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2.
BMC Ecol Evol ; 22(1): 123, 2022 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2098309

ABSTRACT

The genome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contains many insertions/deletions (indels) from the genomes of other SARS-related coronaviruses. Some of the identified indels have recently reported to involve relatively long segments of 10-300 consecutive bases and with diverse RNA sequences around gaps between virus species, both of which are different characteristics from the classical shorter in-frame indels. These non-classical complex indels have been identified in non-structural protein 3 (Nsp3), the S1 domain of the spike (S), and open reading frame 8 (ORF8). To determine whether the occurrence of these non-classical indels in specific genomic regions is ubiquitous among broad species of SARS-related coronaviruses in different animal hosts, the present study compared SARS-related coronaviruses from humans (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2), bats (RaTG13 and Rc-o319), and pangolins (GX-P4L), by performing multiple sequence alignment. As a result, indel hotspots with diverse RNA sequences of different lengths between the viruses were confirmed in the Nsp2 gene (approximately 2500-2600 base positions in the overall 29,900 bases), Nsp3 gene (approximately 3000-3300 and 3800-3900 base positions), N-terminal domain of the spike protein (21,500-22,500 base positions), and ORF8 gene (27,800-28,200 base positions). Abnormally high rate of point mutations and complex indels in these regions suggest that the occurrence of mutations in these hotspots may be selectively neutral or even benefit the survival of the viruses. The presence of such indel hotspots has not been reported in different human SARS-CoV-2 strains in the last 2 years, suggesting a lower rate of indels in human SARS-CoV-2. Future studies to elucidate the mechanisms enabling the frequent development of long and complex indels in specific genomic regions of SARS-related coronaviruses would offer deeper insights into the process of viral evolution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , SARS Virus , Animals , Humans , Open Reading Frames/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , SARS Virus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Phylogeny , COVID-19/genetics , Chiroptera/genetics , Pangolins
3.
Viruses ; 14(11)2022 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2090361

ABSTRACT

Due to the emergence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the question of how the viral genomes evolved, leading to the formation of highly infectious strains, becomes particularly important. Three major emergent strains, Alpha, Beta and Delta, characterized by a significant number of missense mutations, provide a natural test field. We accumulated and aligned 4.7 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from the GISAID database and carried out a comprehensive set of analyses. This collection covers the period until the end of October 2021, i.e., the beginnings of the Omicron variant. First, we explored combinatorial complexity of the genomic variants emerging and their timing, indicating very strong, albeit hidden, selection forces. Our analyses show that the mutations that define variants of concern did not arise gradually but rather co-evolved rapidly, leading to the emergence of the full variant strain. To explore in more detail the evolutionary forces at work, we developed time trajectories of mutations at all 29,903 sites of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, week by week, and stratified them into trends related to (i) point substitutions, (ii) deletions and (iii) non-sequenceable regions. We focused on classifying the genetic forces active at different ranges of the mutational spectrum. We observed the agreement of the lowest-frequency mutation spectrum with the Griffiths-Tavaré theory, under the Infinite Sites Model and neutrality. If we widen the frequency range, we observe the site frequency spectra much more consistently with the Tung-Durrett model assuming clone competition and selection. The coefficients of the fitting model indicate the possibility of selection acting to promote gradual growth slowdown, as observed in the history of the variants of concern. These results add up to a model of genomic evolution, which partly fits into the classical drift barrier ideas. Certain observations, such as mutation "bands" persistent over the epidemic history, suggest contribution of genetic forces different from mutation, drift and selection, including recombination or other genome transformations. In addition, we show that a "toy" mathematical model can qualitatively reproduce how new variants (clones) stem from rare advantageous driver mutations, and then acquire neutral or disadvantageous passenger mutations which gradually reduce their fitness so they can be then outcompeted by new variants due to other driver mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Evolution, Molecular
4.
Science ; 375(6576): 31-33, 2022 Jan 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2042845

ABSTRACT

Risky research on lab-modified self-spreading viruses has yet to present credible paths to upsides.


