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J Biol Chem ; 298(12): 102624, 2022 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2082398


Broadly neutralizing antibodies have huge potential as novel antiviral therapeutics due to their ability to recognize highly conserved epitopes that are seldom mutated in viral variants. A subset of bovine antibodies possess an ultralong complementarity-determining region (CDR)H3 that is highly adept at recognizing such conserved epitopes, but their reactivity against Sarbecovirus Spike proteins has not been explored previously. Here, we use a SARS-naïve library to isolate a broadly reactive bovine CDRH3 that binds the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and all SARS-CoV-2 variants. We show further that it neutralizes viruses pseudo-typed with SARS-CoV Spike, but this is not by competition with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) binding. Instead, using differential hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, we demonstrate that it recognizes the major site of vulnerability of Sarbecoviruses. This glycan-shielded cryptic epitope becomes available only transiently via interdomain movements of the Spike protein such that antibody binding triggers destruction of the prefusion complex. This proof of principle study demonstrates the power of in vitro expressed bovine antibodies with ultralong CDRH3s for the isolation of novel, broadly reactive tools to combat emerging pathogens and to identify key epitopes for vaccine development.

Cell Rep ; 40(8): 111276, 2022 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1982702


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike is the target for neutralizing antibodies elicited following both infection and vaccination. While extensive research has shown that the receptor binding domain (RBD) and, to a lesser extent, the N-terminal domain (NTD) are the predominant targets for neutralizing antibodies, identification of neutralizing epitopes beyond these regions is important for informing vaccine development and understanding antibody-mediated immune escape. Here, we identify a class of broadly neutralizing antibodies that bind an epitope on the spike subdomain 1 (SD1) and that have arisen from infection or vaccination. Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and hydrogen-deuterium exchange coupled to mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), we show that SD1-specific antibody P008_60 binds an epitope that is not accessible within the canonical prefusion states of the SARS-CoV-2 spike, suggesting a transient conformation of the viral glycoprotein that is vulnerable to neutralization.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Syndactyly , Vaccination
Structure ; 30(8): 1062-1074.e4, 2022 08 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1946637


The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rapid response in vaccine and drug development. Herein, we modeled a complete membrane-embedded SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and used molecular dynamics simulations with benzene probes designed to enhance discovery of cryptic pockets. This approach recapitulated lipid and host metabolite binding sites previously characterized by cryo-electron microscopy, revealing likely ligand entry routes, and uncovered a novel cryptic pocket with promising druggable properties located underneath the 617-628 loop. A full representation of glycan moieties was essential to accurately describe pocket dynamics. A multi-conformational behavior of the 617-628 loop in simulations was validated using hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry experiments, supportive of opening and closing dynamics. The pocket is the site of multiple mutations associated with increased transmissibility found in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern including Omicron. Collectively, this work highlights the utility of the benzene mapping approach in uncovering potential druggable sites on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 targets.

SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Benzene , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
J Biol Chem ; 298(1): 101290, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472024


The current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of obtaining reliable methods for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2. A highly specific and sensitive diagnostic test able to differentiate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from common human coronaviruses is therefore needed. Coronavirus nucleoprotein (N) localizes to the cytoplasm and the nucleolus and is required for viral RNA synthesis. N is the most abundant coronavirus protein, so it is of utmost importance to develop specific antibodies for its detection. In this study, we developed a sandwich immunoassay to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 N protein. We immunized one alpaca with recombinant SARS-CoV-2 N and constructed a large single variable domain on heavy chain (VHH) antibody library. After phage display selection, seven VHHs recognizing the full N protein were identified by ELISA. These VHHs did not recognize the nucleoproteins of the four common human coronaviruses. Hydrogen Deuterium eXchange-Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) analysis also showed that these VHHs mainly targeted conformational epitopes in either the C-terminal or the N-terminal domains. All VHHs were able to recognize SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells or on infected hamster tissues. Moreover, the VHHs could detect the SARS variants B.1.17/alpha, B.1.351/beta, and P1/gamma. We propose that this sandwich immunoassay could be applied to specifically detect the SARS-CoV-2 N in human nasal swabs.

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology
Elife ; 92020 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-940328


Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) is targeted in the treatment of B-cell disorders including leukemias and lymphomas. Currently approved BTK inhibitors, including Ibrutinib, a first-in-class covalent inhibitor of BTK, bind directly to the kinase active site. While effective at blocking the catalytic activity of BTK, consequences of drug binding on the global conformation of full-length BTK are unknown. Here, we uncover a range of conformational effects in full-length BTK induced by a panel of active site inhibitors, including large-scale shifts in the conformational equilibria of the regulatory domains. Additionally, we find that a remote Ibrutinib resistance mutation, T316A in the BTK SH2 domain, drives spurious BTK activity by destabilizing the compact autoinhibitory conformation of full-length BTK, shifting the conformational ensemble away from the autoinhibited form. Future development of BTK inhibitors will need to consider long-range allosteric consequences of inhibitor binding, including the emerging application of these BTK inhibitors in treating COVID-19.

Treatments for blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, rely heavily on chemotherapy, using drugs that target a vulnerable aspect of the cancer cells. B-cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies, require a protein called Bruton's tyrosine kinase, or BTK for short, to survive. The drug ibrutinib (Imbruvica) is used to treat B-cell cancers by blocking BTK. The BTK protein consists of several regions. One of them, known as the kinase domain, is responsible for its activity as an enzyme (which allows it to modify other proteins by adding a 'tag' known as a phosphate group). The other regions of BTK, known as regulatory modules, control this activity. In BTK's inactive form, the regulatory modules attach to the kinase domain, blocking the regulatory modules from interacting with other proteins. When BTK is activated, it changes its conformation so the regulatory regions detach and become available for interactions with other proteins, at the same time exposing the active kinase domain. Ibrutinib and other BTK drugs in development bind to the kinase domain to block its activity. However, it is not known how this binding affects the regulatory modules. Previous efforts to study how drugs bind to BTK have used a version of the protein that only had the kinase domain, instead of the full-length protein. Now, Joseph et al. have studied full-length BTK and how it binds to five different drugs. The results reveal that ibrutinib and another drug called dasatinib both indirectly disrupt the normal position of the regulatory domains pushing BTK toward a conformation that resembles the activated state. By contrast, the three other compounds studied do not affect the inactive structure. Joseph et al. also examined a mutation in BTK that confers resistance against ibrutinib. This mutation increases the activity of BTK by disrupting the inactive structure, leading to B cells surviving better. Understanding how drug resistance mechanisms can work will lead to better drug treatment strategies for cancer. BTK is also a target in other diseases such as allergies or asthma and even COVID-19. If interactions between partner proteins and the regulatory domain are important in these diseases, then they may be better treated with drugs that maintain the regulatory modules in their inactive state. This research will help to design drugs that are better able to control BTK activity.

Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase/antagonists & inhibitors , Catalytic Domain , Protein Conformation/drug effects , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Adenine/analogs & derivatives , Adenine/chemistry , Adenine/metabolism , Adenine/pharmacology , Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase/chemistry , Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Dasatinib/chemistry , Dasatinib/metabolism , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Humans , Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell/genetics , Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell/prevention & control , Models, Molecular , Molecular Structure , Mutation , Piperidines/chemistry , Piperidines/metabolism , Piperidines/pharmacology , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , src Homology Domains/genetics