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1.
Dev Cell ; 56(11): 1646-1660.e5, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233404

ABSTRACT

Mucus-secreting goblet cells are the dominant cell type in pulmonary diseases, e.g., asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF), leading to pathologic mucus metaplasia and airway obstruction. Cytokines including IL-13 are the major players in the transdifferentiation of club cells into goblet cells. Unexpectedly, we have uncovered a previously undescribed pathway promoting mucous metaplasia that involves VEGFa and its receptor KDR. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis coupled with genetic mouse modeling demonstrates that loss of epithelial VEGFa, KDR, or MEK/ERK kinase promotes excessive club-to-goblet transdifferentiation during development and regeneration. Sox9 is required for goblet cell differentiation following Kdr inhibition in both mouse and human club cells. Significantly, airway mucous metaplasia in asthmatic and CF patients is also associated with reduced KDR signaling and increased SOX9 expression. Together, these findings reveal an unexpected role for VEGFa/KDR signaling in the defense against mucous metaplasia, offering a potential therapeutic target for this common airway pathology.


Subject(s)
Airway Obstruction/genetics , Metaplasia/genetics , SOX9 Transcription Factor/genetics , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/genetics , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2/genetics , Airway Obstruction/metabolism , Airway Obstruction/pathology , Animals , Cell Transdifferentiation/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Expression Regulation/genetics , Goblet Cells/metabolism , Goblet Cells/pathology , Humans , Interleukin-13/genetics , MAP Kinase Signaling System/genetics , Metaplasia/pathology , Mice , Mucus/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis
2.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 22401, 2020 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997946

ABSTRACT

The severity of COVID-19 lung disease is higher in the elderly and people with pre-existing co-morbidities. People who were born preterm may be at greater risk for COVID-19 because their early exposure to oxygen (hyperoxia) at birth increases the severity of respiratory viral infections. Hyperoxia at birth increases the severity of influenza A virus infections in adult mice by reducing the number of alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) cells. Since AT2 cells express the SARS-CoV-2 receptors angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE2) and transmembrane protease/serine subfamily member 2 (TMPRSS2), their expression should decline as AT2 cells are depleted by hyperoxia. Instead, ACE2 was detected in airway Club cells and endothelial cells at birth, and then AT2 cells at one year of age. Neonatal hyperoxia stimulated expression of ACE2 in Club cells and in AT2 cells by 2 months of age. It also stimulated expression of TMPRSS2 in the lung. Increased expression of SARS-CoV-2 receptors was blocked by mitoTEMPO, a mitochondrial superoxide scavenger that reduced oxidative stress and DNA damage seen in oxygen-exposed mice. Our finding that hyperoxia enhances the age-dependent expression of SARS-CoV-2 receptors in mice helps explain why COVID-19 lung disease is greater in the elderly and people with pre-existing co-morbidities.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/pathology , Hyperoxia/pathology , Receptors, Virus/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Aging , Animals , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index
3.
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
4.
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.

5.
Lancet Respir Med ; 8(7): 687-695, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-197584

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019, causing a respiratory disease (coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19) of varying severity in Wuhan, China, and subsequently leading to a pandemic. The transmissibility and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 remain poorly understood. We evaluate its tissue and cellular tropism in human respiratory tract, conjunctiva, and innate immune responses in comparison with other coronavirus and influenza virus to provide insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis. METHODS: We isolated SARS-CoV-2 from a patient with confirmed COVID-19, and compared virus tropism and replication competence with SARS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 (H1N1pdm) in ex-vivo cultures of human bronchus (n=5) and lung (n=4). We assessed extrapulmonary infection using ex-vivo cultures of human conjunctiva (n=3) and in-vitro cultures of human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell lines. Innate immune responses and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression were investigated in human alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages. In-vitro studies included the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus (H5N1) and mock-infected cells as controls. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 infected ciliated, mucus-secreting, and club cells of bronchial epithelium, type 1 pneumocytes in the lung, and the conjunctival mucosa. In the bronchus, SARS-CoV-2 replication competence was similar to MERS-CoV, and higher than SARS-CoV, but lower than H1N1pdm. In the lung, SARS-CoV-2 replication was similar to SARS-CoV and H1N1pdm, but was lower than MERS-CoV. In conjunctiva, SARS-CoV-2 replication was greater than SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 was a less potent inducer of proinflammatory cytokines than H5N1, H1N1pdm, or MERS-CoV. INTERPRETATION: The conjunctival epithelium and conducting airways appear to be potential portals of infection for SARS-CoV-2. Both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 replicated similarly in the alveolar epithelium; SARS-CoV-2 replicated more extensively in the bronchus than SARS-CoV. These findings provide important insights into the transmissibility and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and differences with other respiratory pathogens. FUNDING: US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University Grants Committee of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China; Health and Medical Research Fund, Food and Health Bureau, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Conjunctiva/virology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , Viral Tropism/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Conjunctiva/immunology , Conjunctiva/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/physiopathology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2
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