Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 24;13(1):1030. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28569-1.
Coinfections with pathogenic microbes continually confront cervical mucosa, yet their implications in pathogenesis remain unclear. Lack of in-vitro models recapitulating cervical epithelium has been a bottleneck to study coinfections. Using patient-derived ectocervical organoids, we systematically modeled individual and coinfection dynamics of Human papillomavirus (HPV)16 E6E7 and Chlamydia, associated with carcinogenesis. The ectocervical stem cells were genetically manipulated to introduce E6E7 oncogenes to mimic HPV16 integration. Organoids from these stem cells develop the characteristics of precancerous lesions while retaining the self-renewal capacity and organize into mature stratified epithelium similar to healthy organoids. HPV16 E6E7 interferes with Chlamydia development and induces persistence. Unique transcriptional and post-translational responses induced by Chlamydia and HPV lead to distinct reprogramming of host cell processes. Strikingly, Chlamydia impedes HPV-induced mechanisms that maintain cellular and genome integrity, including mismatch repair in the stem cells. Together, our study employing organoids demonstrates the hazard of multiple infections and the unique cellular microenvironment they create, potentially contributing to neoplastic progression.