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Cheng Luan

Research engineer

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Intracellular Reverse Transcription of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 In Vitro in Human Liver Cell Line

Author

  • Markus Aldén
  • Francisko Olofsson Falla
  • Daowei Yang
  • Mohammad Barghouth
  • Cheng Luan
  • Magnus Rasmussen
  • Yang De Marinis

Summary, in English

Preclinical studies of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, showed reversible hepatic effects in animals that received the BNT162b2 injection. Furthermore, a recent study showed that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be reverse-transcribed and in-tegrated into the genome of human cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of BNT162b2 on the human liver cell line Huh7 in vitro. Huh7 cells were exposed to BNT162b2, and quantitative PCR was performed on RNA extracted from the cells. We detected high levels of BNT162b2 in Huh7 cells and changes in gene expression of long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1), which is an endogenous reverse transcriptase. Immunohistochemistry using antibody binding to LINE-1 open reading frame-1 RNA-binding protein (ORFp1) on Huh7 cells treated with BNT162b2 indicated increased nucleus distribution of LINE-1. PCR on genomic DNA of Huh7 cells exposed to BNT162b2 amplified the DNA sequence unique to BNT162b2. Our results indicate a fast up-take of BNT162b2 into human liver cell line Huh7, leading to changes in LINE-1 expression and distribution. We also show that BNT162b2 mRNA is reverse transcribed intracellularly into DNA in as fast as 6 h upon BNT162b2 exposure.

Department/s

  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience
  • Diabetes - Islet Patophysiology
  • Translational infection medicine
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year

2022

Language

English

Pages

1115-1126

Publication/Series

Current Issues in Molecular Biology

Volume

44

Issue

3

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Caister Academic Press

Topic

  • Cell and Molecular Biology

Keywords

  • BNT162b2
  • COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
  • Huh7
  • LINE-1
  • Liver
  • Reverse transcription

Status

Published

Research group

  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Diabetes - Islet Patophysiology
  • Translational infection medicine

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1467-3037