Evidence for cross-species transmission of human coronavirus OC43 through bioinformatics and modeling infections in porcine intestinal organoids

Guige Xu, Zhiwen Qiao, Rick Schraauwen, Amine Avan, Maikel P. Peppelenbosch, Marcel J.C. Bijvelds, Shijin Jiang*, Pengfei Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Cross-species transmission of coronaviruses has been continuously posing a major challenge to public health. Pigs, as the major animal reservoirs for many zoonotic viruses, frequently mediate viral transmission to humans. This study comprehensively mapped the relationship between human and porcine coronaviruses through in-depth bioinformatics analysis. We found that human coronavirus OC43 and porcine coronavirus PHEV share a close phylogenetic relationship, evidenced by high genomic homology, similar codon usage patterns and comparable tertiary structure in spike proteins. Inoculation of infectious OC43 viruses in organoids derived from porcine small and large intestine demonstrated that porcine intestinal organoids (pIOs) are highly susceptible to human coronavirus OC43 infection and support infectious virus production. Using transmission electron microscopy, we visualized OC43 viral particles in both intracellular and extracellular compartments, and observed abnormalities of multiple organelles in infected organoid cells. Robust OC43 infections in pIOs result in a significant reduction of organoids viability and widespread cell death. This study bears essential implications for better understanding the evolutionary origin of human coronavirus OC43, and provides a proof-of-concept for using pIOs as a model to investigate cross-species transmission of human coronavirus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110101
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume293
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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