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Creators/Authors contains: "Penaloza-MacMaster, Pablo"

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  1. SARS-CoV-2 and HIV-1 are RNA viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two infections is critical for understanding disease progression and for developing effective vaccines and therapies, particularly for 38 million HIV-1+ individuals who are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 co-infection. Here, we utilized single-cell transcriptomics to perform a systematic comparison of 94,442 PBMCs from 7 COVID-19 and 9 HIV-1+ patients in an integrated immune atlas, in which 27 different cell types were identified using an accurate consensus single-cell annotation method. While immune cells in both cohorts show shared inflammation and disrupted mitochondrial function, COVID-19 patients exhibit stronger humoral immunity, broader IFN-I signaling, elevated Rho GTPase and mTOR pathway activities, and downregulated mitophagy. Our results elucidate transcriptional signatures associated with COVID-19 and HIV-1 that may reveal insights into fundamental disease biology and potential therapeutic targets to treat these viral infections.
  2. Type I interferons (IFN-I) are a major antiviral defense and are critical for the activation of the adaptive immune system. However, early viral clearance by IFN-I could limit antigen availability, which could in turn impinge upon the priming of the adaptive immune system. In this study, we hypothesized that transient IFN-I blockade could increase antigen presentation after acute viral infection. To test this hypothesis, we infected mice with viruses coadministered with a single dose of IFN-I receptor–blocking antibody to induce a short-term blockade of the IFN-I pathway. This resulted in a transient “spike” in antigen levels, followed by rapid antigen clearance. Interestingly, short-term IFN-I blockade after coronavirus, flavivirus, rhabdovirus, or arenavirus infection induced a long-lasting enhancement of immunological memory that conferred improved protection upon subsequent reinfections. Short-term IFN-I blockade also improved the efficacy of viral vaccines. These findings demonstrate a novel mechanism by which IFN-I regulate immunological memory and provide insights for rational vaccine design.