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1.
Environ Chem Lett ; 19(1): 17-24, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1906117

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 14 million people globally. Recently, airborne transmission has been postulated to be a major contributor to the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially in enclosed public spaces. While many studies have demonstrated positive correlations between atmospheric pollutants and SARS-CoV-2 infection, the impact of indoor air pollutants on airborne transmission has been largely overlooked. In particular, laser printers are a primary source of particle emission that increases the concentrations of particulate matter in indoor atmosphere by releasing substantial quantities of electrostatic fine particles, at rates comparable with tobacco smoking and incense burning. We hypothesized that particles emitted from laser printers present a potential risk factor for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in offices and other indoor environments with high user occupancy. To test this hypothesis, we reviewed recent knowledge on the characteristics of particles emitted by laser printing, including their emission rates and accumulation in indoor air, electrostatic charges, localized emission and subsequent particle diffusion in relation to the human breathing zone. We then discuss the potential impact on the transmission of SAR-CoV-2 in indoor spaces. We found that emission rates from laser printers ranged from 108 to 1012 particles min-1, and these fine particles typically remain suspended for prolonged periods in indoor air. Electrostatic charges carried by these particles can reach 260-379 e per particle, thus enhancing their surface adsorption and deposition in human airways. Localized emission by laser printers and subsequent diffusion highly increase particle concentrations near the human breathing zone.

2.
Rev Environ Health ; 37(2): 229-246, 2022 Jun 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238797

ABSTRACT

Nitrogen (N) is a critical component of food security, economy and planetary health. Human production of reactive nitrogen (Nr) via Haber-Bosch process and cultivation-induced biological N2 fixation (BNF) has doubled global N cycling over the last century. The most important beneficial effect of Nr is augmenting global food supplies due to increased crop yields. However, increased circulation of Nr in the environment is responsible for serious human health effects such as methemoglobinemia ("blue baby syndrome") and eutrophication of coastal and inland waters. Furthermore, ammonia (NH3) emission mainly from farming and animal husbandary impacts not only human health causing chronic lung disease, inflammation of human airways and irritation of eyes, sinuses and skin but is also involved in the formation of secondary particulate matter (PM) that plays a critical role in environment and human health. Nr also affects human health via global warming, depletion of stratospheric ozone layer resulting in greater intensity of ultra violet B rays (UVB) on the Earth's surface, and creation of ground-level ozone (through reaction of NO2 with O2). The consequential indirect human health effects of Nr include the spread of vector-borne pathogens, increased incidence of skin cancer, development of cataracts, and serious respiratory diseases, besides land degradation. Evidently, the strategies to reduce Nr and mitigate adverse environmental and human health impacts include plugging pathways of nitrogen transport and loss through runoff, leaching and emissions of NH3, nitrogen oxides (NO x ), and other N compounds; improving fertilizer N use efficiency; reducing regional disparity in access to N fertilizers; enhancing BNF to decrease dependence on chemical fertilizers; replacing animal-based proteins with plant-based proteins; adopting improved methods of livestock raising and manure management; reducing air pollution and secondary PM formation; and subjecting industrial and vehicular NO x emission to pollution control laws. Strategic implementation of all these presents a major challenge across the fields of agriculture, ecology and public health. Recent observations on the reduction of air pollution in the COVID-19 lockdown period in several world regions provide an insight into the achievability of long-term air quality improvement. In this review, we focus on complex relationships between Nr and human health, highlighting a wide range of beneficial and detrimental effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fertilizers , Agriculture/methods , Animals , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Nitrogen , Nitrogen Compounds
3.
mBio ; 12(3)2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225698

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) polypeptide of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) consists of the S1 and S2 subunits and is processed by cellular proteases at the S1/S2 boundary that contains a furin cleavage site (FCS), 682RRAR↓S686 Various deletions surrounding the FCS have been identified in patients. When SARS-CoV-2 propagated in Vero cells, it acquired deletions surrounding the FCS. We studied the viral transcriptome in Vero cell-derived SARS-CoV-2-infected primary human airway epithelia (HAE) cultured at an air-liquid interface (ALI) with an emphasis on the viral genome stability of the FCS. While we found overall the viral transcriptome is similar to that generated from infected Vero cells, we identified a high percentage of mutated viral genome and transcripts in HAE-ALI. Two highly frequent deletions were found at the FCS region: a 12 amino acid deletion (678TNSPRRAR↓SVAS689) that contains the underlined FCS and a 5 amino acid deletion (675QTQTN679) that is two amino acids upstream of the FCS. Further studies on the dynamics of the FCS deletions in apically released virions from 11 infected HAE-ALI cultures of both healthy and lung disease donors revealed that the selective pressure for the FCS maintains the FCS stably in 9 HAE-ALI cultures but with 2 exceptions, in which the FCS deletions are retained at a high rate of >40% after infection of ≥13 days. Our study presents evidence for the role of unique properties of human airway epithelia in the dynamics of the FCS region during infection of human airways, which is likely donor dependent.IMPORTANCE Polarized human airway epithelia at an air-liquid interface (HAE-ALI) are an in vitro model that supports efficient infection of SARS-CoV-2. The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 contains a furin cleavage site (FCS) at the boundary of the S1 and S2 domains which distinguishes it from SARS-CoV. However, FCS deletion mutants have been identified in patients and in vitro cell cultures, and how the airway epithelial cells maintain the unique FCS remains unknown. We found that HAE-ALI cultures were capable of suppressing two prevalent FCS deletion mutants (Δ678TNSPRRAR↓SVAS689 and Δ675QTQTN679) that were selected during propagation in Vero cells. While such suppression was observed in 9 out of 11 of the tested HAE-ALI cultures derived from independent donors, 2 exceptions that retained a high rate of FCS deletions were also found. Our results present evidence of the donor-dependent properties of human airway epithelia in the evolution of the FCS during infection.


Subject(s)
Bronchi/virology , Furin/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Transcriptome , Animals , Bronchi/cytology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , RNA-Seq , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Sequence Deletion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
4.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(4): e1009500, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197396

ABSTRACT

The high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 is related to abundant replication in the upper airways, which is not observed for the other highly pathogenic coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. We here reveal features of the coronavirus spike (S) protein, which optimize the virus towards the human respiratory tract. First, the S proteins exhibit an intrinsic temperature preference, corresponding with the temperature of the upper or lower airways. Pseudoviruses bearing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (SARS-2-S) were more infectious when produced at 33°C instead of 37°C, a property shared with the S protein of HCoV-229E, a common cold coronavirus. In contrast, the S proteins of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV favored 37°C, in accordance with virus preference for the lower airways. Next, SARS-2-S-driven entry was efficiently activated by not only TMPRSS2, but also the TMPRSS13 protease, thus broadening the cell tropism of SARS-CoV-2. Both proteases proved relevant in the context of authentic virus replication. TMPRSS13 appeared an effective spike activator for the virulent coronaviruses but not the low pathogenic HCoV-229E virus. Activation of SARS-2-S by these surface proteases requires processing of the S1/S2 cleavage loop, in which both the furin recognition motif and extended loop length proved critical. Conversely, entry of loop deletion mutants is significantly increased in cathepsin-rich cells. Finally, we demonstrate that the D614G mutation increases SARS-CoV-2 stability, particularly at 37°C, and, enhances its use of the cathepsin L pathway. This indicates a link between S protein stability and usage of this alternative route for virus entry. Since these spike properties may promote virus spread, they potentially explain why the spike-G614 variant has replaced the early D614 variant to become globally predominant. Collectively, our findings reveal adaptive mechanisms whereby the coronavirus spike protein is adjusted to match the temperature and protease conditions of the airways, to enhance virus transmission and pathology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Respiratory System/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus 229E, Human/metabolism , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Temperature , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication/physiology
5.
Environ Res ; 197: 111096, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163738

ABSTRACT

This study is motivated by the amplified transmission rates of the SAR-CoV-2 virus in areas with high concentrations of fine particulates (PM2.5) as reported in northern Italy and Mexico. To develop a deeper understanding of the contribution of PM2.5 in the propagation of the SAR-CoV-2 virus in the population, the deposition patterns and efficiencies (DEs) of PM2.5 laced with the virus in healthy and asthmatic airways are studied. Physiologically correct 3-D models for generations 10-12 of the human airways are applied to carry out a numerical analysis of two-phase flow for full breathing cycles. Two concentrations of PM2.5 are applied for the simulation, i.e., 30 µg⋅m-3 and 80 µg⋅m-3 for three breathing statuses, i.e., rest, light exercise, and moderate activity. All the PM2.5 injected into the control volume is assumed to be 100% contaminated with the SAR-CoV-2 virus. Skewed air-flow phenomena at the bifurcations are proportional to the Reynolds number at the inlet, and their intensity in the asthmatic airway exceeded that of the healthy one. Upon exhalation, two peak air-flow vectors from daughter branches combine to form one big vector in the parent generation. Asthmatic airway models has higher deposition efficiencies (DEs) for contaminated PM2.5 as compared to the healthy one. Higher DEs arise in the asthmatic airway model due to complex secondary flows which increase the impaction of contaminated PM2.5 on airways' walls.


Subject(s)
Asthma , Lung , Computer Simulation , Humans , Italy , Mexico , Models, Biological , Particulate Matter/toxicity
6.
Comput Mech ; 67(5): 1497-1513, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1141424

ABSTRACT

To respond to the ongoing pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, this contribution deals with recently highlighted COVID-19 transmission through respiratory droplets in form of aerosols. Unlike other recent studies that focused on airborne transmission routes, this work addresses aerosol transport and deposition in a human respiratory tract. The contribution therefore conducts a computational study of aerosol deposition in digital replicas of human airways, which include the oral cavity, larynx and tracheobronchial airways down to the 12th generation of branching. Breathing through the oral cavity allows the air with aerosols to directly impact the larynx and tracheobronchial airways and can be viewed as one of the worst cases in terms of inhalation rate and aerosol load. The implemented computational model is based on Lagrangian particle tracking in Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes resolved turbulent flow. Within this framework, the effects of different flow rates, particle diameters and lung sizes are investigated to enable new insights into local particle deposition behavior and therefore virus loads among selected age groups. We identify a signicant increase of aerosol deposition in the upper airways and thus a strong reduction of virus load in the lower airways for younger individuals. Based on our findings, we propose a possible relation between the younger age related fluid mechanical protection of the lower lung regions due to the airway size and a reduced risk of developing a severe respiratory illness originating from COVID-19 airborne transmission.

7.
Environ Res ; 197: 110975, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1118425

ABSTRACT

The deposition phenomenon of microparticle and SAR-CoV-2 laced bioaerosol in human airways is studied by Taguchi methods and response surface methodology (RSM). The data used herein is obtained from simulations of airflow dynamics and deposition fractions of drug particle aerosols in the downstream airways of asthma patients using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete particle motion (DPM). Three main parameters, including airflow rate, drug dose, and particle size, affecting aerosol deposition in the lungs of asthma patients are examined. The highest deposition fraction (DF) is obtained at the flow rate of 45 L min-1, the drug dose of 200 µg·puff-1, and the particle diameter of 5 µm. The optimized combination of levels for the three parameters for maximum drug deposition is performed via the Taguchi method. The importance of the influencing factors rank as particle size > drug dose > flow rate. RSM reveals that the combination of 30 L min-1, 5 µm, 200 µg·puff- has the highest deposition fraction. In part, this research also studied the deposition of bioaerosols contaminated with the SAR-CoV-2 virus, and their lowest DF is 1.15%. The low DF of bioaerosols reduces the probability of the SAR-CoV-2 virus transmission.


Subject(s)
Hydrodynamics , Lung , Administration, Inhalation , Aerosols , Computer Simulation , Humans , Models, Biological , Particle Size
8.
JCI Insight ; 6(4)2021 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105583

ABSTRACT

An intact lung epithelial barrier is essential for lung homeostasis. The Na+, K+-ATPase (NKA), primarily serving as an ion transporter, also regulates epithelial barrier function via modulation of tight junctions. However, the underlying mechanism is not well understood. Here, we show that overexpression of the NKA ß1 subunit upregulates the expression of tight junction proteins, leading to increased alveolar epithelial barrier function by an ion transport-independent mechanism. Using IP and mass spectrometry, we identified a number of unknown protein interactions of the ß1 subunit, including a top candidate, myotonic dystrophy kinase-related cdc42-binding kinase α (MRCKα), which is a protein kinase known to regulate peripheral actin formation. Using a doxycycline-inducible gene expression system, we demonstrated that MRCKα and its downstream activation of myosin light chain is required for the regulation of alveolar barrier function by the NKA ß1 subunit. Importantly, MRCKα is expressed in both human airways and alveoli and has reduced expression in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lung illness that can be caused by multiple direct and indirect insults, including the infection of influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Our results have elucidated a potentially novel mechanism by which NKA regulates epithelial tight junctions and have identified potential drug targets for treating ARDS and other pulmonary diseases that are caused by barrier dysfunction.


Subject(s)
Myotonin-Protein Kinase/metabolism , Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase/metabolism , Tight Junctions/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Animals , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Myotonin-Protein Kinase/genetics , Primary Cell Culture , Rats , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase/genetics
9.
Scand J Immunol ; 93(6): e13024, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091011

ABSTRACT

Early airway responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are of interest since they could decide whether coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) will proceed to life-threatening pulmonary disease stages. Here I discuss endothelial-epithelial co-operative in vivo responses producing first-line, humoral innate defence opportunities in human airways. The pseudostratified epithelium of human nasal and tracheobronchial airways are prime sites of exposure and infection by SARS-CoV-2. Just beneath the epithelium runs a profuse systemic microcirculation. Its post-capillary venules respond conspicuously to mucosal challenges with autacoids, allergens and microbes, and to mere loss of epithelium. By active venular endothelial gap formation, followed by transient yielding of epithelial junctions, non-sieved plasma macromolecules move from the microcirculation to the mucosal surface. Hence, plasma-derived protein cascade systems and antimicrobial peptides would have opportunity to operate jointly on an unperturbed mucosal lining. Similarly, a plasma-derived, dynamic gel protects sites of epithelial sloughing-regeneration. Precision for this indiscriminate humoral molecular response lies in restricted location and well-regulated duration of plasma exudation. Importantly, the endothelial responsiveness of the airway microcirculation differs distinctly from the relatively non-responsive, low-pressure pulmonary microcirculation that non-specifically, almost irreversibly, leaks plasma in life-threatening COVID-19. Observations in humans of infections with rhinovirus, coronavirus 229E, and influenza A and B support a general but individually variable early occurrence of plasma exudation in human infected nasal and tracheobronchial airways. Investigations are warranted to elucidate roles of host- and drug-induced airway plasma exudation in restriction of viral infection and, specifically, whether it contributes to variable disease responses following exposure to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Biomarkers/blood , Blood Proteins , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/metabolism , Capillary Permeability/immunology , Complement Activation/immunology , Complement System Proteins/immunology , Complement System Proteins/metabolism , Exudates and Transudates , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Microvessels/immunology , Microvessels/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism
10.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 22430, 2020 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003316

