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1.
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol ; 2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495786

ABSTRACT

Immunopathology occurs in the lung and spleen in fatal COVID-19, involving monocytes/macrophages and plasma cells. Anti-inflammatory therapy reduces mortality but additional therapeutic targets are required. We aimed to gain mechanistic insight into COVID-19 immunopathology by targeted proteomic analysis of pulmonary and splenic tissues. Lung parenchymal and splenic tissue was obtained from 13 post-mortem examinations of patients with fatal COVID-19. Control tissue was obtained from cancer resection samples (lung) and deceased organ donors (spleen). Protein was extracted from tissue by phenol extraction. Olink® multiplex immunoassay panels were used for protein detection and quantification. Proteins with increased abundance in the lung included MCP-3, antiviral TRIM21 and pro-thrombotic TYMP. OSM and EN-RAGE/S100A12 abundance was correlated, and associated with inflammation severity. Unsupervised clustering identified 'early viral' and 'late inflammatory' clusters with distinct protein abundance profiles, and differences in illness duration prior to death and presence of viral RNA. In the spleen, lymphocyte chemotactic factors and CD8A were decreased in abundance, and pro-apoptotic factors were increased. B-cell receptor signalling pathway components and macrophage colony stimulating factor (CSF-1) were also increased. Additional evidence for a sub-set of host factors (including DDX58, OSM, TYMP, IL-18, MCP-3 and CSF-1) was provided by overlap between (i) differential abundance in spleen and lung tissue, (ii) meta-analysis of existing datasets, and (iii) plasma proteomic data. This proteomic analysis of lung parenchymal and splenic tissue from fatal COVID-19 provides mechanistic insight into tissue anti-viral responses, inflammation and disease stages, macrophage involvement, pulmonary thrombosis, splenic B-cell activation and lymphocyte depletion. This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

2.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 125, 2021 Oct 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483131

ABSTRACT

The rapid spreading of SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 originated from the United Kingdom and B.1.351 from South Africa has contributed to the second wave of COVID-19 cases in the respective countries and also around the world. In this study, we employed advanced biochemical and virological methodologies to evaluate the impact of Spike mutations of these strains on the degree of protection afforded by humoral immune responses following natural infection of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain during the early stages of the outbreak. We found that antibody-mediated neutralization activity was partially reduced for B.1.1.7 variant and significantly attenuated for the B.1.351 strain. We also found that mutations outside the receptor-binding domain (RBD) can strongly influence antibody binding and neutralization, cautioning the use of solely RBD mutations in evaluating vaccine efficacy. These findings highlight an urgent need to develop new SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that are not based exclusively on the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 Spike gene sequence.

3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5469, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434103

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 remains a global threat to human health particularly as escape mutants emerge. There is an unmet need for effective treatments against COVID-19 for which neutralizing single domain antibodies (nanobodies) have significant potential. Their small size and stability mean that nanobodies are compatible with respiratory administration. We report four nanobodies (C5, H3, C1, F2) engineered as homotrimers with pmolar affinity for the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Crystal structures show C5 and H3 overlap the ACE2 epitope, whilst C1 and F2 bind to a different epitope. Cryo Electron Microscopy shows C5 binding results in an all down arrangement of the Spike protein. C1, H3 and C5 all neutralize the Victoria strain, and the highly transmissible Alpha (B.1.1.7 first identified in Kent, UK) strain and C1 also neutralizes the Beta (B.1.35, first identified in South Africa). Administration of C5-trimer via the respiratory route showed potent therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian hamster model of COVID-19 and separately, effective prophylaxis. The molecule was similarly potent by intraperitoneal injection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/metabolism , Female , Male , Mesocricetus , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/administration & dosage , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
4.
FEBS Lett ; 595(18): 2323-2340, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332924

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has triggered a worldwide health emergency. Here, we show that ferritin-like Dps from hyperthermophilic Sulfolobus islandicus, covalently coupled with SARS-CoV-2 antigens via the SpyCatcher system, forms stable multivalent dodecameric vaccine nanoparticles that remain intact even after lyophilisation. Immunisation experiments in mice demonstrated that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) coupled to Dps (RBD-S-Dps) elicited a higher antibody titre and an enhanced neutralising antibody response compared to monomeric RBD. A single immunisation with RBD-S-Dps completely protected hACE2-expressing mice from serious illness and led to viral clearance from the lungs upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data highlight that multimerised SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccines are a highly efficacious modality, particularly when combined with an ultra-stable scaffold.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , DNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , Ferritins/chemistry , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Nanoparticles , Protein Domains , Protein Multimerization , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Sulfolobus
5.
mSphere ; 6(4): e0021921, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319381

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic infection that emerged in the Middle East in 2012. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. The virus is mainly present in camel populations with occasional zoonotic spill over into humans. The severity of infection in humans is influenced by numerous factors, and similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), underlying health complications can play a major role. Currently, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are coincident in the Middle East and thus a rapid way of sequencing MERS-CoV to derive genotype information for molecular epidemiology is needed. Additionally, complicating factors in MERS-CoV infections are coinfections that require clinical management. The ability to rapidly characterize these infections would be advantageous. To rapidly sequence MERS-CoV, an amplicon-based approach was developed and coupled to Oxford Nanopore long read length sequencing. This and a metagenomic approach were evaluated with clinical samples from patients with MERS. The data illustrated that whole-genome or near-whole-genome information on MERS-CoV could be rapidly obtained. This approach provided data on both consensus genomes and the presence of minor variants, including deletion mutants. The metagenomic analysis provided information of the background microbiome. The advantage of this approach is that insertions and deletions can be identified, which are the major drivers of genotype change in coronaviruses. IMPORTANCE Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in late 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The virus is a serious threat to people not only in the Middle East but also in the world and has been detected in over 27 countries. MERS-CoV is spreading in the Middle East and neighboring countries, and approximately 35% of reported patients with this virus have died. This is the most severe coronavirus infection so far described. Saudi Arabia is a destination for many millions of people in the world who visit for religious purposes (Umrah and Hajj), and so it is a very vulnerable area, which imposes unique challenges for effective control of this epidemic. The significance of our study is that clinical samples from patients with MERS were used for rapid in-depth sequencing and metagenomic analysis using long read length sequencing.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Microbiota/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
6.
J Antimicrob Chemother ; 76(9): 2230-2233, 2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276183

ABSTRACT

This article provides a brief overview of drug resistance to antiviral therapy as well as known and emergent variability in key SARS-CoV-2 viral sequences. The purpose is to stimulate deliberation about the need to consider drug resistance prior to widespread roll-out of antivirals for SARS-CoV-2. Many existing candidate agents have mechanisms of action involving drug targets likely to be critical for future drug development. Resistance emerged quickly with monotherapies deployed for other pulmonary viruses such as influenza virus, and in HIV mutations in key drug targets compromised efficacy of multiple drugs within a class. The potential for drug resistance in SARS-CoV-2 has not yet been rigorously debated or assessed, and we call for more academic and industry research on this potentially important future threat prior to widespread roll-out of monotherapies for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Resistance, Viral , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
7.
J Gen Virol ; 102(4)2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186013

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have originated in the human population from a zoonotic spillover event. Infection in humans results in a variety of outcomes ranging from asymptomatic cases to the disease COVID-19, which can have significant morbidity and mortality, with over two million confirmed deaths worldwide as of January 2021. Over a year into the pandemic, sequencing analysis has shown that variants of SARS-CoV-2 are being selected as the virus continues to circulate widely within the human population. The predominant drivers of genetic variation within SARS-CoV-2 are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) caused by polymerase error, potential host factor driven RNA modification, and insertion/deletions (indels) resulting from the discontinuous nature of viral RNA synthesis. While many mutations represent neutral 'genetic drift' or have quickly died out, a subset may be affecting viral traits such as transmissibility, pathogenicity, host range, and antigenicity of the virus. In this review, we summarise the current extent of genetic change in SARS-CoV-2, particularly recently emerging variants of concern, and consider the phenotypic consequences of this viral evolution that may impact the future trajectory of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Physiological/genetics , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Mutation , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology
8.
BMJ ; 372: n771, 2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1148143
9.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med ; 203(2): 192-201, 2021 01 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059843

