Proteomic landscape of SARS-CoV-2- and MERS-CoV-infected primary human renal epithelial cells

Life Sci Alliance. 2022 Feb 2;5(5):e202201371. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202201371. Print 2022 May.


Acute kidney injury is associated with mortality in COVID-19 patients. However, host cell changes underlying infection of renal cells with SARS-CoV-2 remain unknown and prevent understanding of the molecular mechanisms that may contribute to renal pathology. Here, we carried out quantitative translatome and whole-cell proteomics analyses of primary renal proximal and distal tubular epithelial cells derived from human donors infected with SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV to disseminate virus and cell type-specific changes over time. Our findings revealed shared pathways modified upon infection with both viruses, as well as SARS-CoV-2-specific host cell modulation driving key changes in innate immune activation and cellular protein quality control. Notably, MERS-CoV infection-induced specific changes in mitochondrial biology that were not observed in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, we identified extensive modulation in pathways associated with kidney failure that changed in a virus- and cell type-specific manner. In summary, we provide an overview of the effects of SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV infection on primary renal epithelial cells revealing key pathways that may be essential for viral replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • COVID-19 / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / metabolism
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal
  • Kidney*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology*
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Proteome*
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*
  • Virus Replication


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteome