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Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7092, 2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561304


The nasal epithelium is a plausible entry point for SARS-CoV-2, a site of pathogenesis and transmission, and may initiate the host response to SARS-CoV-2. Antiviral interferon (IFN) responses are critical to outcome of SARS-CoV-2. Yet little is known about the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and innate immunity in this tissue. Here we apply single-cell RNA sequencing and proteomics to a primary cell model of human nasal epithelium differentiated at air-liquid interface. SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates widespread tropism for nasal epithelial cell types. The host response is dominated by type I and III IFNs and interferon-stimulated gene products. This response is notably delayed in onset relative to viral gene expression and compared to other respiratory viruses. Nevertheless, once established, the paracrine IFN response begins to impact on SARS-CoV-2 replication. When provided prior to infection, recombinant IFNß or IFNλ1 induces an efficient antiviral state that potently restricts SARS-CoV-2 viral replication, preserving epithelial barrier integrity. These data imply that the IFN-I/III response to SARS-CoV-2 initiates in the nasal airway and suggest nasal delivery of recombinant IFNs to be a potential chemoprophylactic strategy.

Epithelial Cells/virology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Antiviral Agents/immunology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Kinetics , Nasal Mucosa/cytology , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Viral Tropism , Virus Replication/drug effects
Immunity ; 54(11): 2650-2669.e14, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442406


Longitudinal analyses of the innate immune system, including the earliest time points, are essential to understand the immunopathogenesis and clinical course of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Here, we performed a detailed characterization of natural killer (NK) cells in 205 patients (403 samples; days 2 to 41 after symptom onset) from four independent cohorts using single-cell transcriptomics and proteomics together with functional studies. We found elevated interferon (IFN)-α plasma levels in early severe COVD-19 alongside increased NK cell expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and genes involved in IFN-α signaling, while upregulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced genes was observed in moderate diseases. NK cells exert anti-SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) activity but are functionally impaired in severe COVID-19. Further, NK cell dysfunction may be relevant for the development of fibrotic lung disease in severe COVID-19, as NK cells exhibited impaired anti-fibrotic activity. Our study indicates preferential IFN-α and TNF responses in severe and moderate COVID-19, respectively, and associates a prolonged IFN-α-induced NK cell response with poorer disease outcome.

COVID-19/immunology , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Base Sequence , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Inflammation/immunology , Interferon-alpha/blood , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , RNA-Seq , Severity of Illness Index , Transcriptome/genetics , United Kingdom , United States
Nat Med ; 27(5): 904-916, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1195620


Analysis of human blood immune cells provides insights into the coordinated response to viral infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We performed single-cell transcriptome, surface proteome and T and B lymphocyte antigen receptor analyses of over 780,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a cross-sectional cohort of 130 patients with varying severities of COVID-19. We identified expansion of nonclassical monocytes expressing complement transcripts (CD16+C1QA/B/C+) that sequester platelets and were predicted to replenish the alveolar macrophage pool in COVID-19. Early, uncommitted CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells were primed toward megakaryopoiesis, accompanied by expanded megakaryocyte-committed progenitors and increased platelet activation. Clonally expanded CD8+ T cells and an increased ratio of CD8+ effector T cells to effector memory T cells characterized severe disease, while circulating follicular helper T cells accompanied mild disease. We observed a relative loss of IgA2 in symptomatic disease despite an overall expansion of plasmablasts and plasma cells. Our study highlights the coordinated immune response that contributes to COVID-19 pathogenesis and reveals discrete cellular components that can be targeted for therapy.

COVID-19/immunology , Proteome , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Cell Analysis/methods , Transcriptome , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Monocytes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology