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Anal Chem ; 94(15): 5909-5917, 2022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1882715


SARS-CoV-2 cellular infection is mediated by the heavily glycosylated spike protein. Recombinant versions of the spike protein and the receptor-binding domain (RBD) are necessary for seropositivity assays and can potentially serve as vaccines against viral infection. RBD plays key roles in the spike protein's structure and function, and thus, comprehensive characterization of recombinant RBD is critically important for biopharmaceutical applications. Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry has been widely used to characterize post-translational modifications in proteins, including glycosylation. Most studies of RBDs were performed at the proteolytic peptide (bottom-up proteomics) or released glycan level because of the technical challenges in resolving highly heterogeneous glycans at the intact protein level. Herein, we evaluated several online separation techniques: (1) C2 reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC), (2) capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), and (3) acrylamide-based monolithic hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC) to separate intact recombinant RBDs with varying combinations of glycosylations (glycoforms) for top-down mass spectrometry (MS). Within the conditions we explored, the HILIC method was superior to RPLC and CZE at separating RBD glycoforms, which differ significantly in neutral glycan groups. In addition, our top-down analysis readily captured unexpected modifications (e.g., cysteinylation and N-terminal sequence variation) and low abundance, heavily glycosylated proteoforms that may be missed by using glycopeptide data alone. The HILIC top-down MS platform holds great potential in resolving heterogeneous glycoproteins for facile comparison of biosimilars in quality control applications.

Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals , COVID-19 , Chromatography, Liquid , Chromatography, Reverse-Phase/methods , Glycoproteins/chemistry , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Mass Spectrometry , Polysaccharides/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250019, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197380


SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic, and has taken over 1.7 million lives as of mid-December, 2020. Although great progress has been made in the development of effective countermeasures, with several pharmaceutical companies approved or poised to deliver vaccines to market, there is still an unmet need of essential antiviral drugs with therapeutic impact for the treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Towards this goal, a high-throughput assay was used to screen SARS-CoV-2 nsp15 uracil-dependent endonuclease (endoU) function against 13 thousand compounds from drug and lead repurposing compound libraries. While over 80% of initial hit compounds were pan-assay inhibitory compounds, three hits were confirmed as nsp15 endoU inhibitors in the 1-20 µM range in vitro. Furthermore, Exebryl-1, a ß-amyloid anti-aggregation molecule for Alzheimer's therapy, was shown to have antiviral activity between 10 to 66 µM, in Vero 76, Caco-2, and Calu-3 cells. Although the inhibitory concentrations determined for Exebryl-1 exceed those recommended for therapeutic intervention, our findings show great promise for further optimization of Exebryl-1 as an nsp15 endoU inhibitor and as a SARS-CoV-2 antiviral.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning/methods , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
Biomol NMR Assign ; 15(1): 107-116, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1002175


The Betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein Nsp9 is a 113-residue protein that is essential for viral replication, and consequently, a potential target for the development of therapeutics against COVID19 infections. To capture insights into the dynamics of the protein's backbone in solution and accelerate the identification and mapping of ligand-binding surfaces through chemical shift perturbation studies, the backbone 1H, 13C, and 15N NMR chemical shifts for Nsp9 have been extensively assigned. These assignments were assisted by the preparation of an ~ 70% deuterated sample and residue-specific, 15N-labelled samples (V, L, M, F, and K). A major feature of the assignments was the "missing" amide resonances for N96-L106 in the 1H-15N HSQC spectrum, a region that comprises almost the complete C-terminal α-helix that forms a major part of the homodimer interface in the crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp9, suggesting this region either undergoes intermediate motion in the ms to µs timescale and/or is heterogenous. These "missing" amide resonances do not unambiguously appear in the 1H-15N HSQC spectrum of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp9 collected at a concentration of 0.0007 mM. At this concentration, at the detection limit, native mass spectrometry indicates the protein is exclusively in the monomeric state, suggesting the intermediate motion in the C-terminal of Nsp9 may be due to intramolecular dynamics. Perhaps this intermediate ms to µs timescale dynamics is the physical basis for a previously suggested "fluidity" of the C-terminal helix that may be responsible for homophilic (Nsp9-Nsp9) and postulated heterophilic (Nsp9-Unknown) protein-protein interactions.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites , Carbon Isotopes , Codon , Crystallography, X-Ray , Dimerization , Disulfides , Hydrogen , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Kinetics , Ligands , Nitrogen Isotopes , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Structure, Secondary