Human conjunctiva organoids to study ocular surface homeostasis and disease

Marie Bannier-Hélaouët*, Jeroen Korving, Ziliang Ma, Harry Begthel, Amir Giladi, Mart M. Lamers, Willine J. van de Wetering, Nobuyo Yawata, Makoto Yawata, Vanessa L.S. LaPointe, Mor M. Dickman, Rachel Kalmann, Saskia M. Imhoff, Johan H. van Es, Carmen López-Iglesias, Peter J. Peters, Bart L. Haagmans, Wei Wu, Hans Clevers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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The conjunctival epithelium covering the eye contains two main cell types: mucus-producing goblet cells and water-secreting keratinocytes, which present mucins on their apical surface. Here, we describe long-term expanding organoids and air-liquid interface representing mouse and human conjunctiva. A single-cell RNA expression atlas of primary and cultured human conjunctiva reveals that keratinocytes express multiple antimicrobial peptides and identifies conjunctival tuft cells. IL-4/-13 exposure increases goblet and tuft cell differentiation and drastically modifies the conjunctiva secretome. Human NGFR+ basal cells are identified as bipotent conjunctiva stem cells. Conjunctival cultures can be infected by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), human adenovirus 8 (hAdV8), and SARS-CoV-2. HSV1 infection was reversed by acyclovir addition, whereas hAdV8 infection, which lacks an approved drug therapy, was inhibited by cidofovir. We document transcriptional programs induced by HSV1 and hAdV8. Finally, conjunctival organoids can be transplanted. Together, human conjunctiva organoid cultures enable the study of conjunctival (patho)-physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-243.e12
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

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