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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(19)2021 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438627


The ongoing pandemic coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) by severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has already caused substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic devastation. Reverse genetic approaches to generate recombinant viruses are a powerful tool to characterize and understand newly emerging viruses. To contribute to the global efforts for countermeasures to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, we developed a passage-free SARS-CoV-2 clone based on a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). Moreover, using a Lambda-based Red recombination, we successfully generated different reporter and marker viruses, which replicated similar to a clinical isolate in a cell culture. Moreover, we designed a full-length reporter virus encoding an additional artificial open reading frame with wild-type-like replication features. The virus-encoded reporters were successfully applied to ease antiviral testing in cell culture models. Furthermore, we designed a new marker virus encoding 3xFLAG-tagged nucleocapsid that allows the detection of incoming viral particles and, in combination with bio-orthogonal labeling for the visualization of viral RNA synthesis via click chemistry, the spatiotemporal tracking of viral replication on the single-cell level. In summary, by applying BAC-based Red recombination, we developed a powerful, reliable, and convenient platform that will facilitate studies answering numerous questions concerning the biology of SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular/methods , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mutagenesis , Plasmids/genetics , Recombination, Genetic , Vero Cells
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250610, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207634


To stop the COVID-19 pandemic due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which caused more than 2.5 million deaths to date, new antiviral molecules are urgently needed. The replication of SARS-CoV-2 requires the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), making RdRp an excellent target for antiviral agents. RdRp is a multi-subunit complex composed of 3 viral proteins named nsp7, nsp8 and nsp12 that ensure the ~30 kb RNA genome's transcription and replication. The main strategies employed so far for the overproduction of RdRp consist of expressing and purifying the three subunits separately before assembling the complex in vitro. However, nsp12 shows limited solubility in bacterial expression systems and is often produced in insect cells. Here, we describe an alternative strategy to co-express the full SARS-CoV-2 RdRp in E. coli, using a single plasmid. Characterization of the purified recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RdRp shows that it forms a complex with the expected (nsp7)(nsp8)2(nsp12) stoichiometry. RNA polymerization activity was measured using primer-extension assays showing that the purified enzyme is functional. The purification protocol can be achieved in one single day, surpassing in speed all other published protocols. Our construct is ideally suited for screening RdRp and its variants against very large chemical compounds libraries and has been made available to the scientific community through the Addgene plasmid depository (Addgene ID: 165451).

Cloning, Molecular , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Escherichia coli/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular/methods , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/isolation & purification , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
J Med Virol ; 92(10): 2114-2123, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-777547


The present study provides the first multiepitope vaccine construct using the 3CL hydrolase protein of SARS-CoV-2. The coronavirus 3CL hydrolase (Mpro) enzyme is essential for proteolytic maturation of the virus. This study was based on immunoinformatics and structural vaccinology strategies. The design of the multiepitope vaccine was built using helper T-cell and cytotoxic T-cell epitopes from the 3CL hydrolase protein along with an adjuvant to enhance immune response; these are joined to each other by short peptide linkers. The vaccine also carries potential B-cell linear epitope regions, B-cell discontinuous epitopes, and interferon-γ-inducing epitopes. Epitopes of the constructed multiepitope vaccine were found to be antigenic, nonallergic, nontoxic, and covering large human populations worldwide. The vaccine construct was modeled, validated, and refined by different programs to achieve a high-quality three-dimensional structure. The resulting high-quality model was applied for conformational B-cell epitope selection and docking analyses with toll-like receptor-3 for understanding the capability of the vaccine to elicit an immune response. In silico cloning and codon adaptation were also performed with the pET-19b plasmid vector. The designed multiepitope peptide vaccine may prompt the development of a vaccine to control SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Toll-Like Receptor 3/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Binding Sites , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Cloning, Molecular/methods , Computational Biology/methods , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/immunology , HLA Antigens/chemistry , HLA Antigens/genetics , HLA Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/chemistry , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/virology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/chemistry , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/virology , Toll-Like Receptor 3/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 3/genetics , User-Computer Interface , Vaccines, Subunit
Med Sci (Paris) ; 36(8-9): 797-802, 2020.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-703389


SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2, which emerged in China at the end of 2019, is responsible for a global health crisis resulting in the confinement of more than 3 billion people worldwide and the sharp decline of the world economy. In this context, a race against the clock is launched in order to develop a treatment to stop the pandemic as soon as possible. A study published in Nature by the Volker Thiel team reports the development of reverse genetics for SARS-CoV-2 allowing them to recreate the virus in just a few weeks. The perspectives of this work are very interesting since it will allow the genetic manipulation of the virus and thus the development of precious tools which will be useful to fight the infection. Even though this approach represents a technological leap that will improve our knowledge of the virus, it also carries the germ of possible misuse and the creation of the virus for malicious purposes. The advantages and disadvantages of recreating SARS-CoV-2 in this pandemic period are discussed in this mini-synthesis.

TITLE: Une course contre la montre - Création du SARS-CoV-2 en laboratoire, un mois après son émergence ! ABSTRACT: Le SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2), qui a émergé à la fin de l'année 2019 en République populaire de Chine, est responsable d'une crise sanitaire mondiale qui a entraîné le confinement de plus de 3 milliards d'individus et l'arrêt brutal de l'économie planétaire. Dans ce contexte, une course contre la montre est lancée afin de développer, dans les plus brefs délais, un traitement permettant d'enrayer la pandémie. Une étude de l'équipe de Volker Thiel, parue dans le journal Nature, rapporte la mise au point d'une technique de génétique inverse pour le SARS-CoV-2, leur ayant permis de recréer le virus en seulement quelques semaines. Les perspectives de ces travaux sont très intéressantes puisqu'elles permettent d'envisager la manipulation génétique du virus et ainsi le développement d'outils précieux qui seront utiles pour combattre l'infection. Si la technique représente également un saut technologique qui permettra d'améliorer nos connaissances sur le virus, elle porte aussi en elle le germe d'un possible mésusage et la création d'un virus à des fins malveillantes. Les avantages et inconvénients de recréer le SARS-CoV-2 dans cette période de pandémie sont discutés dans cet article.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Organisms, Genetically Modified , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Reverse Genetics/methods , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Biohazard Release , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Chromosomes, Artificial, Yeast , Cloning, Molecular/methods , Coronaviridae/classification , Coronaviridae/genetics , Coronaviridae/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , DNA, Complementary/genetics , Host Specificity , Humans , Organisms, Genetically Modified/genetics , Organisms, Genetically Modified/pathogenicity , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/genetics , Recombination, Genetic , Risk , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Vaccines
Nature ; 582(7813): 561-565, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-164589


Reverse genetics has been an indispensable tool to gain insights into viral pathogenesis and vaccine development. The genomes of large RNA viruses, such as those from coronaviruses, are cumbersome to clone and manipulate in Escherichia coli owing to the size and occasional instability of the genome1-3. Therefore, an alternative rapid and robust reverse-genetics platform for RNA viruses would benefit the research community. Here we show the full functionality of a yeast-based synthetic genomics platform to genetically reconstruct diverse RNA viruses, including members of the Coronaviridae, Flaviviridae and Pneumoviridae families. Viral subgenomic fragments were generated using viral isolates, cloned viral DNA, clinical samples or synthetic DNA, and these fragments were then reassembled in one step in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using transformation-associated recombination cloning to maintain the genome as a yeast artificial chromosome. T7 RNA polymerase was then used to generate infectious RNA to rescue viable virus. Using this platform, we were able to engineer and generate chemically synthesized clones of the virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)4, which has caused the recent pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in only a week after receipt of the synthetic DNA fragments. The technical advance that we describe here facilitates rapid responses to emerging viruses as it enables the real-time generation and functional characterization of evolving RNA virus variants during an outbreak.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Cloning, Molecular/methods , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Reverse Genetics/methods , Synthetic Biology/methods , Animals , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chromosomes, Artificial, Yeast/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Respiratory Syncytial Viruses/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Zika Virus/genetics