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Front Immunol ; 13: 820336, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933641


The continuous spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) around the world has raised unprecedented challenges to the human society. Antibodies and nanobodies possessing neutralization activity represent promising drug candidates. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of a potent SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing nanobody that targets the viral spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD). The nanobody, termed as Nb-007, engages SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD with the two-digit picomolar binding affinity and shows outstanding virus entry-inhibition activity. The complex structure of Nb-007 bound to SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD reveals an epitope that is partially overlapping with the binding site for the human receptor of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The nanobody therefore exerts neutralization by competing with ACE2 for S-RBD binding, which is further ascertained by our in-vitro biochemical analyses. Finally, we also show that Nb-007 reserves promising, though compromised, neutralization activity against the currently-circulating Delta variant and that fusion of the nanobody with Fc dramatically increases its entry-inhibition capacity. Taken together, these data have paved the way of developing Nb-007 as a drug-reserve for potential treatment of SARS-CoV-2 related diseases.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1920-1935, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908682


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and related sarbecoviruses enter host cells by receptor-recognition and membrane-fusion. An indispensable step in fusion is the formation of 6-helix bundle by viral spike heptad repeats 1 and 2 (HR1 and HR2). Here, we report the construction of 5-helix bundle (5HB) proteins for virus infection inhibition. The optimal construct inhibits SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry with sub-micromolar IC50. Unlike HR2-based peptides that cannot bind spike in the pre-fusion conformation, 5HB features with the capability of binding to pre-fusion spike. Furthermore, 5HB binds viral HR2 at both serological- and endosomal-pH, highlighting its entry-inhibition capacity when SARS-CoV-2 enters via either cell membrane fusion or endosomal route. Finally, we show that 5HB could neutralize S-mediated entry of the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variants and a wide spectrum of sarbecoviruses. These data provide proof-of-concept evidence that 5HB might be developed for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging sarbecovirus infections.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 343, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415924


SARS-CoV-2 recognizes, via its spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD), human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to initiate infection. Ecto-domain protein of ACE2 can therefore function as a decoy. Here we show that mutations of S19W, T27W, and N330Y in ACE2 could individually enhance SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD binding. Y330 could be synergistically combined with either W19 or W27, whereas W19 and W27 are mutually unbeneficial. The structures of SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD bound to the ACE2 mutants reveal that the enhanced binding is mainly contributed by the van der Waals interactions mediated by the aromatic side-chains from W19, W27, and Y330. While Y330 and W19/W27 are distantly located and devoid of any steric interference, W19 and W27 are shown to orient their side-chains toward each other and to cause steric conflicts, explaining their incompatibility. Finally, using pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 viruses, we demonstrate that these residue substitutions are associated with dramatically improved entry-inhibition efficacy toward both wild-type and antibody-resistant viruses. Taken together, our biochemical and structural data have delineated the basis for the elevated S-RBD binding associated with S19W, T27W, and N330Y mutations in ACE2, paving the way for potential application of these mutants in clinical treatment of COVID-19.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , COVID-19 , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation, Missense , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism