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1.
Cell Discov ; 8(1): 53, 2022 Jun 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1878521

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an important target for vaccine and drug development. However, the rapid emergence of variant strains with mutated S proteins has rendered many treatments ineffective. Cleavage of the S protein by host proteases is essential for viral infection. Here, we discovered that the S protein contains two previously unidentified Cathepsin L (CTSL) cleavage sites (CS-1 and CS-2). Both sites are highly conserved among all known SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our structural studies revealed that CTSL cleavage promoted S to adopt receptor-binding domain (RBD) "up" activated conformations, facilitating receptor-binding and membrane fusion. We confirmed that CTSL cleavage is essential during infection of all emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants (including the recently emerged Omicron variant) by pseudovirus (PsV) infection experiment. Furthermore, we found CTSL-specific inhibitors not only blocked infection of PsV/live virus in cells but also reduced live virus infection of ex vivo lung tissues of both human donors and human ACE2-transgenic mice. Finally, we showed that two CTSL-specific inhibitors exhibited excellent In vivo effects to prevent live virus infection in human ACE2-transgenic mice. Our work demonstrated that inhibition of CTSL cleavage of SARS-CoV-2 S protein is a promising approach for the development of future mutation-resistant therapy.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-337732

ABSTRACT

Homologous and heterologous booster with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines represent the most effective strategy to prevent the ongoing Omicron pandemic. The additional protection from these prototype SARS-CoV-2 S-targeting vaccine was attributed to the increased RBD-specific memory B cells with expanded potency and breadth. Herein, we show the safety and immunogenicity of heterologous boosting with the RBD-targeting mRNA vaccine AWcorna (also term ARCoV) in Chinese adults who have received two doses inactivated vaccine. The superiority over inactivated vaccine in neutralization antibodies, as well as the safety profile, support the use of AWcorna as heterologous booster in China.

3.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1488-1499, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852834

ABSTRACT

The recent global pandemic was a spillover from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Viral entry involves the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein interacting with the protease domain (PD) of the cellular receptor, ACE2. We hereby present a comprehensive mutational landscape of the effects of ACE2-PD point mutations on RBD-ACE2 binding using a saturation mutagenesis approach based on microarray-based oligo synthesis and a single-cell screening assay. We observed that changes in glycosylation sites and directly interacting sites of ACE2-PD significantly influenced ACE2-RBD binding. We further engineered an ACE2 decoy receptor with critical point mutations, D30I, L79W, T92N, N322V, and K475F, named C4-1. C4-1 shows a 200-fold increase in neutralization for the SARS-CoV-2 D614G pseudotyped virus compared to wild-type soluble ACE2 and a sevenfold increase in binding affinity to wild-type spike compared to the C-terminal Ig-Fc fused wild-type soluble ACE2. Moreover, C4-1 efficiently neutralized prevalent variants, especially the omicron variant (EC50=16 ng/mL), and rescued monoclonal antibodies, vaccine, and convalescent sera neutralization from viral immune-escaping. We hope to next investigate translating the therapeutic potential of C4-1 for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mutagenesis , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335494

ABSTRACT

Recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages BA.2.12.1, BA.2.13, BA.4 and BA.5 all contain L452 mutations and show potential higher transmissibility over BA.2. The new variants’ receptor binding and immune evasion capability require immediate investigation, especially on the role of L452 substitutions. Herein, coupled with structural comparisons, we showed that BA.2 sublineages, including BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.13, exhibit increased ACE2-binding affinities compared to BA.1;while BA.4/BA.5 shows the weakest receptor-binding activity due to F486V and R493Q reversion. Importantly, compared to BA.2, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 exhibit stronger neutralization escape from the plasma of 3-dose vaccinees and, most strikingly, from vaccinated BA.1 convalescents. To delineate the underlying evasion mechanism, we determined the escaping mutation profiles, epitope distribution and Omicron sub-lineage neutralization efficacy of 1640 RBD-directed neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), including 614 isolated from BA.1 convalescents. Interestingly, post-vaccination BA.1 infection mainly recalls wildtype-induced humoral memory and elicits antibodies that neutralize both wild-type and BA.1. These cross-reactive NAbs are significantly enriched on non-ACE2-competing epitopes;and surprisingly, the majority are undermined by R346 and L452 substitutions, namely R346K (BA.1.1), L452M (BA.2.13), L452Q (BA.2.12.1) and L452R (BA.4/BA.5), suggesting that R346K and L452 mutations appeared under the immune pressure of Omicron convalescents. Nevertheless, BA.1 infection can also induce new clones of BA.1-specific antibodies that potently neutralize BA.1 but do not respond to wild-type SARS-CoV-2, due to the high susceptibility to N501, N440, K417 and E484. However, these NAbs are largely escaped by BA.2 sublineages and BA.4/BA.5 due to D405N and F486V, exhibiting poor neutralization breadths. As for therapeutic NAbs, LY-CoV1404 (Bamlanivimab) and COV2-2130 (Cilgavimab) can still effectively neutralize BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5, while the S371F, D405N and R408S mutations carried by BA.2/BA.4/BA.5 sublineages would undermine most broad sarbecovirus NAbs. Together, our results indicate that Omicron can evolve mutations to specifically evade humoral immunity elicited by BA.1 infection. The continuous evolution of Omicron poses great challenges to SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity and suggests that BA.1-derived vaccine boosters may not be ideal for achieving broad-spectrum protection.

5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335258

ABSTRACT

The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages BA.2.12.1, BA.2.13, BA.4 and BA.5 all contain L452 mutations and show potential higher transmissibility over BA.2 1 . The new variants’ receptor binding and immune evasion capability require immediate investigation, especially on the role of L452 substitutions. Herein, coupled with structural comparisons, we show that BA.2 sublineages, including BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.13, exhibit increased ACE2-binding affinities compared to BA.1;while BA.4/BA.5 displays the weakest receptor-binding activity due to F486V and R493Q reversion. Importantly, compared to BA.2, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 exhibit stronger neutralization evasion against the plasma of 3-dose vaccinees and, most strikingly, of vaccinated BA.1 convalescents. To delineate the underlying evasion mechanism, we determined the escaping mutation profiles 2 , epitope distribution 3 and Omicron sublineage neutralization efficacy of 1640 RBD-directed neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), including 614 isolated from BA.1 convalescents. Interestingly, post-vaccination BA.1 infection mainly recalls wildtype (WT) induced humoral memory and elicits antibodies that neutralize both WT and BA.1. These cross-reactive NAbs are significantly enriched on non-ACE2-competing epitopes;and surprisingly, the majority are undermined by R346 and L452 substitutions, namely R346K (BA.1.1), L452M (BA.2.13), L452Q (BA.2.12.1) and L452R (BA.4/BA.5), suggesting that R346K and L452 mutations appeared under the immune pressure induced by Omicron convalescents. Nevertheless, BA.1 infection can also induce new clones of BA.1-specific antibodies that potently neutralize BA.1 but do not respond to WT SARS-CoV-2 due to the high susceptibility to N501, N440, K417 and E484. However, these NAbs are largely escaped by BA.2 sublineages and BA.4/BA.5 due to D405N and F486V, exhibiting poor neutralization breadths. As for therapeutic NAbs, LY-CoV1404 (Bebtelovimab 4 ) and COV2-2130 (Cilgavimab 5 ) can still effectively neutralize BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5, while the S371F, D405N and R408S mutations carried by BA.2/BA.4/BA.5 sublineages would undermine most broad sarbecovirus NAbs. Together, our results indicate that Omicron can evolve mutations to specifically evade humoral immunity elicited by BA.1 infection. The continuous evolution of Omicron poses great challenges to SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity and suggests that BA.1-derived vaccine boosters may not be ideal for achieving broad-spectrum protection.

6.
MedComm (2020) ; 3(2): e130, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1782644

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, particularly those with multiple mutations in receptor-binding domain (RBD), pose a critical challenge to the efficacy of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines and therapeutic neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Omicron sublineages BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, as well as the recent emergence of C.1.2, B.1.630, B.1.640.1, and B.1.640.2, have multiple mutations in RBD and may lead to severe neutralizing antibody evasion. It is urgent to evaluate the antigenic change of the above seven variants against mAbs and sera from guinea pigs immunized with variants of concern (VOCs) (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron) and variants of interest (VOIs) (Lambda, Mu) immunogens. Only seven out of the 24 mAbs showed no reduction in neutralizing activity against BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. However, among these seven mAbs, the neutralization activity of XGv337 and XGv338 against C.1.2, B.1.630, B.1.640.1, and B.1.640.2 were decreased. Therefore, only five neutralizing mAbs showed no significant change against these seven variants. Using VOCs and VOIs as immunogens, we found that the antigenicity of variants could be divided into three clusters, and each cluster showed similar antigenicity to different immunogens. Among them, D614G, B.1.640.1, and B.1.630 formed a cluster, C.1.2 and B.1.640.2 formed a cluster, and BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 formed a cluster.

7.
Adv Sci (Weinh) ; 9(14): e2104333, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1782562

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains a global public health threat. Hence, more effective and specific antivirals are urgently needed. Here, COVID-19 hyperimmune globulin (COVID-HIG), a passive immunotherapy, is prepared from the plasma of healthy donors vaccinated with BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine). COVID-HIG shows high-affinity binding to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein, the receptor-binding domain (RBD), the N-terminal domain of the S protein, and the nucleocapsid protein; and blocks RBD binding to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2). Pseudotyped and authentic virus-based assays show that COVID-HIG displays broad-spectrum neutralization effects on a wide variety of SARS-CoV-2 variants, including D614G, Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), Kappa (B.1.617.1), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Omicron (B.1.1.529) in vitro. However, a significant reduction in the neutralization titer is detected against Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants. Additionally, assessments of the prophylactic and treatment efficacy of COVID-HIG in an Adv5-hACE2-transduced IFNAR-/- mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection show significantly reduced weight loss, lung viral loads, and lung pathological injury. Moreover, COVID-HIG exhibits neutralization potency similar to that of anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune globulin from pooled convalescent plasma. Overall, the results demonstrate the potential of COVID-HIG against SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide reference for subsequent clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Globulins , Animals , COVID-19/therapy , Globulins/therapeutic use , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
8.
Cell ; 185(10): 1728-1744.e16, 2022 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1767964

ABSTRACT

As the emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to drive the worldwide pandemic, there is a constant demand for vaccines that offer more effective and broad-spectrum protection. Here, we report a circular RNA (circRNA) vaccine that elicited potent neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses by expressing the trimeric RBD of the spike protein, providing robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 in both mice and rhesus macaques. Notably, the circRNA vaccine enabled higher and more durable antigen production than the 1mΨ-modified mRNA vaccine and elicited a higher proportion of neutralizing antibodies and distinct Th1-skewed immune responses. Importantly, we found that the circRNARBD-Omicron vaccine induced effective neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron but not the Delta variant. In contrast, the circRNARBD-Delta vaccine protected against both Delta and Omicron or functioned as a booster after two doses of either native- or Delta-specific vaccination, making it a favorable choice against the current variants of concern (VOCs) of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Mice , RNA, Circular/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics
9.
Journal of Medical Virology ; 94(5):i-i, 2022.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1750403

ABSTRACT

Front Cover Caption: The cover image is based on the Research Article Aggregation of high-frequency RBD mutations of SARS-CoV-2 with three VOCs did not cause significant antigenic drift by Tao Li et al., https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.27596.

10.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1024-1036, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740712

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. B.1.617 variants (including Kappa and Delta) have been transmitted rapidly in India. The transmissibility, pathogenicity, and neutralization characteristics of these variants have received considerable interest. In this study, 22 pseudotyped viruses were constructed for B.1.617 variants and their corresponding single amino acid mutations. B.1.617 variants did not exhibit significant enhanced infectivity in human cells, but mutations T478K and E484Q in the receptor binding domain led to enhanced infectivity in mouse ACE2-overexpressing cells. Furin activities were slightly increased against B.1.617 variants and cell-cell fusion after infection of B.1.617 variants were enhanced. Furthermore, B.1.617 variants escaped neutralization by several mAbs, mainly because of mutations L452R, T478K, and E484Q in the receptor binding domain. The neutralization activities of sera from convalescent patients, inactivated vaccine-immunized volunteers, adenovirus vaccine-immunized volunteers, and SARS-CoV-2 immunized animals against pseudotyped B.1.617 variants were reduced by approximately twofold, compared with the D614G variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Cell Fusion , Humans , Mice , Mutation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Tropism
11.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 69, 2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1721495

ABSTRACT

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and the gradually decreasing neutralizing antibodies over time post vaccination have led to an increase in incidents of breakthrough infection across the world. To investigate the potential protective effect of the recombinant protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine targeting receptor-binding domain (RBD) (PS-RBD) and whole inactivated virus particle vaccine (IV) against the variant strains, in this study, rhesus macaques were immunized with PS-RBD or IV vaccine, followed by a Beta variant (B.1.351) challenge. Although neutralizing activity against the Beta variant was reduced compared with that against the prototype, the decreased viral load in both upper and lower respiratory tracts, milder pathological changes, and downregulated inflammatory cytokine levels in lung tissues after challenge demonstrated that PS-RBD and IV still provided effective protection against the Beta variant in the macaque model. Furthermore, PS-RBD-induced macaque sera possessed general binding and neutralizing activity to Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants in our study, though the neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers declined by varying degrees, demonstrating potential protection of PS-RBD against current circulating variants of concern (VOCs). Interestingly, although the IV vaccine-induced extremely low neutralizing antibody titers against the Beta variant, it still showed reduction for viral load and significantly alleviated pathological change. Other correlates of vaccine-induced protection (CoP) like antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and immune memory were both confirmed to be existing in IV vaccinated group and possibly be involved in the protective mechanism.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology , Vaccines, Inactivated/pharmacology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/pharmacology
12.
Eur J Med Chem ; 234: 114209, 2022 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1719653

ABSTRACT

Thirty-two clofazimine derivatives, of which twenty-two were new, were synthesized and evaluated for their antiviral effects against both rabies virus and pseudo-typed SARS-CoV-2, taking clofazimine (1) as the lead. Among them, compound 15f bearing 4-methoxy-2-pyridyl at the N5-position showed superior or comparable antiviral activities to lead 1, with the EC50 values of 1.45 µM and 14.6 µM and the SI values of 223 and 6.1, respectively. Compound 15f inhibited rabies and SARS-CoV-2 by targeting G or S protein to block membrane fusion, as well as binding to L protein or nsp13 to inhibit intracellular biosynthesis respectively, and thus synergistically exerted a broad-spectrum antiviral effect. The results provided useful scientific data for the development of clofazimine derivatives into a new class of broad-spectrum antiviral candidates.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Clofazimine , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 829-840, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713526

ABSTRACT

Waned vaccine-induced immunity and emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants with potential for immune escape pose a major threat to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Here, we showed that humoral immunity components, including anti-S + N, anti-RBD IgG, and neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), gradually waned and decreased the neutralizing capacity against emerging Omicron variants at 3 and 6 months after two inactivated COVID-19 vaccinations. We evaluated two boosting strategies with either a third dose of inactivated vaccine (homologous, I-I-I) or a recombinant subunit vaccine (heterologous, I-I-S). Both strategies induced the production of high levels of NAbs with a broad neutralizing capacity and longer retention. Interestingly, I-I-S induced 3.5-fold to 6.8-fold higher NAb titres than I-I-I, with a broader neutralizing capacity against six variants of concern, including Omicron. Further immunological analysis revealed that the two immunization strategies differ considerably, not only in the magnitude of total NAbs produced, but also in the composite pattern of NAbs and the population of virus-specific CD4+ T cells produced. Additionally, in some cases, heterologous boosted immunity induced the production of more effective epitopes than natural infection. The level of I-I-S-induced NAbs decreased to 48% and 18% at 1 and 3 months after booster vaccination, respectively. Overall, our data provide important evidence for vaccination strategies based on available vaccines and may help guide future global vaccination plans.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 , T-Lymphocytes , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Subunit
14.
J Infect Dis ; 225(10): 1701-1709, 2022 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704225

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Control of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic needs effective vaccines. METHODS: In a phase 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 500 adults aged 18-59 years or ≥60 years were randomized in 2:2:1 ratio to receive 3 doses of 5 µg or 10 µg of a SARS-CoV-2 inactivated vaccine, or placebo separated by 28 days. Adverse events (AEs) were recorded through day 28 after each dosing. Live virus or pseudovirus neutralizing antibodies, and receptor binding domain immunoglobulin G (RBD-IgG) antibody were tested after the second and third doses. RESULTS: Two doses of the vaccine elicited geometric mean titers (GMTs) of 102-119, 170-176, and 1449-1617 for the 3 antibodies in younger adults. Pseudovirus neutralizing and RBD-IgG GMTs were similar between older and younger adults. The third dose slightly (<1.5 fold) increased GMTs. Seroconversion percentages were 94% or more after 2 doses, which were generally similar after 3 doses. The predominant AEs were injection-site pain. All the AEs were grade 1 or 2 in intensity. No serious AE was deemed related to study vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Two doses of this vaccine induced robust immune response and had good safety profile. A third dose given 28 days after the second dose elicited limited boosting antibody response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Double-Blind Method , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Inactivated/adverse effects , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology , Young Adult
15.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327486

ABSTRACT

Constantly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as Omicron BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2, pose a severe challenge to COVID-19 control 1–10 . Broad-spectrum antibody therapeutics and vaccines are needed for defending against future SARS-CoV-2 variants and sarbecovirus pandemics 11–14 ;however, we have yet to gain a comprehensive understanding of the epitopes capable of inducing broad sarbecovirus neutralization. Here, we report the identification of 241 anti-RBD broad sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies isolated from 44 SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated SARS convalescents. Neutralizing efficacy of these antibodies against D614G, SARS-CoV-1, Omicron variants (BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2), RATG13 and Pangolin-GD is tested, and their binding capability to 21 sarbecovirus RBDs is measured. High-throughput yeast-display mutational screening was further applied to determine each antibody’s RBD escaping mutation profile, and unsupervised epitope clustering based on escaping mutation hotspots was performed 7,15–18 . A total of 6 clusters of broad sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies with diverse breadth and epitopes were identified, namely Group E1 (S309 19 , BD55-3152 site), E3 (S2H97 20 site), F1 (CR3022 21 , S304 22 site), F2 (DH1047 23 , BD55-3500 site), F3 (ADG-2 24 , BD55-3372 site) and B’ (S2K146 25 site). Members of E1, F2 and F3 demonstrate the highest neutralization potency;yet, Omicron, especially BA.2, has evolved multiple mutations (G339D, N440K, T376A, D405N, R408S) to escape antibodies of these groups. Nevertheless, broad sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies that survived Omicron would serve as favorable therapeutic candidates. Furthermore, structural analyses of selected drug candidates propose two non-competing antibody pairing strategies, E1-F2 and E1-F3, as broad-spectrum antibody cocktails. Together, our work provides a comprehensive epitope map of broad sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies and offers critical instructions for designing broad-spectrum vaccines.

16.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325218

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can infect many domestic animals, including dogs. Herein, we show that dog angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (dACE2) can bind to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein receptor binding region (RBD), and that both pseudotyped and authentic SARS-CoV-2 can infect dACE2-expressing cells. we solved the crystal structure of RBD in complex with dACE2 and found that the total numbers of contact residues, contact atoms, hydrogen bonds and salt bridges at the binding interface in this complex are slightly fewer than those in the complex of the RBD and human ACE2 (hACE2). This result is consistent with the fact that the binding affinity of RBD to dACE2 is lower than that to hACE2. We further show that a few important mutations in the RBD binding interface play a pivotal role in the binding affinity of RBD to both dACE2 and hACE2, and need intense monitoring and controlling.

17.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325079

ABSTRACT

Ten emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants—B.1.1.298, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, P.2, B.1.429, B.1.525, B.1.526-1, B.1.526-2, B.1.1.318—and seven corresponding single amino acid mutations in the receptor-binding domain were examined using SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. The results indicate that the current SARS-CoV-2 variants do not increase infectivity among humans. The K417N/T, N501Y, or E484K-carrying variants exhibited increased abilities to infect to mouse ACE2-overexpressing cells. The activities of Furin, TMPRSS2, and cathepsin L were increased against most of the variants. RBD amino acid mutations comprising K417T/N, L452R, Y453F, S477N, E484K, and N501Y caused significant immune escape from 11 of 13 monoclonal antibodies. However, the resistance to neutralization by convalescent serum or vaccines was mainly caused by the E484K mutation, while the neutralization of E484K-carrying variants was decreased by 1.1–6.2-fold. The convalescent serum from B.1.1.7- and B.1.351-infected patients neutralized the variants themselves better than other SARS-CoV-2 variants.

18.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324470

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an ideal target for the development of specific vaccines or drugs. However, treatments targeting viruses with mutant S proteins that have recently emerged in many countries are limited. Cleavage of the S protein by host proteases is essential for viral infection. Here, we discovered two novel sites (CS-1 and CS-2) in the S protein for cleavage by the protease Cathepsin L (CTSL). Both sites are highly conserved among all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Cryo-electron microscopy structural studies revealed that CTSL cleavage increases the dynamics of the receptor binding domain of S and induces novel conformations. In our pseudovirus (PsV) infection experiment, alteration of the cleavage site significantly reduced the infection efficiency, and CTSL inhibitors markedly inhibited infection with PsVs of both the wild-type and emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants. Furthermore, six highly efficient CTSL inhibitors were found to effectively inhibit live virus infection in human cells in vitro , and two of these were further confirmed to prevent live virus infection in human ACE2 transgenic mice in vivo . Our work suggested that the CTSL cleavage sites in SARS-CoV-2 S are emerging new but effective targets for the development of mutation-resistant vaccines and drugs.

19.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-323773

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, B.1.617 variants have been transmitted rapidly in India. The transmissibility, pathogenicity, and neutralization characteristics of these variants have received considerable interest. In this study, 22 pseudotyped viruses were constructed for B.1.617 variants and their corresponding single amino acid mutations. B.1.617 variants did not exhibit significant enhanced infectivity in human cells, but mutations T478K and E484Q in the receptor binding domain led to enhanced infectivity in mouse ACE2-overexpressing cells. Furin activities were slightly increased against B.1.617 variants and cell–cell fusion after infection of B.1.617 variants was enhanced. Furthermore, B.1.617 variants escaped neutralization by several mAbs, mainly because of mutations L452R, T478K, and E484Q in the receptor binding domain. The neutralization activities of sera from convalescent patients, inactivated vaccine-immunized volunteers, adenovirus vaccine-immunized volunteers, and SARS-CoV-2 immunized animals against pseudotyped B.1.617 variants were reduced by approximately twofold, compared with the D614G variant.

20.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317971

ABSTRACT

Jianhui Nie, Qianqian Li, and Jiajing Wu contributed equally to this work. Pseudotyped viruses are useful virological tools due to their safety and versatility. Based on a VSV pseudotyped virus production system, we developed a pseudotyped virus-based neutralization assay against SARS-CoV-2 in biosafety level 2 facilities. This protocol includes production, titration of the SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotyped virus and neutralization assay based on it. Various types of samples targeting virus attachment and entry could be evaluated for their potency, including serum samples derived from animals and humans, monoclonal antibodies, fusion inhibitors (peptides or small molecules). If the pseudotyped virus stock has been prepared in advance, it will take 2 days to get the potency data for the candidate samples. Experience of handling cells is needed before implementing this protocol.

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