Self-organized stem cell-derived human lung buds with proximo-distal patterning and novel targets of SARS-CoV-2.
ABSTRACT: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of therapeutics hinders pandemic control 1-2 . Although lung disease is the primary clinical outcome in COVID-19 patients 1-3 , how SARS-CoV-2 induces tissue pathology in the lung remains elusive. Here we describe a high-throughput platform to generate tens of thousands of self-organizing, nearly identical, and genetically matched human lung buds derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) cultured on micropatterned substrates. Strikingly, in vitro -derived human lung buds resemble fetal human lung tissue and display in vivo -like proximo-distal coordination of alveolar and airway tissue differentiation whose 3D epithelial self-organization is directed by the levels of KGF. Single-cell transcriptomics unveiled the cellular identities of airway and alveolar tissue and the differentiation of WNT hi cycling alveolar stem cells, a human-specific lung cell type 4 . These synthetic human lung buds are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2 and endemic coronaviruses and can be used to track cell type-dependent susceptibilities to infection, intercellular transmission and cytopathology in airway and alveolar tissue in individual lung buds. Interestingly, we detected an increased susceptibility to infection in alveolar cells and identified cycling alveolar stem cells as targets of SARS-CoV-2. We used this platform to test neutralizing antibodies isolated from convalescent plasma that efficiently blocked SARS-CoV-2 infection and intercellular transmission. Our platform offers unlimited, rapid and scalable access to disease-relevant lung tissue that recapitulate key hallmarks of human lung development and can be used to track SARS-CoV-2 infection and identify candidate therapeutics for COVID-19.
Project description:Age is a major risk factor for severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Here, we interrogate the transcriptional features and cellular landscape of the aging human lung. By intersecting these age-associated changes with experimental data on SARS-CoV-2, we identify several factors that may contribute to the heightened severity of COVID-19 in older populations. The aging lung is transcriptionally characterized by increased cell adhesion and stress responses, with reduced mitochondria and cellular replication. Deconvolution analysis reveals that the proportions of alveolar type 2 cells, proliferating basal cells, goblet cells, and proliferating natural killer/T cells decrease with age, whereas alveolar fibroblasts, pericytes, airway smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells and IGSF21<sup>+</sup> dendritic cells increase with age. Several age-associated genes directly interact with the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Age-associated genes are also dysregulated by SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro and in patients with severe COVID-19. These analyses illuminate avenues for further studies on the relationship between age and COVID-19.
Project description:Development of an anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic is hindered by the lack of physiologically relevant model systems that can recapitulate host-viral interactions in human cell types, specifically the epithelium of the lung. Here, we compare induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived alveolar and airway epithelial cells to primary lung epithelial cell controls, focusing on expression levels of genes relevant for COVID-19 disease modeling. iPSC-derived alveolar epithelial type II-like cells (iAT2s) and iPSC-derived airway epithelial lineages express key transcripts associated with lung identity in the majority of cells produced in culture. They express <i>ACE2</i> and <i>TMPRSS2</i>, transcripts encoding essential host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 infection, in a minor subset of each cell sub-lineage, similar to frequencies observed in primary cells. In order to prepare human culture systems that are amenable to modeling viral infection of both the proximal and distal lung epithelium, we adapt iPSC-derived alveolar and airway epithelial cells to two-dimensional air-liquid interface cultures. These engineered human lung cell systems represent sharable, physiologically relevant platforms for SARS-CoV-2 infection modeling and may therefore expedite the development of an effective pharmacologic intervention for COVID-19.
Project description:The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is spread primary via respiratory droplets and infects the lungs. Currently widely used cell lines and animals are unable to accurately mimic human physiological conditions because of the abnormal status of cell lines (transformed or cancer cells) and species differences between animals and humans. Organoids are stem cell-derived self-organized three-dimensional culture in vitro and model the physiological conditions of natural organs. Here we showed that SARS-CoV-2 infected and extensively replicated in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs)-derived lung organoids, including airway and alveolar organoids which covered the complete infection and spread route for SARS-CoV-2 within lungs. The infected cells were ciliated, club, and alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells, which were sequentially located from the proximal to the distal airway and terminal alveoli, respectively. Additionally, RNA-seq revealed early cell response to virus infection including an unexpected downregulation of the metabolic processes, especially lipid metabolism, in addition to the well-known upregulation of immune response. Further, Remdesivir and a human neutralizing antibody potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung organoids. Therefore, human lung organoids can serve as a pathophysiological model to investigate the underlying mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection and to discover and test therapeutic drugs for COVID-19.
Project description:The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is accompanied by high morbidity and mortality rates, and there is a compelling need for effective vaccines and therapeutic agents to lessen the severity of COVID-19 disease. Appropriate animal models are essential for testing of vaccines and therapeutics and for mechanistic studies of infection and the host response. The Spike (S) protein of SARS-COV-2 has a high affinity for the human ACE2 receptor, which is expressed on multiple cell types including alveolar epithelial and vascular endothelial cells. Wild-type mice are not susceptible to developing coronavirus-mediated diseases. Accordingly, several human (h)ACE2 transgenic mouse models have been developed for coronavirus research. However, these mice have failed to closely mimic important aspects of the human immunopathological responses to SARS-CoV-2. We report herein that DRAGA (HLA-A2.HLA-DR4.Rag1KO.IL-2R?c KO.NOD) mice infused with human hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood reconstitute a fully functional human immune system, as well as engraft human epithelial and endothelial cells, sustain SARS-CoV-2 infection, and develop severe COVID-19-like symptoms. In pilot experiments, infected mice developed parenchymal and epithelial lung infiltrations with granzyme B <sup>+</sup> and perforin <sup>+</sup> CD8 <sup>+</sup> T cells and alveolar CD61 <sup>+</sup> microthrombi, mimicking human immunopathological responses to SARS-CoV-2. We propose the DRAGA mouse as a novel pre-clinical tool for studying COVID-19 immunopathology and human immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, including events leading to the cytokine storm and coagulopathies, as well as for testing of candidate vaccines and therapeutics.
Project description:The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus has led to a global pandemic (COVID-19), with more than 5 million cases as of May 2020<sup>1</sup>. Available data suggest that severe illness and death from COVID-19 are rare in the pediatric population<sup>2</sup>. Integrating single-cell RNA sequencing of the developing mouse lung with temporally-resolved RNA-in-situ hybridization (ISH) in mouse and human lung tissue, we found expression of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein primer <i>TMPRSS2</i> was highest in ciliated cells and type I alveolar epithelial cells (AT1) and increased with aging in mice and humans. SARS-CoV-2 RNA colocalized with <i>TMPRSS2</i> mRNA in lung cells from a patient who died of SARS-CoV-2. Together, these data suggest developmental regulation of <i>TMPRSS2</i> may underlie the relative protection of infants and children from severe respiratory illness.
Project description:All known recently emerged human coronaviruses likely originated in bats. Here, we used a single experimental platform based on human lung-only mice (LoM) to demonstrate efficient in vivo replication of all recently emerged human coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2) and two highly relevant endogenous pre-pandemic SARS-like bat coronaviruses. Virus replication in this model occurs in bona fide human lung tissue and does not require any type of adaptation of the virus or the host. Our results indicate that bats harbor endogenous coronaviruses capable of direct transmission into humans. Further detailed analysis of pandemic SARS-CoV-2 in vivo infection of LoM human lung tissue showed predominant infection of human lung epithelial cells, including type II pneumocytes present in alveoli and ciliated airway cells. Acute SARS-CoV-2 infection was highly cytopathic and induced a robust and sustained Type I interferon and inflammatory cytokine/chemokine response. Finally, we evaluated a pre-exposure prophylaxis strategy for coronavirus infection. Our results show that prophylactic administration of EIDD-2801, an oral broad spectrum antiviral currently in phase II clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19, dramatically prevented SARS-CoV-2 infection in vivo and thus has significant potential for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Project description:SARS-CoV-2 can infiltrate the lower respiratory tract, resulting in severe respiratory failure and a high death rate. Normally, the airway and alveolar epithelium can be rapidly reconstituted by multipotent stem cells after episodes of infection. Here, we analyzed published RNA-seq datasets and demonstrated that cells of four different lung epithelial stem cell types express SARS-CoV-2 entry factors, including Ace2. Thus, stem cells can be potentially infected by SARS-CoV-2, which may lead to defects in regeneration capacity partially accounting for the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its consequences.
Project description:The most severe and fatal infections with SARS-CoV-2 result in the acute respiratory distress syndrome, a clinical phenotype of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is associated with virions targeting the epithelium of the distal lung, particularly the facultative progenitors of this tissue, alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AT2s). Little is known about the initial responses of human lung alveoli to SARS-CoV-2 infection due in part to inability to access these cells from patients, particularly at early stages of disease. Here we present an in vitro human model that simulates the initial apical infection of the distal lung epithelium with SARS-CoV-2, using AT2s that have been adapted to air-liquid interface culture after their derivation from induced pluripotent stem cells (iAT2s). We find that SARS-CoV-2 induces a rapid global transcriptomic change in infected iAT2s characterized by a shift to an inflammatory phenotype predominated by the secretion of cytokines encoded by NF-kB target genes, delayed epithelial interferon responses, and rapid loss of the mature lung alveolar epithelial program. Over time, infected iAT2s exhibit cellular toxicity that can result in the death of these key alveolar facultative progenitors, as is observed in vivo in COVID-19 lung autopsies. Importantly, drug testing using iAT2s confirmed the efficacy of TMPRSS2 protease inhibition, validating putative mechanisms used for viral entry in human alveolar cells. Our model system reveals the cell-intrinsic responses of a key lung target cell to infection, providing a platform for further drug development and facilitating a deeper understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis.
Project description:COVID-19 is prevalent in the elderly. Old individuals are more likely to develop pneumonia and respiratory failure due to alveolar damage, suggesting that lung senescence may increase the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication. Considering that human coronavirus (HCoVs; SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV) require host cellular factors for infection and replication, we analyzed Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) data to test whether lung aging is associated with transcriptional changes in human protein-coding genes that potentially interact with these viruses. We found decreased expression of the gene tribbles homolog 3 (<i>TRIB3</i>) during aging in male individuals, and its protein was predicted to interact with HCoVs nucleocapsid protein and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Using publicly available lung single-cell data, we found <i>TRIB3</i> expressed mainly in alveolar epithelial cells that express SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2. Functional enrichment analysis of age-related genes, in common with SARS-CoV-induced perturbations, revealed genes associated with the mitotic cell cycle and surfactant metabolism. Given that TRIB3 was previously reported to decrease virus infection and replication, the decreased expression of <i>TRIB3</i> in aged lungs may help explain why older male patients are related to more severe cases of the COVID-19. Thus, drugs that stimulate TRIB3 expression should be evaluated as a potential therapy for the disease.
Project description:Recent studies have provided insights into the pathology and immune response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) <sup>1-8</sup> . However thorough interrogation of the interplay between infected cells and the immune system at sites of infection is lacking. We use high parameter imaging mass cytometry <sup>9</sup> targeting the expression of 36 proteins, to investigate at single cell resolution, the cellular composition and spatial architecture of human acute lung injury including SARS-CoV-2. This spatially resolved, single-cell data unravels the disordered structure of the infected and injured lung alongside the distribution of extensive immune infiltration. Neutrophil and macrophage infiltration are hallmarks of bacterial pneumonia and COVID-19, respectively. We provide evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infects predominantly alveolar epithelial cells and induces a localized hyper-inflammatory cell state associated with lung damage. By leveraging the temporal range of COVID-19 severe fatal disease in relation to the time of symptom onset, we observe increased macrophage extravasation, mesenchymal cells, and fibroblasts abundance concomitant with increased proximity between these cell types as the disease progresses, possibly as an attempt to repair the damaged lung tissue. This spatially resolved single-cell data allowed us to develop a biologically interpretable landscape of lung pathology from a structural, immunological and clinical standpoint. This spatial single-cell landscape enabled the pathophysiological characterization of the human lung from its macroscopic presentation to the single-cell, providing an important basis for the understanding of COVID-19, and lung pathology in general.