An Airway Organoid-Based Screen Identifies a Role for the HIF1α-Glycolysis Axis in SARS-CoV-2 Infection
SARS-CoV-2 causes the COVID-19 pandemic. It is urgent to develop disease models to dissect mechanisms regulating SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we derive airway organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-AOs). The hPSC-AOs, particularly ciliated-like cells, are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using this platform, we perform a high content screen and identify GW6471, which blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection. GW6471 can also block infection of the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant. RNA-seq analysis suggests that GW6471 blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection at least in part by inhibiting HIF1α, which is further validated by chemical inhibitor and genetic perturbation targeting HIF1α. Metabolic profiling identifies decreased rates of glycolysis upon GW6471 treatment, consistent with transcriptome profiling. Finally, xanthohumol, 5-(Tetradecyloxy)-2-furoic acid, and ND-646, three compounds that suppress fatty acid biosynthesis, also block SARS-CoV-2 infection. Together, a high content screen coupled with transcriptome and metabolic profiling reveals a key role of the HIF1α-glycolysis axis in mediating SARS-CoV-2 infection of human airway epithelium.