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1.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295788

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is characterized by lung abnormalities, including the presence of syncytial pneumocytes. Syncytia form when SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expressed on the surface of infected cells interacts with the ACE2 receptor on neighbouring cells. The syncytia forming potential of spike variant proteins remain poorly characterized. Here, we first assessed Alpha and Beta spread and fusion in cell cultures. Alpha and Beta replicated similarly to D614G reference strain in Vero, Caco-2, Calu-3 and primary airway cells. However, Alpha and Beta formed larger and more numerous syncytia. Alpha, Beta and D614G fusion was similarly inhibited by interferon induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs). Individual mutations present in Alpha and Beta spikes differentially modified fusogenicity, binding to ACE2 and recognition by monoclonal antibodies. We further show that Delta spike also triggers faster fusion relative to D614G. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 emerging variants display enhanced syncytia formation. Synopsis The Spike protein of the novel SARS-CoV-2 variants are comparative more fusogenic than the earlier strains. The mutations in the variant spike protein differential modulate syncytia formation, ACE2 binding, and antibody escape. The spike protein of Alpha, Beta and Delta, in the absence of other viral proteins, induce more syncytia than D614G The ACE2 affinity of the variant spike proteins correlates to their fusogenicity Variant associated mutations P681H, D1118H, and D215G augment cell-cell fusion, while antibody escape mutation E484K, K417N and Δ242-244 hamper it. Variant spike-mediated syncytia formation is effectively restricted by IFITMs

2.
J Mol Biol ; : 167280, 2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446877

ABSTRACT

Syncytia are formed when individual cells fuse. SARS-CoV-2 induces syncytia when the viral spike (S) protein on the surface of an infected cell interacts with receptors on neighboring cells. Syncytia may potentially contribute to pathology by facilitating viral dissemination, cytopathicity, immune evasion, and inflammatory response. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern possess several mutations within the S protein that enhance receptor interaction, fusogenicity and antibody binding. In this review, we discuss the molecular determinants of S mediated fusion and the antiviral innate immunity components that counteract syncytia formation. Several interferon-stimulated genes, including IFITMs and LY6E act as barriers to S protein-mediated fusion by altering the composition or biophysical properties of the target membrane. We also summarize the effect that the mutations associated with the variants of concern have on S protein fusogenicity. Altogether, this review contextualizes the current understanding of Spike fusogenicity and the role of syncytia during SARS-CoV-2 infection and pathology.

3.
EMBO J ; : e108944, 2021 Oct 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444546

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is characterized by lung abnormalities, including the presence of syncytial pneumocytes. Syncytia form when SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expressed on the surface of infected cells interacts with the ACE2 receptor on neighboring cells. The syncytia forming potential of spike variant proteins remain poorly characterized. Here, we first assessed Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) spread and fusion in cell cultures, compared with the ancestral D614G strain. Alpha and Beta replicated similarly to D614G strain in Vero, Caco-2, Calu-3, and primary airway cells. However, Alpha and Beta formed larger and more numerous syncytia. Variant spike proteins displayed higher ACE2 affinity compared with D614G. Alpha, Beta, and D614G fusion was similarly inhibited by interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs). Individual mutations present in Alpha and Beta spikes modified fusogenicity, binding to ACE2 or recognition by monoclonal antibodies. We further show that Delta spike also triggers faster fusion relative to D614G. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 emerging variants display enhanced syncytia formation.

5.
Nature ; 596(7871): 276-280, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301174

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 lineage was identified in October 2020 in India1-5. Since then, it has become dominant in some regions of India and in the UK, and has spread to many other countries6. The lineage includes three main subtypes (B1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3), which contain diverse mutations in the N-terminal domain (NTD) and the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that may increase the immune evasion potential of these variants. B.1.617.2-also termed the Delta variant-is believed to spread faster than other variants. Here we isolated an infectious strain of the Delta variant from an individual with COVID-19 who had returned to France from India. We examined the sensitivity of this strain to monoclonal antibodies and to antibodies present in sera from individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 (hereafter referred to as convalescent individuals) or who had received a COVID-19 vaccine, and then compared this strain with other strains of SARS-CoV-2. The Delta variant was resistant to neutralization by some anti-NTD and anti-RBD monoclonal antibodies, including bamlanivimab, and these antibodies showed impaired binding to the spike protein. Sera collected from convalescent individuals up to 12 months after the onset of symptoms were fourfold less potent against the Delta variant relative to the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7). Sera from individuals who had received one dose of the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine had a barely discernible inhibitory effect on the Delta variant. Administration of two doses of the vaccine generated a neutralizing response in 95% of individuals, with titres three- to fivefold lower against the Delta variant than against the Alpha variant. Thus, the spread of the Delta variant is associated with an escape from antibodies that target non-RBD and RBD epitopes of the spike protein.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Convalescence , Immune Evasion/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , France , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Nat Med ; 27(5): 917-924, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152868

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants were first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, respectively, and have since spread to many countries. These variants harboring diverse mutations in the gene encoding the spike protein raise important concerns about their immune evasion potential. Here, we isolated infectious B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 strains from acutely infected individuals. We examined sensitivity of the two variants to SARS-CoV-2 antibodies present in sera and nasal swabs from individuals infected with previously circulating strains or who were recently vaccinated, in comparison with a D614G reference virus. We utilized a new rapid neutralization assay, based on reporter cells that become positive for GFP after overnight infection. Sera from 58 convalescent individuals collected up to 9 months after symptoms, similarly neutralized B.1.1.7 and D614G. In contrast, after 9 months, convalescent sera had a mean sixfold reduction in neutralizing titers, and 40% of the samples lacked any activity against B.1.351. Sera from 19 individuals vaccinated twice with Pfizer Cominarty, longitudinally tested up to 6 weeks after vaccination, were similarly potent against B.1.1.7 but less efficacious against B.1.351, when compared to D614G. Neutralizing titers increased after the second vaccine dose, but remained 14-fold lower against B.1.351. In contrast, sera from convalescent or vaccinated individuals similarly bound the three spike proteins in a flow cytometry-based serological assay. Neutralizing antibodies were rarely detected in nasal swabs from vaccinees. Thus, faster-spreading SARS-CoV-2 variants acquired a partial resistance to neutralizing antibodies generated by natural infection or vaccination, which was most frequently detected in individuals with low antibody levels. Our results indicate that B1.351, but not B.1.1.7, may increase the risk of infection in immunized individuals.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Convalescence , Cross Reactions , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Sensitivity and Specificity , Vaccination
7.
Sci Transl Med ; 12(559)2020 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-724557

ABSTRACT

It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their differing antibody response profiles. Here, we performed a pilot study of four serological assays to assess the amounts of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum samples obtained from 491 healthy individuals before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, 51 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 209 suspected cases of COVID-19 with mild symptoms, and 200 healthy blood donors. We used two ELISA assays that recognized the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric spike (S) protein ectodomain of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we developed the S-Flow assay that recognized the S protein expressed at the cell surface using flow cytometry, and the luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) assay that recognized diverse SARS-CoV-2 antigens including the S1 domain and the carboxyl-terminal domain of N by immunoprecipitation. We obtained similar results with the four serological assays. Differences in sensitivity were attributed to the technique and the antigen used. High anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were associated with neutralization activity, which was assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotype virus. In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, seroconversion and virus neutralization occurred between 5 and 14 days after symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 32% of mildly symptomatic individuals within 15 days of symptom onset and in 3% of healthy blood donors. The four antibody assays that we used enabled a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different subpopulations within one region.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Serologic Tests/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Flow Cytometry/methods , France/epidemiology , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immunoprecipitation/methods , Luciferases , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
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