Comparison of viral inactivation methods on the characteristics of extracellular vesicles from SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung epithelial cells

Extracellular Vesicles

The interaction of SARS-CoV-2 infection with extracellular vesicles (EVs) is of particular interest at the moment. Studying SARS-CoV-2 contaminated-EV isolates in instruments located outside of the biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) environment requires knowing how viral inactivation methods affect the structure and function of extracellular vesicles (EVs). Therefore, three common viral inactivation methods, ultraviolet-C (UVC; 1350 mJ/cm2), β-propiolactone (BPL; 0.005%), heat (56°C, 45 min) were performed on defined EV particles and their proteins, RNAs, and function. Small EVs were isolated from the supernatant of SARS-CoV-2-infected human lung epithelial Calu-3 cells by stepwise centrifugation, ultrafiltration and qEV size-exclusion chromatography. The EV isolates contained SARS-CoV-2. UVC, BPL and heat completely abolished SARS-CoV-2 infectivity of the contaminated EVs. Particle detection by electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking was less affected by UVC and BPL than heat treatment. Western blot analysis of EV markers was not affected by any of these three methods. UVC reduced SARS-CoV-2 spike detectability by quantitative RT-PCR and slightly altered EV-derived β-actin detection. Fibroblast migration-wound healing activity of the SARS-CoV-2 contaminated-EV isolate was only retained after UVC treatment. In conclusion, specific viral inactivation methods are compatible with specific measures in SARS-CoV-2 contaminated-EV isolates. UVC treatment seems preferable for studying functions of EVs released from SARS-CoV-2 infected cells.

View full article

Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.