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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312807

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.

2.
Cell ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1601904

ABSTRACT

On the 24th November 2021 the sequence of a new SARS CoV-2 viral isolate Omicron-B.1.1.529 was announced, containing far more mutations in Spike (S) than previously reported variants. Neutralization titres of Omicron by sera from vaccinees and convalescent subjects infected with early pandemic as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta are substantially reduced or fail to neutralize. Titres against Omicron are boosted by third vaccine doses and are high in cases both vaccinated and infected by Delta. Mutations in Omicron knock out or substantially reduce neutralization by most of a large panel of potent monoclonal antibodies and antibodies under commercial development. Omicron S has structural changes from earlier viruses, combining mutations conferring tight binding to ACE2 to unleash evolution driven by immune escape, leading to a large number of mutations in the ACE2 binding site which rebalance receptor affinity to that of early pandemic viruses. A comprehensive analysis of sera from vaccinees, convalescent patients infected previously by multiple variants and potent monoclonal antibodies from early in the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a substantial overall reduction the ability to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, which a third vaccine dose seems to ameliorate. Structural analyses of the Omicron RBD suggest a selective pressure enabling the virus bind ACE2 with increased affinity that is offset by other changes in the receptor binding motif that facilitates immune escape.

3.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294331

ABSTRACT

Many host pathogen interactions such as human viruses (including non-SARS-coronaviruses) rely on attachment to host cell-surface glycans. There are conflicting reports about whether the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to sialic acid commonly found on host cell-surface N-linked glycans. In the absence of a biochemical assay, the ability to analyze the binding of glycans to heavily- modified proteins and resolve this issue is limited. Classical Saturation Transfer Difference (STD) NMR can be confounded by overlapping sugar resonances that compound with known experimental constraints. Here we present ‘universal saturation transfer analysis’ (uSTA), an NMR method that builds on existing approaches to provide a general and automated workflow for studying protein-ligand interactions. uSTA reveals that B-origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer binds sialoside sugars in an ‘end on’ manner and modelling guided by uSTA localises binding to the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). The sialylated-polylactosamine motif is found on tetraantennary human N-linked-glycoproteins in deeper lung and may have played a role in zoonosis. Provocatively, sialic acid binding is abolished by mutations in some subsequent SARS- CoV-2 variants-of-concern. A very high resolution cryo-EM structure confirms the NTD location and ‘end on’ mode;it rationalises the effect of NTD mutations and the structure-activity relationship of sialic acid analogues. uSTA is demonstrated to be a robust, rapid and quantitative tool for analysis of binding, even in the most demanding systems. Extended Abstract The surface proteins found on both pathogens and host cells mediate entry (and exit) and influence disease progression and transmission. Both types can bear host-generated post- translational modifications such as glycosylation that are essential for function but can confound biophysical methods used for dissecting key interactions. Several human viruses (including non- SARS-coronaviruses) attach to host cell-surface N -linked glycans that include forms of sialic acid (sialosides). There remains, however, conflicting evidence as to if or how SARS-associated coronaviruses might use such a mechanism. Here, we demonstrate quantitative extension of ‘saturation transfer’ protein NMR methods to a complete mathematical model of the magnetization transfer caused by interactions between protein and ligand. The method couples objective resonance-identification via a deconvolution algorithm with Bloch-McConnell analysis to enable a structural, kinetic and thermodynamic analysis of ligand binding beyond previously-perceived limits of exchange rates, concentration or system. Using an automated and openly available workflow this ‘universal saturation transfer’ analysis (uSTA) can be readily-applied in a range of even heavily-modified systems in a general manner to now obtain quantitative binding interaction parameters (K D , k Ex ). uSTA proved critical in mapping direct interactions between natural sialoside sugar ligands and relevant virus-surface attachment glycoproteins – SARS-CoV-2-spike and influenza-H1N1-haemagglutinin variants – by quantitating ligand signal in spectral regions otherwise occluded by resonances from mobile protein glycans (that also include sialosides). In B- origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer ‘end on’-binding to sialoside sugars was revealed contrasting with ‘extended surface’-binding for heparin sugar ligands;uSTA-derived constraints used in structural modelling suggested sialoside-glycan binding sites in a beta-sheet-rich region of spike N-terminal domain (NTD). Consistent with this, uSTA-glycan binding was minimally- perturbed by antibodies that neutralize the ACE2-binding domain (RBD) but strongly disrupted in spike from the B1.1.7/alpha and B1.351/beta variants-of-concern, which possess hotspot mutations in the NTD. Sialoside binding in B-origin-lineage-NTD was unequivocally pinpointed by cryo-EM to a site that is created from residues that are notably deleted in variants (e.g. H69,V70,Y145 in alpha). An analysis of beneficial genetic variances in cohorts of patients from early 2020 suggests a model in which this site in the NTD of B-origin-lineage-SARS-CoV-2 (but not in alpha/beta-variants) may have exploited a specific sialylated-polylactosamine motif found on tetraantennary human N -linked-glycoproteins in deeper lung. Together these confirm a novel binding mode mediated by the unusual NTD of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest how it may drive virulence and/or zoonosis via modulation of glycan attachment. Since cell-surface glycans are widely relevant to biology and pathology, uSTA can now provide ready, quantitative, widespread analysis of complex, host-derived and post-translationally modified proteins with putative ligands relevant to disease even in previously confounding complex systems.

