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Serological identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections among children visiting a hospital during the initial Seattle outbreak

Nat Commun

2020 Janet Englund; Adam Dingens; Rachel Eguia; Katharine Dusenbury; Jesse Bloom

Children are strikingly underrepresented in COVID-19 case counts. In the United States, children represent 22% of the population but only 1.7% of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases as of April 2, 2020. One possibility is that symptom-based viral testing is less likely to identify infected children, since they often experience milder disease than adults. Here, to better assess the frequency of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection, we serologically screen 1,775 residual samples from Seattle Children's Hospital collected from 1,076 children seeking medical care during March and April of 2020. Only one child was seropositive in March, but seven were seropositive in April for a period seroprevalence of ≈1%. Most seropositive children (6/8) were not suspected of having had COVID-19. The sera of seropositive children have neutralizing activity, including one that neutralized at a dilution > 1:18,000. Therefore, an increasing number of children seeking medical care were infected by SARS-CoV-2 during the early Seattle outbreak despite few positive viral tests.

Metabolic excretion associated with nutrient-growth dysregulation promotes the rapid evolution of an overt metabolic defect

PLoS Biol

2020 Alex Chen; Arvind Subramaniam; David Skelding; Hanbing Mi; Aric Capel; Wenying Shou; Justin Burton; Robin Green; Samuel Hart; Aaron Lin; Sonal Sonal

In eukaryotes, conserved mechanisms ensure that cell growth is coordinated with nutrient availability. Overactive growth during nutrient limitation ("nutrient-growth dysregulation") can lead to rapid cell death. Here, we demonstrate that cells can adapt to nutrient-growth dysregulation by evolving major metabolic defects. Specifically, when yeast lysine-auxotrophic mutant lys- encountered lysine limitation, an evolutionarily novel stress, cells suffered nutrient-growth dysregulation. A subpopulation repeatedly evolved to lose the ability to synthesize organosulfurs (lys-orgS-). Organosulfurs, mainly reduced glutathione (GSH) and GSH conjugates, were released by lys- cells during lysine limitation when growth was dysregulated, but not during glucose limitation when growth was regulated. Limiting organosulfurs conferred a frequency-dependent fitness advantage to lys-orgS- by eliciting a proper slow growth program, including autophagy. Thus, nutrient-growth dysregulation is associated with rapid organosulfur release, which enables the selection of organosulfur auxotrophy to better tune cell growth to the metabolic environment. We speculate that evolutionarily novel stresses can trigger atypical release of certain metabolites, setting the stage for the evolution of new ecological interactions.

Neutralizing antibodies correlate with protection from SARS-CoV-2 in humans during a fishery vessel outbreak with high attack rate

J Clin Microbiol

2020 Katharine Dusenbury; Alex Greninger; Meei-Li Huang; Pavitra Roychoudhury; Adam Dingens; Jesse Bloom; Keith Jerome

The development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 would be greatly facilitated by the identification of immunological correlates of protection in humans. However, to date, studies on protective immunity have only been performed in animal models and correlates of protection have not been established in humans. Here, we describe an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on a fishing vessel associated with a high attack rate. Predeparture serological and viral RT-PCR testing along with repeat testing after return to shore was available for 120 of the 122 persons on board over a median follow-up of 32.5 days (range 18.8 to 50.5 days). A total of 104 individuals had an RT-PCR positive viral test with Ct <35 or seroconverted during the follow-up period, yielding an attack rate on board of 85.2% (104/122 individuals). Metagenomic sequencing of 39 viral genomes suggested the outbreak originated largely from a single viral clade. Only three crewmembers tested seropositive prior to the boat's departure in initial serological screening and also had neutralizing and spike-reactive antibodies in follow-up assays. None of these crewmembers with neutralizing antibody titers showed evidence of bona fide viral infection or experienced any symptoms during the viral outbreak. Therefore, the presence of neutralizing antibodies from prior infection was significantly associated with protection against re-infection (Fisher's exact test, p=0.002).

Deep Mutational Scanning of SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain Reveals Constraints on Folding and ACE2 Binding


2020 Sarah Hilton; Jesse Bloom; Adam Dingens; Tyler Starr; Katharine Dusenbury; Allison Greaney

The receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein mediates viral attachment to ACE2 receptor and is a major determinant of host range and a dominant target of neutralizing antibodies. Here, we experimentally measure how all amino acid mutations to the RBD affect expression of folded protein and its affinity for ACE2. Most mutations are deleterious for RBD expression and ACE2 binding, and we identify constrained regions on the RBD's surface that may be desirable targets for vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics. But a substantial number of mutations are well tolerated or even enhance ACE2 binding, including at ACE2 interface residues that vary across SARS-related coronaviruses. However, we find no evidence that these ACE2-affinity-enhancing mutations have been selected in current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic isolates. We present an interactive visualization and open analysis pipeline to facilitate use of our dataset for vaccine design and functional annotation of mutations observed during viral surveillance.

