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Sci Adv ; 8(51): eabq3500, 2022 12 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2193375


It is urgent to develop more effective mRNA vaccines against the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants owing to the immune escape. Here, we constructed a novel mRNA delivery system [IC8/Mn lipid nanoparticles (IC8/Mn LNPs)]with high immunogenicity, via introducing a stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonist [manganese (Mn)] based on a newly synthesized ionizable lipid (IC8). It was found that Mn can not only promote maturation of antigen-presenting cells via activating STING pathway but also improve mRNA expression by facilitating lysosomal escape for the first time. Subsequently, IC8/Mn LNPs loaded with mRNA encoding the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 Delta or Omicron variant (IC8/Mn@D or IC8/Mn@O) were prepared. Both mRNA vaccines induced substantial specific immunoglobulin G responses against Delta or Omicron. IC8/Mn@D displayed strong pseudovirus neutralization ability, T helper 1-biased immune responses, and good safety. It can be concluded that IC8/Mn LNPs have great potential for developing Mn-coordinated mRNA vaccines with robust immunogenicity and good safety.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Manganese , Immunoglobulin G , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Immunity
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 5459, 2022 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2036822


The recently emerged Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant has rapidly surpassed Delta to become the predominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant, given the higher transmissibility rate and immune escape ability, resulting in breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals. A new generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines targeting the Omicron variant are urgently needed. Here, we developed a subunit vaccine named RBD-HR/trimer by directly linking the sequence of RBD derived from the Delta variant (containing L452R and T478K) and HR1 and HR2 in SARS-CoV-2 S2 subunit in a tandem manner, which can self-assemble into a trimer. In multiple animal models, vaccination of RBD-HR/trimer formulated with MF59-like oil-in-water adjuvant elicited sustained humoral immune response with high levels of broad-spectrum neutralizing antibodies against Omicron variants, also inducing a strong T cell immune response in vivo. In addition, our RBD-HR/trimer vaccine showed a strong boosting effect against Omicron variants after two doses of mRNA vaccines, featuring its capacity to be used in a prime-boost regimen. In mice and non-human primates, RBD-HR/trimer vaccination could confer a complete protection against live virus challenge of Omicron and Delta variants. The results qualified RBD-HR/trimer vaccine as a promising next-generation vaccine candidate for prevention of SARS-CoV-2, which deserved further evaluation in clinical trials.

COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Protein Subunits , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Subunit , Water
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 166, 2022 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947279


The therapeutic use of messenger RNA (mRNA) has fueled great hope to combat a wide range of incurable diseases. Recent rapid advances in biotechnology and molecular medicine have enabled the production of almost any functional protein/peptide in the human body by introducing mRNA as a vaccine or therapeutic agent. This represents a rising precision medicine field with great promise for preventing and treating many intractable or genetic diseases. In addition, in vitro transcribed mRNA has achieved programmed production, which is more effective, faster in design and production, as well as more flexible and cost-effective than conventional approaches that may offer. Based on these extraordinary advantages, mRNA vaccines have the characteristics of the swiftest response to large-scale outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the currently devastating pandemic COVID-19. It has always been the scientists' desire to improve the stability, immunogenicity, translation efficiency, and delivery system to achieve efficient and safe delivery of mRNA. Excitingly, these scientific dreams have gradually been realized with the rapid, amazing achievements of molecular biology, RNA technology, vaccinology, and nanotechnology. In this review, we comprehensively describe mRNA-based therapeutics, including their principles, manufacture, application, effects, and shortcomings. We also highlight the importance of mRNA optimization and delivery systems in successful mRNA therapeutics and discuss the key challenges and opportunities in developing these tools into powerful and versatile tools to combat many genetic, infectious, cancer, and other refractory diseases.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Pandemics , Proteins , RNA, Messenger/genetics
Cell Mol Immunol ; 19(5): 577-587, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830043


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) can capture and kill viruses, such as influenza viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), thus contributing to host defense. Contrary to our expectation, we show here that the histones released by NETosis enhance the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, as found by using live SARS-CoV-2 and two pseudovirus systems as well as a mouse model. The histone H3 or H4 selectively binds to subunit 2 of the spike (S) protein, as shown by a biochemical binding assay, surface plasmon resonance and binding energy calculation as well as the construction of a mutant S protein by replacing four acidic amino acids. Sialic acid on the host cell surface is the key molecule to which histones bridge subunit 2 of the S protein. Moreover, histones enhance cell-cell fusion. Finally, treatment with an inhibitor of NETosis, histone H3 or H4, or sialic acid notably affected the levels of sgRNA copies and the number of apoptotic cells in a mouse model. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could hijack histones from neutrophil NETosis to promote its host cell attachment and entry process and may be important in exploring pathogenesis and possible strategies to develop new effective therapies for COVID-19.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Histones , Mice , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization