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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 719, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692616

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for potent and selective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer developed PF-07321332 (PF-332), a potent inhibitor of the viral main protease (Mpro, 3CLpro) that can be dosed orally and that is in clinical development. We here report that PF-332 exerts equipotent in vitro activity against the four SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns (VoC) and that it can completely arrest replication of the alpha variant in primary human airway epithelial cells grown at the air-liquid interface. Treatment of Syrian Golden hamsters with PF-332 (250 mg/kg, twice daily) completely protected the animals against intranasal infection with the beta (B.1.351) and delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variants. Moreover, treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2) infected animals with PF-332 completely prevented transmission to untreated co-housed sentinels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Lactams/administration & dosage , Leucine/administration & dosage , Nitriles/administration & dosage , Proline/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , A549 Cells , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cricetinae , Humans , Lactams/pharmacokinetics , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mesocricetus , Nitriles/pharmacokinetics , Proline/pharmacokinetics , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
Life Sci Alliance ; 5(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1675572

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There are limited effective prophylactic/early treatments for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Viral entry requires spike protein binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 receptor and cleavage by transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), a cell surface serine protease. Targeting of TMPRSS2 by either androgen blockade or direct inhibition is in clinical trials in early SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We used differentiated primary human airway epithelial cells at the air-liquid interface to test the impact of targeting TMPRSS2 on the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection. RESULTS: We first modelled the systemic delivery of compounds. Enzalutamide, an oral androgen receptor antagonist, had no impact on SARS-CoV-2 infection. By contrast, camostat mesylate, an orally available serine protease inhibitor, blocked SARS-CoV-2 entry. However, oral camostat is rapidly metabolised in the circulation, with poor airway bioavailability. We therefore modelled local airway administration by applying camostat to the apical surface of differentiated airway cultures. We demonstrated that a brief exposure to topical camostat effectively restricts SARS-CoV-2 infection. CONCLUSION: These experiments demonstrate a potential therapeutic role for topical camostat for pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2, which can now be evaluated in a clinical trial.


Subject(s)
Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Administration, Topical , Androgens/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Epithelial Cells , Esters/pharmacology , Gene Expression , Goblet Cells/immunology , Goblet Cells/metabolism , Guanidines/pharmacology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Signal Transduction , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
3.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674824

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can efficiently infect both children and adults, albeit with morbidity and mortality positively associated with increasing host age and presence of co-morbidities. SARS-CoV-2 continues to adapt to the human population, resulting in several variants of concern (VOC) with novel properties, such as Alpha and Delta. However, factors driving SARS-CoV-2 fitness and evolution in paediatric cohorts remain poorly explored. Here, we provide evidence that both viral and host factors co-operate to shape SARS-CoV-2 genotypic and phenotypic change in primary airway cell cultures derived from children. Through viral whole-genome sequencing, we explored changes in genetic diversity over time of two pre-VOC clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2 during passage in paediatric well-differentiated primary nasal epithelial cell (WD-PNEC) cultures and in parallel, in unmodified Vero-derived cell lines. We identified a consistent, rich genetic diversity arising in vitro, variants of which could rapidly rise to near fixation within two passages. Within isolates, SARS-CoV-2 evolution was dependent on host cells, with paediatric WD-PNECs showing a reduced diversity compared to Vero (E6) cells. However, mutations were not shared between strains. Furthermore, comparison of both Vero-grown isolates on WD-PNECs disclosed marked growth attenuation mapping to the loss of the polybasic cleavage site (PBCS) in Spike, while the strain with mutations in Nsp12 (T293I), Spike (P812R) and a truncation of Orf7a remained viable in WD-PNECs. Altogether, our work demonstrates that pre-VOC SARS-CoV-2 efficiently infects paediatric respiratory epithelial cells, and its evolution is restrained compared to Vero (E6) cells, similar to the case of adult cells. We highlight the significant genetic plasticity of SARS-CoV-2 while uncovering an influential role for collaboration between viral and host cell factors in shaping viral evolution and ultimately fitness in human respiratory epithelium.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Child , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genotype , Humans , Mutation , Nose/cytology , Nose/virology , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Vero Cells , Whole Genome Sequencing
4.
Science ; 375(6577): 161-167, 2022 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648160

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for broad-spectrum therapeutics against respiratory viruses. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major threat to pediatric patients and older adults. We describe 4'-fluorouridine (4'-FlU, EIDD-2749), a ribonucleoside analog that inhibits RSV, related RNA viruses, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with high selectivity index in cells and human airway epithelia organoids. Polymerase inhibition within in vitro RNA-dependent RNA polymerase assays established for RSV and SARS-CoV-2 revealed transcriptional stalling after incorporation. Once-daily oral treatment was highly efficacious at 5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) in RSV-infected mice or 20 mg/kg in ferrets infected with different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, initiated 24 or 12 hours after infection, respectively. These properties define 4'-FlU as a broad-spectrum candidate for the treatment of RSV, SARS-CoV-2, and related RNA virus infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Uracil Nucleotides/pharmacology , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Mononegavirales/drug effects , Mononegavirales/physiology , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/genetics , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Transcription, Genetic , Uracil Nucleotides/administration & dosage , Uracil Nucleotides/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
PLoS Biol ; 19(12): e3001065, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594053

ABSTRACT

The pandemic spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), represents an ongoing international health crisis. A key symptom of SARS-CoV-2 infection is the onset of fever, with a hyperthermic temperature range of 38 to 41°C. Fever is an evolutionarily conserved host response to microbial infection that can influence the outcome of viral pathogenicity and regulation of host innate and adaptive immune responses. However, it remains to be determined what effect elevated temperature has on SARS-CoV-2 replication. Utilizing a three-dimensional (3D) air-liquid interface (ALI) model that closely mimics the natural tissue physiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the respiratory airway, we identify tissue temperature to play an important role in the regulation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Respiratory tissue incubated at 40°C remained permissive to SARS-CoV-2 entry but refractory to viral transcription, leading to significantly reduced levels of viral RNA replication and apical shedding of infectious virus. We identify tissue temperature to play an important role in the differential regulation of epithelial host responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection that impact upon multiple pathways, including intracellular immune regulation, without disruption to general transcription or epithelium integrity. We present the first evidence that febrile temperatures associated with COVID-19 inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in respiratory epithelia. Our data identify an important role for tissue temperature in the epithelial restriction of SARS-CoV-2 independently of canonical interferon (IFN)-mediated antiviral immune defenses.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Hot Temperature , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Adolescent , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferons/genetics , Interferons/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Biological , RNA-Seq/methods , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Tissue Culture Techniques , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology
6.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 23-32, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585822

ABSTRACT

Systemic immune cell dynamics during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are extensively documented, but these are less well studied in the (upper) respiratory tract, where severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replicates1-6. Here, we characterized nasal and systemic immune cells in individuals with COVID-19 who were hospitalized or convalescent and compared the immune cells to those seen in healthy donors. We observed increased nasal granulocytes, monocytes, CD11c+ natural killer (NK) cells and CD4+ T effector cells during acute COVID-19. The mucosal proinflammatory populations positively associated with peripheral blood human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRlow monocytes, CD38+PD1+CD4+ T effector (Teff) cells and plasmablasts. However, there was no general lymphopenia in nasal mucosa, unlike in peripheral blood. Moreover, nasal neutrophils negatively associated with oxygen saturation levels in blood. Following convalescence, nasal immune cells mostly normalized, except for CD127+ granulocytes and CD38+CD8+ tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM). SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells persisted at least 2 months after viral clearance in the nasal mucosa, indicating that COVID-19 has both transient and long-term effects on upper respiratory tract immune responses.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Nasopharynx/immunology , Nose/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Granulocytes/immunology , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , Nasopharynx/cytology , Nasopharynx/virology , Neutrophils/immunology , Nose/immunology , Nose/virology , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 714027, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581346

ABSTRACT

In the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis, one major challenge is to identify the susceptibility factors of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in order to adapt the recommendations for populations, as well as to reduce the risk of COVID-19 development in the most vulnerable people, especially patients with chronic respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF). Airway epithelial cells (AECs) play a critical role in the modulation of both immune responses and COVID-19 severity. SARS-CoV-2 infects the airway through the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and a host protease, transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), plays a major role in SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Here, we show that Pseudomonas aeruginosa increases TMPRSS2 expression, notably in primary AECs with deficiency of the ion channel CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Further, we show that the main component of P. aeruginosa flagella, the protein flagellin, increases TMPRSS2 expression in primary AECs and Calu-3 cells, through activation of Toll-like receptor-5 and p38 MAPK. This increase is particularly seen in Calu-3 cells deficient for CFTR and is associated with an intracellular increased level of SARS-CoV-2 infection, however, with no effect on the amount of virus particles released. Considering the urgency of the COVID-19 health crisis, this result may be of clinical significance for CF patients, who are frequently infected with and colonized by P. aeruginosa during the course of CF and might develop COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cystic Fibrosis , Flagellin/metabolism , Pseudomonas Infections/complications , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , Cells, Cultured , Humans , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism
9.
Front Immunol ; 12: 743890, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581344

ABSTRACT

Background: Both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory bronchial effects are warranted to treat viral infections in asthma. We sought to investigate if imiquimod, a TLR7 agonist, exhibits such dual actions in ex vivo cultured human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs), targets for SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Objective: To investigate bronchial epithelial effects of imiquimod of potential importance for anti-viral treatment in asthmatic patients. Methods: Effects of imiquimod alone were examined in HBECs from healthy (N=4) and asthmatic (N=18) donors. Mimicking SARS-CoV-2 infection, HBECs were stimulated with poly(I:C), a dsRNA analogue, or SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein 1 (SP1; receptor binding) with and without imiquimod treatment. Expression of SARS-CoV-2 receptor (ACE2), pro-inflammatory and anti-viral cytokines were analyzed by RT-qPCR, multiplex ELISA, western blot, and Nanostring and proteomic analyses. Results: Imiquimod reduced ACE2 expression at baseline and after poly(I:C) stimulation. Imiquimod also reduced poly(I:C)-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-33. Furthermore, imiquimod increased IFN-ß expression, an effect potentiated in presence of poly(I:C) or SP1. Multiplex mRNA analysis verified enrichment in type-I IFN signaling concomitant with suppression of cytokine signaling pathways induced by imiquimod in presence of poly(I:C). Exploratory proteomic analyses revealed potentially protective effects of imiquimod on infections. Conclusion: Imiquimod triggers viral resistance mechanisms in HBECs by decreasing ACE2 and increasing IFN-ß expression. Additionally, imiquimod improves viral infection tolerance by reducing viral stimulus-induced epithelial cytokines involved in severe COVID-19 infection. Our imiquimod data highlight feasibility of producing pluripotent drugs potentially suited for anti-viral treatment in asthmatic subjects.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Asthma , COVID-19 , Imiquimod/pharmacology , Interferon-beta/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Adult , Aged , Bronchi/drug effects , Bronchi/immunology , Bronchi/virology , Cells, Cultured , Female , Humans , Interferon-beta/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Cell ; 184(24): 5932-5949.e15, 2021 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1549679

ABSTRACT

Anosmia, the loss of smell, is a common and often the sole symptom of COVID-19. The onset of the sequence of pathobiological events leading to olfactory dysfunction remains obscure. Here, we have developed a postmortem bedside surgical procedure to harvest endoscopically samples of respiratory and olfactory mucosae and whole olfactory bulbs. Our cohort of 85 cases included COVID-19 patients who died a few days after infection with SARS-CoV-2, enabling us to catch the virus while it was still replicating. We found that sustentacular cells are the major target cell type in the olfactory mucosa. We failed to find evidence for infection of olfactory sensory neurons, and the parenchyma of the olfactory bulb is spared as well. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to be a neurotropic virus. We postulate that transient insufficient support from sustentacular cells triggers transient olfactory dysfunction in COVID-19. Olfactory sensory neurons would become affected without getting infected.


Subject(s)
Autopsy/methods , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Olfactory Bulb/virology , Olfactory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Aged , Anosmia , COVID-19/physiopathology , Endoscopy/methods , Female , Glucuronosyltransferase/biosynthesis , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Hybridization , Male , Microscopy, Fluorescence , Middle Aged , Olfaction Disorders , Olfactory Receptor Neurons/metabolism , Respiratory System , SARS-CoV-2 , Smell
12.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260958, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546973

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants are emerging with potential increased transmissibility highlighting the great unmet medical need for new therapies. Niclosamide is a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent that has advanced in clinical development. We validate the potent antiviral efficacy of niclosamide in a SARS-CoV-2 human airway model. Furthermore, niclosamide remains its potency against the D614G, Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants. Our data further support the potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties of niclosamide and highlights its great potential as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Niclosamide/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Vero Cells
13.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260087, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528723

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented need for RT-qPCR-based molecular diagnostic testing, placing a strain on the supply chain and the availability of commercially available PCR testing kits and reagents. The effect of limited molecular diagnostics-related supplies has been felt across the globe, disproportionally impacting molecular diagnostic testing in developing countries where acquisition of supplies is limited due to availability. The increasing global demand for commercial molecular diagnostic testing kits and reagents has made standard PCR assays cost prohibitive, resulting in the development of alternative approaches to detect SARS-CoV-2 in clinical specimens, circumventing the need for commercial diagnostic testing kits while mitigating the high-demand for molecular diagnostics testing. The timely availability of the complete SARS-CoV-2 genome in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic facilitated the rapid development and deployment of specific primers and standardized laboratory protocols for the molecular diagnosis of COVID-19. An alternative method offering a highly specific manner of detecting and genotyping pathogens within clinical specimens is based on the melting temperature differences of PCR products. This method is based on the melting temperature differences between purine and pyrimidine bases. Here, RT-qPCR assays coupled with a High Resolution Melting analysis (HRM-RTqPCR) were developed to target different regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome (RdRp, E and N) and an internal control (human RNAse P gene). The assays were validated using synthetic sequences from the viral genome and clinical specimens (nasopharyngeal swabs, serum and saliva) of sixty-five patients with severe or moderate COVID-19 from different states within Brazil; a larger validation group than that used in the development to the commercially available TaqMan RT-qPCR assay which is considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. The sensitivity of the HRM-RTqPCR assays targeting the viral N, RdRp and E genes were 94.12, 98.04 and 92.16%, with 100% specificity to the 3 SARS-CoV-2 genome targets, and a diagnostic accuracy of 95.38, 98.46 and 93.85%, respectively. Thus, HRM-RTqPCR emerges as an attractive alternative and low-cost methodology for the molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 in restricted-budget laboratories.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Adult , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Female , Humans , Male , Nucleic Acid Denaturation , Oligonucleotides/chemistry , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Saliva/virology , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
mBio ; 11(2)2020 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1452919

ABSTRACT

Obesity is associated with increased disease severity, elevated viral titers in exhaled breath, and significantly prolonged viral shed during influenza A virus infection. Due to the mutable nature of RNA viruses, we questioned whether obesity could also influence influenza virus population diversity. Here, we show that minor variants rapidly emerge in obese mice. The variants exhibit increased viral replication, resulting in enhanced virulence in wild-type mice. The increased diversity of the viral population correlated with decreased type I interferon responses, and treatment of obese mice with recombinant interferon reduced viral diversity, suggesting that the delayed antiviral response exhibited in obesity permits the emergence of a more virulent influenza virus population. This is not unique to obese mice. Obesity-derived normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells also showed decreased interferon responses and increased viral replication, suggesting that viral diversity also was impacted in this increasing population.IMPORTANCE Currently, 50% of the adult population worldwide is overweight or obese. In these studies, we demonstrate that obesity not only enhances the severity of influenza infection but also impacts viral diversity. The altered microenvironment associated with obesity supports a more diverse viral quasispecies and affords the emergence of potentially pathogenic variants capable of inducing greater disease severity in lean hosts. This is likely due to the impaired interferon response, which is seen in both obese mice and obesity-derived human bronchial epithelial cells, suggesting that obesity, aside from its impact on influenza virus pathogenesis, permits the stochastic accumulation of potentially pathogenic viral variants, raising concerns about its public health impact as the prevalence of obesity continues to rise.


