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Nat Med ; 27(4): 668-676, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174686


Drug repurposing provides a rapid approach to meet the urgent need for therapeutics to address COVID-19. To identify therapeutic targets relevant to COVID-19, we conducted Mendelian randomization analyses, deriving genetic instruments based on transcriptomic and proteomic data for 1,263 actionable proteins that are targeted by approved drugs or in clinical phase of drug development. Using summary statistics from the Host Genetics Initiative and the Million Veteran Program, we studied 7,554 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and >1 million controls. We found significant Mendelian randomization results for three proteins (ACE2, P = 1.6 × 10-6; IFNAR2, P = 9.8 × 10-11 and IL-10RB, P = 2.3 × 10-14) using cis-expression quantitative trait loci genetic instruments that also had strong evidence for colocalization with COVID-19 hospitalization. To disentangle the shared expression quantitative trait loci signal for IL10RB and IFNAR2, we conducted phenome-wide association scans and pathway enrichment analysis, which suggested that IFNAR2 is more likely to play a role in COVID-19 hospitalization. Our findings prioritize trials of drugs targeting IFNAR2 and ACE2 for early management of COVID-19.

COVID-19/genetics , Drug Repositioning , Mendelian Randomization Analysis/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Genome-Wide Association Study , Humans , Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit/genetics , Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit/physiology , Quantitative Trait Loci , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/genetics , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/physiology
PLoS Pathog ; 16(12): e1009163, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978951


The novel human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic. Critical to the rapid evaluation of vaccines and antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 is the development of tractable animal models to understand the adaptive immune response to the virus. To this end, the use of common laboratory strains of mice is hindered by significant divergence of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is the receptor required for entry of SARS-CoV-2. In the current study, we designed and utilized an mRNA-based transfection system to induce expression of the hACE2 receptor in order to confer entry of SARS-CoV-2 in otherwise non-permissive cells. By employing this expression system in an in vivo setting, we were able to interrogate the adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in type 1 interferon receptor deficient mice. In doing so, we showed that the T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 is enhanced when hACE2 is expressed during infection. Moreover, we demonstrated that these responses are preserved in memory and are boosted upon secondary infection. Importantly, using this system, we functionally identified the CD4+ and CD8+ structural peptide epitopes targeted during SARS-CoV-2 infection in H2b restricted mice and confirmed their existence in an established model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. We demonstrated that, identical to what has been seen in humans, the antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in mice primarily target peptides of the spike and membrane proteins, while the antigen-specific CD4+ T cells target peptides of the nucleocapsid, membrane, and spike proteins. As the focus of the immune response in mice is highly similar to that of the humans, the identification of functional murine SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell epitopes provided in this study will be critical for evaluation of vaccine efficacy in murine models of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Replication , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Mice , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/virology , Vero Cells