RAGE engagement by SARS-CoV-2 enables monocyte infection and underlies COVID-19 severity
The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has fueled the COVID-19 pandemic with its enduring medical and socioeconomic challenges because of subsequent waves and long-term consequences of great concern. Here, we chart the molecular basis of COVID-19 pathogenesis by analyzing patients’ immune responses at single-cell resolution across disease course and severity. This approach confirms cell subpopulation-specific dysregulation in COVID-19 across disease course and severity and identifies a severity-associated activation of the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) pathway in monocytes. In vitro THP1-based experiments indicate that monocytes bind the SARS-CoV-2 S1-receptor binding domain (RBD) via RAGE, pointing to RAGE-Spike interaction enabling monocyte infection. Thus, our results demonstrate that RAGE is a functional receptor of SARS-CoV-2 contributing to COVID-19 severity.