Subject(s)
Disease Susceptibility , Influenza A virus/physiology , Influenza, Human/etiology , Obesity/complications , Animals , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Influenza, Human/metabolism , Mice , Mutation , Phenotype , RNA, Viral , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Severity of Illness Index , Virulence , Virus Replication
15.
J Infect Dis ; 224(8): 1357-1361, 2021 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493824

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 ) initiates entry into airway epithelia by binding its receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). METHODS: To explore whether interindividual variation in ACE2 abundance contributes to variability in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, we measured ACE2 protein abundance in primary airway epithelial cultures derived from 58 human donor lungs. RESULTS: We found no evidence for sex- or age-dependent differences in ACE2 protein expression. Furthermore, we found that variations in ACE2 abundance had minimal effects on viral replication and induction of the interferon response in airway epithelia infected with SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the relative importance of additional host factors, beyond viral receptor expression, in determining COVID-19 lung disease outcomes.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/analysis , Biological Variation, Population , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/pathology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/virology , Epithelial Cells , Female , Humans , Male , Primary Cell Culture , Receptors, Coronavirus/analysis , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/pathology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Sex Factors , Virus Internalization
16.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0126021, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455683

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 pneumonia has been associated with the development of intense inflammatory responses during the course of infections with SARS-CoV-2. Given that human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are known to be activated during and participate in inflammatory processes, we examined whether HERV dysregulation signatures are present in COVID-19 patients. By comparing transcriptomes of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of COVID-19 patients and healthy controls, and peripheral blood monocytes (PBMCs) from patients and controls, we have shown that HERVs are intensely dysregulated in BALF of COVID-19 patients compared to those in BALF of healthy control patients but not in PBMCs. In particular, upregulation in the expression of specific HERV families was detected in BALF samples of COVID-19 patients, with HERV-FRD being the most highly upregulated family among the families analyzed. In addition, we compared the expression of HERVs in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) without and after senescence induction in an oncogene-induced senescence model in order to quantitatively measure changes in the expression of HERVs in bronchial cells during the process of cellular senescence. This apparent difference of HERV dysregulation between PBMCs and BALF warrants further studies in the involvement of HERVs in inflammatory pathogenetic mechanisms as well as exploration of HERVs as potential biomarkers for disease progression. Furthermore, the increase in the expression of HERVs in senescent HBECs in comparison to that in noninduced HBECs provides a potential link for increased COVID-19 severity and mortality in aged populations. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 emerged in late 2019 in China, causing a global pandemic. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by intensive inflammatory responses, and older age is an important risk factor for unfavorable outcomes. HERVs are remnants of ancient infections whose expression is upregulated in multiple conditions, including cancer and inflammation, and their expression is increased with increasing age. The significance of this work is that we were able to recognize dysregulated expression of endogenous retroviral elements in BALF samples but not in PBMCs of COVID-19 patients. At the same time, we were able to identify upregulated expression of multiple HERV families in senescence-induced HBECs in comparison to that in noninduced HBECs, a fact that could possibly explain the differences in disease severity among age groups. These results indicate that HERV expression might play a pathophysiological role in local inflammatory pathways in lungs afflicted by SARS-CoV-2 and their expression could be a potential therapeutic target.


Subject(s)
Bronchioles/virology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/pathology , Endogenous Retroviruses/growth & development , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Bronchioles/cytology , Endogenous Retroviruses/isolation & purification , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Inflammation/virology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome/genetics , Up-Regulation
17.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0257784, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440991

ABSTRACT

Drug repurposing has the potential to bring existing de-risked drugs for effective intervention in an ongoing pandemic-COVID-19 that has infected over 131 million, with 2.8 million people succumbing to the illness globally (as of April 04, 2021). We have used a novel `gene signature'-based drug repositioning strategy by applying widely accepted gene ranking algorithms to prioritize the FDA approved or under trial drugs. We mined publically available RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data using CLC Genomics Workbench 20 (QIAGEN) and identified 283 differentially expressed genes (FDR<0.05, log2FC>1) after a meta-analysis of three independent studies which were based on severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in primary human airway epithelial cells. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed that SARS-CoV-2 activated key canonical pathways and gene networks that intricately regulate general anti-viral as well as specific inflammatory pathways. Drug database, extracted from the Metacore and IPA, identified 15 drug targets (with information on COVID-19 pathogenesis) with 46 existing drugs as potential-novel candidates for repurposing for COVID-19 treatment. We found 35 novel drugs that inhibit targets (ALPL, CXCL8, and IL6) already in clinical trials for COVID-19. Also, we found 6 existing drugs against 4 potential anti-COVID-19 targets (CCL20, CSF3, CXCL1, CXCL10) that might have novel anti-COVID-19 indications. Finally, these drug targets were computationally prioritized based on gene ranking algorithms, which revealed CXCL10 as the common and strongest candidate with 2 existing drugs. Furthermore, the list of 283 SARS-CoV-2-associated proteins could be valuable not only as anti-COVID-19 targets but also useful for COVID-19 biomarker development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelium/drug effects , Humans , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory System/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
19.
Front Immunol ; 11: 607314, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389171

