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1.
Nat Biotechnol ; 2022 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815566

ABSTRACT

We designed a protein biosensor that uses thermodynamic coupling for sensitive and rapid detection of neutralizing antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants in serum. The biosensor is a switchable, caged luciferase-receptor-binding domain (RBD) construct that detects serum-antibody interference with the binding of virus RBD to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) as a proxy for neutralization. Our coupling approach does not require target modification and can better distinguish sample-to-sample differences in analyte binding affinity and abundance than traditional competition-based assays.

2.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(646): eabn1252, 2022 May 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784766

ABSTRACT

New variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continue to arise and prolong the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here, we used a cell-free expression workflow to rapidly screen and optimize constructs containing multiple computationally designed miniprotein inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. We found the broadest efficacy was achieved with a homotrimeric version of the 75-residue angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mimic AHB2 (TRI2-2) designed to geometrically match the trimeric spike architecture. Consistent with the design model, in the cryo-electron microscopy structure TRI2-2 forms a tripod at the apex of the spike protein that engaged all three receptor binding domains simultaneously. TRI2-2 neutralized Omicron (B.1.1.529), Delta (B.1.617.2), and all other variants tested with greater potency than the monoclonal antibodies used clinically for the treatment of COVID-19. TRI2-2 also conferred prophylactic and therapeutic protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge when administered intranasally in mice. Designed miniprotein receptor mimics geometrically arrayed to match pathogen receptor binding sites could be a widely applicable antiviral therapeutic strategy with advantages over antibodies in greater resistance to viral escape and antigenic drift, and advantages over native receptor traps in lower chances of autoimmune responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
Nature ; 591(7850): 482-487, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1049967

ABSTRACT

Naturally occurring protein switches have been repurposed for the development of biosensors and reporters for cellular and clinical applications1. However, the number of such switches is limited, and reengineering them is challenging. Here we show that a general class of protein-based biosensors can be created by inverting the flow of information through de novo designed protein switches in which the binding of a peptide key triggers biological outputs of interest2. The designed sensors are modular molecular devices with a closed dark state and an open luminescent state; analyte binding drives the switch from the closed to the open state. Because the sensor is based on the thermodynamic coupling of analyte binding to sensor activation, only one target binding domain is required, which simplifies sensor design and allows direct readout in solution. We create biosensors that can sensitively detect the anti-apoptosis protein BCL-2, the IgG1 Fc domain, the HER2 receptor, and Botulinum neurotoxin B, as well as biosensors for cardiac troponin I and an anti-hepatitis B virus antibody with the high sensitivity required to detect these molecules clinically. Given the need for diagnostic tools to track the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)3, we used the approach to design sensors for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and antibodies against the membrane and nucleocapsid proteins. The former, which incorporates a de novo designed spike receptor binding domain (RBD) binder4, has a limit of detection of 15 pM and a luminescence signal 50-fold higher than the background level. The modularity and sensitivity of the platform should enable the rapid construction of sensors for a wide range of analytes, and highlights the power of de novo protein design to create multi-state protein systems with new and useful functions.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Hepatitis B virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/analysis , Troponin I/analysis , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Biosensing Techniques/standards , Botulinum Toxins/analysis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Limit of Detection , Luminescence , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2/analysis , Receptor, ErbB-2/analysis , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology
4.
Cell ; 183(5): 1367-1382.e17, 2020 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893667

ABSTRACT

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers 10-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized spike despite a 5-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the RBD nanoparticles target multiple distinct epitopes, suggesting they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the assembled nanoparticles suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the SARS-CoV-2-RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vaccination , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Epitopes/immunology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Macaca nemestrina , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells , Young Adult
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