Dengue virus (DENV) infection requires cholesterol as a pro-viral factor although statin treatment did not show antiviral efficacy in dengue patients. Here, we show that DENV infection manipulates cholesterol metabolism in cells residing in low oxygen microenvironments (hypoxia) such as the liver, spleen and lymph nodes. DENV infection induced proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), which reduces low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) recycling and hence cholesterol uptake. We found that, whereas LDLR uptake would have distributed cholesterol throughout the various cell compartments, de novo cholesterol synthesis enriched this lipid in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). With cholesterol enrichment in the ER, ER-resident STING and type-I interferon (IFN) activation were repressed during DENV infection. Our in vitro findings were further supported by the finding of elevated plasma PCSK9 levels in dengue patients with high viremia and increased severity of plasma leakage. Our findings thus suggest PCSK9 plays a hitherto unrecognized role in dengue pathogenesis and therefore PCSK9 inhibitors could be a suitable host-directed treatment for dengue patients.
Esther S. Gan, Hwee Cheng Tan, Huynh Le Thi Duyen, Huynh Trung Trieu, Bridget Wills, Nabil G. Seidah, Eng Eong Ooi, Sophie Yacoub
The SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent for COVID-19 pneumonia. Little is known about the kinetics, tissue distribution, cross-reactivity and neutralization antibody response in COVID-19 patients. Two groups of RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients were enrolled in this study, including 12 severe patients in ICUs who needed mechanical ventilation and 11 mild patients in isolation wards. Serial clinical samples were collected for laboratory detection. Results showed that most of the severe patients had viral shedding in a variety of tissues for 20~40 days post onset of disease (8/12, 66.7%); while the majority of mild patients had viral shedding restricted to the respiratory tract and had no detectable virus RNA after 10 days post-onset (9/11, 81.8%). Mild patients showed significantly lower IgM response compared with that of the severe group. IgG responses were detected in most patients in both severe and mild groups at 9 days post onset and remained high level throughout the study. Antibodies cross-reactive to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 were detected in COVID-19 patients but not in MERS patients. High-levels of neutralizing antibodies were induced after about 10 days post onset in both severe and mild patients which were higher in the severe group. SARS-CoV-2 pseudotype neutralization test and focus reduction neutralization test with authentic virus showed consistent results. Sera from COVID-19 patients, but not convalescent SARS and MERS patients inhibited SARS-CoV-2 entry. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S and N IgG level exhibited moderate correlation with neutralization titers in patients’ plasma. This study improves our understanding of immune response in human after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Yanqun Wang, Lu Zhang, Ling Sang, Feng Ye, Shicong Ruan, Bei Zhong, Tie Song, Abeer N. Alshukairi, Rongchang Chen, Zhaoyong Zhang, Mian Gan, Airu Zhu, Yongbo Huang, Ling Luo, Chris KP Mok, Manal M. Al Gethamy, Haitao Tan, Zhengtu Li, Xiaofang Huang, Fang Li, Jing Sun, Yanjun Zhang, Liyan Wen, Yuming Li, Zhao Chen, Zhen Zhuang, Jianfen Zhuo, Chunke Chen, Lijun Kuang, Junxiang Wang, Huibin Lv, Yongliang Jiang, Min Li, Yimin Lin, Ying Deng, Lan Tang, Jieling Liang, Jicheng Huang, Stanley Perlman, Nanshan Zhong, Jingxian Zhao, J.S. Malik Peiris, Yimin Li, Jincun Zhao
While the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly improved survival, tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of death in the HIV-infected population. We employed Mtb/Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) co-infected macaques to model Mtb/HIV co-infection and study the impact of ART on TB reactivation due to HIV-infection. While ART significantly reduced viral loads and increased CD4+ T cell counts in whole blood and BAL samples, it did not reduce the relative risk of SIV- induced TB reactivation in ART treated macaques in the early phase of treatment. CD4+ T cells were poorly restored specifically in the lung interstitium, despite their significant restoration in the alveolar compartment of the lung as well as in the periphery. IDO1 induction on myeloid cells in the iBALT likely contributed to dysregulated T cell homing and impaired lung immunity. Thus, while ART is indispensable in controlling viral replication, CD4+ T cells restoration and preventing opportunistic infection, it appears inadequate in reversing clinical signs of TB reactivation during the relatively short duration of ART and follow-up during this study. This warrants modeling concurrent treatment of TB and HIV to potentially reduce the risk of reactivation of TB due to HIV. The current and future studies like this have the potential to inform treatment strategies in patients with Mtb/HIV co-infection.
Shashank R. Ganatra, Allison N. Bucsan, Xavier Alvarez, Shyamesh Kumar, Ayan Chatterjee, Melanie Quezada, Abigail I. Fish, Dhiraj K. Singh, Bindu Singh, Riti Sharan, Tae-Hyung Lee, Uma Shanmugasundaram, Vijayakumar Velu, Shabaana A. Khader, Smriti Mehra, Jyothi Rengarajan, Deepak Kaushal
Posttranslational modifications are a common feature of proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including prion protein (PrPC), tau and α-synuclein. Alternative self-propagating protein states or strains give rise to different disease phenotypes and display strain-specific subsets of posttranslational modifications. The relationships between strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype are poorly understood. We previously reported that among hundreds of PrPC sialoglycoforms expressed by a cell, individual prion strains recruited PrPC molecules selectively, according to the sialylation status of their N-linked glycans. Here we report that transmission of a prion strain to a new host is accompanied by a dramatic shift in the selectivity of recruitment of PrPC sialoglycoforms giving rise to PrPSc with a unique sialoglycoform signature and disease phenotype. The newly emerged strain has the shortest incubation time to disease, is characterized by a colocalization of PrPSc with microglia and a very profound proinflammatory response, features that are linked to a unique sialoglycoform composition of PrPSc. The current work provides experimental support for a hypothesis that strain-specific patterns of PrPSc sialoglycoforms formed as a result of selective recruitment dictate strain-specific disease phenotypes. This work suggests a causative relationship between a strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype.
Natallia Makarava, Jennifer Chen-Yu Chang, Kara Molesworth, Ilia V. Baskakov
FTY720 (Gilenya, Novartis), is a treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an analog of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and targets S1P receptors 1,3,4, and 5. Recent reports indicate an association between long term exposure to FTY720 and cases of cryptococcal infection. Here, we studied the effect of FTY720 and its derivative, BAF312 (Mayzent, Novartis), which only target S1P receptors 1 and 5, in a mouse model of cryptococcal infection. We found that treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, lead to decreased survival and increased organ burden in mouse cryptococcal granulomas. Both FTY720 and BAF312 caused a profound CD4+ and CD8+ T cell depletion in blood and lungs but only treatment with FTY720 lead to cryptococcal reactivation. Treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, was associated with disorganization of macrophages and with a M2 polarization at the granuloma site. In a cell system, FTY720 decreased phagocytosis and production of reactive oxygen species by macrophages, a phenotype recapitulated in the S1pr3-/- knockout macrophages. Our results suggest that FTY720 reactivates cryptococcosis from the granuloma through a S1P receptor 3-mediated mechanism and support the rationale for development of more specific receptor modulators for therapeutic use of MS.
Arielle M. Bryan, Jeehyun Karen You, Travis McQuiston, Cristina Lazzarini, Zhijuan Qiu, Brian S. Sheridan, Barbara Nuesslein-Hildesheim, Maurizio Del Poeta
Background: Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Anti-viral immune response is crucial to achieve pathogen clearance, however in some patients an excessive and aberrant host immune response can lead to an acute respiratory distress syndrome. The comprehension of the mechanisms that regulate pathogen elimination, immunity, and pathology is essential to better characterize disease progression and widen the spectrum of therapeutic options. Methods: We performed a flow cytometric characterization of immune cells subsets from 30 COVID-19 patients and correlated these data with clinical outcomes. Results: COVID-19 patients showed decreased numbers of circulating T, B and NK cells, and exhibited a skewing of CD8+ T cells towards a terminally differentiated/senescent phenotype. In agreement, T CD4+, T CD8+ but also NK cells displayed reduced anti-viral cytokine production capability. Moreover, a reduced cytotoxic potential was identified in COVID-19 patients, particularly in those that required intensive care. The latter group of patients showed also increased serum IL-6 levels, that correlated to the frequency of granzyme-expressing NK cells. Off-label treatment with tocilizumab restored the cytotoxic potential of NK cells. Conclusion: In conclusion, the association between IL-6 serum levels and the impairment of cytotoxic activity suggests the possibility that targeting this cytokine may restore anti-viral mechanisms. Funding: This study was supported by funds of Dept. of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of University of Florence (ex-60%) derived from Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (Italy).
Alessio Mazzoni, Lorenzo Salvati, Laura Maggi, Manuela Capone, Anna Vanni, Michele Spinicci, Jessica Mencarini, Roberto Caporale, Benedetta Peruzzi, Alberto Antonelli, Michele Trotta, Lorenzo Zammarchi, Luca Ciani, Leonardo Gori, Chiara Lazzeri, Andrea Matucci, Alessandra Vultaggio, Oliviero Rossi, Fabio Almerigogna, Paola Parronchi, Paolo Fontanari, Federico Lavorini, Adriano Peris, Gian Maria Rossolini, Alessandro Bartoloni, Sergio Romagnani, Francesco Liotta, Francesco Annunziato, Lorenzo Cosmi
The microbiome provides resistance to infection. However, mechanisms for this are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate in a murine model that colonization with the intestinal bacterium Clostridium scindens provided protection from Entamoeba histolytica colitis via innate immunity. Introduction of C. scindens into the gut microbiota epigenetically altered and expanded bone marrow granulocyte-monocyte-progenitors (GMPs) and resulted in increased intestinal neutrophils with subsequent challenge with E. histolytica. Introduction of C. scindens alone was sufficient to expand GMPs in gnotobiotic mice. Adoptive transfer of bone-marrow from C. scindens colonized-mice into naïve-mice protected against amebic colitis and increased intestinal neutrophils. Children without E. histolytica diarrhea also had a higher abundance of Lachnoclostridia. Because of the known ability of the Lachnoclostridia C. scindens to metabolize the bile salt cholate, we measured deoxycholate and discovered that it was increased in the sera of C. scindens colonized specific pathogen free and gnotobiotic mice, as well as in children protected from amebiasis. Administration of deoxycholate alone (in the absence of C. scindens) increased GMPs and provided protection from amebiasis. We have discovered a mechanism by which C. scindens and the microbially-metabolized bile salt deoxycholic acid alter hematopoietic precursors and provide innate protection from later infection with Entamoeba histolytica.
Stacey L. Burgess, Jhansi L. Leslie, Md. Jashim Uddin, David Noah Oakland, Carol A. Gilchrist, G. Brett Moreau, Koji Watanabe, Mahmoud M. Saleh, Morgan Simpson, Brandon A. Thompson, David T. Auble, Stephen D. Turner, Natasa Giallourou, Jonathan Swann, Zhen Pu, Jennie Z. Ma, Rashidul Haque, William A. Petri, Jr.
Patients with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection exhibit enhanced susceptibility to subsequent pneumococcal infections. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in this increased susceptibility remain unclear. Here, we identified potentially novel cellular and molecular cascades triggered by RSV infection to exacerbate secondary pneumococcal pneumonia. RSV infection stimulated the local production of growth arrest–specific 6 (Gas6). The Gas6 receptor Axl was crucial for attenuating pneumococcal immunity in that the Gas6/Axl blockade fully restored antibacterial immunity. Mechanistically, Gas6/Axl interaction regulated the conversion of alveolar macrophages from an antibacterial phenotype to an M2-like phenotype that did not exhibit antibacterial activity, and the attenuation of caspase-1 activation and IL-18 production in response to pneumococcal infection. The attenuated IL-18 production failed to drive both NK cell–mediated IFN-γ production and local NO and TNF-α production, which impair the control of bacterial infection. Hence, the RSV-mediated Gas6/Axl activity attenuates the macrophage-mediated protection against pneumococcal infection. The Gas6/Axl axis could be a potentially novel therapeutic target for RSV-associated secondary bacterial infection.
Takehiko Shibata, Airi Makino, Ruiko Ogata, Shigeki Nakamura, Toshihiro Ito, Kisaburo Nagata, Yoshihiko Terauchi, Taku Oishi, Mikiya Fujieda, Yoshimasa Takahashi, Manabu Ato
BACKGROUND Novel therapeutic approaches are critically needed for Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (BSI), particularly for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Exebacase, a first-in-class antistaphylococcal lysin, is a direct lytic agent that is rapidly bacteriolytic, eradicates biofilms, and synergizes with antibiotics. METHODS In this superiority-design study, we randomly assigned 121 patients with S. aureus BSI/endocarditis to receive a single dose of exebacase or placebo. All patients received standard-of-care antibiotics. The primary efficacy endpoint was clinical outcome (responder rate) at Day 14. RESULTS Clinical responder rates at Day 14 were 70.4% and 60.0% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively (difference=10.4, 90% CI [-6.3, 27.2], p-value=0.31), and were 42.8 percentage points higher in the pre-specified exploratory MRSA subgroup (74.1% vs. 31.3%, difference=42.8, 90% CI [14.3, 71.4], ad hoc p value=0.01). Rates of adverse events (AEs) were similar in both groups. No AEs of hypersensitivity to exebacase were reported. Thirty-day all-cause mortality rates were 9.7% and 12.8% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively, with a notable difference in MRSA (3.7% vs. 25.0%, difference= –21.3, 90% CI [-45.1, 2.5], ad hoc p-value=0.06). Among MRSA patients in the United States, median length-of-stay was 4-days shorter and 30-day hospital readmission rates were 48 percentage points lower in the exebacase-treated group compared with antibiotics alone. CONCLUSIONS This study establishes proof-of-concept for exebacase and direct lytic agents as potential therapeutics and supports conduct of a confirmatory study focused on exebacase to treat MRSA BSI.
Vance G. Fowler, Jr., Anita F. Das, Joy Lipka-Diamond, Raymond Schuch, Roger Pomerantz, Luis Jáuregui-Peredo, Adam Bressler, David C. Evans, Gregory J. Moran, Mark E. Rupp, Robert A. Wise, G. Ralph Corey, Marcus Zervos, Pamela S. Douglas, Cara Cassino
BACKGROUND. Since December 2019, an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, and is now becoming a global threat. We aimed to delineate and compare the immunologic features of severe and moderate COVID-19. METHODS. In this retrospective study, the clinical and immunologic characteristics of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) with COVID-19 were analyzed. These patients were classified as severe (11 cases) and moderate (10 cases) according to the Guidelines released by the National Health Commission of China. RESULTS. The median age of severe and moderate cases was 61.0 and 52.0 years, respectively. Common clinical manifestations included fever, cough and fatigue. Compared to moderate cases, severe cases more frequently had dyspnea, lymphopenia, and hypoalbuminemia, with higher levels of alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin and D-dimer as well as markedly higher levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α. Absolute number of T lymphocytes, CD4+T and CD8+T cells decreased in nearly all the patients, and were markedly lower in severe cases (294.0, 177.5 and 89.0 × 106/L) than moderate cases (640.5, 381.5 and 254.0 × 106/L). The expressions of IFN-γ by CD4+T cells tended to be lower in severe cases (14.1%) than moderate cases (22.8%). CONCLUSION. The SARS-CoV-2 infection may affect primarily T lymphocytes particularly CD4+T and CD8+ T cells, resulting in decrease in numbers as well as IFN-γ production. These potential immunological markers may be of importance due to their correlation with disease severity in COVID-19.
Guang Chen, Di Wu, Wei Guo, Yong Cao, Da Huang, Hongwu Wang, Tao Wang, Xiaoyun Zhang, Huilong Chen, Haijing Yu, Xiaoping Zhang, Minxia Zhang, Shiji Wu, Jianxin Song, Tao Chen, Meifang Han, Shusheng Li, Xiaoping Luo, Jianping Zhao, Qin Ning
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