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1.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327286

ABSTRACT

The causative pathogen of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an enveloped virus assembled by a lipid envelope, a positive-sense single-stranded RNA, and four structural proteins: the spike (S), membrane (M), envelope (E), and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. Extensive experimental and computational studies have been carried out to reveal the architecture of the virus, but an intact and high-resolution structure of the virus is still desired. In this work, we construct atomistic models of the intact SARS-CoV-2 (without complete RNA) by fully employing the latest cryo-ET data, in combination with the available experimentally resolved protein structures, structure prediction and modeling methods, as well as coarse-grained molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The atomistic model will not only provide a 3D structure for scientific demonstration and education, but also offer a framework for future exascale all-atom MD simulations to understand the dynamics of the intact virus and its mutations.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317934

ABSTRACT

Cryo-Electron Tomography (cryo-ET) is a new 3D imaging technique with unprecedented potential for resolving submicron structural detail. Existing volume visualization methods, however, cannot cope with its very low signal-to-noise ratio. In order to design more powerful transfer functions, we propose to leverage soft segmentation as an explicit component of visualization for noisy volumes. Our technical realization is based on semi-supervised learning where we combine the advantages of two segmentation algorithms. A first weak segmentation algorithm provides good results for propagating sparse user provided labels to other voxels in the same volume. This weak segmentation algorithm is used to generate dense pseudo labels. A second powerful deep-learning based segmentation algorithm can learn from these pseudo labels to generalize the segmentation to other unseen volumes, a task that the weak segmentation algorithm fails at completely. The proposed volume visualization uses the deep-learning based segmentation as a component for segmentation-aware transfer function design. Appropriate ramp parameters can be suggested automatically through histogram analysis. Finally, our visualization uses gradient-free ambient occlusion shading to further suppress visual presence of noise, and to give structural detail desired prominence. The cryo-ET data studied throughout our technical experiments is based on the highest-quality tilted series of intact SARS-CoV-2 virions. Our technique shows the high impact in target sciences for visual data analysis of very noisy volumes that cannot be visualized with existing techniques.

3.
Biochemistry ; 60(27): 2153-2169, 2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387101

ABSTRACT

A central tenet in the design of vaccines is the display of native-like antigens in the elicitation of protective immunity. The abundance of N-linked glycans across the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is a potential source of heterogeneity among the many different vaccine candidates under investigation. Here, we investigate the glycosylation of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins from five different laboratories and compare them against S protein from infectious virus, cultured in Vero cells. We find patterns that are conserved across all samples, and this can be associated with site-specific stalling of glycan maturation that acts as a highly sensitive reporter of protein structure. Molecular dynamics simulations of a fully glycosylated spike support a model of steric restrictions that shape enzymatic processing of the glycans. These results suggest that recombinant spike-based SARS-CoV-2 immunogen glycosylation reproducibly recapitulates signatures of viral glycosylation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Glycosylation , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
4.
Biochemistry ; 60(27): 2153-2169, 2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294429

ABSTRACT

A central tenet in the design of vaccines is the display of native-like antigens in the elicitation of protective immunity. The abundance of N-linked glycans across the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is a potential source of heterogeneity among the many different vaccine candidates under investigation. Here, we investigate the glycosylation of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins from five different laboratories and compare them against S protein from infectious virus, cultured in Vero cells. We find patterns that are conserved across all samples, and this can be associated with site-specific stalling of glycan maturation that acts as a highly sensitive reporter of protein structure. Molecular dynamics simulations of a fully glycosylated spike support a model of steric restrictions that shape enzymatic processing of the glycans. These results suggest that recombinant spike-based SARS-CoV-2 immunogen glycosylation reproducibly recapitulates signatures of viral glycosylation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Glycosylation , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(3): e1009439, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133695

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the global pandemic of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is classified as a biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) agent, impeding the basic research into its biology and the development of effective antivirals. Here, we developed a biosafety level-2 (BSL-2) cell culture system for production of transcription and replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 virus-like-particles (trVLP). This trVLP expresses a reporter gene (GFP) replacing viral nucleocapsid gene (N), which is required for viral genome packaging and virion assembly (SARS-CoV-2 GFP/ΔN trVLP). The complete viral life cycle can be achieved and exclusively confined in the cells ectopically expressing SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 N proteins, but not MERS-CoV N. Genetic recombination of N supplied in trans into viral genome was not detected, as evidenced by sequence analysis after one-month serial passages in the N-expressing cells. Moreover, intein-mediated protein trans-splicing approach was utilized to split the viral N gene into two independent vectors, and the ligated viral N protein could function in trans to recapitulate entire viral life cycle, further securing the biosafety of this cell culture model. Based on this BSL-2 SARS-CoV-2 cell culture model, we developed a 96-well format high throughput screening for antivirals discovery. We identified salinomycin, tubeimoside I, monensin sodium, lycorine chloride and nigericin sodium as potent antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Collectively, we developed a convenient and efficient SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics tool to dissect the virus life cycle under a BSL-2 condition. This powerful tool should accelerate our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology and its antiviral development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Cell Culture Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Containment of Biohazards , Genome, Viral/drug effects , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Virus Replication/drug effects
6.
Cell ; 183(3): 730-738.e13, 2020 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-746087

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite recent advances in the structural elucidation of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, the detailed architecture of the intact virus remains to be unveiled. Here we report the molecular assembly of the authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus using cryoelectron tomography (cryo-ET) and subtomogram averaging (STA). Native structures of the S proteins in pre- and postfusion conformations were determined to average resolutions of 8.7-11 Å. Compositions of the N-linked glycans from the native spikes were analyzed by mass spectrometry, which revealed overall processing states of the native glycans highly similar to that of the recombinant glycoprotein glycans. The native conformation of the ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and their higher-order assemblies were revealed. Overall, these characterizations revealed the architecture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in exceptional detail and shed light on how the virus packs its ∼30-kb-long single-segmented RNA in the ∼80-nm-diameter lumen.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Betacoronavirus/ultrastructure , Virus Assembly , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/ultrastructure , Virus Cultivation
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