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1.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(11): 100448, 2021 Nov 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492754

ABSTRACT

Activation of nucleic acid sensing Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in B cells is involved in antiviral responses by promoting B cell activation and germinal center responses. In order to take advantage of this natural pathway for vaccine development, synthetic pathogen-like antigens (PLAs) constructed of multivalent antigens with encapsulated TLR ligands can be used to activate B cell antigen receptors and TLRs in a synergistic manner. Here we report a PLA-based coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine candidate designed by combining a phage-derived virus-like particle carrying bacterial RNA as TLR ligands with the receptor-binding domain of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) S protein as the target antigen. This PLA-based vaccine candidate induces robust neutralizing antibodies in both mice and non-human primates (NHPs). Using a NHP infection model, we demonstrate that the viral clearance is accelerated in vaccinated animals. In addition, the PLA-based vaccine induces a T helper 1 (Th1)-oriented response and a durable memory, supporting its potential for further clinical development.

2.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 82, 2021 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397862

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 has raised a new challenges to the scientific and industrious fields after over 1-year spread across different countries. The ultimate approach to end the pandemic is the timely application of vaccines to achieve herd immunity. Here, a novel SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) homodimer was developed as a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. Formulated with aluminum adjuvant, RBD dimer elicited strong immune response in both rodents and non-human primates, and protected mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge with significantly reducing viral load and alleviating pathological injury in the lung. In the non-human primates, the vaccine could prevent majority of the animals from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the respiratory tract and reduce lung damage. In addition, antibodies elicited by this vaccine candidate showed cross-neutralization activities to SARS-CoV-2 variants. Furthermore, with our expression system, we provided a high-yield RBD homodimer vaccine without additional biosafety or special transport device supports. Thus, it may serve as a safe, effective, and low-cost SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate.

3.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387284

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
4.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 5(1): 220, 2020 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387194
5.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265947

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
6.
Protein Cell ; 12(11): 877-888, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1188202

ABSTRACT

A new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the etiologic agent for the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, effective treatment options remain very limited for this disease; therefore, there is an urgent need to identify new anti-COVID-19 agents. In this study, we screened over 6,000 compounds that included approved drugs, drug candidates in clinical trials, and pharmacologically active compounds to identify leads that target the SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease (PLpro). Together with main protease (Mpro), PLpro is responsible for processing the viral replicase polyprotein into functional units. Therefore, it is an attractive target for antiviral drug development. Here we discovered four compounds, YM155, cryptotanshinone, tanshinone I and GRL0617 that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 PLpro with IC50 values ranging from 1.39 to 5.63 µmol/L. These compounds also exhibit strong antiviral activities in cell-based assays. YM155, an anticancer drug candidate in clinical trials, has the most potent antiviral activity with an EC50 value of 170 nmol/L. In addition, we have determined the crystal structures of this enzyme and its complex with YM155, revealing a unique binding mode. YM155 simultaneously targets three "hot" spots on PLpro, including the substrate-binding pocket, the interferon stimulating gene product 15 (ISG15) binding site and zinc finger motif. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of this screening and repurposing strategy, which has led to the discovery of new drug leads with clinical potential for COVID-19 treatments.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Imidazoles/chemistry , Imidazoles/metabolism , Imidazoles/therapeutic use , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , Naphthoquinones/chemistry , Naphthoquinones/metabolism , Naphthoquinones/therapeutic use , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
7.
J Nat Prod ; 84(2): 537-543, 2021 02 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1104420

ABSTRACT

A new bafilomycin derivative (1) and another seven known bafilomycins (2-8) were isolated from feces-derived Streptomyces sp. HTL16. The structure of 1 was elucidated by 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopic analysis. Biological testing demonstrated that these bafilomycins exhibited potent antiviral activities against the influenza A and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, with IC50 values in the nanomolar range, by inhibiting the activity of endosomal ATP-driven proton pumps.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Feces/microbiology , Macrolides/pharmacology , Proton-Translocating ATPases/antagonists & inhibitors , Streptomyces/metabolism , Animals , Dogs , Influenza A virus/drug effects , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects
8.
Adv Ther (Weinh) ; : 2000224, 2021 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1095226

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 caused the emerging epidemic of coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). To date, there are more than 82.9 million confirmed cases worldwide, there is no clinically effective drug against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The conserved properties of the membrane fusion domain of the spike (S) protein across SARS-CoV-2 make it a promising target to develop pan-CoV therapeutics. Herein, two clinically approved drugs, Itraconazole (ITZ) and Estradiol benzoate (EB), are found to inhibit viral entry by targeting the six-helix (6-HB) fusion core of SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Further studies shed light on the mechanism that ITZ and EB can interact with the heptad repeat 1 (HR1) region of the spike protein, to present anti-SARS-CoV-2 infections in vitro, indicating they are novel potential therapeutic remedies for COVID-19 treatment. Furthermore, ITZ shows broad-spectrum activity targeting 6-HB in the S2 subunit of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV S protein, inspiring that ITZ have the potential for development as a pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor.

9.
J Nat Prod ; 84(2): 436-443, 2021 02 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1072094

ABSTRACT

A new axial chiral binaphtoquinone, hypocrellone (1), and a new perylenequinone, hypomycin F (2), were isolated from the stromata of Hypocrella bambusae, together with five known compounds, 3-7. The structures of 1 and 2 were assigned by spectroscopic and HRESIMS data analyses. The axial chirality of 1 was determined by electronic circular dichroism data analysis, and the absolute configurations of 2 and 3 were determined by X-ray crystallography. The axial chirality of 7 was determined by UV-induced photooxidation from 4. Compounds 1, 4, and 5 showed inhibitory activity against pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 infection in 293T-ACE2 cells with IC50 values of 0.17, 0.038, and 0.12 µM. Compounds 4 and 5 were also active against live SARS-CoV-2 infection with EC50 values of 0.22 and 0.21 µM, respectively. Further cell-cell fusion assays, surface plasmon resonance assays, and molecular docking studies revealed that 4 and 5 could bind with the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 S protein to prevent its interaction with human angiotensin-converting enzyme II receptor. Our results revealed that 4 and 5 are potential SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Hypocreales/chemistry , Naphthoquinones/pharmacology , Perylene/analogs & derivatives , Quinones/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Naphthoquinones/chemistry , Perylene/chemistry , Perylene/pharmacology , Quinones/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
10.
Cell Rep ; 34(7): 108761, 2021 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062276

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a current global health threat caused by the novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Emerging evidence indicates that SARS-CoV-2 elicits a dysregulated immune response and a delayed interferon (IFN) expression in patients, which contribute largely to the viral pathogenesis and development of COVID-19. However, underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Here, we report the activation and repression of the innate immune response by SARS-CoV-2. We show that SARS-CoV-2 RNA activates the RIG-I-MAVS-dependent IFN signaling pathway. We further uncover that ORF9b immediately accumulates and antagonizes the antiviral type I IFN response during SARS-CoV-2 infection on primary human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells. ORF9b targets the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) essential modulator NEMO and interrupts its K63-linked polyubiquitination upon viral stimulation, thereby inhibiting the canonical IκB kinase alpha (IKKα)/ß/γ-NF-κB signaling and subsequent IFN production. Our findings thus unveil the innate immunosuppression by ORF9b and provide insights into the host-virus interplay during the early stage of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , I-kappa B Kinase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interferons/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Primary Cell Culture , Receptors, Retinoic Acid/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction , Ubiquitination
11.
Bioorg Chem ; 107: 104619, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1009321

ABSTRACT

Severe emerging and re-emerging viral infections such as Lassa fever, Avian influenza (AI), and COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 urgently call for new strategies for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals targeting conserved components in the virus life cycle. Viral lipids are essential components, and viral-cell membrane fusion is the required entry step for most unrelated enveloped viruses. In this paper, we identified a porphyrin derivative of protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) that showed broad antiviral activities in vitro against a panel of enveloped pathogenic viruses including Lassa virus (LASV), Machupo virus (MACV), and SARS-CoV-2 as well as various subtypes of influenza A viral strains with IC50 values ranging from 0.91 ± 0.25 µM to 1.88 ± 0.34 µM. A mechanistic study using influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1) as a testing strain showed that PPIX inhibits the infection in the early stage of virus entry through biophysically interacting with the hydrophobic lipids of enveloped virions, thereby inhibiting the entry of enveloped viruses into host cells. In addition, the preliminary antiviral activities of PPIX were further assessed by testing mice infected with the influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1) virus. The results showed that compared with the control group without drug treatment, the survival rate and mean survival time of the mice treated with PPIX were apparently prolonged. These data encourage us to conduct further investigations using PPIX as a lead compound for the rational design of lipid-targeting antivirals for the treatment of infection with enveloped viruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/drug therapy , Protoporphyrins/therapeutic use , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Arenaviruses, New World/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dogs , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/drug effects , Lassa virus/drug effects , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Male , Membrane Lipids/metabolism , Mice , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Protoporphyrins/chemical synthesis , Protoporphyrins/metabolism , Protoporphyrins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Envelope/drug effects
12.
Antiviral Res ; 182: 104868, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-909531

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, which is caused by the emerging human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has become a global pandemic that poses a serious threat to human health. To date, no vaccines or specific antiviral drugs have been approved for the treatment of this disease in clinic. Herein, therapeutic antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 were obtained from hyperimmune equine plasma. First, a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) was obtained in gram-level quantities through high-cell density fermentation of Chinese hamster ovary cells. Then, the binding of the RBD to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, was verified by several biochemical methods. The efficacy of the RBD in triggering antibody response in vivo was subsequently tested in both mice and equines, and the results showed that the RBD triggered high-titer neutralizing antibody production in vivo. Immunoglobulin F(ab')2 fragments were prepared from equine antisera via removal of the Fc region from the immunoglobulins. Finally, a neutralization test with live virus demonstrated that RBD-specific F(ab')2 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 with an EC50 of 0.07 µg/ml and an EC80 of 0.18 µg/ml, showing a potent inhibitory effect on SARS-CoV-2. These results highlight RBD-specific equine immunoglobulin F(ab')2 fragment as a candidate for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Receptors, Immunologic/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
13.
Phytomedicine ; 79: 153333, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-741456

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus disease (2019-nCoV) has been affecting global health since the end of 2019 and there is no sign that the epidemic is abating . The major issue for controlling the infectious is lacking efficient prevention and therapeutic approaches. Chloroquine (CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have been reported to treat the disease, but the underlying mechanism remains controversial. PURPOSE: The objective of this study is to investigate whether CQ and HCQ could be ACE2 blockers and used to inhibit 2019-nCoV virus infection. METHODS: In our study, we used CCK-8 staining, flow cytometry and immunofluorescent staining to evaluate the toxicity and autophagy of CQ and HCQ, respectively, on ACE2 high-expressing HEK293T cells (ACE2h cells). We further analyzed the binding character of CQ and HCQ to ACE2 by molecular docking and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assays, 2019-nCoV spike pseudotyped virus was also used to observe the viropexis effect of CQ and HCQ in ACE2h cells. RESULTS: Results showed that HCQ is slightly more toxic to ACE2h cells than CQ. Both CQ and HCQ could bind to ACE2 with KD = (7.31 ± 0.62)e-7 M and (4.82 ± 0.87)e-7 M, respectively. They exhibit equivalent suppression effect for the entrance of 2019-nCoV spike pseudotyped virus into ACE2h cells. CONCLUSIONS: CQ and HCQ both inhibit the entrance 2019-nCoV into cells by blocking the binding of the virus with ACE2. Our findings provide novel insights into the molecular mechanism of CQ and HCQ treatment effect on virus infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Autophagy/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
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