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1.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(8): 1100-1102, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1946937
3.
ACS central science ; 8(5):527-545, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1871009

ABSTRACT

Heparan sulfate (HS) is a cell surface polysaccharide recently identified as a coreceptor with the ACE2 protein for the S1 spike protein on SARS-CoV-2 virus, providing a tractable new therapeutic target. Clinically used heparins demonstrate an inhibitory activity but have an anticoagulant activity and are supply-limited, necessitating alternative solutions. Here, we show that synthetic HS mimetic pixatimod (PG545), a cancer drug candidate, binds and destabilizes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain and directly inhibits its binding to ACE2, consistent with molecular modeling identification of multiple molecular contacts and overlapping pixatimod and ACE2 binding sites. Assays with multiple clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2 virus show that pixatimod potently inhibits the infection of monkey Vero E6 cells and physiologically relevant human bronchial epithelial cells at safe therapeutic concentrations. Pixatimod also retained broad potency against variants of concern (VOC) including B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.617.2 (Delta), and B.1.1.529 (Omicron). Furthermore, in a K18-hACE2 mouse model, pixatimod significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral titers in the upper respiratory tract and virus-induced weight loss. This demonstration of potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity tolerant to emerging mutations establishes proof-of-concept for targeting the HS–Spike protein–ACE2 axis with synthetic HS mimetics and provides a strong rationale for clinical investigation of pixatimod as a potential multimodal therapeutic for COVID-19. Heparan sulfate (HS) has emerged as a SARS-CoV-2 coreceptor. Pixatimod (PG545), an HS mimetic, inhibits infectivity of multiple variants offering a novel therapeutic approach against COVID-19.

4.
Theranostics ; 12(6): 2811-2832, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1780234

ABSTRACT

Rational: The mutating SARS-CoV-2 potentially impairs the efficacy of current vaccines or antibody-based treatments. Broad-spectrum and rapid anti-virus methods feasible for regular epidemic prevention against COVID-19 or alike are urgently called for. Methods: Using SARS-CoV-2 virus and bioengineered pseudoviruses carrying ACE2-binding spike protein domains, we examined the efficacy of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) on virus entry prevention. Results: We found that CAP could effectively inhibit the entry of virus into cells. Direct CAP or CAP-activated medium (PAM) triggered rapid internalization and nuclear translocation of the virus receptor, ACE2, which began to return after 5 hours and was fully recovered by 12 hours. This was seen in vitro with both VERO-E6 cells and human mammary epithelial MCF10A cells, and in vivo. Hydroxyl radical (·OH) and species derived from its interactions with other species were found to be the most effective CAP components for triggering ACE2 nucleus translocation. The ERα/STAT3(Tyr705) and EGFR(Tyr1068/1086)/STAT3(Tyr705) axes were found to interact and collectively mediate the effects on ACE2 localization and expression. Conclusions: Our data support the use of PAM in helping control SARS-CoV-2 if developed into products for nose/mouth spray; an approach extendable to other viruses utilizing ACE2 for host entry.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Plasma Gases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Plasma Gases/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329393

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND How well mouse models recapitulate the transcriptional profiles seen in humans remains debatable, with both conservation and diversity identified in various settings. The K18-hACE2 mouse model has been widely used for evaluation of new interventions for COVID-19. METHOD Herein we use RNA-Seq data and bioinformatics approaches to compare the transcriptional responses in the SARS-CoV-2 infected lungs of K18-hACE2 mice with those seen in humans. RESULTS Overlap in differentially expressed genes was generally poor (≈20-30%), even when multiple studies were combined. The overlap was not substantially improved when a second mouse model was examined wherein hACE was expressed from the mouse ACE2 promoter. In contrast, analyses of immune signatures and inflammatory pathways illustrated highly significant concordances between the species. CONCLUSION As immunity and immunopathology are the focus of most studies, these hACE2 transgenic mouse models can thus be viewed as representative and relevant models of COVID-19.

6.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317064

ABSTRACT

Cardiac injury and dysfunction occur in COVID-19 patients and increase the risk of mortality. Causes are ill defined, but could be direct cardiac infection and/or ‘cytokine-storm’ induced dysfunction. To identify mechanisms and discover cardio-protective drugs, we use a state-of-the-art pipeline combining human cardiac organoids with high throughput phosphoproteomics and single nuclei RNA sequencing. We identify that ‘cytokine-storm’ induced diastolic dysfunction can be caused by a cocktail of interferon gamma, interleukin 1β and poly(I:C) and also human COVID-19 serum. Bromodomain protein 4 (BRD4) is activated along with pathology driving fibrotic and induced nitric oxide synthase genes. BRD inhibitors fully recover function in hCO and totally prevent death in a cytokine-storm mouse model. BRD inhibition decreases transcription of multiple genes, including fibrotic, induced nitric oxide synthase and ACE2, and prevention of cardiac infection with SARS-CoV2. Thus, BRD inhibitors are promising candidates to prevent COVID-19 mediated cardiac damage.Funding: We acknowledge grant and fellowship support from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (J.E.H., M.J.S., C.R.E., T.B.), Heart Foundation of Australia (J.E.H.), QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (J.E.H.), The Stafford Fox Foundation (E.R.P.), the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation (E.R.P.), Australian Research Council Strategic Initiative in Stem Cell Science (Stem Cells Australia) (E.R.P. and J.E.H.) and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF9200008) (J.E.H., T.B., M.J.S., K.P.A.MD., C.R.E., E.R.P.). M.J.S. is supported by Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Program (APP1132519) and Investigator (APP1173958) grants. A.S. is also supported by Investigator grant (APP1173880). The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is supported by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. This project received support from Dynomics Inc. J.E.H. is supported by a Snow Medical Fellowship. Conflict of Interest: R.J.M., J.E.H., G.A.Q.-R., D.M.T. and E.R.P. are listed as co-inventors on pending patents held by The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute that relate to cardiac organoid maturation and putative cardiac regeneration therapeutics. J.E.H. is a coinventor on licensed patents held by the University of Goettingen. R.J.M, E.R.P., D.M.T., B.G. and J.E.H. are co-founders, scientific advisors and stockholders in Dynomics Inc. D.M.T. and B.G. are employees of Dynomics Inc. /Dynomics Pty Ltd. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has filed a patent on the use of BRD inhibitors. Ethical Approval: Animal work was approved by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Animal Ethics Committee. Ethical approval for the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) was obtained from QIMR Berghofer’s Ethics Committee and was carried out in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) regulations. Procedures complied with standards set under Australian guidelines for animal welfare and experiments were subject to Monash University animal welfare ethics review (Approval #MARP/2019/13606).

7.
Biomedicines ; 10(2)2022 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667047

ABSTRACT

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy provides a (bio)chemical snapshot of the sample, and was recently used in proof-of-concept cohort studies for COVID-19 saliva screening. However, the biological basis of the proposed technology has not been established. To investigate underlying pathophysiology, we conducted controlled infection experiments on Vero E6 cells in vitro and K18-hACE2 mice in vivo. Potentially infectious culture supernatant or mouse oral lavage samples were treated with ethanol or 75% (v/v) Trizol for attenuated total reflectance (ATR)-FTIR spectroscopy and proteomics, or RT-PCR, respectively. Controlled infection with UV-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 elicited strong biochemical changes in culture supernatant/oral lavage despite a lack of viral replication, determined by RT-PCR or a cell culture infectious dose 50% assay. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced additional FTIR signals over UV-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 infection in both cell and mouse models, which correspond to aggregated proteins and RNA. Proteomics of mouse oral lavage revealed increased secretion of kallikreins and immune modulatory proteins. Next, we collected saliva from a cohort of human participants (n = 104) and developed a predictive model for COVID-19 using partial least squares discriminant analysis. While high sensitivity of 93.48% was achieved through leave-one-out cross-validation, COVID-19 patients testing negative on follow-up on the day of saliva sampling using RT-PCR was poorly predicted in this model. Importantly, COVID-19 vaccination did not lead to the misclassification of COVID-19 negatives. Finally, meta-analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 induced increases in the amide II band in all arms of this study and in recently published cohort studies, indicative of altered ß-sheet structures in secreted proteins. In conclusion, this study reveals a consistent secretory pathophysiological response to SARS-CoV-2, as well as a simple, robust method for COVID-19 saliva screening using ATR-FTIR.

8.
Advanced Healthcare Materials ; 11(3):2270017, 2022.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1664337

ABSTRACT

Sars-CoV-2 Vaccines In article number 2102089 by Bernd H. A. Rehm and co-workers, an ambient temperature-stable, scalable COVID-19 polymer particle vaccines are developed by engineering endotoxinfree bacterial cell factories to self-assemble biopolymer particles coated with immunogenic SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Polymer particle vaccines induce protective immunity in a hamster SARS-CoV-2 infection model reducing virus titers up to viral clearance in lungs post infection.

9.
Adv Healthc Mater ; 11(3): e2102089, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487433

ABSTRACT

There is an unmet need for safe and effective severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines that are stable and can be cost-effectively produced at large scale. Here, a biopolymer particle (BP) vaccine technology that can be quickly adapted to new and emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 is used. Coronavirus antigen-coated BPs are described as vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. The spike protein subunit S1 or epitopes from S and M proteins (SM) plus/minus the nucleocapsid protein (N) are selected as antigens to either coat BPs during assembly inside engineered Escherichia coli or BPs are engineered to specifically ligate glycosylated spike protein (S1-ICC) produced by using baculovirus expression in insect cell culture (ICC). BP vaccines are safe and immunogenic in mice. BP vaccines, SM-BP-N and S1-ICC-BP induced protective immunity in the hamster SARS-CoV-2 infection model as shown by reduction of virus titers up to viral clearance in lungs post infection. The BP platform offers the possibility for rapid design and cost-effective large-scale manufacture of ambient temperature stable and globally available vaccines to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , Cricetinae , Humans , Mice , Polymers , SARS-CoV-2 , Temperature
10.
mBio ; 12(5): e0181321, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462901

ABSTRACT

Vaccines pave the way out of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Besides mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines, effective protein-based vaccines are needed for immunization against current and emerging variants. We have developed a virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine using the baculovirus-insect cell expression system, a robust production platform known for its scalability, low cost, and safety. Baculoviruses were constructed encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins: full-length S, stabilized secreted S, or the S1 domain. Since subunit S only partially protected mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge, we produced S1 for conjugation to bacteriophage AP205 VLP nanoparticles using tag/catcher technology. The S1 yield in an insect-cell bioreactor was ∼11 mg/liter, and authentic protein folding, efficient glycosylation, partial trimerization, and ACE2 receptor binding was confirmed. Prime-boost immunization of mice with 0.5 µg S1-VLPs showed potent neutralizing antibody responses against Wuhan and UK/B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variants. This two-component nanoparticle vaccine can now be further developed to help alleviate the burden of COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Vaccination is essential to reduce disease severity and limit the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Protein-based vaccines are useful to vaccinate the world population and to boost immunity against emerging variants. Their safety profiles, production costs, and vaccine storage temperatures are advantageous compared to mRNA and adenovirus vector vaccines. Here, we use the versatile and scalable baculovirus expression vector system to generate a two-component nanoparticle vaccine to induce potent neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants. These nanoparticle vaccines can be quickly adapted as boosters by simply updating the antigen component.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Nanoparticles/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Glycosylation , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sf9 Cells , Viral Vaccines/immunology
12.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(7): e1009723, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295527

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uses the human ACE2 (hACE2) receptor for cell attachment and entry, with mouse ACE2 (mACE2) unable to support infection. Herein we describe an ACE2-lentivirus system and illustrate its utility for in vitro and in vivo SARS-CoV-2 infection models. Transduction of non-permissive cell lines with hACE2 imparted replication competence, and transduction with mACE2 containing N30D, N31K, F83Y and H353K substitutions, to match hACE2, rescued SARS-CoV-2 replication. Intrapulmonary hACE2-lentivirus transduction of C57BL/6J mice permitted significant virus replication in lung epithelium. RNA-Seq and histological analyses illustrated that this model involved an acute inflammatory disease followed by resolution and tissue repair, with a transcriptomic profile similar to that seen in COVID-19 patients. hACE2-lentivirus transduction of IFNAR-/- and IL-28RA-/- mouse lungs was used to illustrate that loss of type I or III interferon responses have no significant effect on virus replication. However, their importance in driving inflammatory responses was illustrated by RNA-Seq analyses. We also demonstrate the utility of the hACE2-lentivirus transduction system for vaccine evaluation in C57BL/6J mice. The ACE2-lentivirus system thus has broad application in SARS-CoV-2 research, providing a tool for both mutagenesis studies and mouse model development.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Gene Expression Profiling , Lentivirus , SARS-CoV-2 , Transduction, Genetic , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mice , Mice, Knockout , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells
13.
Virol J ; 18(1): 123, 2021 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262510

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The international SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in an urgent need to identify new anti-viral drugs for treatment of COVID-19. The initial step to identifying potential candidates usually involves in vitro screening that includes standard cytotoxicity controls. Under-appreciated is that viable, but stressed or otherwise compromised cells, can also have a reduced capacity to replicate virus. A refinement proposed herein for in vitro drug screening thus includes a simple growth assay to identify drug concentrations that cause cellular stress or "cytomorbidity", as distinct from cytotoxicity or loss of viability. METHODS: A simple rapid bioassay is presented for antiviral drug screening using Vero E6 cells and inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 induced cytopathic effects (CPE) measured using crystal violet staining. We use high cell density for cytotoxicity assays, and low cell density for cytomorbidity assays. RESULTS: The assay clearly illustrated the anti-viral activity of remdesivir, a drug known to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication. In contrast, nitazoxanide, oleuropein, cyclosporine A and ribavirin all showed no ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 CPE. Hydroxychloroquine, cyclohexamide, didemnin B, γ-mangostin and linoleic acid were all able to inhibit viral CPE at concentrations that did not induce cytotoxicity. However, these drugs inhibited CPE at concentrations that induced cytomorbidity, indicating non-specific anti-viral activity. CONCLUSIONS: We describe the methodology for a simple in vitro drug screening assay that identifies potential anti-viral drugs via their ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2-induced CPE. The additional growth assay illustrated how several drugs display anti-viral activity at concentrations that induce cytomorbidity. For instance, hydroxychloroquine showed anti-viral activity at concentrations that slow cell growth, arguing that its purported in vitro anti-viral activity arises from non-specific impairment of cellular activities. The cytomorbidity assay can therefore rapidly exclude potential false positives.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Biological Assay , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3431, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262001

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We demonstrate that despite the large size of the viral RNA genome (~30 kb), infectious full-length cDNA is readily assembled in vitro by a circular polymerase extension reaction (CPER) methodology without the need for technically demanding intermediate steps. Overlapping cDNA fragments are generated from viral RNA and assembled together with a linker fragment containing CMV promoter into a circular full-length viral cDNA in a single reaction. Transfection of the circular cDNA into mammalian cells results in the recovery of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus that exhibits properties comparable to the parental virus in vitro and in vivo. CPER is also used to generate insect-specific Casuarina virus with ~20 kb genome and the human pathogens Ross River virus (Alphavirus) and Norovirus (Calicivirus), with the latter from a clinical sample. Additionally, reporter and mutant viruses are generated and employed to study virus replication and virus-receptor interactions.


Subject(s)
Reverse Genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Base Sequence , Chlorocebus aethiops , Culicidae/virology , Furin/metabolism , Genome, Viral , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mutation/genetics , NIH 3T3 Cells , Polymerase Chain Reaction , RAW 264.7 Cells , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Virus Replication
15.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 37, 2021 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241945

ABSTRACT

Treatment options for COVID-19 remain limited, especially during the early or asymptomatic phase. Here, we report a novel SARS-CoV-2 viral replication mechanism mediated by interactions between ACE2 and the epigenetic eraser enzyme LSD1, and its interplay with the nuclear shuttling importin pathway. Recent studies have shown a critical role for the importin pathway in SARS-CoV-2 infection, and many RNA viruses hijack this axis to re-direct host cell transcription. LSD1 colocalized with ACE2 at the cell surface to maintain demethylated SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain lysine 31 to promote virus-ACE2 interactions. Two newly developed peptide inhibitors competitively inhibited virus-ACE2 interactions, and demethylase access to significantly inhibit viral replication. Similar to some other predominantly plasma membrane proteins, ACE2 had a novel nuclear function: its cytoplasmic domain harbors a nuclear shuttling domain, which when demethylated by LSD1 promoted importin-α-dependent nuclear ACE2 entry following infection to regulate active transcription. A novel, cell permeable ACE2 peptide inhibitor prevented ACE2 nuclear entry, significantly inhibiting viral replication in SARS-CoV-2-infected cell lines, outperforming other LSD1 inhibitors. These data raise the prospect of post-exposure prophylaxis for SARS-CoV-2, either through repurposed LSD1 inhibitors or new, nuclear-specific ACE2 inhibitors.

16.
Cell ; 184(8): 2167-2182.e22, 2021 04 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1135274

ABSTRACT

Cardiac injury and dysfunction occur in COVID-19 patients and increase the risk of mortality. Causes are ill defined but could be through direct cardiac infection and/or inflammation-induced dysfunction. To identify mechanisms and cardio-protective drugs, we use a state-of-the-art pipeline combining human cardiac organoids with phosphoproteomics and single nuclei RNA sequencing. We identify an inflammatory "cytokine-storm", a cocktail of interferon gamma, interleukin 1ß, and poly(I:C), induced diastolic dysfunction. Bromodomain-containing protein 4 is activated along with a viral response that is consistent in both human cardiac organoids (hCOs) and hearts of SARS-CoV-2-infected K18-hACE2 mice. Bromodomain and extraterminal family inhibitors (BETi) recover dysfunction in hCOs and completely prevent cardiac dysfunction and death in a mouse cytokine-storm model. Additionally, BETi decreases transcription of genes in the viral response, decreases ACE2 expression, and reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection of cardiomyocytes. Together, BETi, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breakthrough designated drug, apabetalone, are promising candidates to prevent COVID-19 mediated cardiac damage.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Cardiotonic Agents/therapeutic use , Cell Cycle Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Heart Diseases/drug therapy , Quinazolinones/therapeutic use , Transcription Factors/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Cycle Proteins/metabolism , Cell Line , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Heart Diseases/etiology , Human Embryonic Stem Cells , Humans , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/drug therapy , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Transcription Factors/metabolism
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