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Viruses ; 14(8)2022 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2039975


The on-going global pandemic of COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, which features a proofreading mechanism to facilitate the replication of its large RNA genome. The 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease (ExoN) activity of SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 14 (nsp14) removes nucleotides misincorporated during RNA synthesis by the low-fidelity viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and thereby compromises the efficacy of antiviral nucleoside/nucleotide analogues. Here we show biochemically that SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 can excise the natural antiviral chain-terminating nucleotide, 3'-deoxy-3',4'-didehydro-cytidine 5'-monophosphate (ddhCMP), incorporated by RdRp at the 3' end of an RNA strand. Nsp14 ExoN processes an RNA strand terminated with ddhCMP more efficiently than that with a non-physiological chain terminator 3'-deoxy-cytidine monophosphate (3'-dCMP), whereas RdRp is more susceptible to chain termination by 3'-dCTP than ddhCTP. These results suggest that nsp14 ExoN could play a role in protecting SARS-CoV-2 from ddhCTP, which is produced as part of the innate immune response against viral infections, and that the SARS-CoV-2 enzymes may have adapted to minimize the antiviral effect of ddhCTP.

COVID-19 , Exoribonucleases , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cytidine/pharmacology , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Mutation , Nucleotides , RNA , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(9)2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684239


High-fidelity replication of the large RNA genome of coronaviruses (CoVs) is mediated by a 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease (ExoN) in nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14), which excises nucleotides including antiviral drugs misincorporated by the low-fidelity viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and has also been implicated in viral RNA recombination and resistance to innate immunity. Here, we determined a 1.6-Å resolution crystal structure of severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ExoN in complex with its essential cofactor, nsp10. The structure shows a highly basic and concave surface flanking the active site, comprising several Lys residues of nsp14 and the N-terminal amino group of nsp10. Modeling suggests that this basic patch binds to the template strand of double-stranded RNA substrates to position the 3' end of the nascent strand in the ExoN active site, which is corroborated by mutational and computational analyses. We also show that the ExoN activity can rescue a stalled RNA primer poisoned with sofosbuvir and allow RdRp to continue its extension in the presence of the chain-terminating drug, biochemically recapitulating proofreading in SARS-CoV-2 replication. Molecular dynamics simulations further show remarkable flexibility of multidomain nsp14 and suggest that nsp10 stabilizes ExoN for substrate RNA binding to support its exonuclease activity. Our high-resolution structure of the SARS-CoV-2 ExoN-nsp10 complex serves as a platform for future development of anticoronaviral drugs or strategies to attenuate the viral virulence.

Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Lysine/chemistry , Lysine/genetics , Lysine/metabolism , Mutation, Missense , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7325, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585854


Single-domain Variable New Antigen Receptors (VNARs) from the immune system of sharks are the smallest naturally occurring binding domains found in nature. Possessing flexible paratopes that can recognize protein motifs inaccessible to classical antibodies, VNARs have yet to be exploited for the development of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics. Here, we detail the identification of a series of VNARs from a VNAR phage display library screened against the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD). The ability of the VNARs to neutralize pseudotype and authentic live SARS-CoV-2 virus rivalled or exceeded that of full-length immunoglobulins and other single-domain antibodies. Crystallographic analysis of two VNARs found that they recognized separate epitopes on the RBD and had distinctly different mechanisms of virus neutralization unique to VNARs. Structural and biochemical data suggest that VNARs would be effective therapeutic agents against emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutants, including the Delta variant, and coronaviruses across multiple phylogenetic lineages. This study highlights the utility of VNARs as effective therapeutics against coronaviruses and may serve as a critical milestone for nearing a paradigm shift of the greater biologic landscape.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Receptors, Antigen/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen/immunology , Sharks/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , COVID-19 , Epitopes , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Alignment , Single-Domain Antibodies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology