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1.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(650): eabn7737, 2022 06 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807308

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant contains an unusually high number of mutations in the spike protein, raising concerns of escape from vaccines, convalescent serum, and therapeutic drugs. Here, we analyzed the degree to which Omicron pseudo-virus evades neutralization by serum or therapeutic antibodies. Serum samples obtained 3 months after two doses of BNT162b2 vaccination exhibited 18-fold lower neutralization titers against Omicron than parental virus. Convalescent serum samples from individuals infected with the Alpha and Delta variants allowed similar frequencies of Omicron breakthrough infections. Domain-wise analysis using chimeric spike proteins revealed that this efficient evasion was primarily achieved by mutations clustered in the receptor binding domain but that multiple mutations in the N-terminal domain contributed as well. Omicron escaped a therapeutic cocktail of imdevimab and casirivimab, whereas sotrovimab, which targets a conserved region to avoid viral mutation, remains effective. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) decoys are another virus-neutralizing drug modality that are free, at least in theory, from complete escape. Deep mutational analysis demonstrated that an engineered ACE2 molecule prevented escape for each single-residue mutation in the receptor binding domain, similar to immunized serum. Engineered ACE2 neutralized Omicron comparably to the Wuhan strain and also showed a therapeutic effect against Omicron infection in hamsters and human ACE2 transgenic mice. Similar to previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, some sarbecoviruses showed high sensitivity against engineered ACE2, confirming the therapeutic value against diverse variants, including those that are yet to emerge.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mice , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313877

ABSTRACT

The ability to predict emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 would be of enormous value, as it would enable proactive design of vaccines in advance of such emergence. Based on molecular evolutionary analysis of the S protein, we found a significant correspondence in the location of amino acid substitutions between SARS-CoV-2 variants recently emerging and their relatives that infected bat and pangolin before the pandemic. This observation suggests that a limited number of sites in this protein are repeatedly substituted in different lineages of this group of viruses. It follows, therefore, that the sites of future emerging mutations in SARS-CoV-2 can be predicted by analyzing their relatives (outgroups) that have infected non-human hosts. We discuss a possible evolutionary mechanism behind these substitutions and provide a list of frequently substituted sites that potentially include future emerging variants in SARS-CoV-2.

3.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1134, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434155

ABSTRACT

The ability to predict emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 would be of enormous value, as it would enable proactive design of vaccines in advance of such emergence. We estimated diversity of each site on a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) of the Spike (S) proteins from close relatives of SARS-CoV-2 that infected bat and pangolin before the pandemic. Then we compared the locations of high diversity sites in this MSA and those of mutations found in multiple emerging lineages of human-infecting SARS-CoV-2. This comparison revealed a significant correspondence, which suggests that a limited number of sites in this protein are repeatedly substituted in different lineages of this group of viruses. It follows, therefore, that the sites of future emerging mutations in SARS-CoV-2 can be predicted by analyzing their relatives (outgroups) that have infected non-human hosts. We discuss a possible evolutionary basis for these substitutions and provide a list of frequently substituted sites that potentially include future emerging variants in SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Genome, Viral/genetics , Sequence Alignment
4.
Front Microbiol ; 11: 2112, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389205

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 S protein is a major point of interaction between the virus and the human immune system. As a consequence, the S protein is not a static target but undergoes rapid molecular evolution. In order to more fully understand the selection pressure during evolution, we examined residue positions in the S protein that vary greatly across closely related viruses but are conserved in the subset of viruses that infect humans. These "evolutionarily important" residues were not distributed evenly across the S protein but were concentrated in two domains: the N-terminal domain and the receptor-binding domain, both of which play a role in host cell binding in a number of related viruses. In addition to being localized in these two domains, evolutionary importance correlated with structural flexibility and inversely correlated with distance from known or predicted host receptor-binding residues. Finally, we observed a bias in the composition of the amino acids that make up such residues toward more human-like, rather than virus-like, sequence motifs.

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