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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(4): e0078122, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938014

ABSTRACT

The emergence and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by the occurrence of diverse sets of mutations that affect virus characteristics, including transmissibility and antigenicity. Recent studies have focused mostly on spike protein mutations; however, SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest (VoI) or concern (VoC) contain significant mutations in the nucleocapsid protein as well. To study the relevance of mutations at the virion level, recombinant baculovirus expression system-based virus-like particles (VLPs) were generated for the prototype Wuhan sequence along with spike protein mutants like D614G and G1124V and the significant RG203KR mutation in nucleocapsid. All four structural proteins were assembled in a particle for which the morphology and size, confirmed by transmission electron microscopy, closely resembled that of the native virion. The VLP harboring RG203KR mutations in nucleocapsid exhibited augmentation of humoral immune responses and enhanced neutralization by immunized mouse sera. Results demonstrate a noninfectious platform to quickly assess the implication of mutations in structural proteins of the emerging variant. IMPORTANCE Since its origin in late 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been constantly mutating and evolving. Current studies mostly employ spike protein (S) pseudovirus systems to determine the effects of mutations on the infectivity and immunogenicity of variants. Despite its functional importance and emergence as a mutational hot spot, the nucleocapsid (N) protein has not been widely studied. The generation of SARS-CoV-2 VLPs in a baculoviral system in this study, with mutations in the S and N proteins, allowed examination of the involvement of all the structural proteins involved in viral entry and eliciting an immune response. This approach provides a platform to study the effect of mutations in structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 that potentially contribute to cell infectivity, immune response, and immune evasion, bypassing the use of infectious virus for the same analyses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Mice , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Virion/genetics
2.
Biosci Rep ; 41(9)2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915305

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the global pandemic of the Coronavirus disease in late 2019 (COVID-19). Vaccine development efforts have predominantly been aimed at 'Extra-viral' Spike (S) protein as vaccine vehicles, but there are concerns regarding 'viral immune escape' since multiple mutations may enable the mutated virus strains to escape from immunity against S protein. The 'Intra-viral' Nucleocapsid (N-protein) is relatively conserved among mutant strains of coronaviruses during spread and evolution. Herein, we demonstrate novel vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by using the whole conserved N-protein or its fragment/peptides. Using ELISA assay, we showed that high titers of specific anti-N antibodies (IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, IgM) were maintained for a reasonably long duration (> 5 months), suggesting that N-protein is an excellent immunogen to stimulate host immune system and robust B-cell activation. We synthesized three peptides located at the conserved regions of N-protein among CoVs. One peptide showed as a good immunogen for vaccination as well. Cytokine arrays on post-vaccination mouse sera showed progressive up-regulation of various cytokines such as IFN-γ and CCL5, suggesting that TH1 associated responses are also stimulated. Furthermore, vaccinated mice exhibited an elevated memory T cells population. Here, we propose an unconventional vaccine strategy targeting the conserved N-protein as an alternative vaccine target for coronaviruses. Moreover, we generated a mouse monoclonal antibody specifically against an epitope shared between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and we are currently developing the First-in-Class humanized anti-N-protein antibody to potentially treat patients infected by various CoVs in the future.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , Models, Animal , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology
3.
Clin Chim Acta ; 533: 42-47, 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1885664

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV2) is a global public health emergency. Age and gender are two important factors related to the risk and outcome of various diseases. Cycle threshold (Ct) value is believed to have relation with age and gender. OBJECTIVE: This study has been conducted to investigates the association between SARS-CoV-2 cycle threshold to age and gender of COVID-19 patients, to investigate whether the population-wide change of SARSCoV2 RTPCR Ct value over time is corelated to the number of new COVID19 cases and to investigate the dynamic of RdRp and N genes. METHODS: 72,811 individuals from second wave of COVID19, were observed in current study at Pure Health Lab, Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE. RESULTS: 15,201/72,811 (21 %) positivity was observed. COVID-19 were more prevalent in males (59.35%) as compared to female (40.65%). The Positivity rate were significantly higher in Male than in Female cases (p-Value = 0.04). The Ct values for both targets of all the samples were ranged from 4.57 to 29.73. Longitudinal analysis showed significant increased during the study period from starting to end as were hypothesized. Interestingly, both the targets (RdRp and N) were present in age < 1 year. Which may indicate that mutated strains are not prevalent in children's < 1 year. CONCLUSION: There was no statistically significant difference in viral loads in between age-groups. Males were tending to higher viral load compared to females. The findings have implications for preventive strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Age Distribution , Child , Female , Humans , Male , RNA, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sex Characteristics
4.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875802

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving with lineages emerging and others eclipsing. Some lineages have an important epidemiological impact and are known as variants of interest (VOIs), variants under monitoring (VUMs) or variants of concern (VOCs). Lineage A.27 was first defined as a VUM since it holds mutations of concern. Here, we report additional lineage A.27 data and sequences from five African countries and describe the molecular characteristics, and the genetic history of this lineage worldwide. Based on the new sequences investigated, the most recent ancestor (tMRCA) of lineage A.27 was estimated to be from April 2020 from Niger. It then spread to Europe and other parts of the world with a peak observed between February and April 2021. The detection rate of A.27 then decreased with only a few cases reported during summer 2021. The phylogenetic analysis revealed many sub-lineages. Among them, one was defined by the substitution Q677H in the spike (S) gene, one was defined by the substitution D358N in the nucleoprotein (N) gene and one was defined by the substitution A2143V in the ORF1b gene. This work highlights the importance of molecular characterization and the timely submission of sequences to correctly describe the circulation of particular strains in order to be proactive in monitoring the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(6)2022 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742485

ABSTRACT

The B and T lymphocytes of the adaptive immune system are important for the control of most viral infections, including COVID-19. Identification of epitopes recognized by these cells is fundamental for understanding how the immune system detects and removes pathogens, and for antiviral vaccine design. Intriguingly, several cross-reactive T lymphocyte epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 with other betacoronaviruses responsible for the common cold have been identified. In addition, antibodies that cross-recognize the spike protein, but not the nucleoprotein (N protein), from different betacoronavirus have also been reported. Using a consensus of eight bioinformatic methods for predicting B-cell epitopes and the collection of experimentally detected epitopes for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, we identified four surface-exposed, conserved, and hypothetical antigenic regions that are exclusive of the N protein. These regions were analyzed using ELISA assays with two cohorts: SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and pre-COVID-19 samples. Here we describe four epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 N protein that are recognized by the humoral response from multiple individuals infected with COVID-19, and are conserved in other human coronaviruses. Three of these linear surface-exposed sequences and their peptide homologs in SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43 were also recognized by antibodies from pre-COVID-19 serum samples, indicating cross-reactivity of antibodies against coronavirus N proteins. Different conserved human coronaviruses (HCoVs) cross-reactive B epitopes against SARS-CoV-2 N protein are detected in a significant fraction of individuals not exposed to this pandemic virus. These results have potential clinical implications.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitope Mapping/methods , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus OC43, Human/genetics , Coronavirus OC43, Human/physiology , Cross Reactions/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
7.
J Med Virol ; 94(4): 1606-1616, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718406

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has sparked the rapid development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) diagnostics. However, emerging variants pose the risk for target dropout and false-negative results secondary to primer/probe binding site (PBS) mismatches. The Agena MassARRAY® SARS-CoV-2 Panel combines reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass-spectrometry to probe for five targets across N and ORF1ab genes, which provides a robust platform to accommodate PBS mismatches in divergent viruses. Herein, we utilize a deidentified data set of 1262 SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens from Mount Sinai Health System (New York City) from December 2020 to April 2021 to evaluate target results and corresponding sequencing data. Overall, the level of PBS mismatches was greater in specimens with target dropout. Of specimens with N3 target dropout, 57% harbored an A28095T substitution that is highly specific for the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant of concern. These data highlight the benefit of redundancy in target design and the potential for target performance to illuminate the dynamics of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Polyproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
8.
J Mol Biol ; 434(9): 167516, 2022 05 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712817

ABSTRACT

Stress granule (SG) formation mediated by Ras GTPase-activating protein-binding protein 1 (G3BP1) constitutes a key obstacle for viral replication, which makes G3BP1 a frequent target for viruses. For instance, the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein interacts with G3BP1 directly to suppress SG assembly and promote viral production. However, the molecular basis for the SARS-CoV-2 N - G3BP1 interaction remains elusive. Here we report biochemical and structural analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 N - G3BP1 interaction, revealing differential contributions of various regions of SARS-CoV-2 N to G3BP1 binding. The crystal structure of the NTF2-like domain of G3BP1 (G3BP1NTF2) in complex with a peptide derived from SARS-CoV-2 N (residues 1-25, N1-25) reveals that SARS-CoV-2 N1-25 occupies a conserved surface groove of G3BP1NTF2 via surface complementarity. We show that a φ-x-F (φ, hydrophobic residue) motif constitutes the primary determinant for G3BP1NTF2-targeting proteins, while the flanking sequence underpins diverse secondary interactions. We demonstrate that mutation of key interaction residues of the SARS-CoV-2 N1-25 - G3BP1NTF2 complex leads to disruption of the SARS-CoV-2 N - G3BP1 interaction in vitro. Together, these results provide a molecular basis of the strain-specific interaction between SARS-CoV-2 N and G3BP1, which has important implications for the development of novel therapeutic strategies against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , DNA Helicases , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , RNA Helicases , SARS-CoV-2 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Crystallography , DNA Helicases/chemistry , Humans , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA Helicases/chemistry , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/chemistry
9.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2853, 2022 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700332

ABSTRACT

Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and threatened human lives. Many methods are known to date to detect this virus. Due to their relative sensitivity, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays are the most frequently applied and considered the gold standard. However, due to the rapid mutation rate of the viral genome and the emergence of new variants, existing protocols need to be updated and improved. Designing a fast and accurate PCR-based assay is of great importance for the early detection of this virus and more efficient control of the spread of this disease. This study describes a fast, reliable, easy-to-use, and high-throughput multiplex SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR detection method. The assay was designed to detect two viral genes (N and RdRP) and a human gene (RP) simultaneously. The performance and the sensitivity of the assay were tested in 28 SARS-CoV-2 positive samples and compared with commercial kits, which showed 100% positive percent agreement with a limit of detection (LOD) value of 1.40 and 0.81 copies/µL or 35.13 and 20.31 copies/reaction for RdRP and N genes, respectively. The current assay is found accurate, reliable, simple, sensitive, and specific. It can be used as an optimized SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic assay in hospitals, medical centers, and diagnostic laboratories as well as for research purposes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Ribonuclease P/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Humans
10.
Stem Cell Reports ; 17(3): 522-537, 2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692862

ABSTRACT

Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) commonly have manifestations of heart disease. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome encodes 27 proteins. Currently, SARS-CoV-2 gene-induced abnormalities of human heart muscle cells remain elusive. Here, we comprehensively characterized the detrimental effects of a SARS-CoV-2 gene, Orf9c, on human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) by preforming multi-omic analyses. Transcriptomic analyses of hPSC-CMs infected by SARS-CoV-2 with Orf9c overexpression (Orf9cOE) identified concordantly up-regulated genes enriched into stress-related apoptosis and inflammation signaling pathways, and down-regulated CM functional genes. Proteomic analysis revealed enhanced expressions of apoptotic factors, whereas reduced protein factors for ATP synthesis by Orf9cOE. Orf9cOE significantly reduced cellular ATP level, induced apoptosis, and caused electrical dysfunctions of hPSC-CMs. Finally, drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, namely, ivermectin and meclizine, restored ATP levels and ameliorated CM death and functional abnormalities of Orf9cOE hPSC-CMs. Overall, we defined the molecular mechanisms underlying the detrimental impacts of Orf9c on hPSC-CMs and explored potentially therapeutic approaches to ameliorate Orf9c-induced cardiac injury and abnormalities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genome-Wide Association Study/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Action Potentials/drug effects , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Apoptosis/drug effects , Apoptosis/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Down-Regulation , Humans , Ivermectin/pharmacology , Meclizine/pharmacology , Myocytes, Cardiac/cytology , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Protein Interaction Maps/genetics , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Signal Transduction/genetics , Transcriptome/drug effects , Up-Regulation
11.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(4)2022 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690219

ABSTRACT

The development of prophylactic agents against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a public health priority in the search for new surrogate markers of active virus replication. Early detection markers are needed to follow disease progression and foresee patient negativization. Subgenomic RNA transcripts (with a focus on sgN) were evaluated in oro/nasopharyngeal swabs from COVID-19-affected patients with an analysis of 315 positive samples using qPCR technology. Cut-off Cq values for sgN (Cq < 33.15) and sgE (Cq < 34.06) showed correlations to high viral loads. The specific loss of sgN in home-isolated and hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients indicated negativization of patient condition, 3-7 days from the first swab, respectively. A new detection kit for sgN, gene E, gene ORF1ab, and gene RNAse P was developed recently. In addition, in vitro studies have shown that 2'-O-methyl antisense RNA (related to the sgN sequence) can impair SARS-CoV-2 N protein synthesis, viral replication, and syncytia formation in human cells (i.e., HEK-293T cells overexpressing ACE2) upon infection with VOC Alpha (B.1.1.7)-SARS-CoV-2 variant, defining the use that this procedure might have for future therapeutic actions against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Giant Cells/drug effects , Giant Cells/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/analysis , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Antisense/pharmacology , RNA, Viral , Ribonuclease P/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Social Isolation , Viral Load , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 601, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671558

ABSTRACT

Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 spread and evolution through genome sequencing is essential in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we sequenced 892 SARS-CoV-2 genomes collected from patients in Saudi Arabia from March to August 2020. We show that two consecutive mutations (R203K/G204R) in the nucleocapsid (N) protein are associated with higher viral loads in COVID-19 patients. Our comparative biochemical analysis reveals that the mutant N protein displays enhanced viral RNA binding and differential interaction with key host proteins. We found increased interaction of GSK3A kinase simultaneously with hyper-phosphorylation of the adjacent serine site (S206) in the mutant N protein. Furthermore, the host cell transcriptome analysis suggests that the mutant N protein produces dysregulated interferon response genes. Here, we provide crucial information in linking the R203K/G204R mutations in the N protein to modulations of host-virus interactions and underline the potential of the nucleocapsid protein as a drug target during infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genome, Viral , Mutation, Missense , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3/genetics , Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Saudi Arabia , Viral Load , Virus Replication
13.
Microb Cell Fact ; 21(1): 21, 2022 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666655

ABSTRACT

We have developed a method for the inexpensive, high-level expression of antigenic protein fragments of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in Escherichia coli. Our approach uses the thermophilic family 9 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM9) as an N-terminal carrier protein and affinity tag. The CBM9 module was joined to SARS-CoV-2 protein fragments via a flexible proline-threonine linker, which proved to be resistant to E. coli proteases. Two CBM9-spike protein fragment fusion proteins and one CBM9-nucleocapsid fragment fusion protein largely resisted protease degradation, while most of the CBM9 fusion proteins were degraded at some site in the SARS-CoV-2 protein fragment. All of the fusion proteins were highly expressed in E. coli and the CBM9-ID-H1 fusion protein was shown to yield 122 mg/L of purified product. Three purified CBM9-SARS-CoV-2 fusion proteins were tested and found to bind antibodies directed to the appropriate SARS-CoV-2 antigenic regions. The largest intact CBM9 fusion protein, CBM9-ID-H1, incorporates spike protein amino acids 540-588, which is a conserved region overlapping and C-terminal to the receptor binding domain that is widely recognized by human convalescent sera and contains a putative protective epitope.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/analysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Nat Immunol ; 23(2): 275-286, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661973

ABSTRACT

The humoral arm of innate immunity includes diverse molecules with antibody-like functions, some of which serve as disease severity biomarkers in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The present study was designed to conduct a systematic investigation of the interaction of human humoral fluid-phase pattern recognition molecules (PRMs) with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Of 12 PRMs tested, the long pentraxin 3 (PTX3) and mannose-binding lectin (MBL) bound the viral nucleocapsid and spike proteins, respectively. MBL bound trimeric spike protein, including that of variants of concern (VoC), in a glycan-dependent manner and inhibited SARS-CoV-2 in three in vitro models. Moreover, after binding to spike protein, MBL activated the lectin pathway of complement activation. Based on retention of glycosylation sites and modeling, MBL was predicted to recognize the Omicron VoC. Genetic polymorphisms at the MBL2 locus were associated with disease severity. These results suggest that selected humoral fluid-phase PRMs can play an important role in resistance to, and pathogenesis of, COVID-19, a finding with translational implications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , C-Reactive Protein/immunology , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Chlorocebus aethiops , Complement Activation , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mannose-Binding Lectin/genetics , Mannose-Binding Lectin/immunology , Mannose-Binding Lectin/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Polymorphism, Genetic , Protein Binding , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/genetics , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serum Amyloid P-Component/immunology , Serum Amyloid P-Component/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
15.
J Virol Methods ; 302: 114486, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654882

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Recently, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection has spread rapidly around the world, becoming a new global pandemic disease. Nucleic acid detection is the primary method for clinical diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with the addition of antibody and antigen detection. Nucleocapsid protein (NP) is a kind of conservative structural protein with abundant expression during SARS-CoV-2 infection, which makes it an ideal target for immunoassay. METHODS: The coding sequence for SARS-CoV-2-NP was obtained by chemical synthesis, and then inserted into pET28a(+). The soluble recombinant NP (rNP) with an estimated molecular weight of 49.4 kDa was expressed in E. coli cells after IPTG induction. Six-week-old BALB/c mice were immunized with rNP, and then their spleen cells were fused with SP2/0 cells, to develop hybridoma cell lines that stably secreted monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against NP. The mAbs were preliminarily evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and then used to develop a magnetic particle-based chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) for measurement of SARS-CoV-2-NP. RESULTS: mAb 15B1 and mAb 18G10 were selected as capture and detection antibody respectively to develop CLEIA, due to the highest sensitivity for rNP detection. The proposed CLEIA presented a good linearity for rNP detection at a working range from 0.1 to 160 µg/L, with a precision coefficient of variance below 10 %. CONCLUSION: The newly developed mAbs and CLEIA can serve as potential diagnostic tools for clinical measurement of SARS-CoV-2-NP.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Immunoassay/methods , Luminescence , Mice , Phosphoproteins/analysis , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
16.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 414(5): 1773-1785, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653430

ABSTRACT

Nucleic acid tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been performed worldwide since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the quality assessment of testing laboratories and the performance evaluation of molecular diagnosis products, reference materials (RMs) are required. In this work, we report the production of a lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM containing approximately 12 kilobases of its genome including common diagnostics targets such as RdRp, N, E, and S genes. The RM was measured with multiple assays using two different digital PCR platforms. To measure the homogeneity and stability of the lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM, reverse transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) was used with in-house duplex assays. The copy number concentration of each target gene in the extracted RNA solution was then converted to that of the RM solution. Their copy number values are measured to be from 1.5 × 105 to 2.0 × 105 copies/mL. The RM has a between-bottle homogeneity of 4.80-8.23% and is stable at 4 °C for 1 week and at -70 °C for 6 months. The lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM closely mimics real samples that undergo identical pre-analytical processes for SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing. By offering accurate reference values for the absolute copy number of viral target genes, the developed RM can be used to improve the reliability of SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Genome, Viral , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Gene Dosage , Gene Expression , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Lentivirus/genetics , Lentivirus/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA, Viral/standards , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/supply & distribution , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Genome Packaging
17.
Virology ; 567: 1-14, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1628759

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein comprises two RNA-binding domains connected by a central spacer, which contains a serine- and arginine-rich (SR) region. The SR region engages the largest subunit of the viral replicase-transcriptase, nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3), in an interaction that is essential for efficient initiation of infection by genomic RNA. We carried out an extensive genetic analysis of the SR region of the N protein of mouse hepatitis virus in order to more precisely define its role in RNA synthesis. We further examined the N-nsp3 interaction through construction of nsp3 mutants and by creation of an interspecies N protein chimera. Our results indicate a role for the central spacer as an interaction hub of the N molecule that is partially regulated by phosphorylation. These findings are discussed in relation to the recent discovery that nsp3 forms a molecular pore in the double-membrane vesicles that sequester the coronavirus replicase-transcriptase.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Intracellular Membranes/metabolism , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs , Animals , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Mice , Murine hepatitis virus , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/chemistry , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/genetics , Viral Replication Compartments/metabolism
18.
Front Immunol ; 12: 771011, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639016

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an ongoing pandemic. Detection and vaccination are essential for disease control, but they are distinct and complex operations that require significant improvements. Here, we developed an integrated detection and vaccination system to greatly simplify these efforts. We constructed recombinant baculoviruses to separately display the nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Insect cells infected by the recombinant baculoviruses were used to generate a cell-based system to accurately detect patient serum. Notably, although well-recognized by our newly developed detection system in which S-displaying insect cells acted as antigen, anti-S antibodies from many patients were barely detectable by Western blot, evidencing that COVID-19 patients primarily produce conformation-dependent anti-S antibodies. Furthermore, the same baculovirus constructs can display N (N-Bac) or S (S-Bac) on the baculovirus envelope and serve as vector vaccines. Animal experiments show that S-Bac or N-Bac immunization in mice elicited a strong and specific antibody response, and S-Bac in particular stimulated effective neutralizing antibodies without the need for adjuvant. Our integrated system maintains antigen conformation and membrane structure to facilitate serum detection and antibody stimulation. Thus, compared with currently available technologies, our system represents a simplified and efficient platform for better SARS-CoV-2 detection and vaccination.


Subject(s)
Baculoviridae/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Baculoviridae/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cell Line , Cell Surface Display Techniques , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera , Vaccination , Young Adult
20.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 1005, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635617

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a public health emergency, and research on the development of various types of vaccines is rapidly progressing at an unprecedented development speed internationally. Some vaccines have already been approved for emergency use and are being supplied to people around the world, but there are still many ongoing efforts to create new vaccines. Virus-like particles (VLPs) enable the construction of promising platforms in the field of vaccine development. Here, we demonstrate that non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 VLPs can be successfully assembled by co-expressing three important viral proteins membrane (M), envelop (E) and nucleocapsid (N) in plants. Plant-derived VLPs were purified by sedimentation through a sucrose cushion. The shape and size of plant-derived VLPs are similar to native SARS-CoV-2 VLPs without spike. Although the assembled VLPs do not have S protein spikes, they could be developed as formulations that can improve the immunogenicity of vaccines including S antigens, and further could be used as platforms that can carry S antigens of concern for various mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus M Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Viroporin Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Coronavirus M Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus M Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Tobacco/immunology , Tobacco/metabolism , Tobacco/virology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism
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