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1.
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
2.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0278021, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700612

ABSTRACT

Understanding the immune response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is critical to overcome the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Efforts are being made to understand the potential cross-protective immunity of memory T cells, induced by prior encounters with seasonal coronaviruses, in providing protection against severe COVID-19. In this study we assessed T-cell responses directed against highly conserved regions of SARS-CoV-2. Epitope mapping revealed 16 CD8+ T-cell epitopes across the nucleocapsid (N), spike (S), and open reading frame (ORF)3a proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and five CD8+ T-cell epitopes encoded within the highly conserved regions of the ORF1ab polyprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Comparative sequence analysis showed high conservation of SARS-CoV-2 ORF1ab T-cell epitopes in seasonal coronaviruses. Paradoxically, the immune responses directed against the conserved ORF1ab epitopes were infrequent and subdominant in both convalescent and unexposed participants. This subdominant immune response was consistent with a low abundance of ORF1ab encoded proteins in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. Overall, these observations suggest that while cross-reactive CD8+ T cells likely exist in unexposed individuals, they are not common and therefore are unlikely to play a significant role in providing broad preexisting immunity in the community. IMPORTANCE T cells play a critical role in protection against SARS-CoV-2. Despite being highly topical, the protective role of preexisting memory CD8+ T cells, induced by prior exposure to circulating common coronavirus strains, remains less clear. In this study, we established a robust approach to specifically assess T cell responses to highly conserved regions within SARS-CoV-2. Consistent with recent observations we demonstrate that recognition of these highly conserved regions is associated with an increased likelihood of milder disease. However, extending these observations we observed that recognition of these conserved regions is rare in both exposed and unexposed volunteers, which we believe is associated with the low abundance of these proteins in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. These observations have important implications for the likely role preexisting immunity plays in controlling severe disease, further emphasizing the importance of vaccination to generate the immunodominant T cells required for immune protection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Conserved Sequence , Coronavirus/chemistry , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cross Reactions , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Alignment , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol ; 106(3): 1151-1164, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626255

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It is confirmed that nucleocapsid (N) protein is closely related to viral pathogenesis, modulation of host immune response, RNA transcription, and replication and virus packaging. Therefore, the N protein is a preponderant antigen target for virus detection. The codon-optimized N gene was designed according to the encoding characteristics of insect cells and inserted into pFastBacTM1 vector with 6 × His-tag-fused N protein for expression in insect sf21 cells. Six anti-N mAbs (4G3, 5B3, 12B6, 18C7-A2, 21H10-A3, 21H10-E9) were prepared by recombinant N protein. The mAbs showed high titers, antibody affinity, and reactivity with the SARS-CoV-2 N protein. Then, fourteen overlapped peptides that covered the intact N protein were synthesized (N1-N14). Peptide N14 was identified as the main linear B-cell epitope region via peptide-ELISA and dot-blot assay, and this region was truncated gradually until mapping the peptide 401-DFSKQLQQ-408. Simultaneously, compared with the sequence of variants of concern (VOCs) and variants of interest (VOIs) strains among the several countries, epitope 401-DFSKQLQQ-408 is very conservative among them. The findings provide new guidance for the design and detection of COVID-19 targets. KEY POINTS: • The N protein was optimized according to the insect cell codon preference and was highly expressed. • The monoclonal antibodies prepared in this study were shown high antibody titers and high affinity. • Monoclonal antibodies were used to map the epitope 401-408 amino acids of N protein for the first time in this study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nucleocapsid Proteins , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Viral , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
4.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(12): e1009675, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1619980