ABSTRACT

Rationale: In life-threatening coronavirus disease (COVID-19), corticosteroids reduce mortality, suggesting that immune responses have a causal role in death. Whether this deleterious inflammation is primarily a direct reaction to the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or an independent immunopathologic process is unknown.Objectives: To determine SARS-CoV-2 organotropism and organ-specific inflammatory responses and the relationships among viral presence, inflammation, and organ injury.Methods: Tissue was acquired from 11 detailed postmortem examinations. SARS-CoV-2 organotropism was mapped by using multiplex PCR and sequencing, with cellular resolution achieved by in situ viral S (spike) protein detection. Histologic evidence of inflammation was quantified from 37 anatomic sites, and the pulmonary immune response was characterized by using multiplex immunofluorescence.Measurements and Main Results: Multiple aberrant immune responses in fatal COVID-19 were found, principally involving the lung and reticuloendothelial system, and these were not clearly topologically associated with the virus. Inflammation and organ dysfunction did not map to the tissue and cellular distribution of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein between or within tissues. An arteritis was identified in the lung, which was further characterized as a monocyte/myeloid-rich vasculitis, and occurred together with an influx of macrophage/monocyte-lineage cells into the pulmonary parenchyma. In addition, stereotyped abnormal reticuloendothelial responses, including excessive reactive plasmacytosis and iron-laden macrophages, were present and dissociated from viral presence in lymphoid tissues.Conclusions: Tissue-specific immunopathology occurs in COVID-19, implicating a significant component of the immune-mediated, virus-independent immunopathologic process as a primary mechanism in severe disease. Our data highlight novel immunopathologic mechanisms and validate ongoing and future efforts to therapeutically target aberrant macrophage and plasma-cell responses as well as promote pathogen tolerance in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Inflammation/virology , Lung/immunology , Multiple Organ Failure/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Biopsy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Female , Fluorescent Antibody Technique , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Multiple Organ Failure/immunology , Multiple Organ Failure/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 81, 2021 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007628

ABSTRACT

There is a vital need for authentic COVID-19 animal models to enable the pre-clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines and therapeutics. Here we report a dose titration study of SARS-CoV-2 in the ferret model. After a high (5 × 106 pfu) and medium (5 × 104 pfu) dose of virus is delivered, intranasally, viral RNA shedding in the upper respiratory tract (URT) is observed in 6/6 animals, however, only 1/6 ferrets show similar signs after low dose (5 × 102 pfu) challenge. Following sequential culls pathological signs of mild multifocal bronchopneumonia in approximately 5-15% of the lung is seen on day 3, in high and medium dosed groups. Ferrets re-challenged, after virus shedding ceased, are fully protected from acute lung pathology. The endpoints of URT viral RNA replication & distinct lung pathology are observed most consistently in the high dose group. This ferret model of SARS-CoV-2 infection presents a mild clinical disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Ferrets/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Female , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/immunology , Virus Shedding/drug effects , Virus Shedding/immunology
11.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med ; 203(2): 192-201, 2021 01 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939947

ABSTRACT

Rationale: In life-threatening coronavirus disease (COVID-19), corticosteroids reduce mortality, suggesting that immune responses have a causal role in death. Whether this deleterious inflammation is primarily a direct reaction to the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or an independent immunopathologic process is unknown.Objectives: To determine SARS-CoV-2 organotropism and organ-specific inflammatory responses and the relationships among viral presence, inflammation, and organ injury.Methods: Tissue was acquired from 11 detailed postmortem examinations. SARS-CoV-2 organotropism was mapped by using multiplex PCR and sequencing, with cellular resolution achieved by in situ viral S (spike) protein detection. Histologic evidence of inflammation was quantified from 37 anatomic sites, and the pulmonary immune response was characterized by using multiplex immunofluorescence.Measurements and Main Results: Multiple aberrant immune responses in fatal COVID-19 were found, principally involving the lung and reticuloendothelial system, and these were not clearly topologically associated with the virus. Inflammation and organ dysfunction did not map to the tissue and cellular distribution of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein between or within tissues. An arteritis was identified in the lung, which was further characterized as a monocyte/myeloid-rich vasculitis, and occurred together with an influx of macrophage/monocyte-lineage cells into the pulmonary parenchyma. In addition, stereotyped abnormal reticuloendothelial responses, including excessive reactive plasmacytosis and iron-laden macrophages, were present and dissociated from viral presence in lymphoid tissues.Conclusions: Tissue-specific immunopathology occurs in COVID-19, implicating a significant component of the immune-mediated, virus-independent immunopathologic process as a primary mechanism in severe disease. Our data highlight novel immunopathologic mechanisms and validate ongoing and future efforts to therapeutically target aberrant macrophage and plasma-cell responses as well as promote pathogen tolerance in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Inflammation/virology , Lung/immunology , Multiple Organ Failure/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Biopsy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Female , Fluorescent Antibody Technique , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Multiple Organ Failure/immunology , Multiple Organ Failure/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index
12.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-905965

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , DNA, Complementary/analysis , DNA, Complementary/genetics , DNA, Viral/analysis , DNA, Viral/genetics , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis
13.
Science ; 370(6518): 861-865, 2020 11 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-883300

