Your browser doesn't support javascript.
Show: 20 | 50 | 100
Results 1 - 20 de 49
Filter
1.
iScience ; : 105928, 2023.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165434

ABSTRACT

Summary Effective public-health measures against SARS-CoV-2 require granular knowledge of population-level immune responses. We developed a Tripartite Automated Blood Immunoassay (TRABI) to assess the IgG response against three SARS-CoV-2 proteins. We used TRABI for continuous seromonitoring of hospital patients and blood donors (n=72'250) in the canton of Zurich from December 2019 to December 2020 (pre-vaccine period). We found that antibodies waned with a half-life of 75 days, whereas the cumulative incidence rose from 2.3% in June 2020 to 12.2% in mid-December 2020. A follow-up health survey indicated that about 10% of patients infected with wildtype SARS-CoV-2 sustained some symptoms at least twelve months post COVID-19. Crucially, we found no evidence for a difference in long-term complications between those whose infection was symptomatic and those with asymptomatic acute infection. The cohort of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects represents a resource for the study of chronic and possibly unexpected sequelae.

2.
Antiviral Research ; : 105506, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165061

ABSTRACT

Massive efforts on both vaccine development and antiviral research were launched to combat the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We contributed, amongst others, by the development of a high-throughput screening (HTS) antiviral assay against SARS-CoV-2 using a fully automated, high-containment robot system. Here, we describe the development of this novel, convenient and phenotypic dual-reporter virus-cell-based high-content imaging assay using the A549+hACE2+TMPRSS2_mCherry reporter lung carcinoma cell line and an ancestral SARS-CoV-2_Wuhan_mNeonGreen reporter virus. Briefly, by means of clonal selection, a host cell subclone was selected that (i) efficiently supports replication of the reporter virus with high expression, upon infection, of the NeonGreen fluorescent reporter protein, (ii) that is not affected by virus-induced cytopathogenic effects and, (iii) that expresses a strong fluorescent mCherry signal in the nucleus. The selected clone matched these criteria with an infection rate on average of 75% with limited cell death. The average (R)Z′-factors of the assay plates were all >0.8, which indicates a robust assay suitable for HTS purposes. A selection of reference compounds that inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro were used to validate this novel dual-reporter assay and confirms the data reported in the literature. This assay is a convenient and powerful tool for HTS of large compound libraries against SARS-CoV-2.

4.
PLoS Biol ; 20(11): e3001871, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119367

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological data demonstrate that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) Alpha and Delta are more transmissible, infectious, and pathogenic than previous variants. Phenotypic properties of VOC remain understudied. Here, we provide an extensive functional study of VOC Alpha replication and cell entry phenotypes assisted by reverse genetics, mutational mapping of spike in lentiviral pseudotypes, viral and cellular gene expression studies, and infectivity stability assays in an enhanced range of cell and epithelial culture models. In almost all models, VOC Alpha spread less or equally efficiently as ancestral (B.1) SARS-CoV-2. B.1. and VOC Alpha shared similar susceptibility to serum neutralization. Despite increased relative abundance of specific sgRNAs in the context of VOC Alpha infection, immune gene expression in infected cells did not differ between VOC Alpha and B.1. However, inferior spreading and entry efficiencies of VOC Alpha corresponded to lower abundance of proteolytically cleaved spike products presumably linked to the T716I mutation. In addition, we identified a bronchial cell line, NCI-H1299, which supported 24-fold increased growth of VOC Alpha and is to our knowledge the only cell line to recapitulate the fitness advantage of VOC Alpha compared to B.1. Interestingly, also VOC Delta showed a strong (595-fold) fitness advantage over B.1 in these cells. Comparative analysis of chimeric viruses expressing VOC Alpha spike in the backbone of B.1, and vice versa, showed that the specific replication phenotype of VOC Alpha in NCI-H1299 cells is largely determined by its spike protein. Despite undetectable ACE2 protein expression in NCI-H1299 cells, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out and antibody-mediated blocking experiments revealed that multicycle spread of B.1 and VOC Alpha required ACE2 expression. Interestingly, entry of VOC Alpha, as opposed to B.1 virions, was largely unaffected by treatment with exogenous trypsin or saliva prior to infection, suggesting enhanced resistance of VOC Alpha spike to premature proteolytic cleavage in the extracellular environment of the human respiratory tract. This property may result in delayed degradation of VOC Alpha particle infectivity in conditions typical of mucosal fluids of the upper respiratory tract that may be recapitulated in NCI-H1299 cells closer than in highly ACE2-expressing cell lines and models. Our study highlights the importance of cell model evaluation and comparison for in-depth characterization of virus variant-specific phenotypes and uncovers a fine-tuned interrelationship between VOC Alpha- and host cell-specific determinants that may underlie the increased and prolonged virus shedding detected in patients infected with VOC Alpha.

