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1.
Sci Transl Med ; : eabn1252, 2022 Apr 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784766

ABSTRACT

New variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continue to arise and prolong the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here we used a cell-free expression workflow to rapidly screen and optimize constructs containing multiple computationally designed miniprotein inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. We found the broadest efficacy with a homo-trimeric version of the 75-residue angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mimic AHB2 (TRI2-2) designed to geometrically match the trimeric spike architecture. In the cryo-electron microscopy structure, TRI2 formed a tripod on top of the spike protein which engaged all three receptor binding domains (RBDs) simultaneously as in the design model. TRI2-2 neutralized Omicron (B.1.1.529), Delta (B.1.617.2), and all other variants tested with greater potency than that of monoclonal antibodies used clinically for the treatment of COVID-19. TRI2-2 also conferred prophylactic and therapeutic protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge when administered intranasally in mice. Designed miniprotein receptor mimics geometrically arrayed to match pathogen receptor binding sites could be a widely applicable antiviral therapeutic strategy with advantages over antibodies and native receptor traps. By comparison, the designed proteins have resistance to viral escape and antigenic drift by construction, precisely tuned avidity, and greatly reduced chance of autoimmune responses.

2.
Cell ; 184(21): 5432-5447.e16, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454060

ABSTRACT

Understanding vaccine-elicited protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants and other sarbecoviruses is key for guiding public health policies. We show that a clinical stage multivalent SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain nanoparticle (RBD-NP) vaccine protects mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge after a single immunization, indicating a potential dose-sparing strategy. We benchmarked serum neutralizing activity elicited by RBD-NPs in non-human primates against a lead prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike (HexaPro) using a panel of circulating mutants. Polyclonal antibodies elicited by both vaccines are similarly resilient to many RBD residue substitutions tested, although mutations at and surrounding position 484 have negative consequences for neutralization. Mosaic and cocktail nanoparticle immunogens displaying multiple sarbecovirus RBDs elicit broad neutralizing activity in mice and protect mice against SARS-CoV challenge even in the absence of SARS-CoV RBD in the vaccine. This study provides proof of principle that multivalent sarbecovirus RBD-NPs induce heterotypic protection and motivates advancing such broadly protective sarbecovirus vaccines to the clinic.

3.
Cell Chem Biol ; 29(1): 74-83.e4, 2022 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385233

ABSTRACT

Targeting the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and human ACE2, its primary cell membrane receptor, is a promising therapeutic strategy to prevent viral entry. Recent in vitro studies revealed that the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein plays a prominent role in ACE2 binding, yet a simple and quantitative assay for monitoring this interaction in a cellular environment is lacking. Here, we developed an RBD-ACE2 binding assay that is based on time-resolved FRET, which reliably monitors the interaction in a physiologically relevant and cellular context. Because it is modular, the assay can monitor the impact of different cellular components, such as heparan sulfate, lipids, and membrane proteins on the RBD-ACE2 interaction and it can be extended to the full-length spike protein. The assay is HTS compatible and can detect small-molecule competitive and allosteric modulators of the RBD-ACE2 interaction with high relevance for SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Cells, Cultured , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Protein Binding , Time Factors
4.
Front Immunol ; 12: 710263, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315952

ABSTRACT

The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40°C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Schedule , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mutation , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Linoleic Acids , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Treatment Outcome , Vero Cells
5.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(7): 1151-1161.e5, 2021 07 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283986

ABSTRACT

Despite the introduction of public health measures and spike protein-based vaccines to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths continue to have a global impact. Previously, we used a structural design approach to develop picomolar range miniproteins targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain. Here, we investigated the capacity of modified versions of one lead miniprotein, LCB1, to protect against SARS-CoV-2-mediated lung disease in mice. Systemic administration of LCB1-Fc reduced viral burden, diminished immune cell infiltration and inflammation, and completely prevented lung disease and pathology. A single intranasal dose of LCB1v1.3 reduced SARS-CoV-2 infection in the lung when given as many as 5 days before or 2 days after virus inoculation. Importantly, LCB1v1.3 protected in vivo against a historical strain (WA1/2020), an emerging B.1.1.7 strain, and a strain encoding key E484K and N501Y spike protein substitutions. These data support development of LCB1v1.3 for prevention or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Administration, Intranasal , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Lung/immunology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Pandemics/prevention & control , Serine C-Palmitoyltransferase , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Load
6.
Cell ; 184(5): 1188-1200.e19, 2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1046538

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is continuing to disrupt personal lives, global healthcare systems, and economies. Hence, there is an urgent need for a vaccine that prevents viral infection, transmission, and disease. Here, we present a two-component protein-based nanoparticle vaccine that displays multiple copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Immunization studies show that this vaccine induces potent neutralizing antibody responses in mice, rabbits, and cynomolgus macaques. The vaccine-induced immunity protects macaques against a high-dose challenge, resulting in strongly reduced viral infection and replication in the upper and lower airways. These nanoparticles are a promising vaccine candidate to curtail the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Macaca fascicularis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Models, Animal , Nanoparticles/administration & dosage , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Viral Load
8.
Cell ; 183(5): 1367-1382.e17, 2020 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893667

ABSTRACT

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers 10-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized spike despite a 5-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the RBD nanoparticles target multiple distinct epitopes, suggesting they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the assembled nanoparticles suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the SARS-CoV-2-RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vaccination , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Epitopes/immunology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Macaca nemestrina , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells , Young Adult
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