In Vivo Profiling of Individual Multiciliated Cells during Acute Influenza A Virus Infection.
Influenza virus infections are thought to be initiated in a small number of cells; however, the heterogeneity across the cellular responses of the epithelial cells during establishment of disease is incompletely understood. Here, we used an H1N1 influenza virus encoding a fluorescent reporter gene, a cell lineage-labeling transgenic mouse line, and single-cell RNA sequencing to explore the range of responses in a susceptible epithelial cell population during an acute influenza A virus (IAV) infection. Focusing on multiciliated cells, we identified a subpopulation that basally expresses interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), which we hypothesize may be important for the early response to infection. We subsequently found that a population of infected ciliated cells produce most of the ciliated cell-derived inflammatory cytokines, and nearly all bystander ciliated cells induce a broadly antiviral state. From these data together, we propose that variable preexisting gene expression patterns in the initial cells targeted by the virus may ultimately affect the establishment of viral disease. IMPORTANCE Influenza A virus poses a significant threat to public health, and each year, millions of people in the United States alone are exposed to the virus. We do not currently, however, fully understand why some individuals clear the infection asymptomatically and others become severely ill. Understanding how these divergent phenotypes arise could eventually be leveraged to design therapeutics that prevent severe disease. As a first step toward understanding these different infection states, we used a technology that allowed us to determine how thousands of individual murine lung epithelial cells behaved before and during IAV infection. We found that small subsets of epithelial cells exhibited an antiviral state prior to infection, and similarly, some cells made high levels of inflammatory cytokines during infection. We propose that different ratios of these individual cellular responses may contribute to the broader antiviral state of the lung and may ultimately affect disease severity.
Hamele, CE; Russell, AB; Heaton, NS
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