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Front Bioeng Biotechnol ; 9: 779359, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1606492


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a ß-coronavirus, is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the three membrane-bound envelope proteins is the spike protein (S), the one responsible for docking to the cellular surface protein ACE2 enabling infection with SARS-CoV-2. Although the structure of the S-protein has distinct similarities to other viral envelope proteins, robust and straightforward protocols for recombinant expression and purification are not described in the literature. Therefore, most studies are done with truncated versions of the protein, like the receptor-binding domain. To learn more about the interaction of the virus with the ACE2 and other cell surface proteins, it is mandatory to provide recombinant spike protein in high structural quality and adequate quantity. Additional mutant variants will give new insights on virus assembly, infection mechanism, and therapeutic drug development. Here, we describe the development of a recombinant CHO cell line stably expressing the extracellular domain of a trimeric variant of the SARS CoV-2 spike protein and discuss significant parameters to be considered during the expression and purification process.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(44)2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493344


Here, we expressed two neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (Abs) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; H4 and B38) in three formats: IgG1, IgA1 monomers (m), and IgA1 dimers (d) in glycoengineered Nicotiana benthamiana plants. All six Ab variants assembled properly and exhibited a largely homogeneous glycosylation profile. Despite modest variation in antigen binding between Ab formats, SARS-CoV-2 neutralization (NT) potency significantly increased in the following manner: IgG1 < IgA1-m < IgA1-d, with an up to 240-fold NT increase of dimers compared to corresponding monomers. Our results underscore that both IgA's structural features and multivalency positively impact NT potency. In addition, they emphasize the versatile use of plants for the rapid expression of complex human proteins.

Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Immunoglobulin A/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(42)2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447423


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that efficiently neutralize SARS-CoV-2 have been developed at an unprecedented speed. Notwithstanding, there is a vague understanding of the various Ab functions induced beyond antigen binding by the heavy-chain constant domain. To explore the diverse roles of Abs in SARS-CoV-2 immunity, we expressed a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (SP) binding mAb (H4) in the four IgG subclasses present in human serum (IgG1-4) using glyco-engineered Nicotiana benthamiana plants. All four subclasses, carrying the identical antigen-binding site, were fully assembled in planta and exhibited a largely homogeneous xylose- and fucose-free glycosylation profile. The Ab variants ligated to the SP with an up to fivefold increased binding activity of IgG3. Furthermore, all H4 subtypes were able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2. However, H4-IgG3 exhibited an up to 50-fold superior neutralization potency compared with the other subclasses. Our data point to a strong protective effect of IgG3 Abs in SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggest that superior neutralization might be a consequence of cross-linking the SP on the viral surface. This should be considered in therapy and vaccine development. In addition, we underscore the versatile use of plants for the rapid expression of complex proteins in emergency cases.

Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/biosynthesis , Glycosylation , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis