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Intracellular reverse transcription of Pfizer - BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 in vitro in human liver cell line


Preclinical studies of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, have shown reversible hepatic effects in animals that received the BNT162b2 injection.

A recent study has shown that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be reverse-transcribed and integrated into the genome of human cells.
In this study, researchers have 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.

Researchers have 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 has indicated increased nucleus distribution of LINE-1.

PCR on genomic DNA of Huh7 cells exposed to BNT162b2 amplified the DNA sequence unique to BNT162b2.

The results have indicated a fast up-take of BNT162b2 into human liver cell line Huh7, leading to changes in LINE-1 expression and distribution.
It has also shown that BNT162b2 mRNA is reverse transcribed intracellularly into DNA in as fast as 6 h upon BNT162b2 exposure. ( Xagena )

Aldén M et al, Curr Issues Mol Biol 2022, 44, 1115–1126

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