Type I and III IFNs produced by the nasal epithelia and dimmed inflammation are features of alpacas resolving MERS-CoV infection

Nigeer Te, Jordi Rodon, Maria Ballester, Mónica Pérez, Lola Pailler-García, Joaquim Segalés, Júlia Vergara-Alert, Albert Bensaid, Stanley Perlman
2021 PLoS Pathogens  
While MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus) provokes a lethal disease in humans, camelids, the main virus reservoir, are asymptomatic carriers, suggesting a crucial role for innate immune responses in controlling the infection. Experimentally infected camelids clear infectious virus within one week and mount an effective adaptive immune response. Here, transcription of immune response genes was monitored in the respiratory tract of MERS-CoV infected alpacas. Concomitant to the
more » ... Concomitant to the peak of infection, occurring at 2 days post inoculation (dpi), type I and III interferons (IFNs) were maximally transcribed only in the nasal mucosa of alpacas, while interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) were induced along the whole respiratory tract. Simultaneous to mild focal infiltration of leukocytes in nasal mucosa and submucosa, upregulation of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 and dampened transcription of pro-inflammatory genes under NF-κB control were observed. In the lung, early (1 dpi) transcription of chemokines (CCL2 and CCL3) correlated with a transient accumulation of mainly mononuclear leukocytes. A tight regulation of IFNs in lungs with expression of ISGs and controlled inflammatory responses, might contribute to virus clearance without causing tissue damage. Thus, the nasal mucosa, the main target of MERS-CoV in camelids, seems central in driving an efficient innate immune response based on triggering ISGs as well as the dual anti-inflammatory effects of type III IFNs and IL10.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1009229 pmid:34029358 fatcat:3bku2sjoyjcpnhmgess5pbah6u