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1.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-328853

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants of concern remain a major threat for global health. Here we introduce a novel infection model based upon polarized human Alveolar Epithelial Lentivirus immortalized (hAELVi) cells grown at the air-liquid interface to estimate replication and epidemic potential of respiratory viruses in the human lower respiratory tract. hAELVI cultures are highly permissive for different human coronaviruses and seasonal influenza A virus and upregulate various mediators following virus infection. Our analysis revealed a significantly reduced capacity of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant to propagate in this human model compared to earlier D614G and Delta variants, which extends early risk assessments from epidemiological and animal studies suggesting a reduced pathogenicity of Omicron.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312513

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as essential cellular entry receptor. Several studies have suggested abundant ACE2 expression in the human lung, inferring strong permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 infection with resultant alveolar damage and lung injury. Against this expectation, we provide evidence that ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation in the human alveolus. Instead, spectral imaging of ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples depicted that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating viral phagocytosis. Single-cell transcriptomics of SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung tissue further revealed strong inflammatory and anti-viral activation responses in macrophages and monocytes, comparable to those induced by MERS-CoV, but with virus-specific gene expression profiles. Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from an overwhelming immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.Funding: ACH, LES, SH were supported by Berlin University Alliance GC2 Global Health (Corona Virus Pre-Exploration Project). ACH, SH, TW and CD were supported by BMBF (RAPID) and ACH, SH by BMBF (alvBarriereCOVID-19). KH, LB, SL, SH, CD, TW, ACH were funded by BMBF (NFN-COVID 19, Organo-Strat). KH, NS, LES, MW, SH, ADG, CD, TW and ACH were supported by DFG (SFB-TR 84). ACH was supported by BIH, Charite 3R, and Charité-Zeiss MultiDim. KH was supported by BMBF (Camo-COVID-19). MW, NS and SH was supported by BMBF (PROVID). MW and NS was supported by BIH and BMBF (SYMPATH, CAPSyS, NAPKON). BO and DB were funded through the BIH Clinical Single Cell Bioinformatics Pipeline. LB was supported by the BMBF (CoIMMUNE), the DFG (KFO 342) and the IZKF of the Medical Faculty of the WWU. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the ethics committee at the Charité clinic (projects EA2/079/13) and Ärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe and of the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität (AZ: 2016-265-f-S). Written informed consent was obtained from all patients.

3.
J Proteome Res ; 21(2): 459-469, 2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605127

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infections are characterized by remarkable differences, including infectivity and case fatality rate. The underlying mechanisms are not well understood, illustrating major knowledge gaps of coronavirus biology. In this study, protein expression of the SARS-CoV- and SARS-CoV-2-infected human lung epithelial cell line Calu-3 was analyzed using data-independent acquisition-mass spectrometry. This resulted in a comprehensive map of infection-related proteome-wide expression changes in human cells covering the quantification of 7478 proteins across four time points. Most notably, the activation of interferon type-I response was observed, which is surprisingly absent in several proteome studies. The data reveal that SARS-CoV-2 triggers interferon-stimulated gene expression much stronger than SARS-CoV, which reflects the already described differences in interferon sensitivity. Potentially, this may be caused by the enhanced abundance of the viral M protein of SARS-CoV in comparison to SARS-CoV-2, which is a known inhibitor of type I interferon expression. This study expands the knowledge on the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infections on a global scale using an infection model, which seems to be well suited to analyze the innate immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Epithelial Cells , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Lung , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
J Infect Dis ; 224(12): 2020-2024, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575544

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The upper respiratory tract (URT) is the primary entry site for severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and other respiratory viruses, but its involvement in viral amplification and pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. METHODS: In this study, we investigated primary nasal epithelial cultures, as well as vital explanted tissues, to scrutinize the tropism of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the recently emerged B.1.1.7 variant. RESULTS: Our analyses revealed a widespread replication competence of SARS-CoV-2 in polarized nasal epithelium as well as in the examined URT and salivary gland tissues, which was also shared by the B.1.1.7 virus. CONCLUSIONS: In our analyses, we highlighted the active role of these anatomic sites in coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Respiratory System/virology , Viral Tropism , Virus Replication , Humans , Respiratory Tract Infections , SARS-CoV-2 , Trachea
5.
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
6.
Allergy ; 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532724

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty, BioNTech/Pfizer) and the vaccine candidate CVnCoV (Curevac) each encode a stabilized spike protein of SARS-CoV2 as antigen but differ with respect to the nature of the mRNA (modified versus unmodified nucleotides) and the mRNA amount (30 µg versus 12 µg RNA). This study characterizes antisera elicited by these two vaccines in comparison to convalescent sera. METHODS: Sera from BNT162b2 vaccinated healthcare workers, and sera from participants of a phase I trial vaccinated with 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 µg CVnCoV and convalescent sera from hospitalized patients were analyzed by ELISA, neutralization tests, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and peptide arrays. RESULTS: BNT162b2-elicited sera and convalescent sera have a higher titer of spike-RBD-specific antibodies and neutralizing antibodies as compared to the CVnCoV-elicited sera. For all analyzed sera a reduction in binding and neutralizing antibodies was found for the lineage B.1.351 variant of concern. SPR analyses revealed that the CVnCoV-elicited sera have a lower fraction of slow-dissociating antibodies. Accordingly, the CVnCoV sera almost fail to compete with the spike-ACE2 interaction. The significance of common VOC mutations K417N, E484K, or N501Y focused on linear epitopes was analyzed using a peptide array approach. The peptide arrays showed a strong difference between convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. Specifically, the linear epitope at position N501 was affected by the mutation and elucidates the escape of viral variants to antibodies against this linear epitope. CONCLUSION: These data reveal differences in titer, neutralizing capacity, and affinity of the antibodies between BNT162b2- and CVnCoV-elicited sera, which could contribute to the apparent differences in vaccine efficacy.

7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 732298, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506693

ABSTRACT

Immune modulating therapies and vaccines are in high demand, not least to the recent global spread of SARS-CoV2. To achieve efficient activation of the immune system, professional antigen presenting cells have proven to be key coordinators of such responses. Especially targeted approaches, actively directing antigens to specialized dendritic cells, promise to be more effective and accompanied by reduced payload due to less off-target effects. Although antibody and glycan-based targeting of receptors on dendritic cells have been employed, these are often expensive and time-consuming to manufacture or lack sufficient specificity. Thus, we applied a small-molecule ligand that specifically binds Langerin, a hallmark receptor on Langerhans cells, conjugated to a model protein antigen. Via microneedle injection, this construct was intradermally administered into intact human skin explants, selectively loading Langerhans cells in the epidermis. The ligand-mediated cellular uptake outpaces protein degradation resulting in intact antigen delivery. Due to the pivotal role of Langerhans cells in induction of immune responses, this approach of antigen-targeting of tissue-resident immune cells offers a novel way to deliver highly effective vaccines with minimally invasive administration.


Subject(s)
Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens/administration & dosage , Green Fluorescent Proteins/administration & dosage , Langerhans Cells/metabolism , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Mannose-Binding Lectins/metabolism , Animals , Antigens/immunology , Antigens/metabolism , COS Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Injections, Intradermal , Langerhans Cells/immunology , Ligands , Miniaturization , Nanomedicine , Needles , Protein Binding , Protein Transport , Proteolysis , THP-1 Cells , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/metabolism
8.
J Infect Dis ; 224(12): 2020-2024, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470155

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The upper respiratory tract (URT) is the primary entry site for severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and other respiratory viruses, but its involvement in viral amplification and pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. METHODS: In this study, we investigated primary nasal epithelial cultures, as well as vital explanted tissues, to scrutinize the tropism of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the recently emerged B.1.1.7 variant. RESULTS: Our analyses revealed a widespread replication competence of SARS-CoV-2 in polarized nasal epithelium as well as in the examined URT and salivary gland tissues, which was also shared by the B.1.1.7 virus. CONCLUSIONS: In our analyses, we highlighted the active role of these anatomic sites in coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Respiratory System/virology , Viral Tropism , Virus Replication , Humans , Respiratory Tract Infections , SARS-CoV-2 , Trachea
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