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1.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(9)2022 Sep 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2033181

ABSTRACT

The emergence of a heavily mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant (Omicron; Pango lineage B.1.1.529 and BA sublineages) and its rapid spread to over 75 countries raised a global public health alarm. Characterizing the mutational profile of Omicron is necessary to interpret its clinical phenotypes which are shared with or distinctive from those of other SARS-CoV-2 variants. We compared the mutations of the initially circulating Omicron variant (now known as BA.1) with prior variants of concern (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta), variants of interest (Lambda, Mu, Eta, Iota, and Kappa), and ~1500 SARS-CoV-2 lineages constituting ~5.8 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Omicron's Spike protein harbors 26 amino acid mutations (23 substitutions, 2 deletions, and 1 insertion) that are distinct compared to other variants of concern. While the substitution and deletion mutations appeared in previous SARS-CoV-2 lineages, the insertion mutation (ins214EPE) was not previously observed in any other SARS-CoV-2 lineage. Here, we consider and discuss various mechanisms through which the nucleotide sequence encoding for ins214EPE could have been acquired, including local duplication, polymerase slippage, and template switching. Although we are not able to definitively determine the mechanism, we highlight the plausibility of template switching. Analysis of the homology of the inserted nucleotide sequence and flanking regions suggests that this template-switching event could have involved the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 variants (e.g., the B.1.1 strain), other human coronaviruses that infect the same host cells as SARS-CoV-2 (e.g., HCoV-OC43 or HCoV-229E), or a human transcript expressed in a host cell that was infected by the Omicron precursor.

2.
Cell Death Discov ; 8(1): 124, 2022 Mar 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1751709

ABSTRACT

Acute cardiac injury has been observed in a subset of COVID-19 patients, but the molecular basis for this clinical phenotype is unknown. It has been hypothesized that molecular mimicry may play a role in triggering an autoimmune inflammatory reaction in some individuals after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we investigate if linear peptides contained in proteins that are primarily expressed in the heart also occur in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Specifically, we compared the library of 136,704 8-mer peptides from 144 human proteins (including splicing variants) to 9926 8-mers from all the viral proteins in the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. No 8-mers were exactly identical between the reference human proteome and the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. However, there were 45 8-mers that differed by only one amino acid when compared to the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Interestingly, analysis of protein-coding mutations from 141,456 individuals showed that one of these 8-mers from the SARS-CoV-2 Replicase polyprotein 1a/1ab (KIALKGGK) is identical to an MYH6 peptide encoded by the c.5410 C > A (Q1804K) genetic variation, which has been observed at low prevalence in Africans/African Americans (0.08%), East Asians (0.3%), South Asians (0.06%), and Latino/Admixed Americans (0.003%). Furthermore, analysis of 4.85 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from over 200 countries shows that viral evolution has already resulted in 20 additional 8-mer peptides that are identical to human heart-enriched proteins encoded by reference sequences or genetic variants. Whether such mimicry contributes to cardiac inflammation during or after COVID-19 illness warrants further experimental evaluation. We suggest that SARS-CoV-2 variants harboring peptides identical to human cardiac proteins should be investigated as "viral variants of cardiac interest".

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311128

ABSTRACT

Several recent surges in COVID-19 cases due to newly emerging variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 with greater transmissibility have highlighted the virus’s capability to directly modulate spike-ACE2 interactions and promote immune evasion by sterically masking the immunogenic epitopes. Recently, there have also been reports of the bidirectional transfer of coronavirus between different animal species and humans. The ability of coronavirus to infect and adapt to a wide range of hosts can be attributed to new variants that modify the molecular recognition profile of the spike protein (S protein). The receptor-binding domain of the spike protein specifically interacts with key host receptor molecules present on the host cell membranes to gain entry into the host and begin the infection cycle. In this review, we discuss the molecular, structural, and functional diversity associated with the coronavirus receptors across their different phylogenetic lineages and its relevance to various symptomatology in the rapid human-to-human infection in COVID-19 patients, tropism, and zoonosis. Despite this seeming diversity of host receptors, there may be some common underlying mechanisms that influence the host range, virus transmissibility, and pathogenicity. Understanding these mechanisms may be crucial in not only controlling the ongoing pandemic but also help in stopping the resurgence of such virus threats in the future.