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), uses the viral spike (S) protein for host cell attachment and entry. The host protease furin cleaves the full-length precursor S glycoprotein into two associated polypeptides: S1 and S2. Cleavage of S generates a polybasic Arg-Arg-Ala-Arg carboxyl-terminal sequence on S1, which conforms to a C-end rule (CendR) motif that binds to cell surface neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and NRP2 receptors. We used x-ray crystallography and biochemical approaches to show that the S1 CendR motif directly bound NRP1. Blocking this interaction by RNA interference or selective inhibitors reduced SARS-CoV-2 entry and infectivity in cell culture. NRP1 thus serves as a host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and may potentially provide a therapeutic target for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Amino Acid Motifs , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , COVID-19 , Caco-2 Cells , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Furin/metabolism , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , Neuropilin-1/antagonists & inhibitors , Neuropilin-1/chemistry , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Pandemics , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , RNA Interference , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
14.
Viruses ; 12(10):1164, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-855539

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.

15.
Viruses ; 12(8)2020 08 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717763

ABSTRACT

Genome sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is increasingly important to monitor the transmission and adaptive evolution of the virus. The accessibility of high-throughput methods and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has facilitated a growing ecosystem of protocols. Two differing protocols are tiling multiplex PCR and bait capture enrichment. Each method has advantages and disadvantages but a direct comparison with different viral RNA concentrations has not been performed to assess the performance of these approaches. Here we compare Liverpool amplification, ARTIC amplification, and bait capture using clinical diagnostics samples. All libraries were sequenced using an Illumina MiniSeq with data analyzed using a standardized bioinformatics workflow (SARS-CoV-2 Illumina GeNome Assembly Line; SIGNAL). One sample showed poor SARS-CoV-2 genome coverage and consensus, reflective of low viral RNA concentration. In contrast, the second sample had a higher viral RNA concentration, which yielded good genome coverage and consensus. ARTIC amplification showed the highest depth of coverage results for both samples, suggesting this protocol is effective for low concentrations. Liverpool amplification provided a more even read coverage of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, but at a lower depth of coverage. Bait capture enrichment of SARS-CoV-2 cDNA provided results on par with amplification. While only two clinical samples were examined in this comparative analysis, both the Liverpool and ARTIC amplification methods showed differing efficacy for high and low concentration samples. In addition, amplification-free bait capture enriched sequencing of cDNA is a viable method for generating a SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence and for identification of amplification artifacts.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Base Sequence , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , DNA, Complementary/genetics , Genome, Viral , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
16.
Genome Med ; 12(1): 68, 2020 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-680048

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is a recently emerged respiratory pathogen that has significantly impacted global human health. We wanted to rapidly characterise the transcriptomic, proteomic and phosphoproteomic landscape of this novel coronavirus to provide a fundamental description of the virus's genomic and proteomic potential. METHODS: We used direct RNA sequencing to determine the transcriptome of SARS-CoV-2 grown in Vero E6 cells which is widely used to propagate the novel coronavirus. The viral transcriptome was analysed using a recently developed ORF-centric pipeline. Allied to this, we used tandem mass spectrometry to investigate the proteome and phosphoproteome of the same virally infected cells. RESULTS: Our integrated analysis revealed that the viral transcripts (i.e. subgenomic mRNAs) generally fitted the expected transcription model for coronaviruses. Importantly, a 24 nt in-frame deletion was detected in over half of the subgenomic mRNAs encoding the spike (S) glycoprotein and was predicted to remove a proposed furin cleavage site from the S glycoprotein. Tandem mass spectrometry identified over 500 viral peptides and 44 phosphopeptides in virus-infected cells, covering almost all proteins predicted to be encoded by the SARS-CoV-2 genome, including peptides unique to the deleted variant of the S glycoprotein. CONCLUSIONS: Detection of an apparently viable deletion in the furin cleavage site of the S glycoprotein, a leading vaccine target, shows that this and other regions of SARS-CoV-2 proteins may readily mutate. The furin site directs cleavage of the S glycoprotein into functional subunits during virus entry or exit and likely contributes strongly to the pathogenesis and zoonosis of this virus. Our data emphasises that the viral genome sequence should be carefully monitored during the growth of viral stocks for research, animal challenge models and, potentially, in clinical samples. Such variations may result in different levels of virulence, morbidity and mortality.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/growth & development , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Proteomics/methods , Sequence Deletion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Phosphorylation , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Serial Passage , Tandem Mass Spectrometry , Vero Cells
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