 3. We conclude evolution of Alpha and Delta spikes have conferred resistance to GBP restriction, but this is not solely due to acquisition of an enhanced FCS. Notably, Omicron, which has evolved under different selective pressures, has selected for changes in spike that not only mediate antibody escape, and shift in cell tropism and entry, but also impact the sensitivity of Omicron to innate immunity, potentially contributing to altered pathogenesis.

3.
NPJ Digit Med ; 5(1): 18, 2022 Feb 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684115

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed healthcare systems globally to a breaking point. The urgent need for effective and affordable COVID-19 treatments calls for repurposing combinations of approved drugs. The challenge is to identify which combinations are likely to be most effective and at what stages of the disease. Here, we present the first disease-stage executable signalling network model of SARS-CoV-2-host interactions used to predict effective repurposed drug combinations for treating early- and late stage severe disease. Using our executable model, we performed in silico screening of 9870 pairs of 140 potential targets and have identified nine new drug combinations. Camostat and Apilimod were predicted to be the most promising combination in effectively supressing viral replication in the early stages of severe disease and were validated experimentally in human Caco-2 cells. Our study further demonstrates the power of executable mechanistic modelling to enable rapid pre-clinical evaluation of combination therapies tailored to disease progression. It also presents a novel resource and expandable model system that can respond to further needs in the pandemic.

4.
Nature ; 602(7896): 321-327, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585831

ABSTRACT

It is not fully understood why COVID-19 is typically milder in children1-3. Here, to examine the differences between children and adults in their response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, we analysed paediatric and adult patients with COVID-19 as well as healthy control individuals (total n = 93) using single-cell multi-omic profiling of matched nasal, tracheal, bronchial and blood samples. In the airways of healthy paediatric individuals, we observed cells that were already in an interferon-activated state, which after SARS-CoV-2 infection was further induced especially in airway immune cells. We postulate that higher paediatric innate interferon responses restrict viral replication and disease progression. The systemic response in children was characterized by increases in naive lymphocytes and a depletion of natural killer cells, whereas, in adults, cytotoxic T cells and interferon-stimulated subpopulations were significantly increased. We provide evidence that dendritic cells initiate interferon signalling in early infection, and identify epithelial cell states associated with COVID-19 and age. Our matching nasal and blood data show a strong interferon response in the airways with the induction of systemic interferon-stimulated populations, which were substantially reduced in paediatric patients. Together, we provide several mechanisms that explain the milder clinical syndrome observed in children.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Adult , Bronchi/immunology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/pathology , Chicago , Cohort Studies , Disease Progression , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , London , Male , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Single-Cell Analysis , Trachea/virology , Young Adult
5.
Nature ; 602(7897): 487-495, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585830

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern suggests viral adaptation to enhance human-to-human transmission1,2. Although much effort has focused on the characterization of changes in the spike protein in variants of concern, mutations outside of spike are likely to contribute to adaptation. Here, using unbiased abundance proteomics, phosphoproteomics, RNA sequencing and viral replication assays, we show that isolates of the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant3 suppress innate immune responses in airway epithelial cells more effectively than first-wave isolates. We found that the Alpha variant has markedly increased subgenomic RNA and protein levels of the nucleocapsid protein (N), Orf9b and Orf6-all known innate immune antagonists. Expression of Orf9b alone suppressed the innate immune response through interaction with TOM70, a mitochondrial protein that is required for activation of the RNA-sensing adaptor MAVS. Moreover, the activity of Orf9b and its association with TOM70 was regulated by phosphorylation. We propose that more effective innate immune suppression, through enhanced expression of specific viral antagonist proteins, increases the likelihood of successful transmission of the Alpha variant, and may increase in vivo replication and duration of infection4. The importance of mutations outside the spike coding region in the adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to humans is underscored by the observation that similar mutations exist in the N and Orf9b regulatory regions of the Delta and Omicron variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Immune Evasion , Immunity, Innate/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferons/immunology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Proteomics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development
6.
EMBO J ; 40(15): e107826, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261483

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causes broad-spectrum immunopathological disease, exacerbated by inflammatory co-morbidities. A better understanding of mechanisms underpinning virus-associated inflammation is required to develop effective therapeutics. Here, we discover that SARS-CoV-2 replicates rapidly in lung epithelial cells despite triggering a robust innate immune response through the activation of cytoplasmic RNA sensors RIG-I and MDA5. The inflammatory mediators produced during epithelial cell infection can stimulate primary human macrophages to enhance cytokine production and drive cellular activation. Critically, this can be limited by abrogating RNA sensing or by inhibiting downstream signalling pathways. SARS-CoV-2 further exacerbates the local inflammatory environment when macrophages or epithelial cells are primed with exogenous inflammatory stimuli. We propose that RNA sensing of SARS-CoV-2 in lung epithelium is a key driver of inflammation, the extent of which is influenced by the inflammatory state of the local environment, and that specific inhibition of innate immune pathways may beneficially mitigate inflammation-associated COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , DEAD Box Protein 58/immunology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , RNA, Viral/immunology , Receptors, Immunologic/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/virology , Janus Kinases/immunology , Lung/cytology , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Macrophage Activation , NF-kappa B/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , STAT Transcription Factors/immunology , Virus Replication
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