ABSTRACT

Acute lung injury (ALI) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality after viral infections, including influenza A virus H1N1, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. The angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a key host membrane-bound protein that modulates ALI induced by viral infection, pulmonary acid aspiration, and sepsis. However, the contributions of ACE2 sequence variants to individual differences in disease risk and severity after viral infection are not understood. In this study, we quantified H1N1 influenza-infected lung transcriptomes across a family of 41 BXD recombinant inbred strains of mice and both parents-C57BL/6J and DBA/2J. In response to infection Ace2 mRNA levels decreased significantly for both parental strains and the expression levels was associated with disease severity (body weight loss) and viral load (expression levels of viral NA segment) across the BXD family members. Pulmonary RNA-seq for 43 lines was analyzed using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and Bayesian network approaches. Ace2 not only participated in virus-induced ALI by interacting with TNF, MAPK, and NOTCH signaling pathways, but was also linked with high confidence to gene products that have important functions in the pulmonary epithelium, including Rnf128, Muc5b, and Tmprss2. Comparable sets of transcripts were also highlighted in parallel studies of human SARS-CoV-infected primary human airway epithelial cells. Using conventional mapping methods, we determined that weight loss at two and three days after viral infection maps to chromosome X-the location of Ace2. This finding motivated the hierarchical Bayesian network analysis, which defined molecular endophenotypes of lung infection linked to Ace2 expression and to a key disease outcome. Core members of this Bayesian network include Ace2, Atf4, Csf2, Cxcl2, Lif, Maml3, Muc5b, Reg3g, Ripk3, and Traf3. Collectively, these findings define a causally-rooted Ace2 modulatory network relevant to host response to viral infection and identify potential therapeutic targets for virus-induced respiratory diseases, including those caused by influenza and coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Lung/virology , Virus Diseases/genetics , Animals , Bayes Theorem , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Inbred DBA , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Signal Transduction/genetics
20.
Virol Sin ; 35(3): 280-289, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384632

ABSTRACT

Cancer cell lines have been used widely in cancer biology, and as biological or functional cell systems in many biomedical research fields. These cells are usually defective for many normal activities or functions due to significant genetic and epigenetic changes. Normal primary cell yields and viability from any original tissue specimens are usually relatively low or highly variable. These normal cells cease after a few passages or population doublings due to very limited proliferative capacity. Animal models (ferret, mouse, etc.) are often used to study virus-host interaction. However, viruses usually need to be adapted to the animals by several passages due to tropism restrictions including viral receptors and intracellular restrictions. Here we summarize applications of conditionally reprogrammed cells (CRCs), long-term cultures of normal airway epithelial cells from human nose to lung generated by conditional cell reprogramming (CR) technology, as an ex vivo model in studies of emerging viruses. CR allows to robustly propagate cells from non-invasive or minimally invasive specimens, for example, nasal or endobronchial brushing. This process is rapid (2 days) and conditional. The CRCs maintain their differentiation potential and lineage functions, and have been used for studies of adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza viruses, parvovirus, and SARS-CoV. The CRCs can be easily used for air-liquid interface (ALI) polarized 3D cultures, and these coupled CRC/ALI cultures mimic physiological conditions and are suitable for studies of viral entry including receptor binding and internalization, innate immune responses, viral replications, and drug discovery as an ex vivo model for emerging viruses.


Subject(s)
Cellular Reprogramming Techniques , Models, Biological , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Cell Differentiation , Cell Lineage , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
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