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1.
Comput Struct Biotechnol J ; 20: 799-811, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654283

ABSTRACT

Drug-repurposing has been instrumental to identify drugs preventing SARS-CoV-2 replication or attenuating the disease course of COVID-19. Here, we identify through structure-based drug-repurposing a dual-purpose inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 infection and of IL-6 production by immune cells. We created a computational structure model of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike 1 protein, and used this model for insilico screening against a library of 6171 molecularly defined binding-sites from drug molecules. Molecular dynamics simulation of candidate molecules with high RBD binding-scores in docking analysis predicted montelukast, an antagonist of the cysteinyl-leukotriene-receptor, to disturb the RBD structure, and infection experiments demonstrated inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection, although montelukast binding was outside the ACE2-binding site. Molecular dynamics simulation of SARS-CoV-2 variant RBDs correctly predicted interference of montelukast with infection by the beta but not the more infectious alpha variant. With distinct binding sites for RBD and the leukotriene receptor, montelukast also prevented SARS-CoV-2-induced IL-6 release from immune cells. The inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection through a molecule binding distal to the ACE-binding site of the RBD points towards an allosteric mechanism that is not conserved in the more infectious alpha and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 153, 2022 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616980

ABSTRACT

Anti-viral immunity continuously declines over time after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we characterize the dynamics of anti-viral immunity during long-term follow-up and after BNT162b2 mRNA-vaccination in convalescents after asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. Virus-specific and virus-neutralizing antibody titers rapidly declined in convalescents over 9 months after infection, whereas virus-specific cytokine-producing polyfunctional T cells persisted, among which IL-2-producing T cells correlated with virus-neutralizing antibody titers. Among convalescents, 5% of individuals failed to mount long-lasting immunity after infection and showed a delayed response to vaccination compared to 1% of naïve vaccinees, but successfully responded to prime/boost vaccination. During the follow-up period, 8% of convalescents showed a selective increase in virus-neutralizing antibody titers without accompanying increased frequencies of circulating SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. The same convalescents, however, responded to vaccination with simultaneous increase in antibody and T cell immunity revealing the strength of mRNA-vaccination to increase virus-specific immunity in convalescents.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Convalescence , Nucleocapsid/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Flow Cytometry/methods , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Interleukin-2/immunology , Interleukin-2/metabolism , Kinetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/virology , Time Factors , Vaccination/methods
3.
Cell Rep ; 38(2): 110214, 2022 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588141

ABSTRACT

T cell immunity is crucial for control of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and has been studied widely on a quantitative level. However, the quality of responses, in particular of CD8+ T cells, has only been investigated marginally so far. Here, we isolate T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires specific for immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 epitopes restricted to common human Leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules in convalescent individuals. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are detected up to 12 months after infection. TCR repertoires are diverse, with heterogeneous functional avidity and cytotoxicity toward virus-infected cells, as demonstrated for TCR-engineered T cells. High TCR functionality correlates with gene signatures that, remarkably, could be retrieved for each epitope:HLA combination analyzed. Overall, our data demonstrate that polyclonal and highly functional CD8+ TCRs-classic features of protective immunity-are recruited upon mild SARS-CoV-2 infection, providing tools to assess the quality of and potentially restore functional CD8+ T cell immunity.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Cells, Cultured , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
4.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 287, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428799
5.
Viruses ; 13(2)2021 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060774

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), comprises mild courses of disease as well as progression to severe disease, characterised by lung and other organ failure. The immune system is considered to play a crucial role for the pathogenesis of COVID-19, although especially the contribution of innate-like T cells remains poorly understood. Here, we analysed the phenotype and function of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, innate-like T cells with potent antimicrobial effector function, in patients with mild and severe COVID-19 by multicolour flow cytometry. Our data indicate that MAIT cells are highly activated in patients with COVID-19, irrespective of the course of disease, and express high levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-17A and TNFα ex vivo. Of note, expression of the activation marker HLA-DR positively correlated with SAPS II score, a measure of disease severity. Upon MAIT cell-specific in vitro stimulation, MAIT cells however failed to upregulate expression of the cytokines IL-17A and TNFα, as well as cytolytic proteins, that is, granzyme B and perforin. Thus, our data point towards an altered cytokine expression profile alongside an impaired antibacterial and antiviral function of MAIT cells in COVID-19 and thereby contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 immunopathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Granzymes/metabolism , HLA-DR Antigens , Humans , Interleukin-17/metabolism , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Male , Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
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