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1.
Front Public Health ; 10: 794513, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775996

ABSTRACT

Aquatic environments, under frequent anthropogenic pressure, could serve as reservoirs that provide an ideal condition for the acquisition and dissemination of antibiotic resistance genetic determinants. We investigated the prevalence and diversity of antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli by focusing on their genetic diversity, virulence, and resistance genes in anthropogenic-impacted Larut River. The abundance of E. coli ranged from (estimated count) Est 1 to 4.7 × 105 (colony-forming units per 100 ml) CFU 100 ml-1 to Est 1 to 4.1 × 105 CFU 100 ml-1 with phylogenetic group B1 (46.72%), and A (34.39%) being the most predominant. The prevalence of multiple antibiotic resistance phenotypes of E. coli, with the presence of tet and sul resistance genes, was higher in wastewater effluents than in the river waters. These findings suggested that E. coli could be an important carrier of the resistance genes in freshwater river environments. The phylogenetic composition of E. coli and resistance genes was associated with physicochemical properties and antibiotic residues. These findings indicated that the anthropogenic inputs exerted an effect on the E. coli phylogroup composition, diversification of multiple antibiotic resistance phenotypes, and the distribution of resistance genes in the Larut River.


Subject(s)
Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Escherichia coli , Rivers , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Escherichia coli/drug effects , Escherichia coli/genetics , Malaysia , Phylogeny , Prevalence , Rivers/microbiology
2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 988, 2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713165

ABSTRACT

Translating ribosomes unwind mRNA secondary structures by three basepairs each elongation cycle. Despite the ribosome helicase, certain mRNA stem-loops stimulate programmed ribosomal frameshift by inhibiting translation elongation. Here, using mutagenesis, biochemical and single-molecule experiments, we examine whether high stability of three basepairs, which are unwound by the translating ribosome, is critical for inducing ribosome pauses. We find that encountering frameshift-inducing mRNA stem-loops from the E. coli dnaX mRNA and the gag-pol transcript of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) hinders A-site tRNA binding and slows down ribosome translocation by 15-20 folds. By contrast, unwinding of first three basepairs adjacent to the mRNA entry channel slows down the translating ribosome by only 2-3 folds. Rather than high thermodynamic stability, specific length and structure enable regulatory mRNA stem-loops to stall translation by forming inhibitory interactions with the ribosome. Our data provide the basis for rationalizing transcriptome-wide studies of translation and searching for novel regulatory mRNA stem-loops.


Subject(s)
Frameshifting, Ribosomal , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , DNA Polymerase III/genetics , Escherichia coli/genetics , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , HIV/genetics , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA, Bacterial/chemistry , RNA, Bacterial/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Transfer/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Single Molecule Imaging , Thermodynamics
3.
J Am Chem Soc ; 144(9): 3761-3765, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713117

ABSTRACT

The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need for cost-effective processes to rapidly manufacture antiviral drugs at scale. Here we report a concise biocatalytic process for Molnupiravir, a nucleoside analogue recently approved as an orally available treatment for SARS-CoV-2. Key to the success of this process was the development of an efficient biocatalyst for the production of N-hydroxy-cytidine through evolutionary adaption of the hydrolytic enzyme cytidine deaminase. This engineered biocatalyst performs >85 000 turnovers in less than 3 h, operates at 180 g/L substrate loading, and benefits from in situ crystallization of the N-hydroxy-cytidine product (85% yield), which can be converted to Molnupiravir by a selective 5'-acylation using Novozym 435.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytidine Deaminase/metabolism , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2 , Biocatalysis , Cytidine/biosynthesis , Cytidine/metabolism , Cytidine Deaminase/genetics , Escherichia coli/enzymology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Hydroxylamines , Metabolic Engineering , Protein Engineering , Uridine/metabolism
4.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 44, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683982

