Disparate temperature-dependent virus – host dynamics for SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in the human respiratory epithelium

Philip V’kovski*, Mitra Gultom*, Jenna Kelly*, Silvio Steiner*, Julie Russeil, Bastien Mangeat, Elisa Cora, Joern Pezoldt, Melle Holwerda, Annika Kratzel, Laura Laloli, Manon Wider, Jasmine Portmann, Thao Tran, Nadine Ebert, Hanspeter Stalder, Rune Hartmann, Vincent Gardeux, Daniel Alpern, Bart Deplancke, Volker Thiel, Ronald Dijkman.  * These authors contributed equally to this work

Despite its close phylogenetic relationship to SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 exhibits increased human-to-human transmission dynamics, likely due to efficient early replication in the upper respiratory epithelium of infected individuals. We investigated the impact of temperatures during SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infection in the human airway epithelial cell culture model. This was undertaken since the lower temperature in the upper respiratory tract can affect the replication kinetics of viruses. In contrast to SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 replicated more efficiently at 33°C, the temperature a virus may experience in the nose, throat and/or mouth. Secondly, the virus displayed a higher sensitivity to type I and type III IFNs. Time-resolved transcriptome analysis highlighted a temperature-dependent - and virus-specific - induction of the IFN-mediated antiviral response.

Published March 2021 in PLOS BIOLOGY

       Mitra PLOSP


Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.