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1.
Cell Reports ; : 110344, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1627761

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all 3 mink-adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.

2.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296056

ABSTRACT

There is an ongoing global effort to design, manufacture, and clinically assess vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Over the course of the ongoing pandemic a number of new SARS-CoV-2 virus isolates or variants of concern (VoC) have been identified containing mutations in key proteins. In this study we describe the generation and preclinical assessment of a ChAdOx1-vectored vaccine (AZD2816) which expresses the spike protein of the Beta VoC (B.1.351). We demonstrate that AZD2816 is immunogenic after a single dose. When AZD2816 is used as a booster dose in animals primed with a vaccine encoding the original spike protein (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/ [AZD1222]), high titre binding and neutralising antibodies against Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2) are induced. In addition, a strong and polyfunctional T cell response was measured in these booster regimens. These data support the ongoing clinical development and testing of this new variant vaccine.

3.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293136

ABSTRACT

Following the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in China in late 2019 a number of variants have emerged, with two of these, Alpha and Delta, subsequently growing to global prevalence. One characteristic of these variants are changes within the Spike protein, in particular the receptor binding domain (RBD). From a public health perspective these changes have important implications for increased transmissibility and immune escape;however, their presence could also modify the intrinsic host-range of the virus. Using viral pseudotyping we examined whether the variants of concern (VOCs) Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta have differing host ACE2 receptor usage patterns, focusing on a range of relevant mammalian ACE2 proteins. All four VOCs were able to overcome a previous restriction for mouse ACE2, with demonstrable differences also seen for individual VOCs with rat, ferret or civet ACE2 receptors, changes which we subsequently attribute to N501Y and E484K substitutions within the Spike RBD.

4.
Bio Protoc ; 11(21): e4249, 2021 Nov 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527088

ABSTRACT

For enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, transmission relies on the binding of viral glycoproteins to cellular receptors. Conventionally, this process is recapitulated in the lab by infection of cells with isolated live virus. However, such studies can be restricted due to the availability of high quantities of replication-competent virus, biosafety precautions and associated trained staff. Here, we present a protocol based on pseudotyping to produce recombinant replication-defective lentiviruses bearing the SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 attachment Spike glycoprotein, allowing the investigation of viral entry in a lower-containment facility. Pseudoparticles are produced by cells transiently transfected with plasmids encoding retroviral RNA packaging signals and Gag-Pol proteins, for the reconstitution of lentiviral particles, and a plasmid coding for the viral attachment protein of interest. This approach allows the investigation of different aspects of viral entry, such as the identification of receptor tropism, the prediction of virus host range, and zoonotic transmission potential, as well as the characterisation of antibodies (sera or monoclonal antibodies) and pharmacological inhibitors that can block entry. Graphic abstract: SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 pseudoparticle generation and applications.

5.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481007

ABSTRACT

Nipah virus (NiV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) possess two surface glycoproteins involved in cellular attachment and membrane fusion, both of which are potential targets for vaccines. The majority of vaccine development is focused on the attachment (G) protein of NiV, which is the immunodominant target. In contrast, the fusion (F) protein of RSV is the main target in vaccine development. Despite this, neutralising epitopes have been described in NiV F and RSV G, making them alternate targets for vaccine design. Through rational design, we have developed a vaccine strategy applicable to phylogenetically divergent NiV and RSV that comprises both the F and G proteins (FxG). In a mouse immunization model, we found that NiV FxG elicited an improved immune response capable of neutralising pseudotyped NiV and a NiV mutant that is able to escape neutralisation by two known F-specific antibodies. RSV FxG elicited an immune response against both F and G and was able to neutralise RSV; however, this was inferior to the immune response of F alone. Despite this, RSV FxG elicited a response against a known protective epitope within G that is conserved across RSV A and B subgroups, which may provide additional protection in vivo. We conclude that inclusion of F and G antigens within a single design provides a streamlined subunit vaccine strategy against both emerging and established pathogens, with the potential for broader protection against NiV.

6.
iScience ; 24(10): 103144, 2021 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428079

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) coronavirus, is a global health issue with unprecedented challenges for public health. SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells of the respiratory tract via spike glycoprotein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). Circadian rhythms coordinate an organism's response to its environment and can regulate host susceptibility to virus infection. We demonstrate that silencing the circadian regulator Bmal1 or treating lung epithelial cells with the REV-ERB agonist SR9009 reduces ACE2 expression and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication. Importantly, treating infected cells with SR9009 limits SARS-CoV-2 replication and secretion of infectious particles, showing that post-entry steps in the viral life cycle are influenced by the circadian system. Transcriptome analysis revealed that Bmal1 silencing induced interferon-stimulated gene transcripts in Calu-3 lung epithelial cells, providing a mechanism for the circadian pathway to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our study highlights alternative approaches to understand and improve therapeutic targeting of SARS-CoV-2.

7.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 915, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327224

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are urgently required, but early development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-1 resulted in enhanced disease after vaccination. Careful assessment of this phenomena is warranted for vaccine development against SARS CoV-2. Here we report detailed immune profiling after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) and subsequent high dose challenge in two animal models of SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease. We demonstrate in rhesus macaques the lung pathology caused by SARS-CoV-2 mediated pneumonia is reduced by prior vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 which induced neutralising antibody responses after a single intramuscular administration. In a second animal model, ferrets, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 reduced both virus shedding and lung pathology. Antibody titre were boosted by a second dose. Data from these challenge models on the absence of enhanced disease and the detailed immune profiling, support the continued clinical evaluation of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Ferrets , Macaca mulatta
8.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 2021 Jul 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1304137

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a host cell membrane protein (receptor) that mediates the binding of coronavirus, most notably SARS coronaviruses in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Although SARS-CoV-2 infection is mainly confined to humans, there have been numerous incidents of spillback (reverse zoonoses) to domestic and captive animals. An absence of information on the spatial distribution of ACE2 in animal tissues limits our understanding of host species susceptibility. Here, we describe the distribution of ACE2 using immunohistochemistry (IHC) on histological sections derived from carnivores, ungulates, primates and chiroptera. Comparison of mink (Neovison vison) and ferret (Mustela putorius furo) respiratory tracts showed substantial differences, demonstrating that ACE2 is present in the lower respiratory tract of mink but not ferrets. The presence of ACE2 in the respiratory tract in some species was much more restricted as indicated by limited immunolabelling in the nasal turbinate, trachea and lungs of cats (Felis catus) and only the nasal turbinate in the golden Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). In the lungs of other species, ACE2 could be detected on the bronchiolar epithelium of the sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), European badger (Meles meles), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), tiger and lion (Panthera spp.). In addition, ACE2 was present in the nasal mucosa epithelium of the serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) but not in pig (Sus scrofa domestica), cattle or sheep. In the intestine, ACE2 immunolabelling was seen on the microvillus of enterocytes (surface of intestine) across various taxa. These results provide anatomical evidence of ACE2 expression in a number of species which will enable further understanding of host susceptibility and tissue tropism of ACE2 receptor-mediated viral infection.

9.
Cell Rep ; 35(13): 109292, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281394

ABSTRACT

We report severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike ΔH69/V70 in multiple independent lineages, often occurring after acquisition of receptor binding motif replacements such as N439K and Y453F, known to increase binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor and confer antibody escape. In vitro, we show that, although ΔH69/V70 itself is not an antibody evasion mechanism, it increases infectivity associated with enhanced incorporation of cleaved spike into virions. ΔH69/V70 is able to partially rescue infectivity of spike proteins that have acquired N439K and Y453F escape mutations by increased spike incorporation. In addition, replacement of the H69 and V70 residues in the Alpha variant B.1.1.7 spike (where ΔH69/V70 occurs naturally) impairs spike incorporation and entry efficiency of the B.1.1.7 spike pseudotyped virus. Alpha variant B.1.1.7 spike mediates faster kinetics of cell-cell fusion than wild-type Wuhan-1 D614G, dependent on ΔH69/V70. Therefore, as ΔH69/V70 compensates for immune escape mutations that impair infectivity, continued surveillance for deletions with functional effects is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Recurrence , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vero Cells
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 542, 2021 01 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1044339

ABSTRACT

There is need for effective and affordable vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 to tackle the ongoing pandemic. In this study, we describe a protein nanoparticle vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine is based on the display of coronavirus spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) on a synthetic virus-like particle (VLP) platform, SpyCatcher003-mi3, using SpyTag/SpyCatcher technology. Low doses of RBD-SpyVLP in a prime-boost regimen induce a strong neutralising antibody response in mice and pigs that is superior to convalescent human sera. We evaluate antibody quality using ACE2 blocking and neutralisation of cell infection by pseudovirus or wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Using competition assays with a monoclonal antibody panel, we show that RBD-SpyVLP induces a polyclonal antibody response that recognises key epitopes on the RBD, reducing the likelihood of selecting neutralisation-escape mutants. Moreover, RBD-SpyVLP is thermostable and can be lyophilised without losing immunogenicity, to facilitate global distribution and reduce cold-chain dependence. The data suggests that RBD-SpyVLP provides strong potential to address clinical and logistic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Peptides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Blocking/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Multimerization , Swine
11.
PLoS Biol ; 18(12): e3001016, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-992640

ABSTRACT

SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2019, leading to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to cause significant global mortality in human populations. Given its sequence similarity to SARS-CoV, as well as related coronaviruses circulating in bats, SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have originated in Chiroptera species in China. However, whether the virus spread directly to humans or through an intermediate host is currently unclear, as is the potential for this virus to infect companion animals, livestock, and wildlife that could act as viral reservoirs. Using a combination of surrogate entry assays and live virus, we demonstrate that, in addition to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the Spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 has a broad host tropism for mammalian ACE2 receptors, despite divergence in the amino acids at the Spike receptor binding site on these proteins. Of the 22 different hosts we investigated, ACE2 proteins from dog, cat, and cattle were the most permissive to SARS-CoV-2, while bat and bird ACE2 proteins were the least efficiently used receptors. The absence of a significant tropism for any of the 3 genetically distinct bat ACE2 proteins we examined indicates that SARS-CoV-2 receptor usage likely shifted during zoonotic transmission from bats into people, possibly in an intermediate reservoir. Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 receptor usage to the related coronaviruses SARS-CoV and RaTG13 identified distinct tropisms, with the 2 human viruses being more closely aligned. Finally, using bioinformatics, structural data, and targeted mutagenesis, we identified amino acid residues within the Spike-ACE2 interface, which may have played a pivotal role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. The apparently broad tropism of SARS-CoV-2 at the point of viral entry confirms the potential risk of infection to a wide range of companion animals, livestock, and wildlife.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Tropism , Virus Attachment , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Binding Sites , Cats , Cattle , Dogs , Guinea Pigs , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Rabbits , Rats , Viral Zoonoses/virology
12.
Med (N Y) ; 2(3): 243-262.e8, 2021 Mar 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978369

ABSTRACT

Background: The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has caused a worldwide pandemic that has affected almost every aspect of human life. The development of an effective COVID-19 vaccine could limit the morbidity and mortality caused by infection and may enable the relaxation of social-distancing measures. Age is one of the most significant risk factors for poor health outcomes after SARS-CoV-2 infection; therefore, it is desirable that any new vaccine candidates elicit a robust immune response in older adults. Methods: Here, we use in-depth immunophenotyping to characterize the innate and adaptive immune response induced upon intramuscular administration of the adenoviral vectored ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD-1222) COVID-19 vaccine candidate in mice. Findings: A single vaccination generates spike-specific Th1 cells, Th1-like Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, polyfunctional spike-specific CD8+ T cells. and granzyme-B-producing CD8 effectors. Spike-specific IgG and IgM are generated from both the early extrafollicular antibody response and the T follicular helper cell-supported germinal center reaction, which is associated with the production of virus-neutralizing antibodies. A single dose of this vaccine generated a similar type of immune response in aged mice but of a reduced magnitude than in younger mice. We report that a second dose enhances the immune response to this vaccine in aged mice. Conclusions: This study shows that ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 induces both cellular and humoral immunity in adult and aged mice and suggests a prime-boost strategy is a rational approach to enhance immunogenicity in older persons. Funding: This study was supported by BBSRC, Lister institute of Preventative Medicine, EPSRC VaxHub, and Innovate UK.

13.
J Gen Virol ; 102(1)2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-873186

ABSTRACT

Although enveloped viruses canonically mediate particle entry through virus-cell fusion, certain viruses can spread by cell-cell fusion, brought about by receptor engagement and triggering of membrane-bound, viral-encoded fusion proteins on the surface of cells. The formation of pathogenic syncytia or multinucleated cells is seen in vivo, but their contribution to viral pathogenesis is poorly understood. For the negative-strand paramyxoviruses respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Nipah virus (NiV), cell-cell spread is highly efficient because their oligomeric fusion protein complexes are active at neutral pH. The recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has also been reported to induce syncytia formation in infected cells, with the spike protein initiating cell-cell fusion. Whilst it is well established that fusion protein-specific antibodies can block particle attachment and/or entry into the cell (canonical virus neutralization), their capacity to inhibit cell-cell fusion and the consequences of this neutralization for the control of infection are not well characterized, in part because of the lack of specific tools to assay and quantify this activity. Using an adapted bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay, based on a split GFP-Renilla luciferase reporter, we have established a micro-fusion inhibition test (mFIT) that allows the identification and quantification of these neutralizing antibodies. This assay has been optimized for high-throughput use and its applicability has been demonstrated by screening monoclonal antibody (mAb)-mediated inhibition of RSV and NiV fusion and, separately, the development of fusion-inhibitory antibodies following NiV vaccine immunization in pigs. In light of the recent emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a similar assay was developed for SARS-CoV-2 and used to screen mAbs and convalescent patient plasma for fusion-inhibitory antibodies. Using mFITs to assess antibody responses following natural infection or vaccination is favourable, as this assay can be performed entirely at low biocontainment, without the need for live virus. In addition, the repertoire of antibodies that inhibit cell-cell fusion may be different to those that inhibit particle entry, shedding light on the mechanisms underpinning antibody-mediated neutralization of viral spread.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Henipavirus Infections/diagnosis , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/diagnosis , Viral Fusion Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Fusion , Convalescence , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Henipavirus Infections/immunology , Henipavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Immune Sera/chemistry , Luciferases/genetics , Luciferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Nipah Virus/immunology , Nipah Virus/pathogenicity , Protein Conformation , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Swine , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/metabolism , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Fusion Proteins/genetics , Viral Fusion Proteins/immunology
14.
NPJ Vaccines ; 5(1): 69, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689622

ABSTRACT

Clinical development of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a replication-deficient simian adenoviral vector expressing the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein was initiated in April 2020 following non-human primate studies using a single immunisation. Here, we compared the immunogenicity of one or two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 in both mice and pigs. Whilst a single dose induced antigen-specific antibody and T cells responses, a booster immunisation enhanced antibody responses, particularly in pigs, with a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 neutralising titres.

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