Microbial Diversity in Immune Cells During SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Recovery: A Single-cell RNA-Seq Study

A groundbreaking study called “Single-cell RNA-Seq reveals intracellular microbial diversity within immune cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovery” using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) reveals significant insights into the diversity of intracellular microbes within immune cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovery.

Here’s a summary of its findings:

  1. Microbial Diversity in Immune Cells: The study utilized scRNA-seq from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to probe intracellular microbes in healthy individuals, as well as those positive for and recovered from SARS-CoV-2. Among 76 bacterial species detected, 16 showed significant differences in abundance. Bacteria like Buchnera aphidicola, Streptomyces clavuligerus, and Ehrlichia canis were significantly present in memory-B, naive-T, and Treg cells. Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria displayed elevated levels in COVID-19-positive patients, suggesting potential disease associations​​.
  2. Cell Type-Specific Microbial Abundance: The study discovered microbial presence in various cell types, including Treg, neutrophil, naive T cells, naive B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells across all groups. The presence of specific bacteria like E. canis in naive T cells and Treg cells of positive patients, and B. aphidicola and S. clavuligerus in memory B cells and naive B cells of healthy individuals, highlights the interaction between host immunity and microbial abundance​​.
  3. Distinct Microbial Profiles in Different Health States: The study found no significant differences in microbial diversity at the phylum and genus levels among healthy, positive, and recovered groups. However, at the species level, there was a discernible trend. The positive and recovered groups exhibited an enrichment of potentially pathogenic species, while the healthy individuals showed a prevalence of specific commensal species. This suggests a complex interplay between the immune system and microbes during various health states and recovery processes​​.

In summary, this study unveils intriguing differences in microbial reads at the cellular level among healthy, SARS-CoV-2-positive, and recovered individuals. The identification of specific bacterial species associated with different cell types sheds light on the intricate interactions between the immune system and microbes, offering potential for further research and validating these results to understand their role in immune cell interactions and their overall impact on health and disease outcomes.

Read More: https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(23)02434-3

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