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1.
Cell Rep ; 40(7): 111220, 2022 Aug 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966425

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike N-terminal domain (NTD) remains poorly characterized despite enrichment of mutations in this region across variants of concern (VOCs). Here, we examine the contribution of the NTD to infection and cell-cell fusion by constructing chimeric spikes bearing B.1.617 lineage (Delta and Kappa variants) NTDs and generating spike pseudotyped lentivirus. We find that the Delta NTD on a Kappa or wild-type (WT) background increases S1/S2 cleavage efficiency and virus entry, specifically in lung cells and airway organoids, through use of TMPRSS2. Delta exhibits increased cell-cell fusogenicity that could be conferred to WT and Kappa spikes by Delta NTD transfer. However, chimeras of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 spikes with a Delta NTD do not show more efficient TMPRSS2 use or fusogenicity. We conclude that the NTD allosterically modulates S1/S2 cleavage and spike-mediated functions in a spike context-dependent manner, and allosteric interactions may be lost when combining regions from more distantly related VOCs.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-336846

ABSTRACT

Over 20 mutations have been identified in the N-Terminal Domain (NTD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike and yet few of them are fully characterised. Here we first examined the contribution of the NTD to infection and cell-cell fusion by constructing different VOC-based chimeric spikes bearing B.1617 lineage (Delta and Kappa variants) NTDs and generating spike pseudotyped lentivirus (PV). We found the Delta NTD on a Kappa or WT background increased spike S1/S2 cleavage efficiency and virus entry, specifically in Calu-3 lung cells and airway organoids, through use of TMPRSS2. Delta was previously shown to have fast cell-cell fusion kinetics and increased fusogenicity that could be conferred to WT and Kappa variant spikes by transfer of the Delta NTD. Moving to contemporary variants, we found that BA.2 had higher entry efficiency in a range of cell types as compared to BA.1. BA.2 showed higher fusogenic activity than BA.1, but the BA.2 NTD could not confer higher fusion to BA.1 spike. There was low efficiency of TMPRSS2 usage by both BA.1 and BA.2, and chimeras of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 spikes with a Delta NTD did not result in more efficient use of TMRPSS2 or cell-cell fusogenicity. We conclude that the NTD allosterically modulates S1/S2 cleavage and spike-mediated functions such as entry and cell-cell fusion in a spike context dependent manner, and allosteric interactions may be lost when combining regions from more distantly related spike proteins. These data may explain the lack of dominant SARS-CoV-2 inter-variant recombinants bearing breakpoints within spike.

3.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
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