4.
Mol Syst Biol ; 18(2): e10673, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687579

ABSTRACT

The highly contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has become a prevalent strain globally and poses a public health challenge around the world. While there has been extensive focus on understanding the amino acid mutations in the Delta variant's Spike protein, the mutational landscape of the rest of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome (25 proteins) remains poorly understood. To this end, we performed a systematic analysis of mutations in all the SARS-CoV-2 proteins from nearly 2 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 176 countries/territories. Six highly prevalent missense mutations in the viral life cycle-associated Membrane (I82T), Nucleocapsid (R203M, D377Y), NS3 (S26L), and NS7a (V82A, T120I) proteins are almost exclusive to the Delta variant compared to other variants of concern (mean prevalence across genomes: Delta = 99.74%, Alpha = 0.06%, Beta = 0.09%, and Gamma = 0.22%). Furthermore, we find that the Delta variant harbors a more diverse repertoire of mutations across countries compared to the previously dominant Alpha variant. Overall, our study underscores the high diversity of the Delta variant between countries and identifies a list of amino acid mutations in the Delta variant's proteome for probing the mechanistic basis of pathogenic features such as high viral loads, high transmissibility, and reduced susceptibility against neutralization by vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Mutation , Mutation, Missense , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293207

ABSTRACT

Acute cardiac injury has been observed in a subset of COVID-19 patients, but the molecular basis for this clinical phenotype is unknown. It has been hypothesized that molecular mimicry may play a role in triggering an autoimmune inflammatory reaction in some individuals after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we investigate if linear peptides contained in proteins that are primarily expressed in the heart also occur in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Specifically, we compared the library of 136,704 8-mer peptides from 144 human proteins (including splicing variants) to 9,926 8-mers from all 17 viral proteins in the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. No 8-mers were exactly identical between the reference human proteome and the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. However, there were 45 8-mers that differed by only one amino acid when compared to the reference SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Interestingly, analysis of protein-coding mutations from 141,456 individuals showed that one of these 8-mers from the SARS-CoV-2 Replicase polyprotein 1a/1ab (KIALKGGK) is identical to a MYH6 peptide encoded by the c.5410C>A (Q1804K) genetic variation, which has been observed at low prevalence in Africans/African Americans (0.08%), East Asians (0.3%), South Asians (0.06%) and Latino/Admixed Americans (0.003%). Furthermore, analysis of 4.85 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from over 200 countries shows that viral evolution has already resulted in 20 additional 8-mer peptides that are identical to human heart-enriched proteins encoded by reference sequences or genetic variants. Whether such mimicry contributes to cardiac inflammation during or after COVID-19 illness warrants further experimental evaluation. We suggest that SARS-CoV-2 variants harboring peptides identical to human cardiac proteins should be investigated as ‘viral variants of cardiac interest’.

6.
Med (N Y) ; 2(8): 965-978.e5, 2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294062

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination campaign unfolds, it is important to continuously assess the real-world safety of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized vaccines. Curation of large-scale electronic health records (EHRs) enables near-real-time safety evaluations that were not previously possible. METHODS: In this retrospective study, we deployed deep neural networks over a large EHR system to automatically curate the adverse effects mentioned by physicians in over 1.2 million clinical notes between December 1, 2020 and April 20, 2021. We compared notes from 68,266 individuals who received at least one dose of BNT162b2 (n = 51,795) or mRNA-1273 (n = 16,471) to notes from 68,266 unvaccinated individuals who were matched by demographic, geographic, and clinical features. FINDINGS: Individuals vaccinated with BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 had a higher rate of return to the clinic, but not the emergency department, after both doses compared to unvaccinated controls. The most frequently documented adverse effects within 7 days of each vaccine dose included myalgia, headache, and fatigue, but the rates of EHR documentation for each side effect were remarkably low compared to those derived from active solicitation during clinical trials. Severe events, including anaphylaxis, facial paralysis, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, were rare and occurred at similar frequencies in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis of vaccine-related adverse effects from over 1.2 million EHR notes of more than 130,000 individuals reaffirms the safety and tolerability of the FDA-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in practice. FUNDING: This study was funded by nference.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Humans , Mass Vaccination , RNA, Messenger , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration
7.
Cell Death Discov ; 6(1): 96, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-834872

ABSTRACT

The hand of molecular mimicry in shaping SARS-CoV-2 evolution and immune evasion remains to be deciphered. Here, we report 33 distinct 8-mer/9-mer peptides that are identical between SARS-CoV-2 and the human reference proteome. We benchmark this observation against other viral-human 8-mer/9-mer peptide identity, which suggests generally similar extents of molecular mimicry for SARS-CoV-2 and many other human viruses. Interestingly, 20 novel human peptides mimicked by SARS-CoV-2 have not been observed in any previous coronavirus strains (HCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS). Furthermore, four of the human 8-mer/9-mer peptides mimicked by SARS-CoV-2 map onto HLA-B*40:01, HLA-B*40:02, and HLA-B*35:01 binding peptides from human PAM, ANXA7, PGD, and ALOX5AP proteins. This mimicry of multiple human proteins by SARS-CoV-2 is made salient by single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) analysis that shows the targeted genes significantly expressed in human lungs and arteries; tissues implicated in COVID-19 pathogenesis. Finally, HLA-A*03 restricted 8-mer peptides are found to be shared broadly by human and coronaviridae helicases in functional hotspots, with potential implications for nucleic acid unwinding upon initial infection. This study presents the first scan of human peptide mimicry by SARS-CoV-2, and via its benchmarking against human-viral mimicry more broadly, presents a computational framework for follow-up studies to assay how evolutionary tinkering may relate to zoonosis and herd immunity.