ABSTRACT

The wide transmission and host adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 have led to the rapid accumulation of mutations, posing significant challenges to the effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. Although several neutralizing antibodies were authorized for emergency clinical use, convalescent patients derived natural antibodies are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 Spike mutation. Here, we describe the screen of a panel of SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) targeted nanobodies (Nbs) from a synthetic library and the design of a biparatopic Nb, named Nb1-Nb2, with tight affinity and super-wide neutralization breadth against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Deep-mutational scanning experiments identify the potential binding epitopes of the Nbs on the RBD and demonstrate that biparatopic Nb1-Nb2 has a strong escape-resistant feature against more than 60 tested RBD amino acid substitutions. Using pseudovirion-based and trans-complementation SARS-CoV-2 tools, we determine that the Nb1-Nb2 broadly neutralizes multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants at sub-nanomolar levels, including Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), Delta (B.1.617.2), Lambda (C.37), Kappa (B.1.617.1), and Mu (B.1.621). Furthermore, a heavy-chain antibody is constructed by fusing the human IgG1 Fc to Nb1-Nb2 (designated as Nb1-Nb2-Fc) to improve its neutralization potency, yield, stability, and potential half-life extension. For the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) that harbors unprecedented multiple RBD mutations, Nb1-Nb2-Fc keeps a firm affinity (KD < 1.0 × 10-12 M) and strong neutralizing activity (IC50 = 1.46 nM for authentic Omicron virus). Together, we developed a tetravalent biparatopic human heavy-chain antibody with ultrapotent and broad-spectrum SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity which highlights the potential clinical applications.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/pharmacology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibody Affinity , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/biosynthesis , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/genetics , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/biosynthesis , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(8)2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671749

ABSTRACT

Type I interferons (IFN-I) exert pleiotropic biological effects during viral infections, balancing virus control versus immune-mediated pathologies, and have been successfully employed for the treatment of viral diseases. Humans express 12 IFN-alpha (α) subtypes, which activate downstream signaling cascades and result in distinct patterns of immune responses and differential antiviral responses. Inborn errors in IFN-I immunity and the presence of anti-IFN autoantibodies account for very severe courses of COVID-19; therefore, early administration of IFN-I may be protective against life-threatening disease. Here we comprehensively analyzed the antiviral activity of all IFNα subtypes against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to identify the underlying immune signatures and explore their therapeutic potential. Prophylaxis of primary human airway epithelial cells (hAEC) with different IFNα subtypes during SARS-CoV-2 infection uncovered distinct functional classes with high, intermediate, and low antiviral IFNs. In particular, IFNα5 showed superior antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro and in SARS-CoV-2-infected mice in vivo. Dose dependency studies further displayed additive effects upon coadministration with the broad antiviral drug remdesivir in cell culture. Transcriptomic analysis of IFN-treated hAEC revealed different transcriptional signatures, uncovering distinct, intersecting, and prototypical genes of individual IFNα subtypes. Global proteomic analyses systematically assessed the abundance of specific antiviral key effector molecules which are involved in IFN-I signaling pathways, negative regulation of viral processes, and immune effector processes for the potent antiviral IFNα5. Taken together, our data provide a systemic, multimodular definition of antiviral host responses mediated by defined IFN-I. This knowledge will support the development of novel therapeutic approaches against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Transcriptome , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cloning, Molecular , Disease Models, Animal , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Expression Regulation , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/metabolism , Humans , Interferon-alpha/genetics , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Mice , Protein Isoforms/classification , Protein Isoforms/genetics , Protein Isoforms/immunology , Protein Isoforms/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/classification , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction , Vero Cells
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(3)2022 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667197

ABSTRACT

An Escherichia coli (E. coli) production of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 (isolate Wuhan-Hu-1) spike protein would significantly accelerate the search for anti-COVID-19 therapeutics because of its versatility and low cost. However, RBD contains four disulfide bonds and its expression in E. coli is limited by the formation of aberrant disulfide bonds resulting in inclusion bodies. Here, we show that a solubility-enhancing peptide (SEP) tag containing nine arginine residues (RBD-C9R) attached at the C-terminus can overcome this problem. The SEP-tag increased the expression in the soluble fraction and the final yield by five times (2 mg/L). The folding properties of the E. coli expressed RBD-C9R were demonstrated with biophysical characterization using RP-HPLC, circular dichroism, thermal denaturation, fluorescence, and light scattering. A quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) analysis confirmed the binding activity of RBD-C9R with ACE2, the host cell's receptor. In addition, RBD-C9R elicited a Th-2 immune response with a high IgG titer in Jcl: ICR mice. The RBD-C9R antisera interacted with both itself and the mammalian-cell expressed spike protein (S1), as demonstrated by ELISA, indicating that the E. coli expressed RBD-C9R harbors native-like epitopes. Overall, these results emphasize the potential of our SEP-tag for the E. coli production of active multi-disulfide-bonded RBD.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Escherichia coli/growth & development , Peptides/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cloning, Molecular , Disulfides/metabolism , Escherichia coli/genetics , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/metabolism , Immunization , Mice , Mice, Inbred ICR , Peptides/genetics , Peptides/immunology , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th2 Cells/metabolism
7.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262591, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666759

