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1.
Nat Immunol ; 2022 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2284754

ABSTRACT

CD4+ T cells are essential for protection against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The sensitivity of CD4+ T cells to mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) is poorly understood. Here, we isolated 159 SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell clones from healthcare workers previously infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (D614G) and defined 21 epitopes in spike, membrane and nucleoprotein. Lack of CD4+ T cell cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2 and endemic beta-coronaviruses suggested these responses arose from naïve rather than pre-existing cross-reactive coronavirus-specific T cells. Of the 17 epitopes located in the spike protein, 10 were mutated in VOCs and CD4+ T cell clone recognition of 7 of them was impaired, including 3 of the 4 epitopes mutated in omicron. Our results indicated that broad targeting of epitopes by CD4+ T cells likely limits evasion by current VOCs. However, continued genomic surveillance is vital to identify new mutations able to evade CD4+ T cell immunity.

2.
J Mol Biol ; 435(4): 167928, 2023 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2165599

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants alters the efficacy of existing immunity, whether arisen naturally or through vaccination. Understanding the structure of the viral spike assists in determining the impact of mutations on the antigenic surface. One class of mutation impacts glycosylation attachment sites, which have the capacity to influence the antigenic structure beyond the immediate site of attachment. Here, we compare the site-specific glycosylation of recombinant viral spike mimetics of B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.617.2 (Delta), B.1.1.529 (Omicron). The P.1 strain exhibits two additional N-linked glycan sites compared to the other variants analyzed and we investigate the impact of these glycans by molecular dynamics. The acquired N188 site is shown to exhibit very limited glycan maturation, consistent with limited enzyme accessibility. Structural modeling and molecular dynamics reveal that N188 is located within a cavity by the receptor binding domain, which influences the dynamics of these attachment domains. These observations suggest a mechanism whereby mutations affecting viral glycosylation sites have a structural impact across the protein surface.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , Polysaccharides , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Attachment , Humans , Antigens, Surface/chemistry , Antigens, Surface/genetics , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Polysaccharides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Glycosylation
3.
Front Immunol ; 13: 838780, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141804

ABSTRACT

Antibodies specific for the spike glycoprotein (S) and nucleocapsid (N) SARS-CoV-2 proteins are typically present during severe COVID-19, and induced to S after vaccination. The binding of viral antigens by antibody can initiate the classical complement pathway. Since complement could play pathological or protective roles at distinct times during SARS-CoV-2 infection we determined levels of antibody-dependent complement activation along the complement cascade. Here, we used an ELISA assay to assess complement protein binding (C1q) and the deposition of C4b, C3b, and C5b to S and N antigens in the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from different test groups: non-infected, single and double vaccinees, non-hospitalised convalescent (NHC) COVID-19 patients and convalescent hospitalised (ITU-CONV) COVID-19 patients. C1q binding correlates strongly with antibody responses, especially IgG1 levels. However, detection of downstream complement components, C4b, C3b and C5b shows some variability associated with the subject group from whom the sera were obtained. In the ITU-CONV, detection of C3b-C5b to S was observed consistently, but this was not the case in the NHC group. This is in contrast to responses to N, where median levels of complement deposition did not differ between the NHC and ITU-CONV groups. Moreover, for S but not N, downstream complement components were only detected in sera with higher IgG1 levels. Therefore, the classical pathway is activated by antibodies to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens, but the downstream effects of this activation may differ depending the disease status of the subject and on the specific antigen targeted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Complement Activation , Complement C1q , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Nucleoproteins , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccination
4.
Front Immunol ; 13: 968981, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2114656

ABSTRACT

Background: The systemic inflammatory response post-SARS-CoV-2 infection increases pro-inflammatory cytokine production, multi-organ damage, and mortality rates. Mast cells (MC) modulate thrombo-inflammatory disease progression (e.g., deep vein thrombosis) and the inflammatory response post-infection. Objective: To enhance our understanding of the contribution of MC and their proteases in SARS-CoV-2 infection and the pathogenesis of the disease, which might help to identify novel therapeutic targets. Methods: MC proteases chymase (CMA1), carboxypeptidase A3 (CPA3), and tryptase beta 2 (TPSB2), as well as cytokine levels, were measured in the serum of 60 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection (30 moderate and 30 severe; severity of the disease assessed by chest CT) and 17 healthy controls by ELISA. MC number and degranulation were quantified by immunofluorescent staining for tryptase in lung autopsies of patients deceased from either SARS-CoV-2 infection or unrelated reasons (control). Immortalized human FcεR1+c-Kit+ LUVA MC were infected with SARS-CoV-2, or treated with its viral proteins, to assess direct MC activation by flow cytometry. Results: The levels of all three proteases were increased in the serum of patients with COVID-19, and strongly correlated with clinical severity. The density of degranulated MC in COVID-19 lung autopsies was increased compared to control lungs. The total number of released granules and the number of granules per each MC were elevated and positively correlated with von Willebrand factor levels in the lung. SARS-CoV-2 or its viral proteins spike and nucleocapsid did not induce activation or degranulation of LUVA MC in vitro. Conclusion: In this study, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 is strongly associated with activation of MC, which likely occurs indirectly, driven by the inflammatory response. The results suggest that plasma MC protease levels could predict the disease course, and that severe COVID-19 patients might benefit from including MC-stabilizing drugs in the treatment scheme.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carboxypeptidases , Chymases/metabolism , Cytokines , Humans , Mast Cells/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Tryptases/metabolism , Viral Proteins , von Willebrand Factor
5.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2058060

ABSTRACT

Background The systemic inflammatory response post-SARS-CoV-2 infection increases pro-inflammatory cytokine production, multi-organ damage, and mortality rates. Mast cells (MC) modulate thrombo-inflammatory disease progression (e.g., deep vein thrombosis) and the inflammatory response post-infection. Objective To enhance our understanding of the contribution of MC and their proteases in SARS-CoV-2 infection and the pathogenesis of the disease, which might help to identify novel therapeutic targets. Methods MC proteases chymase (CMA1), carboxypeptidase A3 (CPA3), and tryptase beta 2 (TPSB2), as well as cytokine levels, were measured in the serum of 60 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection (30 moderate and 30 severe;severity of the disease assessed by chest CT) and 17 healthy controls by ELISA. MC number and degranulation were quantified by immunofluorescent staining for tryptase in lung autopsies of patients deceased from either SARS-CoV-2 infection or unrelated reasons (control). Immortalized human FcεR1+c-Kit+ LUVA MC were infected with SARS-CoV-2, or treated with its viral proteins, to assess direct MC activation by flow cytometry. Results The levels of all three proteases were increased in the serum of patients with COVID-19, and strongly correlated with clinical severity. The density of degranulated MC in COVID-19 lung autopsies was increased compared to control lungs. The total number of released granules and the number of granules per each MC were elevated and positively correlated with von Willebrand factor levels in the lung. SARS-CoV-2 or its viral proteins spike and nucleocapsid did not induce activation or degranulation of LUVA MC in vitro. Conclusion In this study, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 is strongly associated with activation of MC, which likely occurs indirectly, driven by the inflammatory response. The results suggest that plasma MC protease levels could predict the disease course, and that severe COVID-19 patients might benefit from including MC-stabilizing drugs in the treatment scheme.

6.
Cardiovasc Res ; 2022 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1901161

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Thrombotic complications and vasculopathy have been extensively associated with severe COVID-19 infection, however the mechanisms inducing endotheliitis and the disruption of endothelial integrity in the microcirculation are poorly understood. We hypothesized that within the vessel wall, pericytes preferentially take up viral particles and mediate the subsequent loss of vascular integrity. METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunofluorescence of post-mortem patient sections were used to assess pathophysiological aspects of COVID19 infection. The effects of COVID-19 on the microvasculature were assessed using a vascular organoid model exposed to live viral particles or recombinant viral antigens. We find increased expression of the viral entry receptor ACE2 on pericytes when compared to vascular endothelium, and a reduction in the expression of the junctional protein CD144, as well as increased cell death, upon treatment with both live virus and/or viral antigens. We observe a dysregulation of genes implicated in vascular permeability including NOTCH3, angiopoietin-2 and TEK. Activation of vascular organoids with IL-1ß did not have an additive effect on vascular permeability. Spike antigen was detected in some patients' lung pericytes, which was associated with a decrease in CD144 expression and increased platelet recruitment and VWF deposition in the capillaries of these patients, with thrombi in large vessels rich in VWF and fibrin. CONCLUSIONS: Together our data indicates that direct viral exposure to the microvasculature modelled by organoid infection and viral antigen treatment result in pericyte infection, detachment, damage and cell death, disrupting pericyte-endothelial cell crosstalk and increasing microvascular endothelial permeability, which can promote thrombotic and bleeding complications in the microcirculation. TRANSLATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Endotheliitis is a serious complication of severe COVID-19 patients which remains poorly understood. We identify a pericyte mediated mechanism by which the vasculature becomes compromised, contributing to thrombotic complications, highlighting important avenues for the development of therapies.

7.
J Mol Biol ; 434(2): 167332, 2022 01 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492301

ABSTRACT

Extensive glycosylation of viral glycoproteins is a key feature of the antigenic surface of viruses and yet glycan processing can also be influenced by the manner of their recombinant production. The low yields of the soluble form of the trimeric spike (S) glycoprotein from SARS-CoV-2 has prompted advances in protein engineering that have greatly enhanced the stability and yields of the glycoprotein. The latest expression-enhanced version of the spike incorporates six proline substitutions to stabilize the prefusion conformation (termed SARS-CoV-2 S HexaPro). Although the substitutions greatly enhanced expression whilst not compromising protein structure, the influence of these substitutions on glycan processing has not been explored. Here, we show that the site-specific N-linked glycosylation of the expression-enhanced HexaPro resembles that of an earlier version containing two proline substitutions (2P), and that both capture features of native viral glycosylation. However, there are site-specific differences in glycosylation of HexaPro when compared to 2P. Despite these discrepancies, analysis of the serological reactivity of clinical samples from infected individuals confirmed that both HexaPro and 2P protein are equally able to detect IgG, IgA, and IgM responses in all sera analysed. Moreover, we extend this observation to include an analysis of glycan engineered S protein, whereby all N-linked glycans were converted to oligomannose-type and conclude that serological activity is not impacted by large scale changes in glycosylation. These observations suggest that variations in glycan processing will not impact the serological assessments currently being performed across the globe.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Mutation, Missense/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Mannose/metabolism , Mutation, Missense/genetics , Oligosaccharides/metabolism , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Proline/genetics , Proline/immunology , Proline/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Anal Chem ; 93(43): 14392-14400, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475240

ABSTRACT

Understanding the glycosylation of the envelope spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is important in defining the antigenic surface of this key viral target. However, the underlying protein architecture may significantly influence glycan occupancy and processing. There is, therefore, potential for different recombinant fragments of S protein to display divergent glycosylation. Here, we show that the receptor binding domain (RBD), when expressed as a monomer, exhibits O-linked glycosylation, which is not recapitulated in the native-like soluble trimeric protein. We unambiguously assign O-linked glycosylation by homogenizing N-linked glycosylation using the enzymatic inhibitor, kifunensine, and then analyzing the resulting structures by electron-transfer higher-energy collision dissociation (EThcD) in an Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid instrument. In the native-like trimer, we observe a single unambiguous O-linked glycan at T323, which displays very low occupancy. In contrast, several sites of O-linked glycosylation can be identified when RBD is expressed as a monomer, with T323 being almost completely occupied. We ascribe this effect to the relaxation of steric restraints arising from quaternary protein architecture. Our analytical approach has also highlighted that fragmentation ions arising from trace levels of truncated N-linked glycans can be misassigned as proximal putative O-linked glycan structures, particularly where a paucity of diagnostic fragments were obtained. Overall, we show that in matched expression systems the quaternary protein architecture limits O-linked glycosylation of the spike protein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Glycosylation , Humans , Polysaccharides , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
9.
J Mol Biol ; 433(4): 166762, 2021 02 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386060

ABSTRACT

The severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection is highly variable and yet the molecular basis for this effect remains elusive. One potential contribution are differences in the glycosylation of target human cells, particularly as SARS-CoV-2 has the capacity to bind sialic acid which is a common, and highly variable, terminal modification of glycans. The viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 and the human cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) are both densely glycosylated. We therefore sought to investigate whether the glycosylation state of ACE2 impacts the interaction with SARS-CoV-2 viral spike. We generated a panel of engineered ACE2 glycoforms which were analyzed by mass spectrometry to reveal the site-specific glycan modifications. We then probed the impact of ACE2 glycosylation on S binding and revealed a subtle sensitivity with hypersialylated or oligomannose-type glycans slightly impeding the interaction. In contrast, deglycosylation of ACE2 did not influence SARS-CoV-2 binding. Overall, ACE2 glycosylation does not significantly influence viral spike binding. We suggest that any role of glycosylation in the pathobiology of SARS-CoV-2 will lie beyond its immediate impact of receptor glycosylation on virus binding.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Glycosylation , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Models, Molecular , Polysaccharides/analysis , Protein Binding
10.
Immunology ; 164(1): 135-147, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295026

ABSTRACT

Detecting antibody responses during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential in determining the seroepidemiology of the virus and the potential role of antibody in disease. Scalable, sensitive and specific serological assays are essential to this process. The detection of antibody in hospitalized patients with severe disease has proven relatively straightforward; detecting responses in subjects with mild disease and asymptomatic infections has proven less reliable. We hypothesized that the suboptimal sensitivity of antibody assays and the compartmentalization of the antibody response may contribute to this effect. We systematically developed an ELISA, optimizing different antigens and amplification steps, in serum and saliva from non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects. Using trimeric spike glycoprotein, rather than nucleocapsid, enabled detection of responses in individuals with low antibody responses. IgG1 and IgG3 predominate to both antigens, but more anti-spike IgG1 than IgG3 was detectable. All antigens were effective for detecting responses in hospitalized patients. Anti-spike IgG, IgA and IgM antibody responses were readily detectable in saliva from a minority of RT-PCR confirmed, non-hospitalized symptomatic individuals, and these were mostly subjects who had the highest levels of anti-spike serum antibodies. Therefore, detecting antibody responses in both saliva and serum can contribute to determining virus exposure and understanding immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Saliva
11.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 26(12): 2970-2973, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792953

ABSTRACT

Dried blood spot (DBS) samples can be used for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike antibodies. DBS sampling is comparable to matched serum samples with a relative 98.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Thus, DBS sampling offers an alternative for population-wide serologic testing in the coronavirus pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Dried Blood Spot Testing/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Case-Control Studies , Dried Blood Spot Testing/economics , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification
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