• CD8+ T cells and macrophages regulate pathogenesis in a mouse model of Middle East respiratory syndrome

      Coleman, C.M.; Halasz, G.; Zhong, J.; Beck, S.E.; Matthews, K.L.; Venkataraman, T.; Rajagopalan, S.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2017)
      Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an important emerging pathogen that was first described in 2012. While the cell surface receptor for MERS-CoV has been identified as dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the mouse DPP4 homologue does not allow virus entry into cells. Therefore, development of mouse models of MERS-CoV has been hampered by the fact that MERS-CoV does not replicate in commonly available mouse strains. We have previously described a mouse model in which mDPP4 was replaced with hDPP4 such that hDPP4 is expressed under the endogenous mDPP4 promoter. In this study, we used this mouse model to analyze the host response to MERS-CoV infection using immunological assays and transcriptome analysis. Depletion of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, or macrophages has no effect on MERS-CoV replication in the lungs of infected mice. However, we found that depletion of CD8+ T cells protects and depletion of macrophages exacerbates MERS-CoV-induced pathology and clinical symptoms of disease. Overall, we demonstrate an important role for the inflammatory response in regulating MERS-CoV pathogenesis in vivo.
    • Pre- and postexposure efficacy of fully human antibodies against Spike protein in a novel humanized mouse model of MERS-CoV infection

      Coleman, C.M.; Berrebi, A.; Sisk, J.M.; Matthews, K.L.; Frieman, M.B. (National Academy of Sciences, 2015)
      Traditional approaches to antimicrobial drug development are poorly suited to combatting the emergence of novel pathogens. Additionally, the lack of small animal models for these infections hinders the in vivo testing of potential therapeutics. Here we demonstrate the use of the VelocImmune technology (a mouse that expresses human antibody-variable heavy chains and ? light chains) alongside the VelociGene technology (which allows for rapid engineering of the mouse genome) to quickly develop and evaluate antibodies against an emerging viral disease. Specifically, we show the rapid generation of fully human neutralizing antibodies against the recently emerged Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and development of a humanized mouse model for MERS-CoV infection, which was used to demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of the isolated antibodies. The VelocImmune and VelociGene technologies are powerful platforms that can be used to rapidly respond to emerging epidemics.