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SARS-CoV-2 induces transcription of human endogenous retrovirus RNA followed by type W envelope protein expression in human lymphoid cells.

Abstract : Abstract Patients with COVID-19 may develop abnormal inflammatory response and lymphopenia, followed in some cases by delayed-onset syndromes, often long-lasting after resolution of the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. As viral infections may activate human endogenous retroviral elements (HERV), we studied the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on HERV-W and HERV-K envelope (ENV) expression, known to be involved in immunological and neurological pathogenesis of human diseases. We demonstrate here that an initial exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus activates early HERV-W and K transcription in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures from healthy donors. Within a week of primary PBMC culture, only HERV-W ENV protein expression was detected in lymphoid cells of some donors, although SARS-CoV-2 infection of PBMC was not observed. HERV activation was reproduced with UV-inactivated virus and with a recombinant spike protein. Interestingly, exposure to SARS-CoV-2 protein induced a significant production of interleukin 6 in PBMC, independently from detectable HERV expression. Altogether, these results show that SARS-CoV-2 viral protein could induce HERV-W ENV expression in lymphocytes from some individuals, underlying the importance to further address the implicated molecular pathways, to understand patients‘ genetic susceptibility associated to the activation of HERV-W and its possible relevance for targeting therapeutic intervention in COVID-19 associated syndromes.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03357618
Contributor : Cyrille Mathieu Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 2:02:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 19, 2021 - 2:12:27 PM

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Benjamin Charvet, Magalie Mazelier, Joanna Brunel, Justine Pierquin, Said Mougari, et al.. SARS-CoV-2 induces transcription of human endogenous retrovirus RNA followed by type W envelope protein expression in human lymphoid cells.. 2021. ⟨hal-03357618⟩

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