ABSTRACT

The new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been emerged as a rapidly spreading pandemic. The disease is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The pathogen of COVID-19 is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It infects the cells binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor (ACE2) which is expressed by cells throughout the airways as targets for cellular entry. Although the majority of persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infection, in some people infections of the acinar airways result in severe, potentially fatal pneumonia. However, the induction of COVID-19 pneumonia requires that SARS-CoV-2 reaches the acinar airways. While huge efforts have been made to understand the spread of the disease as well as the pathogenesis following cellular entry, much less attention is paid to how SARS-CoV-2 from the environment reach the receptors of the target cells. The aim of the present study is to characterize the deposition distribution of SARS-CoV-2 in the airways upon exposure to cough-generated droplets and aerosol particles. For this purpose, the Stochastic Lung Deposition Model has been applied. Particle size distribution, breathing parameters supposing normal breathing through the nose, and viral loads were taken from the literature. We found that the probability of direct infection of the acinar airways due to inhalation of particles emitted by a bystander cough is very low. As the number of viruses deposited in the extrathoracic airways is about 7 times higher than in the acinar airways, we concluded that in most cases COVID-19 pneumonia must be preceded by SARS-CoV-2 infection of the upper airways. Our results suggest that without the enhancement of viral load in the upper airways, COVID-19 would be much less dangerous. The period between the onset of initial symptoms and the potential clinical deterioration could provide an opportunity for prevention of pneumonia by blocking or significantly reducing the transport of viruses towards the acinar airways. Therefore, even non-specific treatment forms like disinfection of the throat and nasal and oral mucosa may effectively keep the viral load of the upper airways low enough to avoid or prolong the progression of the disease. In addition, using a tissue or cloth in order to absorb droplets and aerosol particles emitted by own coughs of infected patients before re-inhalation is highly recommended even if they are alone in quarantine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/transmission , Respiratory Physiological Phenomena , Aerosols , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cough , Humans , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load
11.
mBio ; 11(6)2020 11 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-930294

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replicates throughout human airways. The polarized human airway epithelium (HAE) cultured at an airway-liquid interface (HAE-ALI) is an in vitro model mimicking the in vivo human mucociliary airway epithelium and supports the replication of SARS-CoV-2. Prior studies characterized only short-period SARS-CoV-2 infection in HAE. In this study, continuously monitoring the SARS-CoV-2 infection in HAE-ALI cultures for a long period of up to 51 days revealed that SARS-CoV-2 infection was long lasting with recurrent replication peaks appearing between an interval of approximately 7 to 10 days, which was consistent in all the tested HAE-ALI cultures derived from 4 lung bronchi of independent donors. We also identified that SARS-CoV-2 does not infect HAE from the basolateral side, and the dominant SARS-CoV-2 permissive epithelial cells are ciliated cells and goblet cells, whereas virus replication in basal cells and club cells was not detected. Notably, virus infection immediately damaged the HAE, which is demonstrated by dispersed zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) expression without clear tight junctions and partial loss of cilia. Importantly, we identified that SARS-CoV-2 productive infection of HAE requires a high viral load of >2.5 × 105 virions per cm2 of epithelium. Thus, our studies highlight the importance of a high viral load and that epithelial renewal initiates and maintains a recurrent infection of HAE with SARS-CoV-2.IMPORTANCE The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to >35 million confirmed cases and >1 million fatalities worldwide. SARS-CoV-2 mainly replicates in human airway epithelia in COVID-19 patients. In this study, we used in vitro cultures of polarized human bronchial airway epithelium to model SARS-CoV-2 replication for a period of 21 to 51 days. We discovered that in vitro airway epithelial cultures endure a long-lasting SARS-CoV-2 propagation with recurrent peaks of progeny virus release at an interval of approximately 7 to 10 days. Our study also revealed that SARS-CoV-2 infection causes airway epithelia damage with disruption of tight junction function and loss of cilia. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 exhibits a polarity of infection in airway epithelium only from the apical membrane; it infects ciliated and goblet cells but not basal and club cells. Furthermore, the productive infection of SARS-CoV-2 requires a high viral load of over 2.5 × 105 virions per cm2 of epithelium. Our study highlights that the proliferation of airway basal cells and regeneration of airway epithelium may contribute to the recurrent infections.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Models, Biological , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Bronchi/cytology , Cells, Cultured , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Kinetics , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load , Viral Tropism , Virus Release , Virus Replication
12.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Aug 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-900750

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replicates throughout human airways. The polarized human airway epithelium (HAE) cultured at an airway-liquid interface (HAE-ALI) is an in vitro model mimicking the in vivo human mucociliary airway epithelium and supports the replication of SARS-CoV-2. However, previous studies only characterized short-period SARS-CoV-2 infection in HAE. In this study, continuously monitoring the SARS-CoV-2 infection in HAE-ALI cultures for a long period of up to 51 days revealed that SARS-CoV-2 infection was long lasting with recurrent replication peaks appearing between an interval of approximately 7-10 days, which was consistent in all the tested HAE-ALI cultures derived from 4 lung bronchi of independent donors. We also identified that SARS-CoV-2 does not infect HAE from the basolateral side, and the dominant SARS-CoV-2 permissive epithelial cells are ciliated cells and goblet cells, whereas virus replication in basal cells and club cells was not detectable. Notably, virus infection immediately damaged the HAE, which is demonstrated by dispersed Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) expression without clear tight junctions and partial loss of cilia. Importantly, we identified that SARS-CoV-2 productive infection of HAE requires a high viral load of 2.5 × 10 5 virions per cm 2 of epithelium. Thus, our studies highlight the importance of a high viral load and that epithelial renewal initiates and maintains a recurrent infection of HAE with SARS-CoV-2.

13.
mBio ; 11(5)2020 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-883314

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has erupted into a global pandemic that has led to tens of millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. The development of therapeutics to treat infection or as prophylactics to halt viral transmission and spread is urgently needed. SARS-CoV-2 relies on structural rearrangements within a spike (S) glycoprotein to mediate fusion of the viral and host cell membranes. Here, we describe the development of a lipopeptide that is derived from the C-terminal heptad repeat (HRC) domain of SARS-CoV-2 S that potently inhibits infection by SARS-CoV-2. The lipopeptide inhibits cell-cell fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-2 S and blocks infection by live SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cell monolayers more effectively than previously described lipopeptides. The SARS-CoV-2 lipopeptide exhibits broad-spectrum activity by inhibiting cell-cell fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-1 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and blocking infection by live MERS-CoV in cell monolayers. We also show that the SARS-CoV-2 HRC-derived lipopeptide potently blocks the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial (HAE) cultures, an ex vivo model designed to mimic respiratory viral propagation in humans. While viral spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection was widespread in untreated airways, those treated with SARS-CoV-2 HRC lipopeptide showed no detectable evidence of viral spread. These data provide a framework for the development of peptide therapeutics for the treatment of or prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other coronaviruses.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, continues to spread globally, placing strain on health care systems and resulting in rapidly increasing numbers of cases and mortalities. Despite the growing need for medical intervention, no FDA-approved vaccines are yet available, and treatment has been limited to supportive therapy for the alleviation of symptoms. Entry inhibitors could fill the important role of preventing initial infection and preventing spread. Here, we describe the design, synthesis, and evaluation of a lipopeptide that is derived from the HRC domain of the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein that potently inhibits fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein and blocks infection by live SARS-CoV-2 in both cell monolayers (in vitro) and human airway tissues (ex vivo). Our results highlight the SARS-CoV-2 HRC-derived lipopeptide as a promising therapeutic candidate for SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/chemistry , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Protein Domains , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS Virus/chemistry , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
14.
J Virol ; 94(19)2020 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-852551

ABSTRACT

The newly emerged human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused a pandemic of respiratory illness. Current evidence suggests that severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 are associated with a dysregulated immune response. However, little is known about how the innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we modeled SARS-CoV-2 infection using primary human airway epithelial (pHAE) cultures, which are maintained in an air-liquid interface. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in pHAE cultures and is directionally released on the apical, but not basolateral, surface. Transcriptional profiling studies found that infected pHAE cultures had a molecular signature dominated by proinflammatory cytokines and chemokine induction, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and CXCL8, and identified NF-κB and ATF-4 as key drivers of this proinflammatory cytokine response. Surprisingly, we observed a complete lack of a type I or III interferon (IFN) response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, pretreatment and posttreatment with type I and III IFNs significantly reduced virus replication in pHAE cultures that correlated with upregulation of antiviral effector genes. Combined, our findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 does not trigger an IFN response but is sensitive to the effects of type I and III IFNs. Our studies demonstrate the utility of pHAE cultures to model SARS-CoV-2 infection and that both type I and III IFNs can serve as therapeutic options to treat COVID-19 patients.IMPORTANCE The current pandemic of respiratory illness, COVID-19, is caused by a recently emerged coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. This virus infects airway and lung cells causing fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Severe cases of COVID-19 can result in lung damage, low blood oxygen levels, and even death. As there are currently no vaccines approved for use in humans, studies of the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection are urgently needed. Our research identifies an excellent system to model SARS-CoV-2 infection of the human airways that can be used to test various treatments. Analysis of infection in this model system found that human airway epithelial cell cultures induce a strong proinflammatory cytokine response yet block the production of type I and III IFNs to SARS-CoV-2. However, treatment of airway cultures with the immune molecules type I or type III interferon (IFN) was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, our model system identified type I or type III IFN as potential antiviral treatments for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/immunology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Chemokines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Dogs , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/cytology , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
15.
ArXiv ; 2020 Mar 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-831893

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the etiologic agent responsible for COVID-19 coronavirus disease, is a global threat. To better understand viral tropism, we assessed the RNA expression of the coronavirus receptor, ACE2, as well as the viral S protein priming protease TMPRSS2 thought to govern viral entry in single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) datasets from healthy individuals generated by the Human Cell Atlas consortium. We found that ACE2, as well as the protease TMPRSS2, are differentially expressed in respiratory and gut epithelial cells. In-depth analysis of epithelial cells in the respiratory tree reveals that nasal epithelial cells, specifically goblet/secretory cells and ciliated cells, display the highest ACE2 expression of all the epithelial cells analyzed. The skewed expression of viral receptors/entry-associated proteins towards the upper airway may be correlated with enhanced transmissivity. Finally, we showed that many of the top genes associated with ACE2 airway epithelial expression are innate immune-associated, antiviral genes, highly enriched in the nasal epithelial cells. This association with immune pathways might have clinical implications for the course of infection and viral pathology, and highlights the specific significance of nasal epithelia in viral infection. Our findings underscore the importance of the availability of the Human Cell Atlas as a reference dataset. In this instance, analysis of the compendium of data points to a particularly relevant role for nasal goblet and ciliated cells as early viral targets and potential reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This, in turn, serves as a biological framework for dissecting viral transmission and developing clinical strategies for prevention and therapy.

16.
J Aerosol Sci ; 150: 105649, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733786

ABSTRACT

The inhalation route has a substantial influence on the fate of inhaled particles. An outbreak of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, influenza or tuberculosis depends on the site of deposition of the inhaled pathogens. But the knowledge of respiratory deposition is important also for occupational safety or targeted delivery of inhaled pharmaceuticals. Simulations utilizing computational fluid dynamics are becoming available to a wide spectrum of users and they can undoubtedly bring detailed predictions of regional deposition of particles. However, if those simulations are to be trusted, they must be validated by experimental data. This article presents simulations and experiments performed on a geometry of airways which is available to other users and thus those results can be used for intercomparison between different research groups. In particular, three hypotheses were tested. First: Oral breathing and combined breathing are equivalent in terms of particle deposition in TB airways, as the pressure resistance of the nasal cavity is so high that the inhaled aerosol flows mostly through the oral cavity in both cases. Second: The influence of the inhalation route (nasal, oral or combined) on the regional distribution of the deposited particles downstream of the trachea is negligible. Third: Simulations can accurately and credibly predict deposition hotspots. The maximum spatial resolution of predicted deposition achievable by current methods was searched for. The simulations were performed using large-eddy simulation, the flow measurements were done by laser Doppler anemometry and the deposition has been measured by positron emission tomography in a realistic replica of human airways. Limitations and sources of uncertainties of the experimental methods were identified. The results confirmed that the high-pressure resistance of the nasal cavity leads to practically identical velocity profiles, even above the glottis for the mouth, and combined mouth and nose breathing. The distribution of deposited particles downstream of the trachea was not influenced by the inhalation route. The carina of the first bifurcation was not among the main deposition hotspots regardless of the inhalation route or flow rate. On the other hand, the deposition hotspots were identified by both CFD and experiments in the second bifurcation in both lungs, and to a lesser extent also in both the third bifurcations in the left lung.

17.
Nature ; 586(7830): 560-566, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733515

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are prone to transmission to new host species, as recently demonstrated by the spread to humans of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1. Small animal models that recapitulate SARS-CoV-2 disease are needed urgently for rapid evaluation of medical countermeasures2,3. SARS-CoV-2 cannot infect wild-type laboratory mice owing to inefficient interactions between the viral spike protein and the mouse orthologue of the human receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)4. Here we used reverse genetics5 to remodel the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and mouse ACE2 and designed mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2 MA), a recombinant virus that can use mouse ACE2 for entry into cells. SARS-CoV-2 MA was able to replicate in the upper and lower airways of both young adult and aged BALB/c mice. SARS-CoV-2 MA caused more severe disease in aged mice, and exhibited more clinically relevant phenotypes than those seen in Hfh4-ACE2 transgenic mice, which express human ACE2 under the control of the Hfh4 (also known as Foxj1) promoter. We demonstrate the utility of this model using vaccine-challenge studies in immune-competent mice with native expression of mouse ACE2. Finally, we show that the clinical candidate interferon-λ1a (IFN-λ1a) potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in primary human airway epithelial cells in vitro-both prophylactic and therapeutic administration of IFN-λ1a diminished SARS-CoV-2 replication in mice. In summary, the mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 MA model demonstrates age-related disease pathogenesis and supports the clinical use of pegylated IFN-λ1a as a treatment for human COVID-196.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Interferons/pharmacology , Interferons/therapeutic use , Interleukins/pharmacology , Interleukins/therapeutic use , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Aging/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Female , Forkhead Transcription Factors/genetics , Humans , Interferon-alpha/administration & dosage , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , Interferon-alpha/therapeutic use , Interferons/administration & dosage , Interleukins/administration & dosage , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Molecular , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(15)2020 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693532

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 pandemic struck health, social and economic systems worldwide, and represents an open challenge for scientists -coping with the high inter-individual variability of COVID-19, and for policy makers -coping with the responsibility to understand environmental factors affecting its severity across different geographical areas. Air pollution has been warned of as a modifiable factor contributing to differential SARS-CoV-2 spread but the biological mechanisms underlying the phenomenon are still unknown. Air quality and COVID-19 epidemiological data from 110 Italian provinces were studied by correlation analysis, to evaluate the association between particulate matter (PM)2.5 concentrations and incidence, mortality rate and case fatality risk of COVID-19 in the period 20 February-31 March 2020. Bioinformatic analysis of the DNA sequence encoding the SARS-CoV-2 cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) was performed to identify consensus motifs for transcription factors mediating cellular response to pollutant insult. Positive correlations between PM2.5 levels and the incidence (r = 0.67, p < 0.0001), the mortality rate (r = 0.65, p < 0.0001) and the case fatality rate (r = 0.7, p < 0.0001) of COVID-19 were found. The bioinformatic analysis of the ACE-2 gene identified nine putative consensus motifs for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Our results confirm the supposed link between air pollution and the rate and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection and support the hypothesis that pollution-induced over-expression of ACE-2 on human airways may favor SARS-CoV-2 infectivity.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution/adverse effects , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Particulate Matter/adverse effects , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Base Sequence , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Promoter Regions, Genetic , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Up-Regulation
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