Critical role of type III interferon in controlling SARS-CoV-2 infection, replication and spread in primary human intestinal epithelial cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. L. StaniferSteeve Boulant


SARS-CoV-2 is an unprecedented worldwide health problem that requires concerted and global approaches to better understand the virus in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and to better prepare against potential future emergence of novel pandemic viruses. Although SARS-CoV-2 primarily targets cells of the lung epithelium causing respiratory infection and pathologies, there is growing evidence that the intestinal epithelium is also infected. However, the importance of the enteric phase of SARS-CoV-2 for virus-induced pathologies, spreading and prognosis remains unknown. Here, using both colon-derived cell lines and primary non-transformed colon organoids, we engage in the first comprehensive analysis of SARS-CoV-2 lifecycle in human intestinal epithelial cells. Our results demonstrate that human intestinal epithelial cells fully support SARS-CoV-2 infection, replication and production of infectious de-novo virus particles. Importantly, we identified intestinal epithelial cells as the best culture model to propagate SARS-CoV-2. We found that viral infection elicited an extremely robust intrinsic immune response where, interestingly, type III interferon mediated response was significantly mo...Continue Reading

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