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1.
Cell Insight ; : 100029, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1814234

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant poses a striking threat to human society. More than 30 mutations in the Spike protein of the Omicron variant severely compromised the protective immunity elicited by either vaccination or prior infection. The persistent viral evolutionary trajectory generates Omicron-associated lineages, such as BA.1 and BA.2. Moreover, the virus recombination upon Delta and Omicron co-infections has been reported lately, although the impact remains to be assessed. This minireview summarizes the characteristics, evolution and mutation control, and immune evasion mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 variants, which will be helpful for the in-depth understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 variants and policy-making related to COVID-19 pandemic control.

2.
mBio ; : e0366221, 2022 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741579

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Understanding the immunological and pathological processes of coronavirus diseases is crucial for the rational design of effective vaccines and therapies for COVID-19. Previous studies showed that 2'-O-methylation of the viral RNA cap structure is required to prevent the recognition of viral RNAs by intracellular innate sensors. Here, we demonstrate that the guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap mediated by coronavirus nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) contributes to viral evasion of the type I interferon (IFN-I)-mediated immune response and pathogenesis in mice. A Y414A substitution in nsp14 of the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity and reduced guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap in vitro. Infection of myeloid cells with recombinant MHV harboring the nsp14-Y414A mutation (rMHVnsp14-Y414A) resulted in upregulated expression of IFN-I and ISG15 mainly via MDA5 signaling and in reduced viral replication compared to that of wild-type rMHV. rMHVnsp14-Y414A replicated to lower titers in livers and brains and exhibited an attenuated phenotype in mice. This attenuated phenotype was IFN-I dependent because the virulence of the rMHVnsp14-Y414A mutant was restored in Ifnar-/- mice. We further found that the comparable mutation (Y420A) in SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 (rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A) also significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity in vitro, and the mutant virus was attenuated in K18-human ACE2 transgenic mice. Moreover, infection with rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A conferred complete protection against subsequent and otherwise lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice, indicating the vaccine potential of this mutant. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses (CoVs), including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, use several strategies to evade the host innate immune responses. While the cap structure of RNA, including CoV RNA, is important for translation, previous studies indicate that the cap also contributes to viral evasion from the host immune response. In this study, we demonstrate that the N7-methylated cap structure of CoV RNA is pivotal for virus immunoevasion. Using recombinant MHV and SARS-CoV-2 encoding an inactive N7-methyltransferase, we demonstrate that these mutant viruses are highly attenuated in vivo and that attenuation is apparent at very early times after infection. Virulence is restored in mice lacking interferon signaling. Further, we show that infection with virus defective in N7-methylation protects mice from lethal SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that the N7-methylase might be a useful target in drug and vaccine development.

3.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 567-572, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642256

ABSTRACT

Global concern has been raised by the emergence and rapid transmission of the heavily mutated SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). So far, the infection features and immune escape ability of the Omicron variant have not been extensively studied. Here, we produced the Omicron pseudovirus and compared its entry, membrane fusion, and immune escape efficiency with the original strain and the dominating Delta variant. We found the Omicron variant showed slightly higher infectivity than the Delta variant and a similar ability to compete with the Delta variant in using Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in a BHK21-ACE2 cell line. However, the Omicron showed a significantly reduced fusogenicity than the original strain and the Delta variant in both BHK21-ACE2 and Vero-E6 cells. The neutralization assay testing the Wuhan convalescents' sera one-year post-infection showed a more dramatic reduction (10.15 fold) of neutralization against the Omicron variant than the Delta variant (1.79 fold) compared with the original strain with D614G. Notably, immune-boosting through three vaccine shots significantly improved the convalescents' immunity against the Omicron variants. Our results reveal a reduced fusogenicity and a striking immune escape ability of the Omicron variant, highlighting the importance of booster shots against the challenge of the SARS-CoV-2 antigenic drift.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunization, Secondary , Vero Cells
4.
Innovation (N Y) ; 3(1): 100181, 2022 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595417

ABSTRACT

Most COVID-19 convalescents can build effective anti-SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity, but it remains unclear how long it can maintain and how efficiently it can prevent the reinfection of the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Here, we tested the sera from 248 COVID-19 convalescents around 1 year post-infection in Wuhan, the earliest known epicenter. SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) was well maintained in most patients and potently neutralizes the infection of the original strain and the B.1.1.7 variant. However, varying degrees of immune escape was observed on the other tested variants in a patient-specific manner, with individuals showing remarkably broad neutralization potency. The immune escape can be largely attributed to several critical spike mutations. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can elicit long-lasting immunity but this is escaped by the emerging variants.

5.
Chin Chem Lett ; 32(10): 3019-3022, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1520747

ABSTRACT

The wide-spreading SARS-CoV-2 virus has put the world into boiling water for more than a year, however pharmacological therapies to act effectively against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remain elusive. Chloroquine (CQ), an antimalarial drug, was found to exhibit promising antiviral activity in vitro and in vivo at a high dosage, thus CQ was approved by the FDA for the emergency use authorization (EUA) in the fight against COVID-19 in the US, but later was revoked the EUA status due to the severe clinical toxicity. Herein, we show that supramolecular formulation of CQ by a macrocyclic host, curcurbit[7]uril (CB[7]), reduced its non-specific toxicity and improved its antiviral activity against coronavirus, working in synergy with CB[7]. CB[7] was found to form 1:1 host-guest complexes with CQ, with a binding constant of ∼104 L/mol. The CQ-CB[7] formulation decreased the cytotoxicity of CQ against Vero E6 and L-02 cell lines. In particular, the cytotoxicity of CQ (60 µmol/L) against both Vero E6 cell line and L-02 cell lines was completely inhibited in the presence of 300 µmol/L and 600 µmol/L CB[7], respectively. Furthermore, the CB[7] alone showed astonishing antiviral activity in SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero E6 cells and mouse hepatitis virus strain A59 (MHV-A59) infected N2A cells, and synergistically improved the antiviral activity of CQ-CB[7], suggesting that CB[7]-based CQ formulation has a great potential as a safe and effective antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus.

6.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(12): 2669-2676, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1460345

ABSTRACT

The humoral and cellular immunity of convalescent COVID-19 patients is involved in pathogenesis and vaccine immunity. In this study, through CoV-psV neutralization assay and IFN-γ ELISpot testing in 30 cases of COVID-19 patients after 9 months post-SARS-CoV-2 infection, it found that the ratio of memory/naive CD4+ T lymphocytes cells and levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgM and RBD-IgM were slightly but significantly higher in COVID-19 severe convalescent patients than that in non-severe patients. The specific cellular and humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 were detectable, regardless of the severity of the disease in the acute phase. This information may help understanding the immune status after SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1626-1637, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348038

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) can infect a variety of hosts, including humans, livestock and companion animals, and pose a serious threat to human health and the economy. The current COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has killed millions of people. Unfortunately, effective treatments for CoVs infection are still lacking, suggesting the importance of coronavirus vaccines. Our previous work showed that CoV nonstuctural protein 14 (nsp14) functions as (guanine-N7)-methyltransferase (N7-MTase), which is involved in RNA cap formation. Moreover, we found that N7-MTase is well conserved among different CoVs and is a universal target for developing antivirals against CoVs. Here, we show that N7-MTase of CoVs can be an ideal target for designing live attenuated vaccines. Using murine hepatitis virus strain A59 (MHV-A59), a representative and well-studied model of coronaviruses, we constructed N7-MTase-deficient recombinant MHV D330A and Y414A. These two mutants are highly attenuated in mice and exhibit similar replication efficiency to the wild-type (WT) virus in the cell culture. Furthermore, a single dose immunization of D330A or Y414A can induce long-term humoral immune responses and robust CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, which can provide full protection against the challenge of a lethal-dose of MHV-A59. Collectively, this study provides an ideal strategy to design live attenuated vaccines for coronavirus by abolishing viral RNA N7-MTase activity. This approach may apply to other RNA viruses that encode their own conservative viral N7-methyltransferase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Interferon Type I/biosynthesis , Male , Mice , Mutation , Vaccines, Attenuated/administration & dosage , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology
8.
Mol Cell ; 81(10): 2135-2147.e5, 2021 05 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117323