5.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 5929, 2022 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2062208

ABSTRACT

Variant of concern (VOC) Omicron-BA.1 has achieved global predominance in early 2022. Therefore, surveillance and comprehensive characterization of Omicron-BA.1 in advanced primary cell culture systems and animal models are urgently needed. Here, we characterize Omicron-BA.1 and recombinant Omicron-BA.1 spike gene mutants in comparison with VOC Delta in well-differentiated primary human nasal and bronchial epithelial cells in vitro, followed by in vivo fitness characterization in hamsters, ferrets and hACE2-expressing mice, and immunized hACE2-mice. We demonstrate a spike-mediated enhancement of early replication of Omicron-BA.1 in nasal epithelial cultures, but limited replication in bronchial epithelial cultures. In hamsters, Delta shows dominance over Omicron-BA.1, and in ferrets Omicron-BA.1 infection is abortive. In hACE2-knock-in mice, Delta and a Delta spike clone also show dominance over Omicron-BA.1 and an Omicron-BA.1 spike clone, respectively. Interestingly, in naïve K18-hACE2 mice, we observe Delta spike-mediated increased replication and pathogenicity and Omicron-BA.1 spike-mediated reduced replication and pathogenicity, suggesting that the spike gene is a major determinant of replication and pathogenicity. Finally, the Omicron-BA.1 spike clone is less well-controlled by mRNA-vaccination in K18-hACE2-mice and becomes more competitive compared to the progenitor and Delta spike clones, suggesting that spike gene-mediated immune evasion is another important factor that led to Omicron-BA.1 dominance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cricetinae , Ferrets , Humans , Melphalan , Mice , Phenotype , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , gamma-Globulins
6.
Nature ; 610(7931): 262-263, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2050294
7.
J Exp Med ; 219(12)2022 12 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2037305

ABSTRACT

Severity of COVID-19 shows an extraordinary correlation with increasing age. We generated a mouse model for severe COVID-19 and show that the age-dependent disease severity is caused by the disruption of a timely and well-coordinated innate and adaptive immune response due to impaired interferon (IFN) immunity. Aggravated disease in aged mice was characterized by a diminished IFN-γ response and excessive virus replication. Accordingly, adult IFN-γ receptor-deficient mice phenocopied the age-related disease severity, and supplementation of IFN-γ reversed the increased disease susceptibility of aged mice. Further, we show that therapeutic treatment with IFN-λ in adults and a combinatorial treatment with IFN-γ and IFN-λ in aged Ifnar1-/- mice was highly efficient in protecting against severe disease. Our findings provide an explanation for the age-dependent disease severity and clarify the nonredundant antiviral functions of type I, II, and III IFNs during SARS-CoV-2 infection in an age-dependent manner. Our data suggest that highly vulnerable individuals could benefit from immunotherapy combining IFN-γ and IFN-λ.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Antiviral Agents , Immunity , Interferons , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Front Immunol ; 13: 912898, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957161

ABSTRACT

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic there is still a need for vaccines to effectively control the spread of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants and associated cases of severe disease. Here we report a messenger RNA vaccine directly encoding for a nanoparticle displaying 60 receptor binding domains (RBDs) of SARS-CoV-2 that acts as a highly effective antigen. A construct encoding the RBD of the Delta variant elicits robust neutralizing antibody response, and also provides protective immunity against the Delta variant in a widely used transgenic mouse model. We ultimately find that the proposed mRNA RBD nanoparticle-based vaccine provides a flexible platform for rapid development and will likely be of great value in combatting current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanoparticles , mRNA Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Transgenic , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , mRNA Vaccines/immunology
9.
Autophagy ; : 1-3, 2022 Jul 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1956524

ABSTRACT

The recurrence of zoonotic transmission events highlights the need for novel treatment strategies against emerging coronaviruses (CoVs), namely SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and most notably SARS-CoV-2. Our recently performed genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen revealed a list of conserved pan-coronavirus as well as MERS-CoV or HCoV-229E-specific host dependency factors (HDF) essential during the viral life cycle. Intriguingly, we identified the macroautophagy/autophagy pathway-regulating immunophilins FKBP8, TMEM41B, and MINAR1 as conserved MERS-CoV, HCoV-229E, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 host factors, which further constitute potential targets for therapeutic intervention by clinically approved drugs.

10.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 82, 2022 Jul 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1956404

ABSTRACT

Immunization with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-vectored COVID-19 vaccine candidates expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in place of the VSV glycoprotein relies implicitly on expression of the ACE2 receptor at the muscular injection site. Here, we report that such a viral vector vaccine did not induce protective immunity following intramuscular immunization of K18-hACE2 transgenic mice. However, when the viral vector was trans-complemented with the VSV glycoprotein, intramuscular immunization resulted in high titers of spike-specific neutralizing antibodies. The vaccinated animals were fully protected following infection with a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2-SD614G via the nasal route, and partially protected if challenged with the SARS-CoV-2Delta variant. While dissemination of the challenge virus to the brain was completely inhibited, replication in the lung with consequent lung pathology was not entirely controlled. Thus, intramuscular immunization was clearly enhanced by trans-complementation of the VSV-vectored vaccines by the VSV glycoprotein and led to protection from COVID-19, although not achieving sterilizing immunity.

11.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 10340, 2022 06 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900653

ABSTRACT

In 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in Saudi Arabia and was mostly associated with severe respiratory illness in humans. Dromedary camels are the zoonotic reservoir for MERS-CoV. To investigate the biology of MERS-CoV in camelids, we developed a well-differentiated airway epithelial cell (AEC) culture model for Llama glama and Camelus bactrianus. Histological characterization revealed progressive epithelial cellular differentiation with well-resemblance to autologous ex vivo tissues. We demonstrate that MERS-CoV displays a divergent cell tropism and replication kinetics profile in both AEC models. Furthermore, we observed that in the camelid AEC models MERS-CoV replication can be inhibited by both type I and III interferons (IFNs). In conclusion, we successfully established camelid AEC cultures that recapitulate the in vivo airway epithelium and reflect MERS-CoV infection in vivo. In combination with human AEC cultures, this system allows detailed characterization of the molecular basis of MERS-CoV cross-species transmission in respiratory epithelium.


Subject(s)
Camelids, New World , Coronavirus Infections , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Animals , Camelus , Respiratory System
12.
J Virol ; 96(11): e0036422, 2022 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854234

ABSTRACT

Effective broad-spectrum antivirals are critical to prevent and control emerging human coronavirus (hCoV) infections. Despite considerable progress made toward identifying and evaluating several synthetic broad-spectrum antivirals against hCoV infections, a narrow therapeutic window has limited their success. Enhancing the endogenous interferon (IFN) and IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) response is another antiviral strategy that has been known for decades. However, the side effects of pegylated type-I IFNs (IFN-Is) and the proinflammatory response detected after delayed IFN-I therapy have discouraged their clinical use. In contrast to IFN-Is, IFN-λ, a dominant IFN at the epithelial surface, has been shown to be less proinflammatory. Consequently, we evaluated the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of IFN-λ in hCoV-infected airway epithelial cells and mice. Human primary airway epithelial cells treated with a single dose of IFN-I (IFN-α) and IFN-λ showed similar ISG expression, whereas cells treated with two doses of IFN-λ expressed elevated levels of ISG compared to that of IFN-α-treated cells. Similarly, mice treated with two doses of IFN-λ were better protected than mice that received a single dose, and a combination of prophylactic and delayed therapeutic regimens completely protected mice from a lethal Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) infection. A two-dose IFN-λ regimen significantly reduced lung viral titers and inflammatory cytokine levels with marked improvement in lung inflammation. Collectively, we identified an effective regimen for IFN-λ use and demonstrated the protective efficacy of IFN-λ in MERS-CoV-infected mice. IMPORTANCE Effective antiviral agents are urgently required to prevent and treat individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viral infections. The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted our efforts to identify, develop, and evaluate several antiviral agents. However, a narrow therapeutic window has limited the protective efficacy of several broad-spectrum and CoV-specific antivirals. IFN-λ is an antiviral agent of interest due to its ability to induce a robust endogenous antiviral state and low levels of inflammation. Here, we evaluated the protective efficacy and effective treatment regimen of IFN-λ in mice infected with a lethal dose of MERS-CoV. We show that while prophylactic and early therapeutic IFN-λ administration is protective, delayed treatment is detrimental. Notably, a combination of prophylactic and delayed therapeutic administration of IFN-λ protected mice from severe MERS. Our results highlight the prophylactic and therapeutic use of IFN-λ against lethal hCoV and likely other viral lung infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Coronavirus Infections , Interferons , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Humans , Interferons/pharmacology , Mice
13.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(2): e1010268, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753212

ABSTRACT

Next generation sequencing has revealed the presence of numerous RNA viruses in animal reservoir hosts, including many closely related to known human pathogens. Despite their zoonotic potential, most of these viruses remain understudied due to not yet being cultured. While reverse genetic systems can facilitate virus rescue, this is often hindered by missing viral genome ends. A prime example is Lloviu virus (LLOV), an uncultured filovirus that is closely related to the highly pathogenic Ebola virus. Using minigenome systems, we complemented the missing LLOV genomic ends and identified cis-acting elements required for LLOV replication that were lacking in the published sequence. We leveraged these data to generate recombinant full-length LLOV clones and rescue infectious virus. Similar to other filoviruses, recombinant LLOV (rLLOV) forms filamentous virions and induces the formation of characteristic inclusions in the cytoplasm of the infected cells, as shown by electron microscopy. Known target cells of Ebola virus, including macrophages and hepatocytes, are permissive to rLLOV infection, suggesting that humans could be potential hosts. However, inflammatory responses in human macrophages, a hallmark of Ebola virus disease, are not induced by rLLOV. Additional tropism testing identified pneumocytes as capable of robust rLLOV and Ebola virus infection. We also used rLLOV to test antivirals targeting multiple facets of the replication cycle. Rescue of uncultured viruses of pathogenic concern represents a valuable tool in our arsenal for pandemic preparedness.


Subject(s)
Ebolavirus/genetics , Filoviridae Infections/virology , Filoviridae/genetics , Virus Replication , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genetic Complementation Test , Genome, Viral , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/virology , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Inclusion Bodies/virology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Macrophages/virology , RNA, Viral , Reverse Genetics , Vero Cells , Virion/genetics
14.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2505, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1747189

ABSTRACT

Mpro, the main protease of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is essential for the viral life cycle. Accordingly, several groups have performed in silico screens to identify Mpro inhibitors that might be used to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. We selected more than five hundred compounds from the top-ranking hits of two very large in silico screens for on-demand synthesis. We then examined whether these compounds could bind to Mpro and inhibit its protease activity. Two interesting chemotypes were identified, which were further evaluated by characterizing an additional five hundred synthesis on-demand analogues. The compounds of the first chemotype denatured Mpro and were considered not useful for further development. The compounds of the second chemotype bound to and enhanced the melting temperature of Mpro. The most active compound from this chemotype inhibited Mpro in vitro with an IC50 value of 1 µM and suppressed replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in tissue culture cells. Its mode of binding to Mpro was determined by X-ray crystallography, revealing that it is a non-covalent inhibitor. We propose that the inhibitors described here could form the basis for medicinal chemistry efforts that could lead to the development of clinically relevant inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Molecular Conformation , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nitriles/chemistry , Nitriles/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Quinazolines/chemistry , Quinazolines/metabolism , Quinazolines/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
15.
mBio ; : e0366221, 2022 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741579

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Understanding the immunological and pathological processes of coronavirus diseases is crucial for the rational design of effective vaccines and therapies for COVID-19. Previous studies showed that 2'-O-methylation of the viral RNA cap structure is required to prevent the recognition of viral RNAs by intracellular innate sensors. Here, we demonstrate that the guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap mediated by coronavirus nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) contributes to viral evasion of the type I interferon (IFN-I)-mediated immune response and pathogenesis in mice. A Y414A substitution in nsp14 of the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity and reduced guanine N7-methylation of the 5' cap in vitro. Infection of myeloid cells with recombinant MHV harboring the nsp14-Y414A mutation (rMHVnsp14-Y414A) resulted in upregulated expression of IFN-I and ISG15 mainly via MDA5 signaling and in reduced viral replication compared to that of wild-type rMHV. rMHVnsp14-Y414A replicated to lower titers in livers and brains and exhibited an attenuated phenotype in mice. This attenuated phenotype was IFN-I dependent because the virulence of the rMHVnsp14-Y414A mutant was restored in Ifnar-/- mice. We further found that the comparable mutation (Y420A) in SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 (rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A) also significantly decreased N7-methyltransferase activity in vitro, and the mutant virus was attenuated in K18-human ACE2 transgenic mice. Moreover, infection with rSARS-CoV-2nsp14-Y420A conferred complete protection against subsequent and otherwise lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice, indicating the vaccine potential of this mutant. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses (CoVs), including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, use several strategies to evade the host innate immune responses. While the cap structure of RNA, including CoV RNA, is important for translation, previous studies indicate that the cap also contributes to viral evasion from the host immune response. In this study, we demonstrate that the N7-methylated cap structure of CoV RNA is pivotal for virus immunoevasion. Using recombinant MHV and SARS-CoV-2 encoding an inactive N7-methyltransferase, we demonstrate that these mutant viruses are highly attenuated in vivo and that attenuation is apparent at very early times after infection. Virulence is restored in mice lacking interferon signaling. Further, we show that infection with virus defective in N7-methylation protects mice from lethal SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that the N7-methylase might be a useful target in drug and vaccine development.

16.
PLoS Biol ; 19(12): e3001490, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595018

ABSTRACT

Over the past 20 years, 3 highly pathogenic human coronaviruses (HCoVs) have emerged-Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and, most recently, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-demonstrating that coronaviruses (CoVs) pose a serious threat to human health and highlighting the importance of developing effective therapies against them. Similar to other viruses, CoVs are dependent on host factors for their survival and replication. We hypothesized that evolutionarily distinct CoVs may exploit similar host factors and pathways to support their replication cycles. Herein, we conducted 2 independent genome-wide CRISPR/Cas-9 knockout (KO) screens to identify MERS-CoV and HCoV-229E host dependency factors (HDFs) required for HCoV replication in the human Huh7 cell line. Top scoring genes were further validated and assessed in the context of MERS-CoV and HCoV-229E infection as well as SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Strikingly, we found that several autophagy-related genes, including TMEM41B, MINAR1, and the immunophilin FKBP8, were common host factors required for pan-CoV replication. Importantly, inhibition of the immunophilin protein family with the compounds cyclosporine A, and the nonimmunosuppressive derivative alisporivir, resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of CoV replication in primary human nasal epithelial cell cultures, which recapitulate the natural site of virus replication. Overall, we identified host factors that are crucial for CoV replication and demonstrated that these factors constitute potential targets for therapeutic intervention by clinically approved drugs.


Subject(s)
Autophagy/genetics , CRISPR-Cas Systems , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication
17.
Nature ; 602(7896): 307-313, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of concern (VOCs) are driving the COVID-19 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessments of replication and transmission of major VOCs and progenitors are needed to understand the mechanisms of replication and transmission of VOCs3. Here we show that the spike protein (S) from Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs had a greater affinity towards the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor than that of the progenitor variant S(D614G) in vitro. Progenitor variant virus expressing S(D614G) (wt-S614G) and the Alpha variant showed similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas the Beta variant was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over wt-S614G in ferrets and two mouse models-the substitutions in S were major drivers of the fitness advantage. In hamsters, which support high viral replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G showed similar fitness. By contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and in mice expressing human ACE2. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models to characterize fitness of VOCs and demonstrates that Alpha is adapted for replication in the upper respiratory tract and shows enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta does not overcome Alpha or wt-S614G in naive animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence/genetics
18.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7276, 2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575708

