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Front Immunol ; 12: 729837, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450810


We have developed a dual-antigen COVID-19 vaccine incorporating genes for a modified SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S-Fusion) and the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein with an Enhanced T-cell Stimulation Domain (N-ETSD) to increase the potential for MHC class II responses. The vaccine antigens are delivered by a human adenovirus serotype 5 platform, hAd5 [E1-, E2b-, E3-], previously demonstrated to be effective in the presence of Ad immunity. Vaccination of rhesus macaques with the hAd5 S-Fusion + N-ETSD vaccine by subcutaneous prime injection followed by two oral boosts elicited neutralizing anti-S IgG and T helper cell 1-biased T-cell responses to both S and N that protected the upper and lower respiratory tracts from high titer (1 x 106 TCID50) SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Notably, viral replication was inhibited within 24 hours of challenge in both lung and nasal passages, becoming undetectable within 7 days post-challenge.

COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adenoviruses, Human/genetics , Adenoviruses, Human/immunology , Adenoviruses, Human/metabolism , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/blood , Immunization, Secondary/methods , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Lung/virology , Macaca mulatta , Nose/virology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , Vaccination , Virus Replication/immunology
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441885


Viral proteases are indispensable for successful virion maturation, thus making them a prominent drug target. Their enzyme activity is tightly spatiotemporally regulated by expression in the precursor form with little or no activity, followed by activation via autoprocessing. These cleavage events are frequently triggered upon transportation to a specific compartment inside the host cell. Typically, precursor oligomerization or the presence of a co-factor is needed for activation. A detailed understanding of these mechanisms will allow ligands with non-canonical mechanisms of action to be designed, which would specifically modulate the initial irreversible steps of viral protease autoactivation. Binding sites exclusive to the precursor, including binding sites beyond the protease domain, can be exploited. Both inhibition and up-regulation of the proteolytic activity of viral proteases can be detrimental for the virus. All these possibilities are discussed using examples of medically relevant viruses including herpesviruses, adenoviruses, retroviruses, picornaviruses, caliciviruses, togaviruses, flaviviruses, and coronaviruses.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Proteases/metabolism , Virus Diseases/drug therapy , Adenoviruses, Human/drug effects , Adenoviruses, Human/metabolism , Flavivirus/drug effects , Flavivirus/metabolism , HIV-1/drug effects , Herpesviridae/drug effects , Herpesviridae/metabolism , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteases/biosynthesis
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(3)2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003394


Human adenovirus species D (HAdV-D) types are currently being explored as vaccine vectors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other severe infectious diseases. The efficacy of such vector-based vaccines depends on functional interactions with receptors on host cells. Adenoviruses of different species are assumed to enter host cells mainly by interactions between the knob domain of the protruding fiber capsid protein and cellular receptors. Using a cell-based receptor-screening assay, we identified CD46 as a receptor for HAdV-D56. The function of CD46 was validated in infection experiments using cells lacking and overexpressing CD46, and by competition infection experiments using soluble CD46. Remarkably, unlike HAdV-B types that engage CD46 through interactions with the knob domain of the fiber protein, HAdV-D types infect host cells through a direct interaction between CD46 and the hexon protein. Soluble hexon proteins (but not fiber knob) inhibited HAdV-D56 infection, and surface plasmon analyses demonstrated that CD46 binds to HAdV-D hexon (but not fiber knob) proteins. Cryoelectron microscopy analysis of the HAdV-D56 virion-CD46 complex confirmed the interaction and showed that CD46 binds to the central cavity of hexon trimers. Finally, soluble CD46 inhibited infection by 16 out of 17 investigated HAdV-D types, suggesting that CD46 is an important receptor for a large group of adenoviruses. In conclusion, this study identifies a noncanonical entry mechanism used by human adenoviruses, which adds to the knowledge of adenovirus biology and can also be useful for development of adenovirus-based vaccine vectors.

Adenoviruses, Human , COVID-19 Vaccines , Capsid Proteins , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Internalization , Adenoviruses, Human/genetics , Adenoviruses, Human/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/metabolism , Capsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Capsid Proteins/genetics , Cell Line , Humans