Longitudinal Multi-omics Analyses Identify Responses of Megakaryocytes, Erythroid Cells, and Plasmablasts as Hallmarks of Severe COVID-19

HCA Lung Biological Network, the Deutsche COVID-19 Omics Initiative (DeCOI)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Temporal resolution of cellular features associated with a severe COVID-19 disease trajectory is needed for understanding skewed immune responses and defining predictors of outcome. Here, we performed a longitudinal multi-omics study using a two-center cohort of 14 patients. We analyzed the bulk transcriptome, bulk DNA methylome, and single-cell transcriptome (>358,000 cells, including BCR profiles) of peripheral blood samples harvested from up to 5 time points. Validation was performed in two independent cohorts of COVID-19 patients. Severe COVID-19 was characterized by an increase of proliferating, metabolically hyperactive plasmablasts. Coinciding with critical illness, we also identified an expansion of interferon-activated circulating megakaryocytes and increased erythropoiesis with features of hypoxic signaling. Megakaryocyte- and erythroid-cell-derived co-expression modules were predictive of fatal disease outcome. The study demonstrates broad cellular effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond adaptive immune cells and provides an entry point toward developing biomarkers and targeted treatments of patients with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1314.e9
JournalImmunity
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • RNA-seq
  • acute respiratory distress
  • blood
  • disease trajectory
  • immune response
  • infectious disease
  • methylation
  • scRNA-seq
  • virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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