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is currently a global pandemic. CoVs are known to generate negative subgenomes (subgenomic RNAs [sgRNAs]) through transcription-regulating sequence (TRS)-dependent template switching, but the global dynamic landscapes of coronaviral subgenomes and regulatory rules remain unclear. Here, using next-generation sequencing (NGS) short-read and Nanopore long-read poly(A) RNA sequencing in two cell types at multiple time points after infection with SARS-CoV-2, we identified hundreds of template switches and constructed the dynamic landscapes of SARS-CoV-2 subgenomes. Interestingly, template switching could occur in a bidirectional manner, with diverse SARS-CoV-2 subgenomes generated from successive template-switching events. The majority of template switches result from RNA-RNA interactions, including seed and compensatory modes, with terminal pairing status as a key determinant. Two TRS-independent template switch modes are also responsible for subgenome biogenesis. Our findings reveal the subgenome landscape of SARS-CoV-2 and its regulatory features, providing a molecular basis for understanding subgenome biogenesis and developing novel anti-viral strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells
9.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 5(5): 600-608, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1111986

ABSTRACT

Bats are the suggested natural hosts for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the causal agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, SARS-CoV-2. The interaction of viral spike proteins with their host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a critical determinant of potential hosts and cross-species transmission. Here we use virus-host receptor binding and infection assays to examine 46 ACE2 orthologues from phylogenetically diverse bat species, including those in close and distant contact with humans. We found that 24, 21 and 16 of them failed to support infection by SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 or both viruses, respectively. Furthermore, we confirmed that infection assays in human cells were consistent with those in two bat cell lines. Additionally, we used genetic and functional analyses to identify critical residues in bat ACE2 receptors associated with viral entry restrictions. Our results suggest that many bat species may not be the potential hosts of one or both viruses and that no correlation was identified between proximity to humans and probability of being natural hosts of SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. This study demonstrates dramatic variation in susceptibility to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infection among bat species and adds knowledge towards a better understanding of coronavirus-bat interaction.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
Cell Res ; 31(4): 395-403, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091494

ABSTRACT

The upcoming flu season in the Northern Hemisphere merging with the current COVID-19 pandemic raises a potentially severe threat to public health. Through experimental coinfection with influenza A virus (IAV) and either pseudotyped or live SARS-CoV-2 virus, we found that IAV preinfection significantly promoted the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in a broad range of cell types. Remarkably, in vivo, increased SARS-CoV-2 viral load and more severe lung damage were observed in mice coinfected with IAV. Moreover, such enhancement of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity was not observed with several other respiratory viruses, likely due to a unique feature of IAV to elevate ACE2 expression. This study illustrates that IAV has a unique ability to aggravate SARS-CoV-2 infection, and thus, prevention of IAV infection is of great significance during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Coinfection/pathology , Influenza A virus/physiology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/deficiency , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cathepsin L/genetics , Cathepsin L/metabolism , Cell Line , Coinfection/virology , Humans , Influenza A virus/isolation & purification , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/virology , RNA, Guide/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load , Virus Internalization
11.
J Med Virol ; 92(10): 2249, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-823630
12.
J Med Virol ; 92(4): 418-423, 2020 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which is causing an outbreak of unusual viral pneumonia in patients in Wuhan, a central city in China, is another warning of the risk of CoVs posed to public health. In this minireview, we provide a brief introduction of the general features of CoVs and describe diseases caused by different CoVs in humans and animals. This review will help understand the biology and potential risk of CoVs that exist in richness in wildlife such as bats.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Animals , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Genome, Viral , Host Specificity , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/physiology , Viral Structural Proteins/physiology , Virus Replication
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