ABSTRACT

Double membrane vesicles (DMVs) serve as replication organelles of plus-strand RNA viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) and SARS-CoV-2. Viral DMVs are morphologically analogous to DMVs formed during autophagy, but lipids driving their biogenesis are largely unknown. Here we show that production of the lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) by acylglycerolphosphate acyltransferase (AGPAT) 1 and 2 in the ER is important for DMV biogenesis in viral replication and autophagy. Using DMVs in HCV-replicating cells as model, we found that AGPATs are recruited to and critically contribute to HCV and SARS-CoV-2 replication and proper DMV formation. An intracellular PA sensor accumulated at viral DMV formation sites, consistent with elevated levels of PA in fractions of purified DMVs analyzed by lipidomics. Apart from AGPATs, PA is generated by alternative pathways and their pharmacological inhibition also impaired HCV and SARS-CoV-2 replication as well as formation of autophagosome-like DMVs. These data identify PA as host cell lipid involved in proper replication organelle formation by HCV and SARS-CoV-2, two phylogenetically disparate viruses causing very different diseases, i.e. chronic liver disease and COVID-19, respectively. Host-targeting therapy aiming at PA synthesis pathways might be suitable to attenuate replication of these viruses.


Subject(s)
Hepacivirus/genetics , Phosphatidic Acids/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology , 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase , Acyltransferases , Autophagosomes/metabolism , Autophagy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cell Survival , Dengue Virus , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Proteins , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Viral Proteins , Zika Virus
19.
Sci Adv ; 7(49): eabk0172, 2021 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546430

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are instrumental and indispensable in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Several recent SARS-CoV-2 variants are more transmissible and evade infection- or vaccine-induced protection. We constructed live attenuated vaccine candidates by large-scale recoding of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and showed that the lead candidate, designated sCPD9, protects Syrian hamsters from a challenge with ancestral virus. Here, we assessed immunogenicity and protective efficacy of sCPD9 in the Roborovski dwarf hamster, a nontransgenic rodent species that is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and severe COVID-19­like disease. We show that a single intranasal vaccination with sCPD9 elicited strong cross-neutralizing antibody responses against four current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.1.28.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). The sCPD9 vaccine offered complete protection from COVID-19­like disease caused by the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1 and the two variants of concern B.1.1.7 and B.1.351.

20.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(49)2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541316

ABSTRACT

As coronaviruses (CoVs) replicate in the host cell cytoplasm, they rely on their own capping machinery to ensure the efficient translation of their messenger RNAs (mRNAs), protect them from degradation by cellular 5' exoribonucleases (ExoNs), and escape innate immune sensing. The CoV nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) is a bifunctional replicase subunit harboring an N-terminal 3'-to-5' ExoN domain and a C-terminal (N7-guanine)-methyltransferase (N7-MTase) domain that is presumably involved in viral mRNA capping. Here, we aimed to integrate structural, biochemical, and virological data to assess the importance of conserved N7-MTase residues for nsp14's enzymatic activities and virus viability. We revisited the crystal structure of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV nsp14 to perform an in silico comparative analysis between betacoronaviruses. We identified several residues likely involved in the formation of the N7-MTase catalytic pocket, which presents a fold distinct from the Rossmann fold observed in most known MTases. Next, for SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV, site-directed mutagenesis of selected residues was used to assess their importance for in vitro enzymatic activity. Most of the engineered mutations abolished N7-MTase activity, while not affecting nsp14-ExoN activity. Upon reverse engineering of these mutations into different betacoronavirus genomes, we identified two substitutions (R310A and F426A in SARS-CoV nsp14) abrogating virus viability and one mutation (H424A) yielding a crippled phenotype across all viruses tested. Our results identify the N7-MTase as a critical enzyme for betacoronavirus replication and define key residues of its catalytic pocket that can be targeted to design inhibitors with a potential pan-coronaviral activity spectrum.


Subject(s)
Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Base Sequence , Binding Sites , Catalytic Domain , Conserved Sequence , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Microbial Viability , Nucleotide Motifs , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/genetics
SELECTION OF CITATIONS
SEARCH DETAIL