SnapShot: Influenza by the Numbers


2020 Tal Einav; Lauren Gentles; Jesse Bloom

Influenza is one of the best-studied viruses of all time, and as such, it serves as a testbed to extend our biological knowledge to the nanoscale. Many of the key processes underlying influenza infection and our antibody response against the virus have been thoroughly investigated. This SnapShot describes these key numbers for prototypical lab-adapted strains of the human influenza A virus. To view this SnapShot, open or download the PDF.

Nuclear Membrane Rupture and Its Consequences

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol

2020 Emily Hatch

The nuclear envelope is often depicted as a static barrier that regulates access between the nucleus and the cytosol. However, recent research has identified many conditions in cultured cells and in vivo in which nuclear membrane ruptures cause the loss of nuclear compartmentalization. These conditions include some that are commonly associated with human disease, such as migration of cancer cells through small spaces and expression of nuclear lamin disease mutations in both cultured cells and tissues undergoing nuclear migration. Nuclear membrane ruptures are rapidly repaired in the nucleus but persist in nuclear compartments that form around missegregated chromosomes called micronuclei. This review summarizes what is known about the mechanisms of nuclear membrane rupture and repair in both the main nucleus and micronuclei, and highlights recent work connecting the loss of nuclear integrity to genome instability and innate immune signaling. These connections link nuclear membrane rupture to complex chromosome alterations, tumorigenesis, and laminopathy etiologies. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, Volume 36 is October 6, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.

Single-cell genomics reveals the genetic and molecular bases for escape from mutational epistasis in myeloid neoplasms


2020 Joseph Pangallo; Robert Bradley

Large-scale sequencing studies of hematologic malignancies have revealed notable epistasis among high-frequency mutations. One of the most striking examples of epistasis occurs for mutations in RNA splicing factors. These lesions are amongst the most common alterations in myeloid neoplasms and generally occur in a mutually exclusive manner, a finding attributed to their synthetic lethal interactions and/or convergent effects. Curiously, however, patients with multiple concomitant splicing factor mutations have been observed, challenging our understanding of one of the most common examples of epistasis in hematologic malignancies. Here we performed bulk and single cell analyses of myeloid malignancy patients harboring >2 splicing factor mutations to understand the frequency and basis for the co-existence of these mutations. Although mutations in splicing factors were strongly mutually exclusive across 4,231 patients (q<0.001), 0.85% harbored two concomitant bona fide splicing factor mutations, ~50% of which were present in the same individual cells. However, the distribution of mutations in double mutants deviated from those in single mutants with selection against the most common alleles, SF3B1K700E and SRSF2P95H/L/R, and selection for less common alleles, such as SF3B1 non-K700E mutations, rare amino acid substitutions at SRSF2P95, and combined U2AF1S34/Q157 mutations. SF3B1 and SRSF2 alleles enriched in double mutants had reduced effects on RNA splicing and/or binding compared to the most common alleles. Moreover, dual U2AF1 mutations occurred in cis with preservation of the wild-type allele. These data highlight allele-specific differences as critical in regulating molecular effects of splicing factor mutations as well as their co-occurrences/exclusivities with one another.

Nourishing the Microbiota to Promote Mucosal Immunity

Cell Host Microbe

2020 Meghan Koch; Meera Shenoy

Childhood undernutrition is associated with dysbiosis and dampened vaccine responses. Understanding how nutrients influence the microbiota and immunity is critical for vaccine efficacy. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Di Luccia et al. and Huus et al. reveal that nutrition affects IgA responses to the microbiota and oral vaccines.

Altered RNA Splicing by Mutant p53 Activates Oncogenic RAS Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer Cell

2020 Robert Bradley

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is driven by co-existing mutations in KRAS and TP53. However, how these mutations collaborate to promote this cancer is unknown. Here, we uncover sequence-specific changes in RNA splicing enforced by mutant p53 which enhance KRAS activity. Mutant p53 increases expression of splicing regulator hnRNPK to promote inclusion of cytosine-rich exons within GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs), negative regulators of RAS family members. Mutant p53-enforced GAP isoforms lose cell membrane association, leading to heightened KRAS activity. Preventing cytosine-rich exon inclusion in mutant KRAS/p53 PDACs decreases tumor growth. Moreover, mutant p53 PDACs are sensitized to inhibition of splicing via spliceosome inhibitors. These data provide insight into co-enrichment of KRAS and p53 mutations and therapeutics targeting this mechanism in PDAC.

Different genetic barriers for resistance to HA stem antibodies in influenza H3 and H1 viruses


2020 Juhye Lee; Jesse Bloom

The discovery and characterization of broadly neutralizing human antibodies (bnAbs) to the highly conserved stem region of influenza hemagglutinin (HA) have contributed to considerations of a universal influenza vaccine. However, the potential for resistance to stem bnAbs also needs to be more thoroughly evaluated. Using deep mutational scanning, with a focus on epitope residues, we found that the genetic barrier to resistance to stem bnAbs is low for the H3 subtype but substantially higher for the H1 subtype owing to structural differences in the HA stem. Several strong resistance mutations in H3 can be observed in naturally circulating strains and do not reduce in vitro viral fitness and in vivo pathogenicity. This study highlights a potential challenge for development of a truly universal influenza vaccine.