Subject(s)
Animals, Wild , Organisms, Genetically Modified , Pest Control, Biological , Vaccines, Attenuated , Viral Vaccines , Viruses , Animals , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , International Cooperation , Policy , Virus Physiological Phenomena , Viruses/genetics
5.
Mol Genet Genomics ; 297(6): 1711-1740, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2035056

ABSTRACT

Timelines of population-level effects of viruses on humans varied from the evolutionary scale of million years to contemporary spread of viral infections. Correspondingly, these events are exemplified by: (i) emergence of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) from ancient germline infections leading to stable integration of viral genomes into human chromosomes; and (ii) wide-spread viral infections reaching a global pandemic state such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite significant efforts, understanding of HERV's roles in governance of genomic regulatory networks, their impacts on primate evolution and development of human-specific physiological and pathological phenotypic traits remains limited. Remarkably, present analyses revealed that expression of a dominant majority of genes (1696 of 1944 genes; 87%) constituting high-confidence down-steam regulatory targets of defined HERV loci was significantly altered in cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, a pathogen causing the global COVID-19 pandemic. This study focused on defined sub-sets of DNA sequences derived from HERVs that are expressed at specific stages of human preimplantation embryogenesis and exert regulatory actions essential for self-renewal and pluripotency. Evolutionary histories of LTR7/HERVH and LTR5_Hs/HERVK were charted based on evidence of the earliest presence and expansion of highly conserved (HC) LTR sequences. Sequence conservation analyses of most recent releases 17 primate species' genomes revealed that LTR7/HERVH have entered germlines of primates in Africa after the separation of the New World Monkey lineage, while LTR5_Hs/HERVK successfully colonized primates' germlines after the segregation of Gibbons' species. Subsequently, both LTR7 and LTR5_Hs undergo a marked ~ fourfold-fivefold expansion in genomes of Great Apes. Timelines of quantitative expansion of both LTR7 and LTR5_Hs loci during evolution of Great Apes appear to replicate the consensus evolutionary sequence of increasing cognitive and behavioral complexities of non-human primates, which seems particularly striking for LTR7 loci and 11 distinct LTR7 subfamilies. Consistent with previous reports, identified in this study, 351 human-specific (HS) insertions of LTR7 (175 loci) and LTR5_Hs (176 loci) regulatory sequences have been linked to genes implicated in establishment and maintenance of naïve and primed pluripotent states and preimplantation embryogenesis phenotypes. Unexpectedly, HS-LTRs manifest regulatory connectivity to genes encoding markers of 12 distinct cells' populations of fetal gonads, as well as genes implicated in physiology and pathology of human spermatogenesis, including Y-linked spermatogenic failure, oligo- and azoospermia. Granular interrogations of genes linked with 11 distinct LTR7 subfamilies revealed that mammalian offspring survival (MOS) genes seem to remain one of consistent regulatory targets throughout ~ 30 MYA of the divergent evolution of LTR7 loci. Differential GSEA of MOS versus non-MOS genes identified clearly discernable dominant enrichment patterns of phenotypic traits affected by MOS genes linked with LTR7 (562 MOS genes) and LTR5_Hs (126 MOS genes) regulatory loci across the large panel of genomics and proteomics databases reflecting a broad spectrum of human physiological and pathological traits. GSEA of LTR7-linked MOS genes identified more than 2200 significantly enriched records of human common and rare diseases and gene signatures of 466 significantly enriched records of Human Phenotype Ontology traits, including Autosomal Dominant (92 genes) and Autosomal Recessive (93 genes) Inheritance. LTR7 regulatory elements appear linked with genes implicated in functional and morphological features of central nervous system, including synaptic transmission and protein-protein interactions at synapses, as well as gene signatures differentially regulated in cells of distinct neurodevelopmental stages and morphologically diverse cell types residing and functioning in human brain. These include Neural Stem/Precursor cells, Radial Glia cells, Bergman Glia cells, Pyramidal cells, Tanycytes, Immature neurons, Interneurons, Trigeminal neurons, GABAergic neurons, and Glutamatergic neurons. GSEA of LTR7-linked genes identified significantly enriched gene sets encoding markers of more than 80 specialized types of neurons and markers of 521 human brain regions, most prominently, subiculum and dentate gyrus. Identification and characterization of 1944 genes comprising high-confidence down-steam regulatory targets of LTR7 and/or LTR5_Hs loci validated and extended these observations by documenting marked enrichments for genes implicated in neoplasm metastasis, intellectual disability, autism, multiple cancer types, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and other brain disorders. Overall, genes representing down-stream regulatory targets of ancient retroviral LTRs exert the apparently cooperative and exceedingly broad phenotypic impacts on human physiology and pathology. This is exemplified by altered expression of 93% high-confidence LTR targets in cells infected by contemporary viruses, revealing a convergence of virus-inflicted aberrations on genomic regulatory circuitry governed by ancient retroviral LTR elements and interference with human cells' differentiation programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Endogenous Retroviruses , Hominidae , Animals , Male , Humans , Endogenous Retroviruses/genetics , Pandemics , Steam , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2 , Hominidae/genetics , Terminal Repeat Sequences/genetics , Genomics , Primates/genetics , Phenotype , Mammals/genetics
6.
J Comput Chem ; 43(29): 1942-1963, 2022 11 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2013553

ABSTRACT

As a complement to virtual screening, de novo design of small molecules is an alternative approach for identifying potential drug candidates. Here, we present a new 3D genetic algorithm to evolve molecules through breeding, mutation, fitness pressure, and selection. The method, termed DOCK_GA, builds upon and leverages powerful sampling, scoring, and searching routines previously implemented into DOCK6. Three primary experiments were used during development: Single-molecule evolution evaluated three selection methods (elitism, tournament, and roulette), in four clinically relevant systems, in terms of mutation type and crossover success, chemical properties, ensemble diversity, and fitness convergence, among others. Large scale benchmarking assessed performance across 651 different protein-ligand systems. Ensemble-based evolution demonstrated using multiple inhibitors simultaneously to seed growth in a SARS-CoV-2 target. Key takeaways include: (1) The algorithm is robust as demonstrated by the successful evolution of molecules across a large diverse dataset. (2) Users have flexibility with regards to parent input, selection method, fitness function, and molecular descriptors. (3) The program is straightforward to run and only requires a single executable and input file at run-time. (4) The elitism selection method yields more tightly clustered molecules in terms of 2D/3D similarity, with more favorable fitness, followed by tournament and roulette.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Design , Algorithms , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Ligands , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(4): 444-448, 2022 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1996070

ABSTRACT

6 years ago, I published a Cell Host and Microbe paper that described randomization of virus genetic populations during mosquito infection. From within the evolutionary chaos, however, there is an order that can reveal a virus' past. Using these insights, I forged a career harnessing virus evolution to understand epidemiological patterns.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Viruses , Animals , DNA Viruses , Genetics, Population , Viruses/genetics
8.
Mol Biol Evol ; 39(9)2022 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1985095

ABSTRACT

One of the unique features of SARS-CoV-2 is its apparent neutral evolution during the early pandemic (before February 2020). This contrasts with the preceding SARS-CoV epidemics, where viruses evolved adaptively. SARS-CoV-2 may exhibit a unique or adaptive feature which deviates from other coronaviruses. Alternatively, the virus may have been cryptically circulating in humans for a sufficient time to have acquired adaptive changes before the onset of the current pandemic. To test the scenarios above, we analyzed the SARS-CoV-2 sequences from minks (Neovision vision) and parental humans. In the early phase of the mink epidemic (April to May 2020), nonsynonymous to synonymous mutation ratio per site in the spike protein is 2.93, indicating a selection process favoring adaptive amino acid changes. Mutations in the spike protein were concentrated within its receptor-binding domain and receptor-binding motif. An excess of high-frequency derived variants produced by genetic hitchhiking was found during the middle (June to July 2020) and late phase I (August to September 2020) of the mink epidemic. In contrast, the site frequency spectra of early SARS-CoV-2 in humans only show an excess of low-frequency mutations, consistent with the recent outbreak of the virus. Strong positive selection in the mink SARS-CoV-2 implies that the virus may not be preadapted to a wide range of hosts and illustrates how a virus evolves to establish a continuous infection in a new host. Therefore, the lack of positive selection signal during the early pandemic in humans deserves further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mink/virology , Mutation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(35): e2206610119, 2022 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984600

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a coronavirus that spilled over from the bat reservoir. Despite numerous clinical trials and vaccines, the burden remains immense, and the host determinants of SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and COVID-19 severity remain largely unknown. Signatures of positive selection detected by comparative functional genetic analyses in primate and bat genomes can uncover important and specific adaptations that occurred at virus-host interfaces. We performed high-throughput evolutionary analyses of 334 SARS-CoV-2-interacting proteins to identify SARS-CoV adaptive loci and uncover functional differences between modern humans, primates, and bats. Using DGINN (Detection of Genetic INNovation), we identified 38 bat and 81 primate proteins with marks of positive selection. Seventeen genes, including the ACE2 receptor, present adaptive marks in both mammalian orders, suggesting common virus-host interfaces and past epidemics of coronaviruses shaping their genomes. Yet, 84 genes presented distinct adaptations in bats and primates. Notably, residues involved in ubiquitination and phosphorylation of the inflammatory RIPK1 have rapidly evolved in bats but not primates, suggesting different inflammation regulation versus humans. Furthermore, we discovered residues with typical virus-host arms race marks in primates, such as in the entry factor TMPRSS2 or the autophagy adaptor FYCO1, pointing to host-specific in vivo interfaces that may be drug targets. Finally, we found that FYCO1 sites under adaptation in primates are those associated with severe COVID-19, supporting their importance in pathogenesis and replication. Overall, we identified adaptations involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection in bats and primates, enlightening modern genetic determinants of virus susceptibility and severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Evolution, Molecular , Host Adaptation , Primates , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Chiroptera/virology , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Host Adaptation/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Primates/genetics , Primates/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Selection, Genetic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4380, 2022 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984384

ABSTRACT

Emerging diseases caused by coronaviruses of likely bat origin (e.g., SARS, MERS, SADS, COVID-19) have disrupted global health and economies for two decades. Evidence suggests that some bat SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) could infect people directly, and that their spillover is more frequent than previously recognized. Each zoonotic spillover of a novel virus represents an opportunity for evolutionary adaptation and further spread; therefore, quantifying the extent of this spillover may help target prevention programs. We derive current range distributions for known bat SARSr-CoV hosts and quantify their overlap with human populations. We then use probabilistic risk assessment and data on human-bat contact, human viral seroprevalence, and antibody duration to estimate that a median of 66,280 people (95% CI: 65,351-67,131) are infected with SARSr-CoVs annually in Southeast Asia. These data on the geography and scale of spillover can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs for potential future bat-CoV emergence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , SARS Virus , Animals , Asia, Southeastern/epidemiology , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Phylogeny , Seroepidemiologic Studies
11.
Protein J ; 41(4-5): 444-456, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966162

ABSTRACT

Using molecular dynamics simulations, the protein-protein interactions of the receptor-binding domain of the wild-type and seven variants of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike protein and the peptidase domain of human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 were investigated. These variants are alpha, beta, gamma, delta, eta, kappa, and omicron. Using 100 ns simulation data, the residue interaction networks at the protein-protein interface were identified. Also, the impact of mutations on essential protein dynamics, backbone flexibility, and interaction energy of the simulated protein-protein complexes were studied. The protein-protein interface for the wild-type, delta, and omicron variants contained several stronger interactions, while the alpha, beta, gamma, eta, and kappa variants exhibited an opposite scenario as evident from the analysis of the inter-residue interaction distances and pair-wise interaction energies. The study reveals that two distinct residue networks at the central and right contact regions forge stronger binding affinity between the protein partners. The study provides a molecular-level insight into how enhanced transmissibility and infectivity by delta and omicron variants are most likely tied to a handful of interacting residues at the binding interface, which could potentially be utilized for future antibody constructs and structure-based antiviral drug design.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Mapping , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
12.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1964110

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 outbreak has reminded us of the importance of viral evolutionary studies as regards comprehending complex viral evolution and preventing future pandemics. A unique approach to understanding viral evolution is the use of ancient viral genomes. Ancient viruses are detectable in various archaeological remains, including ancient people's skeletons and mummified tissues. Those specimens have preserved ancient viral DNA and RNA, which have been vigorously analyzed in the last few decades thanks to the development of sequencing technologies. Reconstructed ancient pathogenic viral genomes have been utilized to estimate the past pandemics of pathogenic viruses within the ancient human population and long-term evolutionary events. Recent studies revealed the existence of non-pathogenic viral genomes in ancient people's bodies. These ancient non-pathogenic viruses might be informative for inferring their relationships with ancient people's diets and lifestyles. Here, we reviewed the past and ongoing studies on ancient pathogenic and non-pathogenic viruses and the usage of ancient viral genomes to understand their long-term viral evolution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viruses , DNA, Ancient , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Humans , Viruses/genetics
13.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1964101

ABSTRACT

Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) is a causative agent of enteric and respiratory disease in cattle. BCoV has also been reported to cause a variety of animal diseases and is closely related to human coronaviruses, which has attracted extensive attention from both cattle farmers and researchers. However, there are few comprehensive epidemiological reviews, and key information regarding the effect of S-gene differences on tissue tendency and potential cross-species transmission remain unclear. In this review, we summarize BCoV epidemiology, including the transmission, infection-associated factors, co-infection, pathogenicity, genetic evolution, and potential cross-species transmission. Furthermore, the potential two-receptor binding motif system for BCoV entry and the association between BCoV and SARS-CoV-2 are also discussed in this review. Our aim is to provide valuable information for the prevention and treatment of BCoV infection throughout the world.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cattle Diseases , Coronavirus, Bovine , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Cattle , Cattle Diseases/epidemiology , Coronavirus, Bovine/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
14.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0270276, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1963016

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is one of three recognized coronaviruses (CoVs) that have caused epidemics or pandemics in the 21st century and that likely emerged from animal reservoirs. Differences in nucleotide and protein sequence composition within related ß-coronaviruses are often used to better understand CoV evolution, host adaptation, and their emergence as human pathogens. Here we report the comprehensive analysis of amino acid residue changes that have occurred in lineage B ß-coronaviruses that show covariance with each other. This analysis revealed patterns of covariance within conserved viral proteins that potentially define conserved interactions within and between core proteins encoded by SARS-CoV-2 related ß-coronaviruses. We identified not only individual pairs but also networks of amino acid residues that exhibited statistically high frequencies of covariance with each other using an independent pair model followed by a tandem model approach. Using 149 different CoV genomes that vary in their relatedness, we identified networks of unique combinations of alleles that can be incrementally traced genome by genome within different phylogenic lineages. Remarkably, covariant residues and their respective regions most abundantly represented are implicated in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and are also enriched in dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acids/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
15.
Virol J ; 19(1): 103, 2022 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962855

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As a new epi-center of COVID-19 in Asia and a densely populated developing country, Indonesia is facing unprecedented challenges in public health. SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.466.2 was reported to be an indigenous dominant strain in Indonesia (once second only to the Delta variant). However, it remains unclear how this variant evolved and spread within such an archipelagic nation. METHODS: For statistical description, the spatiotemporal distributions of the B.1.466.2 variant were plotted using the publicly accessible metadata in GISAID. A total of 1302 complete genome sequences of Indonesian B.1.466.2 strains with high coverage were downloaded from the GISAID's EpiCoV database on 28 August 2021. To determine the molecular evolutionary characteristics, we performed a time-scaled phylogenetic analysis using the maximum likelihood algorithm and called the single nucleotide variants taking the Wuhan-Hu-1 sequence as reference. To investigate the spatiotemporal transmission patterns, we estimated two dynamic parameters (effective population size and effective reproduction number) and reconstructed the phylogeography among different islands. RESULTS: As of the end of August 2021, nearly 85% of the global SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.466.2 sequences (including the first one) were obtained from Indonesia. This variant was estimated to account for over 50% of Indonesia's daily infections during the period of March-May 2021. The time-scaled phylogeny suggested that SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.466.2 circulating in Indonesia might have originated from Java Island in mid-June 2020 and had evolved into two disproportional and distinct sub-lineages. High-frequency non-synonymous mutations were mostly found in the spike and NSP3; the S-D614G/N439K/P681R co-mutations were identified in its larger sub-lineage. The demographic history was inferred to have experienced four phases, with an exponential growth from October 2020 to February 2021. The effective reproduction number was estimated to have reached its peak (11.18) in late December 2020 and dropped to be less than one after early May 2021. The relevant phylogeography showed that Java and Sumatra might successively act as epi-centers and form a stable transmission loop. Additionally, several long-distance transmission links across seas were revealed. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the tropical archipelago may follow unique patterns of evolution and transmission. Continuous, extensive and targeted genomic surveillance is essential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Humans , Indonesia/epidemiology , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
J Virol ; 96(15): e0075322, 2022 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962094

ABSTRACT

Circulation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the human population leads to further viral evolution. The new variants that arise during this evolution are more infectious. Our data suggest that newer variants have shifted from utilizing both cathepsin/endosome- and TMPRSS2-mediated entry mechanisms to rely on a TMPRSS2-dependent entry pathway. Accordingly, only the early lineages of SARS-CoV-2 are capable of infecting and forming syncytia in Vero/ACE2 cells which lack TMPRSS2 expression. The presence of an intact multibasic furin cleavage site (FCS) in the S protein was a key requirement for cell-to-cell fusion. Deletion of FCS makes SARS-CoV-2 more infectious in vitro but renders it incapable of syncytium formation. Cell-to-cell fusion likely represents an alternative means of virus spread and is resistant to the presence of high levels of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and immune sera in the media. In this study, we also noted that cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 with an intact FCS or alphavirus replicon expressing S protein (VEErep/S) released high levels of free S1 subunit. The released S1 is capable of activating the TLR4 receptor and inducing a pro-inflammatory response. Thus, S1 activation of TLR4 may be an important contributor to SARS-CoV-2-induced COVID-19 disease and needs to be considered in the design of COVID mRNA vaccines. Lastly, a VEErep/S-replicon was shown to produce large amounts of infectious, syncytium-forming pseudoviruses and thus could represent alternative experimental system for screening inhibitors of virus entry and syncytium formation. IMPORTANCE The results of this study demonstrate that the late lineages of SARS-CoV-2 evolved to more efficient use of the TMPRSS2-mediated entry pathway and gradually lost an ability to employ the cathepsins/endosome-mediated entry. The acquisition of a furin cleavage site (FCS) by SARS-CoV-2-specific S protein made the virus a potent producer of syncytia. Their formation is also determined by expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and is resistant to neutralizing human MAbs and immune sera. Syncytium formation appears to be an alternative means of infection spread following the development of an adaptive immune response. Cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 with an intact FCS secrete high levels of the S1 subunit. The released S1 demonstrates an ability to activate the TLR4 receptor and induce pro-inflammatory cytokines, which represent a hallmark of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. Alphavirus replicons encoding SARS-CoV-2 S protein cause spreading, syncytium-forming infection, and they can be applied as an experimental tool for studying the mechanism of syncytium formation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 4 , Virus Internalization
17.
Viruses ; 14(8)2022 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957453

ABSTRACT

The evolution and the emergence of new mutations of viruses affect their transmissibility and/or pathogenicity features, depending on different evolutionary scenarios of virus adaptation to the host. A typical trade-off scenario of SARS-CoV-2 evolution has been proposed, which leads to the appearance of an Omicron strain with lowered lethality, yet enhanced transmissibility. This direction of evolution might be partly explained by virus adaptation to therapeutic agents and enhanced escape from vaccine-induced and natural immunity formed by other SARS-CoV-2 strains. Omicron's high mutation rate in the Spike protein, as well as its previously described high genome mutation rate (Kandeel et al., 2021), revealed a gap between it and other SARS-CoV-2 strains, indicating the absence of a transitional evolutionary form to the Omicron strain. Therefore, Omicron has emerged as a new serotype divergent from the evolutionary lineage of other SARS-CoV-2 strains. Omicron is a rapidly evolving variant of high concern, whose new subvariants continue to manifest. Its further understanding and the further monitoring of key mutations that provide virus immune escape and/or high affinity towards the receptor could be useful for vaccine and therapeutic development in order to control the evolutionary direction of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Evolution, Molecular , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
18.
EMBO Rep ; 23(8): e55393, 2022 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1955118

ABSTRACT

In 1977, the world witnessed both the eradication of smallpox and the beginning of the modern age of genomics. Over the following half-century, 7 epidemic viruses of international concern galvanized virologists across the globe and led to increasingly extensive virus genome sequencing. These sequencing efforts exerted over periods of rapid adaptation of viruses to new hosts, in particular, humans provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underpinning virus evolution. Investment in virus genome sequencing was dramatically increased by the unprecedented support for phylogenomic analyses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this review, we attempt to piece together comprehensive molecular histories of the adaptation of variola virus, HIV-1 M, SARS, H1N1-SIV, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and SARS-CoV-2 to the human host. Disruption of genes involved in virus-host interaction in animal hosts, recombination including genome segment reassortment, and adaptive mutations leading to amino acid replacements in virus proteins involved in host receptor binding and membrane fusion are identified as the key factors in the evolution of epidemic viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Zika Virus Infection , Zika Virus , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/genetics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Zika Virus/genetics
19.
J Virol ; 96(15): e0095822, 2022 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1949998

ABSTRACT

The spike protein on sarbecovirus virions contains two external, protruding domains: an N-terminal domain (NTD) with unclear function and a C-terminal domain (CTD) that binds the host receptor, allowing for viral entry and infection. While the CTD is well studied for therapeutic interventions, the role of the NTD is far less well understood for many coronaviruses. Here, we demonstrate that the spike NTD from SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecoviruses binds to unidentified glycans in vitro similarly to other members of the Coronaviridae family. We also show that these spike NTD (S-NTD) proteins adhere to Calu3 cells, a human lung cell line, although the biological relevance of this is unclear. In contrast to what has been shown for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which attaches sialic acids during cell entry, sialic acids present on Calu3 cells inhibited sarbecovirus infection. Therefore, while sarbecoviruses can interact with cell surface glycans similarly to other coronaviruses, their reliance on glycans for entry is different from that of other respiratory coronaviruses, suggesting sarbecoviruses and MERS-CoV have adapted to different cell types, tissues, or hosts during their divergent evolution. Our findings provide important clues for further exploring the biological functions of sarbecovirus glycan binding and adds to our growing understanding of the complex forces that shape coronavirus spike evolution. IMPORTANCE Spike N-terminal domains (S-NTD) of sarbecoviruses are highly diverse; however, their function remains largely understudied compared with the receptor-binding domains (RBD). Here, we show that sarbecovirus S-NTD can be phylogenetically clustered into five clades and exhibit various levels of glycan binding in vitro. We also show that, unlike some coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV, sialic acids present on the surface of Calu3, a human lung cell culture, inhibit SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecoviruses. These results suggest that while glycan binding might be an ancestral trait conserved across different coronavirus families, the functional outcome during infection can vary, reflecting divergent viral evolution. Our results expand our knowledge on the biological functions of the S-NTD across diverse sarbecoviruses and provide insight on the evolutionary history of coronavirus spike.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Polysaccharides , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/chemistry , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/classification , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Protein Domains , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sialic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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