4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293860

ABSTRACT

There are as yet no licenced therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic. The causal coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) binds host cells via a trimeric Spike whose receptor binding domain (RBD) recognizes angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), initiating conformational changes that drive membrane fusion. We find that monoclonal antibody CR3022 binds the RBD tightly, neutralising SARS-CoV-2 and report the crystal structure at 2.4 A of the Fab/RBD complex. Some crystals are suitable for screening for entry-blocking inhibitors. The highly conserved, structure-stabilising, CR3022 epitope is inaccessible in the prefusion Spike, suggesting that CR3022 binding would facilitate conversion to the fusion-incompetent post-fusion state. Cryo-EM analysis confirms that incubation of Spike with CR3022 Fab leads to destruction of the prefusion trimer. Presentation of this cryptic epitope in an RBD-based vaccine might advantageously focus immune responses. Binders at this epitope may be useful therapeutically, possibly in synergy with an antibody blocking receptor attachment.<br><br>Funding: This work was supported by a grant from the CAMS-Oxford Institute to D.I.S. E.E.F and J.Ren are supported by the Wellcome Trust (101122/Z/13/Z), Y.Z. by Cancer Research UK (C375/A17721) and D.I.S. and E.E.F. by the UK Medical Research Council (MR/N00065X/1). J.H. is supported by a grant from the EPA Cephalosporin Fund. PPUK is funded by the Rosalind Franklin Institute EPSRC Grant no. EP/S025243/1. The National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Funding Scheme supports G.R.S. together with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2-002), which also supports D.I.S. G.R.S. is also supported as a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator (grant 095541/A/11/Z). T.M. is supported by Cancer Research UK grants C20724/A14414 and C20724/A26752 to Christian Siebold. This is a contribution from the UK Instruct-ERIC Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics is supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant 090532/Z/09/Z). Virus used for the neutralisation assays was a gift from Julian Druce, Doherty Centre, Melbourne, Australia. <br><br>Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

5.
R Soc Open Sci ; 8(9): 211016, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1459097

ABSTRACT

Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigens in the fluid has important uses in biotechnology, and is integral to many point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. Sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) are a sensitive, well-established method of measuring antigens in solutions. They use one ligand to capture and the other ligand to detect the target analyte. Detection is commonly achieved using colorimetric readout obtained upon the reaction of a substrate with HRP-conjugated secondary ligand. Nanobodies, the VHH domain of camelid antibodies, have expanded the repertoire of molecules used in antigen detection. Nanobodies' high affinity for target antigens, their compact structure, their high stability and ease of production has driven research into their use as diagnostic reagents. Guided by a structural understanding of epitopes on the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, we investigated various combinations of engineered nanobodies in a sandwich ELISA to detect the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. We have identified an optimal combination of nanobodies. These were selectively functionalized to further improve antigen capture, enabling the measurement of sub-picomolar amounts of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein in solution. With this combination, the routine detection limit in samples inactivated by heat and detergent corresponded to less than seven focus-forming units of infectious SARS-CoV-2.

6.
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
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1951, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157905

ABSTRACT

Serological detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is essential for establishing rates of seroconversion in populations, and for seeking evidence for a level of antibody that may be protective against COVID-19 disease. Several high-performance commercial tests have been described, but these require centralised laboratory facilities that are comparatively expensive, and therefore not available universally. Red cell agglutination tests do not require special equipment, are read by eye, have short development times, low cost and can be applied at the Point of Care. Here we describe a quantitative Haemagglutination test (HAT) for the detection of antibodies to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The HAT has a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 99% for detection of antibodies after a PCR diagnosed infection. We will supply aliquots of the test reagent sufficient for ten thousand test wells free of charge to qualified research groups anywhere in the world.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Hemagglutination Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Agglutination Tests/methods , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 542, 2021 01 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1044339

ABSTRACT

There is need for effective and affordable vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 to tackle the ongoing pandemic. In this study, we describe a protein nanoparticle vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine is based on the display of coronavirus spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) on a synthetic virus-like particle (VLP) platform, SpyCatcher003-mi3, using SpyTag/SpyCatcher technology. Low doses of RBD-SpyVLP in a prime-boost regimen induce a strong neutralising antibody response in mice and pigs that is superior to convalescent human sera. We evaluate antibody quality using ACE2 blocking and neutralisation of cell infection by pseudovirus or wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Using competition assays with a monoclonal antibody panel, we show that RBD-SpyVLP induces a polyclonal antibody response that recognises key epitopes on the RBD, reducing the likelihood of selecting neutralisation-escape mutants. Moreover, RBD-SpyVLP is thermostable and can be lyophilised without losing immunogenicity, to facilitate global distribution and reduce cold-chain dependence. The data suggests that RBD-SpyVLP provides strong potential to address clinical and logistic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Peptides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Blocking/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Multimerization , Swine
11.
NPJ Vaccines ; 5(1): 69, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689622

ABSTRACT

Clinical development of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a replication-deficient simian adenoviral vector expressing the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein was initiated in April 2020 following non-human primate studies using a single immunisation. Here, we compared the immunogenicity of one or two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 in both mice and pigs. Whilst a single dose induced antigen-specific antibody and T cells responses, a booster immunisation enhanced antibody responses, particularly in pigs, with a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 neutralising titres.

12.
Nat Struct Mol Biol ; 27(10): 950-958, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-691341

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented health and economic impact and there are currently no approved therapies. We have isolated an antibody, EY6A, from an individual convalescing from COVID-19 and have shown that it neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and cross-reacts with SARS-CoV-1. EY6A Fab binds the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike glycoprotein tightly (KD of 2 nM), and a 2.6-Å-resolution crystal structure of an RBD-EY6A Fab complex identifies the highly conserved epitope, away from the ACE2 receptor binding site. Residues within this footprint are key to stabilizing the pre-fusion spike. Cryo-EM analyses of the pre-fusion spike incubated with EY6A Fab reveal a complex of the intact spike trimer with three Fabs bound and two further multimeric forms comprising the destabilized spike attached to Fab. EY6A binds what is probably a major neutralizing epitope, making it a candidate therapeutic for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cross Reactions , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , Male , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
13.
Nat Struct Mol Biol ; 27(9): 846-854, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-653285

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is more transmissible than previous coronaviruses and causes a more serious illness than influenza. The SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein binds to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor as a prelude to viral entry into the cell. Using a naive llama single-domain antibody library and PCR-based maturation, we have produced two closely related nanobodies, H11-D4 and H11-H4, that bind RBD (KD of 39 and 12 nM, respectively) and block its interaction with ACE2. Single-particle cryo-EM revealed that both nanobodies bind to all three RBDs in the spike trimer. Crystal structures of each nanobody-RBD complex revealed how both nanobodies recognize the same epitope, which partly overlaps with the ACE2 binding surface, explaining the blocking of the RBD-ACE2 interaction. Nanobody-Fc fusions showed neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 (4-6 nM for H11-H4, 18 nM for H11-D4) and additive neutralization with the SARS-CoV-1/2 antibody CR3022.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/ultrastructure , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/ultrastructure , Antibody Affinity , Antigen-Antibody Reactions/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Binding, Competitive , COVID-19 , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/genetics , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/immunology , Models, Molecular , Peptide Library , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/ultrastructure , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Receptors, Virus/ultrastructure , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Single-Domain Antibodies/metabolism , Single-Domain Antibodies/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure
14.
Cell Host Microbe ; 28(3): 445-454.e6, 2020 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-615004

ABSTRACT

There are as yet no licensed therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic. The causal coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) binds host cells via a trimeric spike whose receptor binding domain (RBD) recognizes angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, initiating conformational changes that drive membrane fusion. We find that the monoclonal antibody CR3022 binds the RBD tightly, neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, and report the crystal structure at 2.4 Å of the Fab/RBD complex. Some crystals are suitable for screening for entry-blocking inhibitors. The highly conserved, structure-stabilizing CR3022 epitope is inaccessible in the prefusion spike, suggesting that CR3022 binding facilitates conversion to the fusion-incompetent post-fusion state. Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) analysis confirms that incubation of spike with CR3022 Fab leads to destruction of the prefusion trimer. Presentation of this cryptic epitope in an RBD-based vaccine might advantageously focus immune responses. Binders at this epitope could be useful therapeutically, possibly in synergy with an antibody that blocks receptor attachment.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Allosteric Site , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Antigen-Antibody Complex/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Humans , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Viral Vaccines/therapeutic use , Virus Internalization
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