ABSTRACT

Identifying the epitope of an antibody is a key step in understanding its function and its potential as a therapeutic. Sequence-based clonal clustering can identify antibodies with similar epitope complementarity, however, antibodies from markedly different lineages but with similar structures can engage the same epitope. We describe a novel computational method for epitope profiling based on structural modelling and clustering. Using the method, we demonstrate that sequence dissimilar but functionally similar antibodies can be found across the Coronavirus Antibody Database, with high accuracy (92% of antibodies in multiple-occupancy structural clusters bind to consistent domains). Our approach functionally links antibodies with distinct genetic lineages, species origins, and coronavirus specificities. This indicates greater convergence exists in the immune responses to coronaviruses than is suggested by sequence-based approaches. Our results show that applying structural analytics to large class-specific antibody databases will enable high confidence structure-function relationships to be drawn, yielding new opportunities to identify functional convergence hitherto missed by sequence-only analysis.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Specificity , Antigen-Antibody Complex/chemistry , Antigen-Antibody Complex/genetics , Antigen-Antibody Reactions/genetics , Antigen-Antibody Reactions/immunology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus/chemistry , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/immunology , Databases, Chemical , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , Mice , Models, Molecular , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology
5.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0096521, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596481

ABSTRACT

The prompt rollout of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mRNA vaccine is facilitating population immunity, which is becoming more dominant than natural infection-mediated immunity. In the midst of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine deployment, understanding the epitope profiles of vaccine-elicited antibodies will be the first step in assessing the functionality of vaccine-induced immunity. In this study, the high-resolution linear epitope profiles of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine recipients and COVID-19 patients were delineated by using microarrays mapped with overlapping peptides of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The vaccine-induced antibodies targeting the RBD had a broader distribution across the RBD than that induced by the natural infection. Half-maximal neutralization titers were measured in vitro by live virus neutralization assays. As a result, relatively lower neutralizability was observed in vaccine recipient sera, when normalized to a total anti-RBD IgG titer. However, mutation panel assays targeting the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern have shown that the vaccine-induced epitope variety, rich in breadth, may grant resistance against future viral evolutionary escapes, serving as an advantage of vaccine-induced immunity. IMPORTANCE Establishing vaccine-based population immunity has been the key factor in attaining herd protection. Thanks to expedited worldwide research efforts, the potency of mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now incontestable. The next debate is regarding the coverage of SARS-CoV-2 variants. In the midst of vaccine deployment, it is of importance to describe the similarities and differences between the immune responses of COVID-19 vaccine recipients and naturally infected individuals. In this study, we demonstrated that the antibody profiles of vaccine recipients are richer in variety, targeting a key protein of the invading virus, than those of naturally infected individuals. Vaccine-elicited antibodies included more nonneutralizing antibodies than infection-elicited antibodies, and their breadth in antibody variations suggested possible resilience against future SARS-CoV-2 variants. The antibody profile achieved by vaccinations in naive individuals provides important insight into the first step toward vaccine-based population immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , /immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , /chemistry
6.
Res Vet Sci ; 143: 81-87, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586571

ABSTRACT

Since the initial emergence in December 2019, the novel Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been reported in over 200 countries, representing an unprecedented challenge related to disease control worldwide. In this context, cases of human to animal transmission have been reported, raising concern about the potential role of companion animals in the pandemic and stressing the need for reliable animal testing. In the study, a detailed epitope mapping of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein, using both human and pet sera, allowed the identification of the most antigenic region in the C-terminus domain of the protein, which was used to develop an experimental double antigen-based ELISA. A panel of pre-pandemic sera and sera of animals immunized against (or naturally infected with) related coronaviruses was used to assess assay specificity at 99.5%. Positive sera belonging to animals housed with COVID-19 patients were confirmed with the experimental double-antigen ELISA using Plaque Reduction Neutralization test (PRNT) test as gold standard. The availability of a serological assay that targets a highly specific viral antigen represents a valuable tool for multispecies monitoring of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection in susceptible animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Dog Diseases , Epitope Mapping , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , Cats , Dog Diseases/virology , Dogs , Epitope Mapping/veterinary , Humans , Phosphoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 351-367, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585238

ABSTRACT

The emergence of multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern threatens the efficacy of currently approved vaccines and authorized therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). It is hence important to continue searching for SARS-CoV-2 broadly neutralizing MAbs and defining their epitopes. Here, we isolate 9 neutralizing mouse MAbs raised against the spike protein of a SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain and evaluate their neutralizing potency towards a panel of variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617.1, and B.1.617.2. By using a combination of biochemical, virological, and cryo-EM structural analyses, we identify three types of cross-variant neutralizing MAbs, represented by S5D2, S5G2, and S3H3, respectively, and further define their epitopes. S5D2 binds the top lateral edge of the receptor-binding motif within the receptor-binding domain (RBD) with a binding footprint centred around the loop477-489, and efficiently neutralizes all variant pseudoviruses, but the potency against B.1.617.2 was observed to decrease significantly. S5G2 targets the highly conserved RBD core region and exhibits comparable neutralization towards the variant panel. S3H3 binds a previously unreported epitope located within the evolutionarily stable SD1 region and is able to near equally neutralize all of the variants tested. Our work thus defines three distinct cross-variant neutralizing sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, providing guidance for design and development of broadly effective vaccines and MAb-based therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1317, 2021 11 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528032

ABSTRACT

As Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread, characterization of its antibody epitopes, emerging strains, related coronaviruses, and even the human proteome in naturally infected patients can guide the development of effective vaccines and therapies. Since traditional epitope identification tools are dependent upon pre-defined peptide sequences, they are not readily adaptable to diverse viral proteomes. The Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis (SERA) platform leverages a high diversity random bacterial display library to identify proteome-independent epitope binding specificities which are then analyzed in the context of organisms of interest. When evaluating immune response in the context of SARS-CoV-2, we identify dominant epitope regions and motifs which demonstrate potential to classify mild from severe disease and relate to neutralization activity. We highlight SARS-CoV-2 epitopes that are cross-reactive with other coronaviruses and demonstrate decreased epitope signal for mutant SARS-CoV-2 strains. Collectively, the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 mutants towards reduced antibody response highlight the importance of data-driven development of the vaccines and therapies to treat COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Epitope Mapping , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 , Cross Reactions , Humans
9.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0258645, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518355

ABSTRACT

All approved coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in current use are safe, effective, and reduce the risk of severe illness. Although data on the immunological presentation of patients with COVID-19 is limited, increasing experimental evidence supports the significant contribution of B and T cells towards the resolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Despite the availability of several COVID-19 vaccines with high efficacy, more effective vaccines are still needed to protect against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Employing a comprehensive immunoinformatic prediction algorithm and leveraging the genetic closeness with SARS-CoV, we have predicted potential immune epitopes in the structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2. The S and N proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoVs are main targets of antibody detection and have motivated us to design four multi-epitope vaccines which were based on our predicted B- and T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins. The cardinal epitopes selected for the vaccine constructs are predicted to possess antigenic, non-allergenic, and cytokine-inducing properties. Additionally, some of the predicted epitopes have been experimentally validated in published papers. Furthermore, we used the C-ImmSim server to predict effective immune responses induced by the epitope-based vaccines. Taken together, the immune epitopes predicted in this study provide a platform for future experimental validations which may facilitate the development of effective vaccine candidates and epitope-based serological diagnostic assays.


Subject(s)
Computational Biology , Epitope Mapping , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Structural Proteins/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Databases as Topic , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , Reproducibility of Results , Viral Structural Proteins/chemistry
10.
Cells ; 10(11)2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502369

ABSTRACT

During the current era of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dissemination of Mucorales has been reported globally, with elevated rates of infection in India, and because of the high rate of mortality and morbidity, designing an effective vaccine against mucormycosis is a major health priority, especially for immunocompromised patients. In the current study, we studied shared Mucorales proteins, which have been reported as virulence factors, and after analysis of several virulent proteins for their antigenicity and subcellular localization, we selected spore coat (CotH) and serine protease (SP) proteins as the targets of epitope mapping. The current study proposes a vaccine constructed based on top-ranking cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL), helper T lymphocyte (HTL), and B cell lymphocyte (BCL) epitopes from filtered proteins. In addition to the selected epitopes, ß-defensins adjuvant and PADRE peptide were included in the constructed vaccine to improve the stimulated immune response. Computational tools were used to estimate the physicochemical and immunological features of the proposed vaccine and validate its binding with TLR-2, where the output data of these assessments potentiate the probability of the constructed vaccine to stimulate a specific immune response against mucormycosis. Here, we demonstrate the approach of potential vaccine construction and assessment through computational tools, and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of a proposed vaccine against mucormycosis based on the immunoinformatics approach.


Subject(s)
Fungal Vaccines/chemistry , Fungal Vaccines/immunology , Mucormycosis/prevention & control , Rhizopus/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Antigens, Fungal/immunology , Computational Biology , Cross Reactions , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mucorales/immunology , Protein Conformation , Toll-Like Receptor 2/chemistry , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology
11.
Nat Immunol ; 22(12): 1503-1514, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493136

ABSTRACT

Prevention of viral escape and increased coverage against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern require therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting multiple sites of vulnerability on the coronavirus spike glycoprotein. Here we identify several potent neutralizing antibodies directed against either the N-terminal domain (NTD) or the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. Administered in combinations, these mAbs provided low-dose protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the K18-human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 mouse model, using both neutralization and Fc effector antibody functions. The RBD mAb WRAIR-2125, which targets residue F486 through a unique heavy-chain and light-chain pairing, demonstrated potent neutralizing activity against all major SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. In combination with NTD and other RBD mAbs, WRAIR-2125 also prevented viral escape. These data demonstrate that NTD/RBD mAb combinations confer potent protection, likely leveraging complementary mechanisms of viral inactivation and clearance.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Epitopes/metabolism , Humans , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Survival Analysis
12.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0129821, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476403

ABSTRACT

Wide-scale assessment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibodies is critical to understanding population seroprevalence, correlates of protection, and the longevity of vaccine-elicited responses. Most SARS-CoV-2 studies characterize antibody responses in plasma/sera. While reliable and broadly used, these samples pose several logistical restrictions, such as requiring venipuncture for collection and a cold chain for transportation and storage. Dried blood spots (DBS) overcome these barriers as they can be self-collected by fingerstick and mailed and stored at ambient temperature. Here, we evaluate the suitability of DBS for SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays by comparing several antibody responses between paired plasma and DBS from SARS-CoV-2 convalescent and vaccinated individuals. We found that DBS not only reflected plasma antibody binding by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and epitope profiles using phage display, but also yielded SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers that highly correlated with paired plasma. Neutralization measurement was further streamlined by adapting assays to a high-throughput 384-well format. This study supports the adoption of DBS for numerous SARS-CoV-2 binding and neutralization assays. IMPORTANCE Plasma and sera isolated from venous blood represent conventional sample types used for the evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses after infection or vaccination. However, collection of these samples is invasive and requires trained personnel and equipment for immediate processing. Once collected, plasma and sera must be stored and shipped at cold temperatures. To define the risk of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and the longevity of immune responses to natural infection and vaccination, it will be necessary to measure various antibody features in populations around the world, including in resource-limited areas. A sampling method that is compatible with these settings and is suitable for a variety of SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays is therefore needed to continue to understand and curb the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Dried Blood Spot Testing/methods , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Epitope Mapping/methods , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Cell Rep ; 37(5): 109929, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466097

ABSTRACT

Current coronavirus (CoV) vaccines primarily target immunodominant epitopes in the S1 subunit, which are poorly conserved and susceptible to escape mutations, thus threatening vaccine efficacy. Here, we use structure-guided protein engineering to remove the S1 subunit from the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV spike (S) glycoprotein and develop stabilized stem (SS) antigens. Vaccination with MERS SS elicits cross-reactive ß-CoV antibody responses and protects mice against lethal MERS-CoV challenge. High-throughput screening of antibody-secreting cells from MERS SS-immunized mice led to the discovery of a panel of cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies. Among them, antibody IgG22 binds with high affinity to both MERS-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 S proteins, and a combination of electron microscopy and crystal structures localizes the epitope to a conserved coiled-coil region in the S2 subunit. Passive transfer of IgG22 protects mice against both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Collectively, these results provide a proof of principle for cross-reactive CoV antibodies and inform the development of pan-CoV vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cross Reactions , Drug Design , Epitope Mapping , Female , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Vaccines/immunology
14.
Front Immunol ; 12: 725240, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463472

ABSTRACT

Ongoing evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus strains is posing new COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment challenges. To help efforts to meet these challenges we examined data acquired from proteomic analyses of human SARS-CoV-2-infected cell lines and samples from COVID-19 patients. Initially, 129 unique peptides were identified, which were rigorously evaluated for repeats, disorders, polymorphisms, antigenicity, immunogenicity, toxicity, allergens, sequence similarity to human proteins, and contributions from other potential cross-reacting pathogenic species or the human saliva microbiome. We also screened SARS-CoV-2-infected NBHE and A549 cell lines for presence of antigenic peptides, and identified paratope peptides from crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 antigen-antibody complexes. We then selected four antigen peptides for docking with known viral unbound T-cell receptor (TCR), class I and II peptide major histocompatibility complex (pMHC), and identified paratope sequences. We also tested the paratope binding affinity of SARS-CoV T- and B-cell peptides that had been previously experimentally validated. The resultant antigenic peptides have high potential for generating SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, and the paratope peptides can be directly used to develop a COVID-19 diagnostics assay. The presented genomics and proteomics-based in-silico approaches have apparent utility for identifying new diagnostic peptides that could be used to fight SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Peptides/metabolism , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , HLA Antigens/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/genetics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Proteomics , Receptors, Antigen/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
J Clin Invest ; 131(24)2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463085

ABSTRACT

Although severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines have shown efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, it is unknown if coronavirus vaccines can also protect against other coronaviruses that may infect humans in the future. Here, we show that coronavirus vaccines elicited cross-protective immune responses against heterologous coronaviruses. In particular, we show that a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) vaccine developed in 2004 and known to protect against SARS-CoV-1 conferred robust heterologous protection against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. Similarly, prior coronavirus infections conferred heterologous protection against distinct coronaviruses. Cross-reactive immunity was also reported in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and in individuals who received SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and transfer of plasma from these individuals into mice improved protection against coronavirus challenges. These findings provide the first demonstration to our knowledge that coronavirus vaccines (and prior coronavirus infections) can confer broad protection against heterologous coronaviruses and establish a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Animals , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , Cross Reactions , Epitope Mapping , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
16.
Front Immunol ; 12: 707977, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1457901

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is a huge public health crisis for the globe. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein plays a vital role in viral infection and serves as a major target for developing neutralizing antibodies. In this study, the antibody response to the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 S protein was analyzed by a panel of sera from animals immunized with RBD-based antigens and four linear B-cell epitope peptides (R345, R405, R450 and R465) were revealed. The immunogenicity of three immunodominant peptides (R345, R405, R465) was further accessed by peptide immunization in mice, and all of them could induced potent antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 S protein, indicating that the three determinants in the RBD were immunogenic. We further generated and characterized monoclonal antibodies (15G9, 12C10 and 10D2) binding to these epitope peptides, and finely mapped the three immunodominant epitopes using the corresponding antibodies. Neutralization assays showed that all three monoclonal antibodies had neutralization activity. Results from IFA and western blotting showed that 12C10 was a cross-reactive antibody against both of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. Results from conservative and structural analysis showed that 350VYAWN354 was a highly conserved epitope and exposed on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 S trimer, whereas 473YQAGSTP479 located in the receptor binding motif (RBM) was variable among different SARS-CoV-2 strains. 407VRQIAP412 was a highly conserved, but cryptic epitope shared between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. These findings provide important information for understanding the humoral antibody response to the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 S protein and may facilitate further efforts to design SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and the target of COVID-19 diagnostic.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Peptides/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines , Conserved Sequence/genetics , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Peptides/genetics , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
17.
Curr Med Sci ; 41(6): 1065-1074, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449989

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 is threatening thousands of millions of people around the world. In the absence of specific and highly effective medicines, the treatment of infected persons is still very challenging. As therapeutics, neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) have great potential. Many NAbs have been reported, and most target various regions on the receptor-binding domain of the spike (S) protein, or the N-terminal domain. Several NAbs and NAb cocktails have been authorized for emergency use, and more are in clinical trials or are under development. In this review, considering the angle of binding epitopes on the S protein, we summarize the functions and the underlying mechanisms of a set of well-recognized NAbs and provide guidance for vaccine design and the combinatorial use of these antibodies. In addition, we review the NAbs and NAb cocktails that have been approved for emergency use and discuss the effectiveness of these NAbs for combating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 mutants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitope Mapping , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Pandemics , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
18.
Cell Rep ; 37(1): 109784, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442299

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lineages that are more transmissible and resistant to currently approved antibody therapies poses a considerable challenge to the clinical treatment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Therefore, the need for ongoing discovery efforts to identify broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is of utmost importance. Here, we report a panel of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies isolated using the linking B cell receptor to antigen specificity through sequencing (LIBRA-seq) technology from an individual who recovered from COVID-19. Of these antibodies, 54042-4 shows potent neutralization against authentic SARS-CoV-2 viruses, including variants of concern (VOCs). A cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of 54042-4 in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 spike reveals an epitope composed of residues that are highly conserved in currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Further, 54042-4 possesses uncommon genetic and structural characteristics that distinguish it from other potently neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Together, these findings provide motivation for the development of 54042-4 as a lead candidate to counteract current and future SARS-CoV-2 VOCs.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitope Mapping/methods , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vero Cells
19.
Science ; 374(6566): 472-478, 2021 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434867

ABSTRACT

Antibody-based therapeutics and vaccines are essential to combat COVID-19 morbidity and mortality after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Multiple mutations in SARS-CoV-2 that could impair antibody defenses propagated in human-to-human transmission and spillover or spillback events between humans and animals. To develop prevention and therapeutic strategies, we formed an international consortium to map the epitope landscape on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, defining and structurally illustrating seven receptor binding domain (RBD)­directed antibody communities with distinct footprints and competition profiles. Pseudovirion-based neutralization assays reveal spike mutations, individually and clustered together in variants, that affect antibody function among the communities. Key classes of RBD-targeted antibodies maintain neutralization activity against these emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. These results provide a framework for selecting antibody treatment cocktails and understanding how viral variants might affect antibody therapeutic efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
20.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1931-1946, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429140

ABSTRACT

Identification of relevant epitopes is crucial for the development of subunit peptide vaccines inducing neutralizing and cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Our aim was the characterization of epitopes in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein to generate a peptide vaccine. Epitope mapping using a panel of 10 amino acid overlapped 15-mer peptides covering region 401-515 from RBD did not identify linear epitopes when tested with sera from infected individuals or from RBD-immunized mice. However, immunization of mice with these 15-mer peptides identified four peptides located at region 446-480 that induced antibodies recognizing the peptides and RBD/S1 proteins. Immunization with peptide 446-480 from S protein formulated with Freund's adjuvant or with CpG oligodeoxinucleotide/Alum induced polyepitopic antibody responses in BALB/c and C56BL/6J mice, recognizing RBD (titres of 3 × 104-3 × 105, depending on the adjuvant) and displaying neutralizing capacity (80-95% inhibition capacity; p < 0.05) against SARS-CoV-2. Murine CD4 and CD8T-cell epitopes were identified in region 446-480 and vaccination experiments using HLA transgenic mice suggested the presence of multiple human T-cell epitopes. Antibodies induced by peptide 446-480 showed broad recognition of S proteins and S-derived peptides belonging to SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Importantly, vaccination with peptide 446-480 or with a cyclic version of peptide 446-488 containing a disulphide bridge between cysteines 480 and 488, protected humanized K18-hACE2 mice from a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 (62.5 and 75% of protection; p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). This region could be the basis for a peptide vaccine or other vaccine platforms against Covid-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
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