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) is the most abundant viral protein expressed in host samples and is an important antigen for diagnosis. N is a 45 kDa protein that does not present disulfide bonds. Intending to avoid non-specific binding of SARS-CoV-2 N to antibodies from patients who previously had different coronaviruses, a 35 kDa fragment of N was expressed without a conserved motif in E. coli as inclusion bodies (N122-419-IB). Culture media and IB washing conditions were chosen to obtain N122-419-IB with high yield (370 mg/L bacterial culture) and protein purity (90%). High pressure solubilizes protein aggregates by weakening hydrophobic and ionic interactions and alkaline pH promotes solubilization by electrostatic repulsion. The association of pH 9.0 and 2.4 kbar promoted efficient solubilization of N122-419-IB without loss of native-like tertiary structure that N presents in IB. N122-419 was refolded with a yield of 85% (326 mg/L culture) and 95% purity. The refolding process takes only 2 hours and the protein is ready for use after pH adjustment, avoiding the necessity of dialysis or purification. Antibody binding of COVID-19-positive patients sera to N122-419 was confirmed by Western blotting. ELISA using N122-419 is effective in distinguishing between sera presenting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 from those who do not. To the best of our knowledge, the proposed condition for IB solubilization is one of the mildest described. It is possible that the refolding process can be extended to a wide range of proteins with high yields and purity, even those that are sensible to very alkaline pH.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Inclusion Bodies/chemistry , Protein Refolding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Hydrostatic Pressure , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Solubility
8.
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
9.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 200: 428-437, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633983

ABSTRACT

Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) is the primary antigen of the virus for development of sensitive diagnostic assays of COVID-19. In this paper, we demonstrate the significant impact of dimerization of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) N-protein on sensitivity of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based diagnostics. The expressed purified protein from E. coli is composed of dimeric and monomeric forms, which have been further characterized using biophysical and immunological techniques. Indirect ELISA indicated elevated susceptibility of the dimeric form of the nucleocapsid protein for identification of protein-specific monoclonal antibody as compared to the monomeric form. This finding also confirmed with the modelled structure of monomeric and dimeric nucleocapsid protein via HHPred software and its solvent accessible surface area, which indicates higher stability and antigenicity of the dimeric type as compared to the monomeric form. The sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA at 95% CI are 99.0% (94.5-99.9) and 95.0% (83.0-99.4), respectively, for the highest purified dimeric form of the N protein. As a result, using the highest purified dimeric form will improve the sensitivity of the current nucleocapsid-dependent ELISA for COVID-19 diagnosis, and manufacturers should monitor and maintain the monomer-dimer composition for accurate and robust diagnostics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Circular Dichroism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/isolation & purification , Dimerization , Epitopes/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Models, Molecular , Phosphoproteins/biosynthesis , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0201521, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622005

ABSTRACT

Emergency department areas were repurposed as intensive care units (ICUs) for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome during the initial months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We describe an outbreak of New Delhi metallo-ß-lactamase 1 (NDM-1)-producing Escherichia coli infections in critically ill COVID-19 patients admitted to one of the repurposed units. Seven patients developed infections (6 ventilator-associated pneumonia [VAP] and 1 urinary tract infection [UTI]) due to carbapenem-resistant E. coli, and only two survived. Five of the affected patients and four additional patients had rectal carriage of carbapenem-resistant E. coli. The E. coli strain from the affected patients corresponded to a single sequence type. Rectal screening identified isolates of two other sequence types bearing blaNDM-1. Isolates of all three sequence types harbored an IncFII plasmid. The plasmid was confirmed to carry blaNDM-1 through conjugation. An outbreak of clonal NDM-1-producing E. coli isolates and subsequent dissemination of NDM-1 through mobile elements to other E. coli strains occurred after hospital conversion during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. This emphasizes the need for infection control practices in surge scenarios. IMPORTANCE The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in a surge of critically ill patients. Hospitals have had to adapt to the demand by repurposing areas as intensive care units. This has resulted in high workload and disruption of usual hospital workflows. Surge capacity guidelines and pandemic response plans do not contemplate how to limit collateral damage from issues like hospital-acquired infections. It is vital to ensure quality of care in surge scenarios.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection/microbiology , Escherichia coli Infections/microbiology , Escherichia coli/enzymology , Escherichia coli/isolation & purification , beta-Lactamases/metabolism , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Conjugation, Genetic , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Escherichia coli/classification , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli Infections/epidemiology , Escherichia coli Infections/mortality , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Male , Mexico/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Plasmids/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Tertiary Care Centers/statistics & numerical data , beta-Lactamases/genetics
11.
Biomolecules ; 11(12)2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551563

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by a newly emerged coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that has rapidly progressed into a pandemic. This unprecedent emergency has stressed the significance of developing effective therapeutics to fight the current and future outbreaks. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 surface Spike protein is the main target for vaccines and represents a helpful "tool" to produce neutralizing antibodies or diagnostic kits. In this work, we provide a detailed characterization of the native RBD produced in three major model systems: Escherichia coli, insect and HEK-293 cells. Circular dichroism, gel filtration chromatography and thermal denaturation experiments indicated that recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD proteins are stable and correctly folded. In addition, their functionality and receptor-binding ability were further evaluated through ELISA, flow cytometry assays and bio-layer interferometry.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Escherichia coli/genetics , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Insecta/cytology , Protein Binding , Protein Denaturation , Protein Domains , Protein Folding , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
12.
RNA ; 28(2): 227-238, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533393

ABSTRACT

The Bacillus subtilis genome is predicted to encode numerous ribonucleases, including four 3' exoribonucleases that have been characterized to some extent. A strain containing gene knockouts of all four known 3' exoribonucleases is viable, suggesting that one or more additional RNases remain to be discovered. A protein extract from the quadruple RNase mutant strain was fractionated and RNase activity was followed, resulting in the identification of an enzyme activity catalyzed by the YloC protein. YloC is an endoribonuclease and is a member of the highly conserved "YicC family" of proteins that is widespread in bacteria. YloC is a metal-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the cleavage of single-stranded RNA, preferentially at U residues, and exists in an oligomeric form, most likely a hexamer. As such, YloC shares some characteristics with the SARS-CoV Nsp15 endoribonuclease. While the in vivo function of YloC in B. subtilis is yet to be determined, YloC was found to act similarly to YicC in an Escherichia coli in vivo assay that assesses decay of the small RNA, RyhB. Thus, YloC may play a role in small RNA regulation.


Subject(s)
Bacillus subtilis/genetics , Endoribonucleases/genetics , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Bacillus subtilis/enzymology , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Escherichia coli Proteins/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial , Microorganisms, Genetically-Modified , Mutation , RNA Stability , RNA, Bacterial/chemistry , RNA, Bacterial/metabolism , Ribonucleases/genetics , Ribonucleases/metabolism , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
13.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0067221, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532977

ABSTRACT

Here, we aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of a serological assay using the nucleocapsid protein developed for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection and evaluated its performance using three commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), namely, Standard E 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) total antibody (Ab) ELISA (SD Biosensor), and EDI novel coronavirus COVID-19 IgG and IgM ELISA. A recombinant nucleocapsid protein (rNP) was expressed from plants and Escherichia coli for the detection of serum total Ab. We prospectively collected 141 serum samples from 32 patients with reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 and determined the sensitivity and dynamics of their total Ab response. Specificity was evaluated using 158 prepandemic samples. To validate the assays, we evaluated the performance using two different cutoff values. The sensitivity and specificity for each assay were as follows: 92.91% and 94.30% (plant-rNP), 83.69% and 98.73% (SD Biosensor), 75.89% and 98.10% (E. coli-rNP), 76.47% and 100% (EDI-IgG), and 80.39% and 80% (EDI-IgM). The plant-based rNP showed the highest sensitivity and area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (0.980) among all the assays (P < 0.05). The seroconversion rate for total Ab increased sequentially with disease progression, with a sensitivity of 100% after 10 to 12 days of post-symptom onset (PSO) for both rNP-plant-based and SD Biosensor ELISAs. After 2 weeks of PSO, the seroconversion rates were >80% and 100% for EDI-IgM and EDI-IgG ELISA, respectively. Seroconversion occurred earlier with rNP plant-based ELISA (5 days PSO) compared with E. coli-based (7 days PSO) and SD Biosensor (8 days PSO) ELISA. We determined that rNP produced in plants enables the robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 total Abs. The assay can be used for serosurvey and complementary diagnosis of COVID-19. IMPORTANCE At present, the principal diagnostic methods for COVID-19 comprise the identification of viral nucleic acid by genetic approaches, including PCR-based techniques or next-generation sequencing. However, there is an urgent need for validated serological assays which are crucial for the understanding of immune responses against SARS-CoV-2. In this study, a highly sensitive and specific serological antibody assay was developed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 with an overall accuracy of 93.56% using a recombinant nucleoprotein expressed from plants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Plant Proteins/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Nucleocapsid , Plant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion , Tobacco/genetics
14.
Bull Exp Biol Med ; 172(1): 53-56, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1520385

ABSTRACT

The antiviral activity of recombinant human IFN-lambda type 1 (IFNλ-1) against culture strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus was determined by infecting a highly sensitive VeroE6 coronavirus cell culture after preincubation test (the cell monolayer was incubated with 4-fold dilutions of IFNλ-1 in a concentration range of 0.16-42,500 ng/ml in a culture medium for 12 h at 37°C) and without preincubation (simultaneous addition of different concentrations of IFNλ-1 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in a dose of 102 TCID50). The created recombinant human IFNλ-1 demonstrated obvious antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 virus in vitro. In the tests with and without preincubation, IFNλ-1 exhibited significant activity, although somewhat lower in variant with simultaneous addition of IFNλ-1 and virus to the cell culture. It should be noted that the antiviral effect of IFNλ-1 was observed in a wide range of concentrations.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Interferons/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/isolation & purification , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cloning, Molecular , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression , Humans , Interferons/biosynthesis , Interferons/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Vero Cells , Viral Load/genetics
15.
mBio ; 12(6): e0293621, 2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518122

ABSTRACT

Methods for detecting and dissecting the interactions of virally encoded proteins are essential for probing basic viral biology and providing a foundation for therapeutic advances. The dearth of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an ongoing global health crisis, underscores the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the interactions of proteins encoded by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here, we describe the use of a convenient bacterial cell-based two-hybrid (B2H) system to analyze the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. We identified 16 distinct intraviral protein-protein interactions (PPIs), involving 16 proteins. We found that many of the identified proteins interact with more than one partner. Further, our system facilitates the genetic dissection of these interactions, enabling the identification of selectively disruptive mutations. We also describe a modified B2H system that permits the detection of disulfide bond-dependent PPIs in the normally reducing Escherichia coli cytoplasm, and we used this system to detect the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) with its cognate cell surface receptor ACE2. We then examined how the RBD-ACE2 interaction is perturbed by several RBD amino acid substitutions found in currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our findings illustrate the utility of a genetically tractable bacterial system for probing the interactions of viral proteins and investigating the effects of emerging mutations. In principle, the system could also facilitate the identification of potential therapeutics that disrupt specific interactions of virally encoded proteins. More generally, our findings establish the feasibility of using a B2H system to detect and dissect disulfide bond-dependent interactions of eukaryotic proteins. IMPORTANCE Understanding how virally encoded proteins interact with one another is essential in elucidating basic viral biology, providing a foundation for therapeutic discovery. Here, we describe the use of a versatile bacterial cell-based system to investigate the interactions of the protein set encoded by SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic. We identified 16 distinct intraviral protein-protein interactions, involving 16 proteins, many of which interact with more than one partner. Our system facilitates the genetic dissection of these interactions, enabling the identification of selectively disruptive mutations. We also describe a modified version of our bacterial cell-based system that permits detection of the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (specifically, its receptor-binding domain) and its cognate human cell surface receptor ACE2, and we investigated the effects of spike mutations found in currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our findings illustrate the general utility of our system for probing the interactions of virally encoded proteins.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Biological Assay/methods , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Mutation , Protein Binding , Proteome , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
16.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0112221, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511426

ABSTRACT

Whole-genome sequencing was used to characterize carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) strains recovered from rectal screening swab samples obtained from children at a tertiary-care pediatric hospital in Qatar during a 3-year period. A total of 72 CPE isolates recovered from 61 fecal carriers were characterized. Escherichia coli (47 isolates [65.3%]) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (22 isolates [30.6%]) were the most common species identified. High levels of genetic diversity were observed for both species. These 72 isolates produced 78 carbapenemases, characterized as either NDM-type (41 enzymes [52.6%]) or OXA-48-type (37 enzymes [47.4%]). NDM-5 (24 enzymes [30.8%]), NDM-1 (15 enzymes [19.2%]), and OXA-181 (15 enzymes [19.2%]) were the most common variants detected within each type. Twenty-three NDM producers exhibited difficult-to-treat resistance, compared with only 2 of the OXA-48 producers. Multiple comorbidities were identified in 88.5% of the patients, whereas recent travel history to countries in which CPE are endemic was documented for 57.4% of the patients. All 9 blaOXA-48-type-gene-containing E. coli sequence type 38 (ST38) strains were isolated from patients without international travel history. The mean quarterly incidence of fecal carriage decreased more than 6-fold after the implementation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related international travel restrictions in Qatar in mid-March 2020. Our data suggest that NDM-type and OXA-48-type carbapenemases expressed by a large diversity of E. coli and K. pneumoniae genotypes are largely dominant in the pediatric population of Qatar. Although our data indicate successful local expansion of E. coli ST38 strains harboring blaOXA-244 genes, at least within health care settings, blaOXA-48-type and blaNDM-type genes appear to have been mainly introduced sporadically by asymptomatic carriers who visited or received health care in some nearby countries in which the genes are endemic. IMPORTANCE To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study addressing the molecular characteristics of CPE in a pediatric population in Qatar using whole-genome sequencing. Since several countries in the Arabian Peninsula share relatively similar demographic patterns and international links, it is plausible that the molecular characteristics of CPE in children, at least in the middle and eastern parts of the region, are similar to those observed in our study.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , Enterobacteriaceae/enzymology , Feces/chemistry , beta-Lactamases/chemistry , Adolescent , Anti-Bacterial Agents , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Child , Enterobacteriaceae/genetics , Enterobacteriaceae/isolation & purification , Escherichia coli/enzymology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Genotype , Humans , Klebsiella pneumoniae/enzymology , Klebsiella pneumoniae/genetics , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Mutation , Qatar , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Whole Genome Sequencing , beta-Lactamases/genetics , beta-Lactamases/isolation & purification
17.
J Glob Antimicrob Resist ; 27: 267-272, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492262

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Patients hospitalised abroad can become colonised with multidrug-resistant bacteria and import them to their home countries. In this study, we characterised an OXA-484 carbapenemase-producing Escherichia coli strain from a Swiss patient infected by SARS-CoV-2 and repatriated from India. METHODS: At admission to Switzerland (April 2021), the patient undertook a nasopharyngeal swab to search for SARS-CoV-2 and a rectal swab to detect multidrug-resistant bacteria. Both SARS-CoV-2 and E. coli isolates were whole-genome sequenced and analysed for phylogenetic relatedness. RESULTS: The patient was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 lineage (VOC Delta), a lineage that began to be reported across Switzerland at that time. He was also colonised with a sequence type 410 (ST410) E. coli strain (L3452210II) producing OXA-484, a single amino acid variant of OXA-181. The blaOXA-484 gene was carried by a 51.5 kb IncX3 plasmid identical to those described in blaOXA-181-harbouring ST410 E. coli strains. Core genome analysis showed that L3452210II was identical (ΔSNV ≤23) to two ST410 OXA-484 producers recently reported in Qatar and Germany, but differed from other ST410 OXA-181 producers reported worldwide. CONCLUSION: The patient was infected by an emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant and also imported an E. coli producing OXA-484, an OXA-48-like carbapenemase not yet reported in Switzerland. The genetic background of L3452210II indicated that blaOXA-484 shared the same plasmid as blaOXA-181, but its bacterial host differed from most of the pandemic OXA-181-producing ST410 strains reported previously. This case description underlines that the COVID-19 crisis can contribute to the worldwide spread of emerging carbapenemase producers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Escherichia coli Infections , Escherichia coli Proteins , Anti-Bacterial Agents , Bacterial Proteins , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics , Humans , Male , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , beta-Lactamases
18.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother ; 65(7): e0001321, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476381

ABSTRACT

The SOS response to DNA damage is a conserved stress response in Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Although this pathway has been studied for years, its relevance is still not familiar to many working in the fields of clinical antibiotic resistance and stewardship. Under some conditions, the SOS response favors DNA repair and preserves the genetic integrity of the organism. On the other hand, the SOS response also includes induction of error-prone DNA polymerases, which can increase the rate of mutation, called the mutator phenotype or "hypermutation." As a result, mutations can occur in genes conferring antibiotic resistance, increasing the acquisition of resistance to antibiotics. Almost all of the work on the SOS response has been on bacteria exposed to stressors in vitro. In this study, we sought to quantitate the effects of SOS-inducing drugs in vivo, in comparison with the same drugs in vitro. We used a rabbit model of intestinal infection with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli strain E22. SOS-inducing drugs triggered the mutator phenotype response in vivo as well as in vitro. Exposure of E. coli strain E22 to ciprofloxacin or zidovudine, both of which induce the SOS response in vitro, resulted in increased antibiotic resistance to 3 antibiotics: rifampin, minocycline, and fosfomycin. Zinc was able to inhibit the SOS-induced emergence of antibiotic resistance in vivo, as previously observed in vitro. Our findings may have relevance in reducing the emergence of resistance to new antimicrobial drugs.


Subject(s)
Escherichia coli , SOS Response, Genetics , Animals , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Ciprofloxacin/pharmacology , Drug Resistance, Microbial , Escherichia coli/genetics , Mutation , Rabbits
19.
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol ; 105(4): 1447-1460, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1396992

ABSTRACT

Due to their potent immune stimulation, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) variants with tumor-homing activity are attractive as novel antitumor drugs. The promising antitumor effect of NGR-TNFα in clinical trials triggered extensive interest in developing novel tumor-homing TNFα variants in recent years. Owing to its promising antitumor effect, NGR-TNFα is usually used as a control for newly developed tumor-homing TNFα variants. In our previous works, we produced a pericyte-targeting Z-TNFα at high levels using the Escherichia coli (E. coli) M15-pQE30 system. To further compare Z-TNFα and NGR-TNFα, we attempted to express NGR-TNFα using the same system. Surprisingly, native NGR-TNFα was expressed at a low (~ 0.2 mg/L) level in E. coli M15 containing the pQE30 plasmid. However, a single nucleotide mutation of C to G, resulting in a substitution of leucine (L) with valine (V) at the start of TNFα, increased the expression of NGR-TNFα by ~ 100 times through improving transcription. In addition, the amino acid substitution showed a little impact on the receptor binding, in vitro cytotoxicity, and in vivo antitumor effect of NGR-TNFα. As fusing NGR to the N-terminus of TNFα with a valine substitution did not reduce the protein yield, the TNFα gene with a C > G mutation might be used to prepare novel tumor-homing TNFα when the native TNFα-based variant is expressed at an extremely low level in E. coli. Notably, in addition to the mutated valine, the impact of N-terminal additional amino acids provided by pQE30 vector on the function of TNFα variant must be carefully evaluated. KEY POINTS : • A single nucleotide mutation increased the expression of NGR-TNFα by two orders. • Nucleotide mutation-induced amino acid substitution did not reduce NGR-TNFα activity.


Subject(s)
Escherichia coli , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha , Cell Line, Tumor , Escherichia coli/genetics , Galanin/analogs & derivatives , Mutation , Nucleotides , Oligopeptides/genetics , Substance P/analogs & derivatives , Transcription, Genetic , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/genetics
20.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 06 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389549

ABSTRACT

The product of the interferon-stimulated gene C19orf66, Shiftless (SHFL), restricts human immunodeficiency virus replication through downregulation of the efficiency of the viral gag/pol frameshifting signal. In this study, we demonstrate that bacterially expressed, purified SHFL can decrease the efficiency of programmed ribosomal frameshifting in vitro at a variety of sites, including the RNA pseudoknot-dependent signals of the coronaviruses IBV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and the protein-dependent stimulators of the cardioviruses EMCV and TMEV. SHFL also reduced the efficiency of stop-codon readthrough at the murine leukemia virus gag/pol signal. Using size-exclusion chromatography, we confirm the binding of the purified protein to mammalian ribosomes in vitro. Finally, through electrophoretic mobility shift assays and mutational analysis, we show that expressed SHFL has strong RNA binding activity that is necessary for full activity in the inhibition of frameshifting, but shows no clear specificity for stimulatory RNA structures.


Subject(s)
Codon, Terminator/genetics , Coronavirus/genetics , Frameshifting, Ribosomal/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Base Sequence , Escherichia coli/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Humans , Leukemia Virus, Murine/genetics , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins , RNA, Viral/genetics , Virus Replication
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