8.
Elife ; 92020 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-635065

ABSTRACT

Understanding temporal dynamics of COVID-19 symptoms could provide fine-grained resolution to guide clinical decision-making. Here, we use deep neural networks over an institution-wide platform for the augmented curation of clinical notes from 77,167 patients subjected to COVID-19 PCR testing. By contrasting Electronic Health Record (EHR)-derived symptoms of COVID-19-positive (COVIDpos; n = 2,317) versus COVID-19-negative (COVIDneg; n = 74,850) patients for the week preceding the PCR testing date, we identify anosmia/dysgeusia (27.1-fold), fever/chills (2.6-fold), respiratory difficulty (2.2-fold), cough (2.2-fold), myalgia/arthralgia (2-fold), and diarrhea (1.4-fold) as significantly amplified in COVIDpos over COVIDneg patients. The combination of cough and fever/chills has 4.2-fold amplification in COVIDpos patients during the week prior to PCR testing, in addition to anosmia/dysgeusia, constitutes the earliest EHR-derived signature of COVID-19. This study introduces an Augmented Intelligence platform for the real-time synthesis of institutional biomedical knowledge. The platform holds tremendous potential for scaling up curation throughput, thus enabling EHR-powered early disease diagnosis.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Adult , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Chills/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Diarrhea/virology , Dysgeusia/virology , Female , Fever/virology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myalgia/virology , Olfaction Disorders/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Elife ; 92020 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-378182

ABSTRACT

Molecular mimicry is an evolutionary strategy adopted by viruses to exploit the host cellular machinery. We report that SARS-CoV-2 has evolved a unique S1/S2 cleavage site, absent in any previous coronavirus sequenced, resulting in the striking mimicry of an identical FURIN-cleavable peptide on the human epithelial sodium channel α-subunit (ENaC-α). Genetic alteration of ENaC-α causes aldosterone dysregulation in patients, highlighting that the FURIN site is critical for activation of ENaC. Single cell RNA-seq from 66 studies shows significant overlap between expression of ENaC-α and the viral receptor ACE2 in cell types linked to the cardiovascular-renal-pulmonary pathophysiology of COVID-19. Triangulating this cellular characterization with cleavage signatures of 178 proteases highlights proteolytic degeneracy wired into the SARS-CoV-2 lifecycle. Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a global pandemic may be driven in part by its targeted mimicry of ENaC-α, a protein critical for the homeostasis of airway surface liquid, whose misregulation is associated with respiratory conditions.


Viruses hijack the cellular machinery of humans to infect their cells and multiply. The virus causing the global COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is no exception. Identifying which proteins in human cells the virus co-opts is crucial for developing new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat COVID-19 infections. SARS-CoV-2 is covered in spike-shaped proteins, which the virus uses to gain entry into cells. First, the spikes bind to a protein called ACE2, which is found on the cells that line the respiratory tract and lungs. SARS-CoV-2 then exploits enzymes called proteases to cut, or cleave, its spikes at a specific site which allows the virus to infiltrate the host cell. Proteases identify which proteins to target based on the sequence of amino acids ­ the building blocks of proteins ­ at the cleavage site. However, it remained unclear which human proteases SARS-CoV-2 co-opts and whether its cut site is similar to human proteins. Now, Anand et al. show that the spike proteins on SARS-CoV-2 may have the same sequence of amino acids at its cut site as a human epithelial channel protein called ENaC-α. This channel is important for maintaining the balance of salt and water in many organs including the lungs. Further analyses showed that ENaC-α is often found in the same types of human lung and respiratory tract cells as ACE2. This suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may use the same proteases that cut ENaC-α to get inside human respiratory cells. It is possible that by hijacking the cutting mechanism for ENaC-α, SARS-CoV-2 interferes with the balance of salt and water in the lungs of COVID-19 patients. This may help explain why the virus causes severe respiratory symptoms. However, more studies are needed to confirm that the proteases that cut ENaC-α also cut the spike proteins on SARS-CoV-2, and how this affects the respiratory health of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Sodium Channels/metabolism , Molecular Mimicry , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Epithelial Sodium Channels/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Substrate Specificity , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
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