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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333065

ABSTRACT

The severity of disease following infection with SARS-CoV-2 is determined by viral replication kinetics and host immunity, with early T cell responses and/or suppression of viraemia driving a favourable outcome. Recent studies have uncovered a role for cholesterol metabolism in the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle and in T cell function. Here we show that blockade of the enzyme Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) with Avasimibe inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry and fusion independent of transmembrane protease serine 2 expression in multiple cell types. We also demonstrate a role for ACAT in regulating SARS-CoV-2 RNA replication in primary bronchial epithelial cells. Furthermore, Avasimibe boosts the expansion of functional SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells from the blood of patients sampled in the acute phase of infection. Thus, re-purposing of available ACAT inhibitors provides a compelling therapeutic strategy for the treatment of COVID-19 to achieve both antiviral and immunomodulatory effects.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-332968

ABSTRACT

T cells can contribute to clearance of respiratory viruses that cause acute-resolving infections like SARS-CoV-2, helping to provide long-lived protection against disease following infection. Recent studies suggested an additional role for T cells in resisting overt infection;pre-existing cross-reactive responses to the highly conserved SARS-CoV-2 replication transcription complex (RTC) were preferentially enriched in healthcare workers who had abortive infections (1) and non-spike cross-reactive T cells were associated with protection against infection in household contacts (2). We hypothesise that such early viral control would require pre-existing cross-reactive memory T cells already resident at the site of infection. Airway-resident CD4+T cells have been shown to be critical for mediating protection following intra-nasal vaccination in a murine model of SARS-CoV3, but have not been reported in the context of human SARS-CoV-2. We used bronchoalveolar lavage samples from the lower respiratory tract of healthy donors obtained prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to probe for T cell specificities previously found to be preferentially enriched in the blood of donors with abortive infection(1). Our data reveal the potential to harness functional airway-resident SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in next-generation mucosal vaccines.

3.
Nature ; 601(7891): 110-117, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510600

ABSTRACT

Individuals with potential exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) do not necessarily develop PCR or antibody positivity, suggesting that some individuals may clear subclinical infection before seroconversion. T cells can contribute to the rapid clearance of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus infections1-3. Here we hypothesize that pre-existing memory T cell responses, with cross-protective potential against SARS-CoV-2 (refs. 4-11), would expand in vivo to support rapid viral control, aborting infection. We measured SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells, including those against the early transcribed replication-transcription complex (RTC)12,13, in intensively monitored healthcare workers (HCWs) who tested repeatedly negative according to PCR, antibody binding and neutralization assays (seronegative HCWs (SN-HCWs)). SN-HCWs had stronger, more multispecific memory T cells compared with a cohort of unexposed individuals from before the pandemic (prepandemic cohort), and these cells were more frequently directed against the RTC than the structural-protein-dominated responses observed after detectable infection (matched concurrent cohort). SN-HCWs with the strongest RTC-specific T cells had an increase in IFI27, a robust early innate signature of SARS-CoV-2 (ref. 14), suggesting abortive infection. RNA polymerase within RTC was the largest region of high sequence conservation across human seasonal coronaviruses (HCoV) and SARS-CoV-2 clades. RNA polymerase was preferentially targeted (among the regions tested) by T cells from prepandemic cohorts and SN-HCWs. RTC-epitope-specific T cells that cross-recognized HCoV variants were identified in SN-HCWs. Enriched pre-existing RNA-polymerase-specific T cells expanded in vivo to preferentially accumulate in the memory response after putative abortive compared to overt SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data highlight RTC-specific T cells as targets for vaccines against endemic and emerging Coronaviridae.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroconversion , Cell Proliferation , Cohort Studies , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Membrane Proteins/immunology , Multienzyme Complexes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Transcription, Genetic/immunology
4.
Sci Immunol ; 5(54)2020 12 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999191

ABSTRACT

Understanding the nature of immunity following mild/asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 is crucial to controlling the pandemic. We analyzed T cell and neutralizing antibody responses in 136 healthcare workers (HCW) 16-18 weeks after United Kingdom lockdown, 76 of whom had mild/asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection captured by serial sampling. Neutralizing antibodies (nAb) were present in 89% of previously infected HCW. T cell responses tended to be lower following asymptomatic infection than in those reporting case-definition symptoms of COVID-19, while nAb titers were maintained irrespective of symptoms. T cell and antibody responses were sometimes discordant. Eleven percent lacked nAb and had undetectable T cell responses to spike protein but had T cells reactive with other SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Our findings suggest that the majority of individuals with mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection carry nAb complemented by multispecific T cell responses at 16-18 weeks after mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Case-Control Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
5.
Elife ; 92020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977809

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are powerful tools to develop immune memory to infectious diseases and prevent excess mortality. In older adults, however vaccines are generally less efficacious and the molecular mechanisms that underpin this remain largely unknown. Autophagy, a process known to prevent aging, is critical for the maintenance of immune memory in mice. Here, we show that autophagy is specifically induced in vaccine-induced antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in healthy human volunteers. In addition, reduced IFNγ secretion by RSV-induced T cells in older vaccinees correlates with low autophagy levels. We demonstrate that levels of the endogenous autophagy-inducing metabolite spermidine fall in human T cells with age. Spermidine supplementation in T cells from old donors recovers their autophagy level and function, similar to young donors' cells, in which spermidine biosynthesis has been inhibited. Finally, our data show that endogenous spermidine maintains autophagy via the translation factor eIF5A and transcription factor TFEB. In summary, we have provided evidence for the importance of autophagy in vaccine immunogenicity in older humans and uncovered two novel drug targets that may increase vaccination efficiency in the aging context.


Subject(s)
Aging/immunology , Autophagy/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines/immunology , Spermidine/pharmacology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Adult , Aged , Animals , Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors/metabolism , Cell Line, Tumor , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Interferon-gamma/blood , Jurkat Cells , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Middle Aged , Peptide Initiation Factors/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Syncytial Viruses/immunology , Spermidine/blood , Vaccination , Young Adult
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