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Blood ; 141(7): 725-742, 2023 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2245121


Coronavirus-associated coagulopathy (CAC) is a morbid and lethal sequela of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. CAC results from a perturbed balance between coagulation and fibrinolysis and occurs in conjunction with exaggerated activation of monocytes/macrophages (MO/Mφs), and the mechanisms that collectively govern this phenotype seen in CAC remain unclear. Here, using experimental models that use the murine betacoronavirus MHVA59, a well-established model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we identify that the histone methyltransferase mixed lineage leukemia 1 (MLL1/KMT2A) is an important regulator of MO/Mφ expression of procoagulant and profibrinolytic factors such as tissue factor (F3; TF), urokinase (PLAU), and urokinase receptor (PLAUR) (herein, "coagulopathy-related factors") in noninfected and infected cells. We show that MLL1 concurrently promotes the expression of the proinflammatory cytokines while suppressing the expression of interferon alfa (IFN-α), a well-known inducer of TF and PLAUR. Using in vitro models, we identify MLL1-dependent NF-κB/RelA-mediated transcription of these coagulation-related factors and identify a context-dependent, MLL1-independent role for RelA in the expression of these factors in vivo. As functional correlates for these findings, we demonstrate that the inflammatory, procoagulant, and profibrinolytic phenotypes seen in vivo after coronavirus infection were MLL1-dependent despite blunted Ifna induction in MO/Mφs. Finally, in an analysis of SARS-CoV-2 positive human samples, we identify differential upregulation of MLL1 and coagulopathy-related factor expression and activity in CD14+ MO/Mφs relative to noninfected and healthy controls. We also observed elevated plasma PLAU and TF activity in COVID-positive samples. Collectively, these findings highlight an important role for MO/Mφ MLL1 in promoting CAC and inflammation.

COVID-19 , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase , Animals , Humans , Mice , COVID-19/complications , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/genetics , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/metabolism , Histones/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Monocytes/metabolism , Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein/genetics , Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator/metabolism
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(38)2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392993


COVID-19 induces a robust, extended inflammatory "cytokine storm" that contributes to an increased morbidity and mortality, particularly in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Macrophages are a key innate immune cell population responsible for the cytokine storm that has been shown, in T2D, to promote excess inflammation in response to infection. Using peripheral monocytes and sera from human patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and a murine hepatitis coronavirus (MHV-A59) (an established murine model of SARS), we identified that coronavirus induces an increased Mφ-mediated inflammatory response due to a coronavirus-induced decrease in the histone methyltransferase, SETDB2. This decrease in SETDB2 upon coronavirus infection results in a decrease of the repressive trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) at NFkB binding sites on inflammatory gene promoters, effectively increasing inflammation. Mφs isolated from mice with a myeloid-specific deletion of SETDB2 displayed increased pathologic inflammation following coronavirus infection. Further, IFNß directly regulates SETDB2 in Mφs via JaK1/STAT3 signaling, as blockade of this pathway altered SETDB2 and the inflammatory response to coronavirus infection. Importantly, we also found that loss of SETDB2 mediates an increased inflammatory response in diabetic Mϕs in response to coronavirus infection. Treatment of coronavirus-infected diabetic Mφs with IFNß reversed the inflammatory cytokine production via up-regulation of SETDB2/H3K9me3 on inflammatory gene promoters. Together, these results describe a potential mechanism for the increased Mφ-mediated cytokine storm in patients with T2D in response to COVID-19 and suggest that therapeutic targeting of the IFNß/SETDB2 axis in T2D patients may decrease pathologic inflammation associated with COVID-19.

Coronavirus/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/metabolism , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/metabolism , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Inflammation/virology , Macrophages/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Cytokines/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/genetics , Female , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/genetics , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/physiopathology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , NF-kappa B/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(14)2021 Jul 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1308364


Children with the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have milder symptoms and a better prognosis than adult patients. Several investigations assessed type I, II, and III interferon (IFN) signatures in SARS-CoV-2 infected adults, however no data are available for pediatric patients. TRIM28 and SETDB1 regulate the transcription of multiple genes involved in the immune response as well as of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). Exogenous viral infections can trigger the activation of HERVs, which in turn can induce inflammatory and immune reactions. Despite the potential cross-talks between SARS-CoV-2 infection and TRIM28, SETDB1, and HERVs, information on their expressions in COVID-19 patients is lacking. We assessed, through a PCR real time Taqman amplification assay, the transcription levels of six IFN-I stimulated genes, IFN-II and three of its sensitive genes, three IFN-lIIs, as well as of TRIM28, SETDB1, pol genes of HERV-H, -K, and -W families, and of env genes of Syncytin (SYN)1, SYN2, and multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus (MRSV) in peripheral blood from COVID-19 children and in control uninfected subjects. Higher expression levels of IFN-I and IFN-II inducible genes were observed in 36 COVID-19 children with mild or moderate disease as compared to uninfected controls, whereas their concentrations decreased in 17 children with severe disease and in 11 with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Similar findings were found for the expression of TRIM-28, SETDB1, and every HERV gene. Positive correlations emerged between the transcriptional levels of type I and II IFNs, TRIM28, SETDB1, and HERVs in COVID-19 patients. IFN-III expressions were comparable in each group of subjects. This preserved induction of IFN-λs could contribute to the better control of the infection in children as compared to adults, in whom IFN-III deficiency has been reported. The upregulation of IFN-I, IFN-II, TRIM28, SETDB1, and HERVs in children with mild symptoms, their declines in severe cases or with MIS-C, and the positive correlations of their transcription in SARS-CoV-2-infected children suggest that they may play important roles in conditioning the evolution of the infection.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Endogenous Retroviruses/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Child , Endogenous Retroviruses/genetics , Female , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/genetics , Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase/metabolism , Humans , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Interferons/genetics , Interferons/metabolism , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28/genetics , Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28/metabolism , Interferon Lambda