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Cell Mol Immunol ; 19(5): 577-587, 2022 May.
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
Nature ; 586(7830): 572-577, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-691301


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes a respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the spread of which has led to a pandemic. An effective preventive vaccine against this virus is urgently needed. As an essential step during infection, SARS-CoV-2 uses the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein to engage with the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on host cells1,2. Here we show that a recombinant vaccine that comprises residues 319-545 of the RBD of the spike protein induces a potent functional antibody response in immunized mice, rabbits and non-human primates (Macaca mulatta) as early as 7 or 14 days after the injection of a single vaccine dose. The sera from the immunized animals blocked the binding of the RBD to ACE2, which is expressed on the cell surface, and neutralized infection with a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus and live SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Notably, vaccination also provided protection in non-human primates to an in vivo challenge with SARS-CoV-2. We found increased levels of RBD-specific antibodies in the sera of patients with COVID-19. We show that several immune pathways and CD4 T lymphocytes are involved in the induction of the vaccine antibody response. Our findings highlight the importance of the RBD domain in the design of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and provide a rationale for the development of a protective vaccine through the induction of antibodies against the RBD domain.

Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca mulatta/immunology , Macaca mulatta/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Models, Animal , Models, Molecular , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2 , Serum/immunology , Spleen/cytology , Spleen/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccination