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1.
J Virol ; 96(17): e0114022, 2022 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001778

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants were first detected in November 2021, and several Omicron lineages (BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, and BA.5) have since rapidly emerged. Studies characterizing the mechanisms of Omicron variant infection and sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies induced upon vaccination are ongoing by several groups. In the present study, we used pseudoviruses to show that the transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) enhances infection of BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, and BA.3 Omicron variants to a lesser extent than ancestral D614G. We further show that Omicron variants have higher sensitivity to inhibition by soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the endosomal inhibitor chloroquine compared to D614G. The Omicron variants also more efficiently used ACE2 receptors from 9 out of 10 animal species tested, and unlike the D614G variant, used mouse ACE2 due to the Q493R and Q498R spike substitutions. Finally, neutralization of the Omicron variants by antibodies induced by three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was 7- to 8-fold less potent than the D614G. These results provide insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread. IMPORTANCE The ongoing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants with an extensive number of spike mutations poses a significant public health and zoonotic concern due to enhanced transmission fitness and escape from neutralizing antibodies. We studied three Omicron lineage variants (BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3) and found that transmembrane serine protease 2 has less influence on Omicron entry into cells than on D614G, and Omicron exhibits greater sensitivity to endosomal entry inhibition compared to D614G. In addition, Omicron displays more efficient usage of diverse animal species ACE2 receptors than D614G. Furthermore, due to Q493R/Q498R substitutions in spike, Omicron, but not D614G, can use the mouse ACE2 receptor. Finally, three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination elicit high neutralization titers against Omicron variants, although the neutralization titers are still 7- to 8-fold lower those that against D614G. These results may give insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine/administration & dosage , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Evasion/immunology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
2.
Theranostics ; 12(12): 5522-5536, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1975299

ABSTRACT

Objective: Nobody knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end or when and where the next coronavirus will outbreak. Therefore, it is still necessary to develop SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors for different variants or even the new coronavirus. Since SARS-CoV-2 uses its surface spike-protein to recognize hACE2, mediating its entry into cells, ligands that can specifically recognize the spike-protein have the potential to prevent infection. Methods: We have recently discovered DNA aptamers against the S2-domain of the WT spike-protein by exploiting the selection process called SELEX. After optimization, among all candidates, the aptamer S2A2C1 has the shortest sequence and the best binding affinity toward the S2-protein. More importantly, the S2A2C1 aptamer does not bind to the RBD of the spike-protein, but it efficiently blocks the spike-protein/hACE2 interaction, suggesting an RBD-independent inhibition approach. To further improve its performance, we conjugated the S2A2C1 aptamer with a reported anti-RBD aptamer, S1B6C3, using various linkers and constructed hetero-bivalent fusion aptamers. Binding affinities of mono and fusion aptamers against the spike-proteins were measured. The inhibition efficacies of mono and fusion aptamers to prevent the hACE2/spike-protein interaction were determined using ELISA. Results: Anti-spike-protein aptamers, including S2A2C1 and S1B6C3-A5-S2A2C1, maintained high binding affinity toward the WT, Delta, and Omicron spike-proteins and high inhibition efficacies to prevent them from binding to hACE2, rendering them well-suited as diagnostic and therapeutic molecular tools to target SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Conclusions: Overall, we discovered the anti-S2 aptamer, S2A2C1, which inhibits the hACE2/spike-protein interaction via an RBD-independent approach. The anti-S2 and anti-RBD aptamers were conjugated to obtain the fusion aptamer, S1B6C3-A5-S2A2C1, which recognizes the spike-protein by an RBD-dependent approach. Our strategies, which discovered aptamer inhibitors targeting the highly conserved S2-protein, as well as the design of fusion aptamers, can be used to target new coronaviruses as they emerge.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Aptamers, Nucleotide , COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Aptamers, Nucleotide/immunology , Aptamers, Nucleotide/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 50(5): 2509-2521, 2022 03 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722548

ABSTRACT

Upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, viral intermediates specifically activate the IFN response through MDA5-mediated sensing and accordingly induce ADAR1 p150 expression, which might lead to viral A-to-I RNA editing. Here, we developed an RNA virus-specific editing identification pipeline, surveyed 7622 RNA-seq data from diverse types of samples infected with SARS-CoV-2, and constructed an atlas of A-to-I RNA editing sites in SARS-CoV-2. We found that A-to-I editing was dynamically regulated, varied between tissue and cell types, and was correlated with the intensity of innate immune response. On average, 91 editing events were deposited at viral dsRNA intermediates per sample. Moreover, editing hotspots were observed, including recoding sites in the spike gene that affect viral infectivity and antigenicity. Finally, we provided evidence that RNA editing accelerated SARS-CoV-2 evolution in humans during the epidemic. Our study highlights the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to hijack components of the host antiviral machinery to edit its genome and fuel its evolution, and also provides a framework and resource for studying viral RNA editing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , RNA Editing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adenosine Deaminase/genetics , Adenosine Deaminase/immunology , Adenosine Deaminase/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Base Sequence , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Gene Expression/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/genetics , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/immunology , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/metabolism , Mutation , Protein Binding , RNA Editing/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/immunology , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
J Virol ; 96(4): e0196921, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702819

ABSTRACT

Unlike SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, infection with SARS-CoV-2, the viral pathogen responsible for COVID-19, is often associated with neurologic symptoms that range from mild to severe, yet increasing evidence argues the virus does not exhibit extensive neuroinvasive properties. We demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can infect and replicate in human iPSC-derived neurons and that infection shows limited antiviral and inflammatory responses but increased activation of EIF2 signaling following infection as determined by RNA sequencing. Intranasal infection of K18 human ACE2 transgenic mice (K18-hACE2) with SARS-CoV-2 resulted in lung pathology associated with viral replication and immune cell infiltration. In addition, ∼50% of infected mice exhibited CNS infection characterized by wide-spread viral replication in neurons accompanied by increased expression of chemokine (Cxcl9, Cxcl10, Ccl2, Ccl5 and Ccl19) and cytokine (Ifn-λ and Tnf-α) transcripts associated with microgliosis and a neuroinflammatory response consisting primarily of monocytes/macrophages. Microglia depletion via administration of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor inhibitor, PLX5622, in SARS-CoV-2 infected mice did not affect survival or viral replication but did result in dampened expression of proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine transcripts and a reduction in monocyte/macrophage infiltration. These results argue that microglia are dispensable in terms of controlling SARS-CoV-2 replication in in the K18-hACE2 model but do contribute to an inflammatory response through expression of pro-inflammatory genes. Collectively, these findings contribute to previous work demonstrating the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect neurons as well as emphasizing the potential use of the K18-hACE2 model to study immunological and neuropathological aspects related to SARS-CoV-2-induced neurologic disease. IMPORTANCE Understanding the immunological mechanisms contributing to both host defense and disease following viral infection of the CNS is of critical importance given the increasing number of viruses that are capable of infecting and replicating within the nervous system. With this in mind, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the role of microglia in aiding in host defense following experimental infection of the central nervous system (CNS) of K18-hACE2 with SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Neurologic symptoms that range in severity are common in COVID-19 patients and understanding immune responses that contribute to restricting neurologic disease can provide important insight into better understanding consequences associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection of the CNS.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases/immunology , Microglia/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Central Nervous System/immunology , Central Nervous System/virology , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases/genetics , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases/virology , Chemokines/genetics , Chemokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Microglia/virology , Neurons/immunology , Neurons/virology , Virus Replication/genetics
6.
Acta Neuropathol Commun ; 10(1): 14, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690864

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with an increased risk of thrombotic events. Ischemic stroke in COVID-19 patients entails high severity and mortality rates. Here we aimed to analyze cerebral thrombi of COVID-19 patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO) acute ischemic stroke to expose molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in the thrombus and to unravel any peculiar immune-thrombotic features. We conducted a systematic pathological analysis of cerebral thrombi retrieved by endovascular thrombectomy in patients with LVO stroke infected with COVID-19 (n = 7 patients) and non-covid LVO controls (n = 23). In thrombi of COVID-19 patients, the SARS-CoV-2 docking receptor ACE2 was mainly expressed in monocytes/macrophages and showed higher expression levels compared to controls. Using polymerase chain reaction and sequencing, we detected SARS-CoV-2 Clade20A, in the thrombus of one COVID-19 patient. Comparing thrombus composition of COVID-19 and control patients, we noted no overt differences in terms of red blood cells, fibrin, neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), von Willebrand Factor (vWF), platelets and complement complex C5b-9. However, thrombi of COVID-19 patients showed increased neutrophil density (MPO+ cells) and a three-fold higher Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio (tNLR). In the ROC analysis both neutrophils and tNLR had a good discriminative ability to differentiate thrombi of COVID-19 patients from controls. In summary, cerebral thrombi of COVID-19 patients can harbor SARS-CoV2 and are characterized by an increased neutrophil number and tNLR and higher ACE2 expression. These findings suggest neutrophils as the possible culprit in COVID-19-related thrombosis.


Subject(s)
Brain Ischemia/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular/physiology , Intracranial Thrombosis/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Stroke/immunology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Brain Ischemia/blood , Brain Ischemia/genetics , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/genetics , Female , Humans , Intracranial Thrombosis/blood , Intracranial Thrombosis/genetics , Male , Mechanical Thrombolysis/methods , Middle Aged , Neutrophils/metabolism , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Stroke/blood , Stroke/genetics
7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 796094, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690446

ABSTRACT

It is still controversial whether chronic lung inflammation increases the risk for COVID-19. One of the risk factors for acquiring COVID-19 is the level of expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors, ACE2 and TMPRSS2, in lung tissue. It is, however, not clear how lung tissue inflammation affects expression levels of these receptors. We hence aimed to determine the level of SARS-CoV-2 receptors in lung tissue of asthmatic relative to age, gender, and asthma severity, and to investigate the factors regulating that. Therefore, gene expression data sets of well-known asthmatic cohorts (SARP and U-BIOPRED) were used to evaluate the association of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 with age, gender of the asthmatic patients, and also the type of the underlying lung tissue inflammatory cytokines. Notably, ACE2 and to less extent TMPRSS2 expression were upregulated in the lung tissue of asthmatics compared to healthy controls. Although a differential expression of ACE2, but not TMPRSS2 was observed relative to age within the moderate and severe asthma groups, our data suggest that age may not be a key regulatory factor of its expression. The type of tissue inflammation, however, associated significantly with ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels following adjusting with age, gender and oral corticosteroids use of the patient. Type I cytokine (IFN-γ), IL-8, and IL-19 were associated with increased expression, while Type II cytokines (IL-4 and IL-13) with lower expression of ACE2 in lung tissue (airway epithelium and/or lung biopsies) of moderate and severe asthmatic patients. Of note, IL-19 was associated with ACE2 expression while IL-17 was associated with TMPRSS2 expression in sputum of asthmatic subjects. In vitro treatment of bronchial fibroblasts with IL-17 and IL-19 cytokines confirmed the regulatory effect of these cytokines on SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors. Our results suggest that the type of inflammation may regulate ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression in the lung tissue of asthmatics and may hence affect susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Asthma/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Lung/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Serine Endopeptidases/immunology
8.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687060

ABSTRACT

Mathematical modelling of infection processes in cells is of fundamental interest. It helps to understand the SARS-CoV-2 dynamics in detail and can be useful to define the vulnerability steps targeted by antiviral treatments. We previously developed a deterministic mathematical model of the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle in a single cell. Despite answering many questions, it certainly cannot accurately account for the stochastic nature of an infection process caused by natural fluctuation in reaction kinetics and the small abundance of participating components in a single cell. In the present work, this deterministic model is transformed into a stochastic one based on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. This model is employed to compute statistical characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle including the probability for a non-degenerate infection process. Varying parameters of the model enables us to unveil the inhibitory effects of IFN and the effects of the ACE2 binding affinity. The simulation results show that the type I IFN response has a very strong effect on inhibition of the total viral progeny whereas the effect of a 10-fold variation of the binding rate to ACE2 turns out to be negligible for the probability of infection and viral production.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Interferon Type I/immunology , Models, Theoretical , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Computer Simulation , Humans , Kinetics , Life Cycle Stages , Markov Chains , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Stochastic Processes
9.
Front Immunol ; 12: 830527, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686478

ABSTRACT

The new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern "Omicron" was recently spotted in South Africa and spread quickly around the world due to its enhanced transmissibility. The variant became conspicuous as it harbors more than 30 mutations in the Spike protein with 15 mutations in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) alone, potentially dampening the potency of therapeutic antibodies and enhancing the ACE2 binding. More worrying, Omicron infections have been reported in vaccinees in South Africa and Hong Kong, and that post-vaccination sera poorly neutralize the new variant. Here, we investigated the binding strength of Omicron with ACE2 and monoclonal antibodies that are either approved by the FDA for COVID-19 therapy or undergoing phase III clinical trials. Computational mutagenesis and free energy perturbation could confirm that Omicron RBD binds ACE2 ~2.5 times stronger than prototype SARS-CoV-2. Notably, three substitutions, i.e., T478K, Q493K, and Q498R, significantly contribute to the binding energies and almost doubled the electrostatic potential (ELE) of the RBDOmic-ACE2 complex. Omicron also harbors E484A substitution instead of the E484K that helped neutralization escape of Beta, Gamma, and Mu variants. Together, T478K, Q493K, Q498R, and E484A substitutions contribute to a significant drop in the ELE between RBDOmic-mAbs, particularly in etesevimab, bamlanivimab, and CT-p59. AZD1061 showed a slight drop in ELE and sotrovimab that binds a conserved epitope on the RBD; therefore, it could be used as a cocktail therapy in Omicron-driven COVID-19. In conclusion, we suggest that the Spike mutations prudently devised by the virus facilitate the receptor binding, weakening the mAbs binding to escape the immune response.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation, Missense , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
11.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674825

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell immunity is expected to counteract viral variants in both efficient and durable ways. We recently described a way to induce a potent SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T immune response through the generation of engineered extracellular vesicles (EVs) emerging from muscle cells. This method relies on intramuscular injection of DNA vectors expressing different SARS-CoV-2 antigens fused at their N-terminus with the Nefmut protein, i.e., a very efficient EV-anchoring protein. However, quality, tissue distribution, and efficacy of these SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells remained uninvestigated. To fill the gaps, antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes induced by the immunization through the Nefmut-based method were characterized in terms of their polyfunctionality and localization at lung airways, i.e., the primary targets of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that injection of vectors expressing Nefmut/S1 and Nefmut/N generated polyfunctional CD8+ T lymphocytes in both spleens and bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (BALFs). When immunized mice were infected with 4.4 lethal doses of 50% of SARS-CoV-2, all S1-immunized mice succumbed, whereas those developing the highest percentages of N-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes resisted the lethal challenge. We also provide evidence that the N-specific immunization coupled with the development of antigen-specific CD8+ T-resident memory cells in lungs, supporting the idea that the Nefmut-based immunization can confer a long-lasting, lung-specific immune memory. In view of the limitations of current anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in terms of antibody waning and efficiency against variants, our CD8+ T cell-based platform could be considered for a new combination prophylactic strategy.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Extracellular Vesicles/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antigens, Viral/administration & dosage , Antigens, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Genetic Vectors/administration & dosage , Genetic Vectors/immunology , Humans , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Vaccination
12.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263684, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674018

ABSTRACT

Since the SARS-CoV-2 infection was identified in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 infection has rapidly spread worldwide and has become a significant pandemic disease. In addition, human death and serious health problem caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, the socio-economic impact has been very serious. Here, we describe the development of the viral vector vaccine, which is the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 expressed on the surface of Newcastle disease virus (LVP-K1-RBD19). The RBD protein concentrations on the viral surface were measured by the sandwich ELISA method. 106.7 TCID50/ml of LVP-K1-RBD19 has a 0.17 µg of RBD protein. Optical density (OD) values of mouse sera inoculated with 10 µg of RBD protein expressed on the surface of LVP-K1-RBD19 generated 1.78-fold higher RBD-specific antibody titers than mice inoculated with 10 µg RBD protein with alum at 28 dpi. Moreover, mice inoculated with 10 µg of RBD protein expressed on the surface of LVP-K1-RBD19 virus showed more than 80% neutralization at 1:256 against the SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. These results demonstrated that inactivated LVP-K1-RBD19 virus produces neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in a short period and could be elect protective immunity in humans and LVP-K1-RBD19 will be a good candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Newcastle disease virus/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Newcastle disease virus/genetics , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
14.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 1727, 2022 02 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671625

ABSTRACT

As the first dose of Gam-COVID-Vac, is currently used as a single dose vaccine in some countries, we investigated the immunogenicity of this at 4 weeks (327 naïve individuals). 88.7% seroconverted, with significantly lower seroconversion rates in those over 60 years (p = 0.004) and significantly lower than previously seen with AZD1222 (p = 0.018). 82.6% developed ACE2 receptor blocking antibodies, although levels were significantly lower than following natural infection (p = 0.0009) and a single dose of AZD1222 (p < 0.0001). Similar titres of antibodies were observed to the receptor binding domain of WT, B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2 compared to AZD1222, while the levels for B.1.351 were significantly higher (p = 0.006) for Gam-COVID-Vac. 30% developed ex vivo IFNγ ELISpot responses (significantly lower than AZD1222), and high frequency of CD107a expressing T cells along with memory B cell responses. Although single dose of Gam-COVID-Vac was highly immunogenic, administration of a second dose is likely to be beneficial.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Lymphocytes/immunology , Lymphocytes/metabolism , Lymphocytes/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Seroconversion , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Young Adult
15.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 23, 2022 01 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655541
16.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262657, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639087

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Tests for SARS-CoV-2 immunity are needed to help assess responses to vaccination, which can be heterogeneous and may wane over time. The plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is considered the gold standard for measuring serum neutralizing antibodies but requires high level biosafety, live viral cultures and days to complete. We hypothesized that competitive enzyme linked immunoassays (ELISAs) based on SARS-CoV-2 spike protein's receptor binding domain (RBD) attachment to its host receptor, the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor (ACE2r), would correlate with PRNT, given the central role of RBD-ACE2r interactions in infection and published studies to date, and enable evaluation of vaccine responses. METHODS AND RESULTS: Configuration and development of a competitive ELISA with plate-bound RBD and soluble biotinylated ACE2r was accomplished using pairs of pre/post vaccine serum. When the competitive ELISA was used to evaluate N = 32 samples from COVID-19 patients previously tested by PRNT, excellent correlation in IC50 results were observed (rs = .83, p < 0.0001). When the competitive ELISA was used to evaluate N = 42 vaccinated individuals and an additional N = 13 unvaccinated recovered COVID-19 patients, significant differences in RBD-ACE2r inhibitory activity were associated with prior history of COVID-19 and type of vaccine received. In longitudinal analyses pre and up to 200 days post vaccine, surrogate neutralizing activity increased markedly after primary and booster vaccine doses, but fell substantially, up to <12% maximal levels within 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: A competitive ELISA based on inhibition of RBD-ACE2r attachment correlates well with PRNT, quantifies significantly higher activity among vaccine recipients with prior COVID (vs. those without), and highlights marked declines in surrogate neutralizing activity over a 6 month period post vaccination. The findings raise concern about the duration of vaccine responses and potential need for booster shots.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , /immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Male , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , /administration & dosage
17.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 405, 2022 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631967

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the pandemic of the coronavirus induced disease 2019 (COVID-19) with evolving variants of concern. It remains urgent to identify novel approaches against broad strains of SARS-CoV-2, which infect host cells via the entry receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Herein, we report an increase in circulating extracellular vesicles (EVs) that express ACE2 (evACE2) in plasma of COVID-19 patients, which levels are associated with severe pathogenesis. Importantly, evACE2 isolated from human plasma or cells neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 infection by competing with cellular ACE2. Compared to vesicle-free recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2), evACE2 shows a 135-fold higher potency in blocking the binding of the viral spike protein RBD, and a 60- to 80-fold higher efficacy in preventing infections by both pseudotyped and authentic SARS-CoV-2. Consistently, evACE2 protects the hACE2 transgenic mice from SARS-CoV-2-induced lung injury and mortality. Furthermore, evACE2 inhibits the infection of SARS-CoV-2 variants (α, ß, and δ) with equal or higher potency than for the wildtype strain, supporting a broad-spectrum antiviral mechanism of evACE2 for therapeutic development to block the infection of existing and future coronaviruses that use the ACE2 receptor.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Vesicles/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Extracellular Vesicles/genetics , Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Survival Analysis , Vero Cells
18.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625815

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, a member of the coronavirus family, is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there is still an urgent need in developing an efficient therapeutic intervention. In this study, we aimed at evaluating the therapeutic effect of a single intranasal treatment of the TLR3/MDA5 synthetic agonist Poly(I:C) against a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice. We demonstrate here that early Poly(I:C) treatment acts synergistically with SARS-CoV-2 to induce an intense, immediate and transient upregulation of innate immunity-related genes in lungs. This effect is accompanied by viral load reduction, lung and brain cytokine storms prevention and increased levels of macrophages and NK cells, resulting in 83% mice survival, concomitantly with long-term immunization. Thus, priming the lung innate immunity by Poly(I:C) or alike may provide an immediate, efficient and safe protective measure against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Innate , Poly I-C/immunology , Poly I-C/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Toll-Like Receptor 3/agonists , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Toll-Like Receptor 3/immunology , Viral Load/drug effects
19.
J Extracell Vesicles ; 11(1): e12179, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605805

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry is mediated by the interaction of the viral spike (S) protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the host cell surface. Although a clinical trial testing soluble ACE2 (sACE2) for COVID-19 is currently ongoing, our understanding of the delivery of sACE2 via small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) is still rudimentary. With excellent biocompatibility allowing for the effective delivery of molecular cargos, sEVs are broadly studied as nanoscale protein carriers. In order to exploit the potential of sEVs, we design truncated CD9 scaffolds to display sACE2 on the sEV surface as a decoy receptor for the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, to enhance the sACE2-S binding interaction, we employ sACE2 variants. sACE2-loaded sEVs exhibit typical sEVs characteristics and bind to the S protein. Furthermore, engineered sEVs inhibit the entry of wild-type (WT), the globally dominant D614G variant, Beta (K417N-E484K-N501Y) variant, and Delta (L452R-T478K-D614G) variant SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, and protect against authentic SARS-CoV-2 and Delta variant infection. Of note, sACE2 variants harbouring sEVs show superior antiviral efficacy than WT sACE2 loaded sEVs. Therapeutic efficacy of the engineered sEVs against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was confirmed using K18-hACE2 mice. The current findings provide opportunities for the development of new sEVs-based antiviral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Vesicles/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
20.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 208-211, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598042

ABSTRACT

We performed an annotation of 35 mutations in the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Our analysis of the mutations indicates that Omicron has gained prominent immune evasion and potential for enhanced transmissibility. Previous modeling study has revealed that continued evolution in both immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility by SARS-CoV-2 would compromise vaccines as tools for the pandemic control. To combat the future variants of SARS-CoV-2, the world needs novel antiviral drugs that are effective at curb viral spreading without introducing additional selective pressure towards resistant variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Design/methods , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Binding Sites , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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