Human Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Lung Organoids: a Model for SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Drug Test

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Rongjuan PeiX. Chen

Abstract

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 demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 infected and extensively replicated in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs)-derived lung organoids, including airway and alveolar organoids. Ciliated cells, alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells and rare club cells were virus target cells. Electron microscopy captured typical replication, assembly and release ultrastructures and revealed the presence of viruses within lamellar bodies in AT2 cells. Virus infection induced more severe cell death in alveolar organoids than in airway organoids. Additionally, RNA-seq revealed early cell response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and an unexpected downregulation of ACE2 mRNA. Further, compar...Continue Reading

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