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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 19087, 2022 Nov 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106475

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization categorized SARS-CoV-2 as a variant of concern, having numerous mutations in spike protein, which have been found to evade the effect of antibodies stimulated by the COVID-19 vaccine. The susceptibility to omicron variant by immunization-induced antibodies are direly required for risk evaluation. To avoid the risk of arising viral illness, the construction of a specific vaccine that triggers the production of targeted antibodies to combat infection remains highly imperative. The aim of the present study is to develop a particular vaccine exploiting bioinformatics approaches which can target B- and T-cells epitopes. Through this approach, novel epitopes of the S protein-SARS-CoV-2 were predicted for the development of a multiple epitope vaccine. Multiple epitopes were selected on the basis of toxicity, immunogenicity and antigenicity, and vaccine subunit was constructed having potential immunogenic properties. The epitopes were linked with 3 types of linker EAAAK, AAY and GPGPG for vaccine construction. Subsequently, vaccine structure was docked with the receptor and cloned in a pET-28a (+) vector. The constructed vaccine was ligated in pET-28a (+) vector in E. coli using the SnapGene tool for the expression study and a good immune response was observed. Several computational tools were used to predict and analyze the vaccine constructed by using spike protein sequence of omicrons. The current study identified a Multi-Epitope Vaccine (MEV) as a significant vaccine candidate that could potentially help the global world to combat SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , Computational Biology , Escherichia coli , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
2.
Int Immunopharmacol ; 112: 109283, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2105145

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major global public health challenge, with the emergence of variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Current vaccines or monoclonal antibodies may not well be protect against infection with new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Unlike antibody-based treatment, T cell-based therapies such as TCR-T cells can target epitopes that are highly conserved across different SARS-CoV-2 variants. Reportedly, T cell-based immunity alone can restrict SARS-CoV-2 replication. METHODS: In this study, we identified two TCRs targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) protein in CD8 + T cells. Functional evaluation by transducing these TCRs into CD8 + or CD4 + T cells confirmed their specificity. RESULTS: Combinations of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines secreted by CD8 + and CD4 + T cells can help control COVID-19 in patients. Moreover, the targeted epitope is highly conserved in all emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Omicron. It is also conserved in the seven coronaviruses that infect humans and more broadly in the subfamily Coronavirinae. CONCLUSIONS: The pan-genera coverage of mutant epitopes from the Coronavirinae subfamily by the two TCRs highlights the unique strengths of TCR-T cell therapies in controlling the ongoing pandemic and in preparing for the next coronavirus outbreak.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Epitopes , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Cytokines , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics
3.
Immunobiology ; 227(6): 152287, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2105123

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Epitope selection is the key to peptide vaccines development. Bioinformatics tools can efficiently improve the screening of antigenic epitopes and help to choose the right ones. OBJECTIVE: To predict, synthesize and testify peptide epitopes at spike protein, assess the effect of mutations on epitope humoral immunity, thus provide clues for the design and development of epitope peptide vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Bioinformatics servers and immunological tools were used to identify the helper T lymphocyte, cytotoxic T lymphocyte, and linear B lymphocyte epitopes on the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. Physicochemical properties of candidate epitopes were analyzed using IEDB, VaxiJen, and AllerTOP online software. Three candidate epitopes were synthesized and their antigenic responses were evaluated by binding antibody detection. RESULTS: A total of 20 antigenic, non-toxic and non-allergenic candidate epitopes were identified from 1502 epitopes, including 6 helper T-cell epitopes, 13 cytotoxic T-cell epitopes, and 1 linear B cell epitope. After immunization with antigen containing candidate epitopes S206-221, S403-425, and S1157-1170 in rabbits, the binding titers of serum antibody to the corresponding peptide, S protein, receptor-binding domain protein were (415044, 2582, 209.3), (852819, 45238, 457767) and (357897, 10528, 13.79), respectively. The binding titers to Omicron S protein were 642, 12,878 and 7750, respectively, showing that N211L, DEL212 and K417N mutations cause the reduction of the antibody binding activity. CONCLUSIONS: Bioinformatic methods are effective in peptide epitopes design. Certain mutations of the Omicron would lead to the loss of antibody affinity to Omicron S protein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Humans , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Computational Biology/methods , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Immunity, Humoral , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit , Peptides
4.
Monoclon Antib Immunodiagn Immunother ; 41(5): 243-254, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2097268

ABSTRACT

Increasing fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts are a growing concern for global public health. Along with treatments, preventive measures are required. The emergence of reverse vaccinology has opened avenues for using genomic and proteomic data from pathogens in the design of vaccines. In this work, we present a comprehensive collection of various computational tools and databases with potential to aid in vaccine development. The ongoing pandemic has directed attention toward the increasing number of mucormycosis infections in COVID-19 patients. As a case study, we developed a computational pipeline for assisting vaccine development for mucormycosis. We obtained 6 proteins from 29,447 sequences from UniProtKB as potential vaccine candidates against mucormycosis, fulfilling multiple criteria. These criteria included potential characteristics, namely adhesin properties, surface or extracellular localization, antigenicity, no similarity to any human proteins, nonallergenicity, stability in vitro, and expression in fungal cells. These six proteins were predicted to have B cell and T cell epitopes, proinflammatory inducing peptides, and orthologs in several mucormycosis-causing species. These data could aid in vaccine development against mucormycosis for at-risk individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mucormycosis , Humans , Vaccinology , Proteomics , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Computers , Computational Biology
5.
Arch Med Res ; 53(7): 694-710, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2095059

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) facilitate the virus' escape from the neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines. However, the protection from hospitalization and death is not significantly diminished. Both vaccine boosters and infection improve immune responses and provide protection, suggesting that conserved and/or cross-reactive epitopes could be involved. While several important T- and B-cell epitopes have been identified, mainly in the S protein, the M and N proteins and their potential cross-reactive epitopes with other coronaviruses remain largely unexplored. AIMS: To identify and map new potential B- and T-cell epitopes within the SARS-CoV-2 S, M and N proteins, as well as cross-reactive epitopes with human coronaviruses. METHODS: Different bioinformatics tools were used to: i) Identify new and compile previously-reported B-and T-cell epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 S, M and N proteins; ii) Determine the mutations in S protein from VOC that affect B- and T-cell epitopes, and; iii) Identify cross-reactive epitopes with coronaviruses relevant to human health. RESULTS: New, potential B- and T-cell epitopes from S, M and N proteins as well as cross-reactive epitopes with other coronaviruses were found and mapped within the proteins' structures. CONCLUSION: Numerous potential B- and T-cell epitopes were found in S, M and N proteins, some of which are conserved between coronaviruses. VOCs present mutations within important epitopes in the S protein; however, a significant number of other epitopes remain unchanged. The epitopes identified here may contribute to augmenting the protective response to SARS-CoV-2 and its variants induced by infection and/or vaccination, and may also be used for the rational design of novel broad-spectrum coronavirus vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Computational Biology , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Viruses ; 14(11)2022 Oct 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2081985

ABSTRACT

Reports on T-cell cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in unexposed individuals have been linked with prior exposure to the human common cold coronaviruses (HCCCs). Several studies suggested that cross-reactive T-cells response to live attenuated vaccines (LAVs) such as BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin), OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine), and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) can limit the development and severity of COVID-19. This study aims to identify potential cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2, HCCCs, and LAVs in the context of T-cell epitopes peptides presented by HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) alleles of the Indonesian population. SARS-CoV-2 derived T-cell epitopes were predicted using immunoinformatics tools and assessed for their conservancy, variability, and population coverage. Two fully conserved epitopes with 100% similarity and nine heterologous epitopes with identical T-cell receptor (TCR) contact residues were identified from the ORF1ab fragment of SARS-CoV-2 and all HCCCs. Cross-reactive epitopes from various proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and LAVs were also identified (15 epitopes from BCG, 7 epitopes from MMR, but none from OPV). A majority of the identified epitopes were observed to belong to ORF1ab, further suggesting the vital role of ORF1ab in the coronaviruses family and suggesting it as a candidate for a potential universal coronavirus vaccine that protects against severe disease by inducing cell mediated immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Common Cold , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Viral Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Alleles , BCG Vaccine , Indonesia/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
7.
Int Immunopharmacol ; 112: 109224, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2076214

ABSTRACT

In the worrisome scenarios of various waves of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a comprehensive bioinformatics pipeline is essential to analyse the virus genomes in order to understand its evolution, thereby identifying mutations as signature SNPs, conserved regions and subsequently to design epitope based synthetic vaccine. We have thus performed multiple sequence alignment of 4996 Indian SARS-CoV-2 genomes as a case study using MAFFT followed by phylogenetic analysis using Nextstrain to identify virus clades. Furthermore, based on the entropy of each genomic coordinate of the aligned sequences, conserved regions are identified. After refinement of the conserved regions, based on its length, one conserved region is identified for which the primers and probes are reported for virus detection. The refined conserved regions are also used to identify T-cell and B-cell epitopes along with their immunogenic and antigenic scores. Such scores are used for selecting the most immunogenic and antigenic epitopes. By executing this pipeline, 40 unique signature SNPs are identified resulting in 23 non-synonymous signature SNPs which provide 28 amino acid changes in protein. On the other hand, 12 conserved regions are selected based on refinement criteria out of which one is selected as the potential target for virus detection. Additionally, 22 MHC-I and 21 MHC-II restricted T-cell epitopes with 10 unique HLA alleles each and 17 B-cell epitopes are obtained for 12 conserved regions. All the results are validated both quantitatively and qualitatively which show that from genetic variability to synthetic vaccine design, the proposed pipeline can be used effectively to combat SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Computational Biology , Phylogeny , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Amino Acids
8.
Immunity ; 55(7): 1299-1315.e4, 2022 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2076210

ABSTRACT

As the establishment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cell memory in children remains largely unexplored, we recruited convalescent COVID-19 children and adults to define their circulating memory SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells prior to vaccination. We analyzed epitope-specific T cells directly ex vivo using seven HLA class I and class II tetramers presenting SARS-CoV-2 epitopes, together with Spike-specific B cells. Unvaccinated children who seroconverted had comparable Spike-specific but lower ORF1a- and N-specific memory T cell responses compared with adults. This agreed with our TCR sequencing data showing reduced clonal expansion in children. A strong stem cell memory phenotype and common T cell receptor motifs were detected within tetramer-specific T cells in seroconverted children. Conversely, children who did not seroconvert had tetramer-specific T cells of predominantly naive phenotypes and diverse TCRαß repertoires. Our study demonstrates the generation of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell memory with common TCRαß motifs in unvaccinated seroconverted children after their first virus encounter.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
9.
Hum Immunol ; 83(12): 797-802, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2061225

ABSTRACT

Differences in outcome to COVID-19 infection in different individuals is largely attributed to genetic heterogeneity leading to differential immune responses across individuals and populations. HLA is one such genetic factor that varies across individuals leading to differences in how T-cell responses are triggered against SARS-CoV-2, directly influencing disease susceptibility. HLA alleles that influence COVID-19 outcome, by virtue of epitope binding and presentation, have been identified in cohorts worldwide. However, the heterogeneity in HLA distribution across ethnic groups limits the generality of such association. In this study, we address this limitation by comparing the recognition of CTL epitopes across HLA genotypes and ethnic groups. Using HLA allele frequency data for ethnic groups from Allele Frequency Net Database (AFND), we construct synthetic populations for each ethnic group and show that CTL epitope strength varies across HLA genotypes and populations. We also observe that HLA genotypes, in certain cases, can have high CTL epitope strengths in the absence of top-responsive HLA alleles. Finally, we show that the theoretical estimate of responsiveness and hence protection offered by a HLA allele is bound to vary across ethnic groups, due to the influence of other HLA alleles within the HLA genotype on CTL epitope recognition. This emphasizes the need for studying HLA-disease associations at the genotype level rather than at a single allele level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HLA Antigens , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic , Humans , Alleles , COVID-19/ethnology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Ethnicity , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , HLA Antigens/genetics
10.
Comput Biol Chem ; 101: 107754, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2049073

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic, an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), poses a threat to global health because of its high rate of spread and death. Currently, vaccination is the most effective method to prevent the spread of this disease. In the present study, we developed a novel multiepitope vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 containing Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Omicron (BA.1) variants. To this end, we performed a robust immunoinformatics approach based on multiple epitopes of the four structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 (S, M, N, and E) from 475 SARS-CoV-2 genomes sequenced from the regions with the highest number of registered cases, namely the United States, India, Brazil, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. To investigate the best immunogenic epitopes for linear B cells, cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), and helper T lymphocytes (HTL), we evaluated antigenicity, allergenicity, conservation, immunogenicity, toxicity, human population coverage, IFN-inducing, post-translational modifications, and physicochemical properties. The tertiary structure of a vaccine prototype was predicted, refined, and validated. Through docking experiments, we evaluated its molecular coupling to the key immune receptor Toll-Like Receptor 3 (TLR3). To improve the quality of docking calculations, quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculations (QM/MM) were used, with the QM part of the simulations performed using the density functional theory formalism (DFT). Cloning and codon optimization were performed for the successful expression of the vaccine in E. coli. Finally, we investigated the immunogenic properties and immune response of our SARS-CoV-2 multiepitope vaccine. The results of the simulations show that administering our prototype three times significantly increases the antibody response and decreases the amount of antigens. The proposed vaccine candidate should therefore be tested in clinical trials for its efficacy in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines , Pandemics/prevention & control , Vaccinology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Escherichia coli , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Molecular Docking Simulation , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry
11.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 16731, 2022 Oct 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2050555

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 caused, as of September, 1rst, 2022, 599,825,400 confirmed cases, including 6,469,458 deaths. Currently used vaccines reduced severity and mortality but not virus transmission or reinfection by different strains. They are based on the Spike protein of the Wuhan reference virus, which although highly antigenic suffered many mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants, escaping vaccine-generated immune responses. Multiepitope vaccines based on 100% conserved epitopes of multiple proteins of all SARS-CoV-2 variants, rather than a single highly mutating antigen, could offer more long-lasting protection. In this study, a multiepitope multivariant vaccine was designed using immunoinformatics and in silico approaches. It is composed of highly promiscuous and strong HLA binding CD4+ and CD8+ T cell epitopes of the S, M, N, E, ORF1ab, ORF 6 and ORF8 proteins. Based on the analysis of one genome per WHO clade, the epitopes were 100% conserved among the Wuhan-Hu1, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron, Mµ, Zeta, Lambda and R1 variants. An extended epitope-conservancy analysis performed using GISAID metadata of 3,630,666 SARS-CoV-2 genomes of these variants and the additional genomes of the Epsilon, Lota, Theta, Eta, Kappa and GH490 R clades, confirmed the high conservancy of the epitopes. All but one of the CD4 peptides showed a level of conservation greater than 97% among all genomes. All but one of the CD8 epitopes showed a level of conservation greater than 96% among all genomes, with the vast majority greater than 99%. A multiepitope and multivariant recombinant vaccine was designed and it was stable, mildly hydrophobic and non-toxic. The vaccine has good molecular docking with TLR4 and promoted, without adjuvant, strong B and Th1 memory immune responses and secretion of high levels of IL-2, IFN-γ, lower levels of IL-12, TGF-ß and IL-10, and no IL-6. Experimental in vivo studies should validate the vaccine's further use as preventive tool with cross-protective properties.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Interleukin-10 , Interleukin-12 , Interleukin-2 , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 4 , Transforming Growth Factor beta , Vaccines, Subunit
12.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 15983, 2022 09 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2042345

ABSTRACT

While mankind is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a case of monkeypox virus (MPXV) has been reported to the WHO on May 7, 2022. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that has been a public health threat, particularly in Africa. However, it has recently expanded to other parts of the world, so it may soon become a global issue. Thus, the current work was planned and then designed a multi-epitope vaccine against MPXV utilizing the cell surface-binding protein as a target in order to develop a novel and safe vaccine that can evoke the desirable immunological response. The proposed MHC-I, MHC-II, and B-cell epitopes were selected to design multi-epitope vaccine constructs linked with suitable linkers in combination with different adjuvants to enhance the immune responses for the vaccine constructs. The proposed vaccine was composed of 275 amino acids and was shown to be antigenic in Vaxijen server (0.5311) and non-allergenic in AllerTop server. The 3D structure of the designed vaccine was predicted, refined and validated by various in silico tools to assess the stability of the vaccine. Moreover, the solubility of the vaccine construct was found greater than the average solubility provided by protein-Sol server which indicating the solubility of the vaccine construct. Additionally, the most promising epitopes bound to MHC I and MHC II alleles were found having good binding affinities with low energies ranging between - 7.0 and - 8.6 kcal/mol. According to the immunological simulation research, the vaccine was found to elicit a particular immune reaction against the monkeypox virus. Finally, the molecular dynamic study shows that the designed vaccine is stable with minimum RMSF against MHC I allele. We conclude from our research that the cell surface-binding protein is one of the primary proteins involved in MPXV pathogenesis. As a result, our study will aid in the development of appropriate therapeutics and prompt the development of future vaccines against MPXV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Amino Acids , Computational Biology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Monkeypox virus , Pandemics/prevention & control , Vaccines, Subunit
13.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 5586, 2022 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2042319

ABSTRACT

Antibodies against the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) can drive adaptive evolution in immunocompromised patients with chronic infection. Here we longitudinally analyze SARS-CoV-2 sequences in a B cell-depleted, lymphoma patient with chronic, ultimately fatal infection, and identify three mutations in the spike protein that dampen convalescent plasma-mediated neutralization of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, four mutations emerge in non-spike regions encoding three CD8 T cell epitopes, including one nucleoprotein epitope affected by two mutations. Recognition of each mutant peptide by CD8 T cells from convalescent donors is reduced compared to its ancestral peptide, with additive effects resulting from double mutations. Querying public SARS-CoV-2 sequences shows that these mutations have independently emerged as homoplasies in circulating lineages. Our data thus suggest that potential impacts of CD8 T cells on SARS-CoV-2 mutations, at least in those with humoral immunodeficiency, warrant further investigation to inform on vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lymphoma , Vaccines , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/therapy , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mutation , Nucleoproteins/genetics , Peptides/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
14.
Front Immunol ; 13: 931155, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2032773

ABSTRACT

The pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the agent responsible for the COVID-19 disease, has affected millions of people worldwide. There is constant search for new therapies to either prevent or mitigate the disease. Fortunately, we have observed the successful development of multiple vaccines. Most of them are focused on one viral envelope protein, the spike protein. However, such focused approaches may contribute for the rise of new variants, fueled by the constant selection pressure on envelope proteins, and the widespread dispersion of coronaviruses in nature. Therefore, it is important to examine other proteins, preferentially those that are less susceptible to selection pressure, such as the nucleocapsid (N) protein. Even though the N protein is less accessible to humoral response, peptides from its conserved regions can be presented by class I Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules, eliciting an immune response mediated by T-cells. Given the increased number of protein sequences deposited in biological databases daily and the N protein conservation among viral strains, computational methods can be leveraged to discover potential new targets for SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-related viruses. Here we developed SARS-Arena, a user-friendly computational pipeline that can be used by practitioners of different levels of expertise for novel vaccine development. SARS-Arena combines sequence-based methods and structure-based analyses to (i) perform multiple sequence alignment (MSA) of SARS-CoV-related N protein sequences, (ii) recover candidate peptides of different lengths from conserved protein regions, and (iii) model the 3D structure of the conserved peptides in the context of different HLAs. We present two main Jupyter Notebook workflows that can help in the identification of new T-cell targets against SARS-CoV viruses. In fact, in a cross-reactive case study, our workflows identified a conserved N protein peptide (SPRWYFYYL) recognized by CD8+ T-cells in the context of HLA-B7+. SARS-Arena is available at https://github.com/KavrakiLab/SARS-Arena.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Peptides , Vaccine Development
15.
Viruses ; 14(8)2022 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2024293

ABSTRACT

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is a highly contagious and devastating virus that infects cloven-hoofed livestock and various wildlife species. Vaccination is the best measure to prevent FMD. ADDomer, as a kind of non-infectious adenovirus-inspired nanoparticle, has the advantage of high thermal stability. In this study, two dominant B-cell antigen epitopes (residues 129~160 and 200~213) and a dominant T-cell antigen epitope (residues 16~44) of type O FMDV were inserted into the ADDomer variable loop (VL) and arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) loop. The 3D structure of the recombinant protein (ADDomer-RBT) was simulated by homology modeling. First, the recombinant proteins were expressed by the baculovirus expression system and detected by western blot and Q Exactive mass spectrometry. Then the formation of VLPs was observed under a transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Finally, we evaluated the immunogenicity of chimeric VLPs with a murine model. Bioinformatic software analysis preliminarily corroborated that the chosen epitopes were successfully exposed on the surface of ADDomer VLPs. The TEM assay demonstrated the structural integrity of the VLPs. After immunizing, it was found that FMDV-specific antibodies can be produced in mice to induce humoral and cellular immune responses. To sum up, the ADDomer platform can be used as an effective antigen carrier to deliver antigen epitopes. This study presents one of the candidate vaccines to prevent and control FMDV.


Subject(s)
Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus , Foot-and-Mouth Disease , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Capsid Proteins/genetics , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus/genetics , Mice , Viral Vaccines/genetics
16.
Nat Immunol ; 23(9): 1307-1308, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2016770
17.
Vaccine ; 40(37): 5494-5503, 2022 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2016161

ABSTRACT

In recent years, several advances have been observed in vaccinology especially for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). One of the tools employed is epitope prediction by immunoinformatic approaches that reduce the time and cost to develop a vaccine. In this scenario, immunoinformatics is being more often used to develop vaccines for NTDs, in particular visceral leishmaniasis (VL) which is proven not to have an effective vaccine yet. Based on that, in a previous study, two predicted T-cell multi-epitope chimera vaccines were experimentally validated in BALB/c mice to evaluate the immunogenicity, central and effector memory and protection against VL. Considering the results obtained in the mouse model, we assessed the immune response of these chimeras inMesocricetus auratushamster, which displays, experimentally, similar pathological status to human and dog VL disease. Our findings indicate that both chimeras lead to a dominant Th1 response profile, inducing a strong cellular response by increasing the production of IFN-γ and TNF-α cytokines associated with a decrease in IL-10. Also, the chimeras reduced the spleen parasite load and the weight a correlation between protector immunological mechanisms and consistent reduction of the parasitic load was observed. Our results demonstrate that both chimeras were immunogenic and corroborate with findings in the mouse model. Therefore, we reinforce the use of the hamster as a pre-clinical model in vaccination trials for canine and human VL and the importance of immunoinformatic to identify epitopes to design vaccines for this important neglected disease.


Subject(s)
Leishmania infantum , Leishmaniasis Vaccines , Leishmaniasis, Visceral , Th1 Cells , Animals , Cricetinae , Dogs , Humans , Mice , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Antigens, Protozoan , Cytokines , Dog Diseases , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Leishmaniasis, Visceral/prevention & control , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Spleen
18.
PLoS One ; 17(8): e0273577, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2009701

ABSTRACT

Multiple immunoinformatic tools have been developed to predict T-cell epitopes from protein amino acid sequences for different major histocompatibility complex (MHC) alleles. These prediction tools output hundreds of potential peptide candidates which require further processing; however, these tools are either not graphical or not friendly for non-programming users. We present Epitope-Evaluator, a web tool developed in the Shiny/R framework to interactively analyze predicted T-cell epitopes. Epitope-Evaluator contains six tools providing the distribution of epitopes across a selected set of MHC alleles, the promiscuity and conservation of epitopes, and their density and location within antigens. Epitope-Evaluator requires as input the fasta file of protein sequences and the output prediction file coming out from any predictor. By choosing different cutoffs and parameters, users can produce several interactive plots and tables that can be downloaded as JPG and text files, respectively. Using Epitope-Evaluator, we found the HLA-B*40, HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*07:02 recognized fewer epitopes from the SARS-CoV-2 proteome than other MHC Class I alleles. We also identified shared epitopes between Delta, Omicron, and Wuhan Spike variants as well as variant-specific epitopes. In summary, Epitope-Evaluator removes the programming barrier and provides intuitive tools, allowing a straightforward interpretation and graphical representations that facilitate the selection of candidate epitopes for experimental evaluation. The web server Epitope-Evaluator is available at https://fuxmanlab.shinyapps.io/Epitope-Evaluator/.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , HLA-B Antigens , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
19.
J Transl Med ; 20(1): 389, 2022 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2009423

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading reason for invasive diseases including pneumonia and meningitis, and also secondary infections following viral respiratory diseases such as flu and COVID-19. Currently, serotype-dependent vaccines, which have several insufficiency and limitations, are the only way to prevent pneumococcal infections. Hence, it is plain to need an alternative effective strategy for prevention of this organism. Protein-based vaccine involving conserved pneumococcal protein antigens with different roles in virulence could provide an eligible alternative to existing vaccines. METHODS: In this study, PspC, PhtD and PsaA antigens from pneumococcus were taken to account to predict B-cell and helper T-cell epitopes, and epitope-rich regions were chosen to build the construct. To enhance the immunogenicity of the epitope-based vaccine, a truncated N-terminal fragment of pneumococcal endopeptidase O (PepO) was used as a potential TLR2/4 agonist which was identified by molecular docking studies. The ultimate construct was consisted of the chosen epitope-rich regions, along with the adjuvant role (truncated N-PepO) and suitable linkers. RESULTS: The epitope-based vaccine was assessed as regards physicochemical properties, allergenicity, antigenicity, and toxicity. The 3D structure of the engineered construct was modeled, refined, and validated. Molecular docking and simulation of molecular dynamics (MD) indicated the proper and stable interactions between the vaccine and TLR2/4 throughout the simulation periods. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time this work presents a novel vaccine consisting of epitopes of PspC, PhtD, and PsaA antigens which is adjuvanted with a new truncated domain of PepO. The computational outcomes revealed that the suggested vaccine could be deemed an efficient therapeutic vaccine for S. pneumoniae; nevertheless, in vitro and in vivo examinations should be performed to prove the potency of the candidate vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Streptococcus pneumoniae , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Antigens, Bacterial , Bacterial Proteins , Computational Biology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Humans , Metalloendopeptidases , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Toll-Like Receptor 2 , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry
20.
SAR QSAR Environ Res ; 33(9): 649-675, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2008373

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 has made a worldwide health emergency. Despite the fact that current vaccines are readily available, several SARSCoV-2 variants affecting the existing vaccine are to be less effective due to the mutations in the structural proteins. Furthermore, the appearance of the new variants cannot be easily predicted in the future. Therefore, the attempts to construct new vaccines or to modify the current vaccines are still pivotal works for preventing the spread of the virus. In the present investigation, the computational analysis through immunoinformatics, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is employed to construct an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV2. The structural proteins of SARS-CoV2 are utilized to create a multiepitope-based vaccine (MEV). According to our findings presented by systematic procedures in the current investigation, the MEV construct may be able to trigger a strong immunological response against the virus. Therefore, the designed MEV could be a potential vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, and also it is expected to be effective for other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship , RNA, Viral , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry
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