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1.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0264198, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703502

ABSTRACT

We consider whether one can forecast the emergence of variants of concern in the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and similar pandemics. We explore methods of population genetics and identify key relevant principles in both deterministic and stochastic models of spread of infectious disease. Finally, we demonstrate that fitness variation, defined as a trait for which an increase in its value is associated with an increase in net Darwinian fitness if the value of other traits are held constant, is a strong indicator of imminent transition in the viral population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Forecasting/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Genetics, Population/methods , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
2.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010174, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1624813

ABSTRACT

The mechanisms and consequences of genome evolution on viral fitness following host shifts are poorly understood. In addition, viral fitness -the ability of an organism to reproduce and survive- is multifactorial and thus difficult to quantify. Influenza A viruses (IAVs) circulate broadly among wild birds and have jumped into and become endemic in multiple mammalian hosts, including humans, pigs, dogs, seals, and horses. H3N8 equine influenza virus (EIV) is an endemic virus of horses that originated in birds and has been circulating uninterruptedly in equine populations since the early 1960s. Here, we used EIV to quantify changes in infection phenotype associated to viral fitness due to genome-wide changes acquired during long-term adaptation. We performed experimental infections of two mammalian cell lines and equine tracheal explants using the earliest H3N8 EIV isolated (A/equine/Uruguay/63 [EIV/63]), and A/equine/Ohio/2003 (EIV/2003), a monophyletic descendant of EIV/63 isolated 40 years after the emergence of H3N8 EIV. We show that EIV/2003 exhibits increased resistance to interferon, enhanced viral replication, and a more efficient cell-to-cell spread in cells and tissues. Transcriptomics analyses revealed virus-specific responses to each virus, mainly affecting host immunity and inflammation. Image analyses of infected equine respiratory explants showed that despite replicating at higher levels and spreading over larger areas of the respiratory epithelium, EIV/2003 induced milder lesions compared to EIV/63, suggesting that adaptation led to reduced tissue pathogenicity. Our results reveal previously unknown links between virus genotype and the host response to infection, providing new insights on the relationship between virus evolution and fitness.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Physiological/physiology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Influenza A Virus, H3N8 Subtype/physiology , Influenza A Virus, H3N8 Subtype/pathogenicity , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/virology , Animals , Genetic Fitness/physiology , Horses
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(6)2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642083

ABSTRACT

Adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADAR) are RNA-editing enzymes that may restrict viral infection. We have utilized deep sequencing to determine adenosine to guanine (A→G) mutations, signifying ADAR activity, in clinical samples retrieved from 93 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected patients in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. A→G mutations were detected in 0.035% (median) of RNA residues and were predominantly nonsynonymous. These mutations were rarely detected in the major viral population but were abundant in minor viral populations in which A→G was more prevalent than any other mutation (P < 0.001). The A→G substitutions accumulated in the spike protein gene at positions corresponding to amino acids 505 to 510 in the receptor binding motif and at amino acids 650 to 655. The frequency of A→G mutations in minor viral populations was significantly associated with low viral load (P < 0.001). We additionally analyzed A→G mutations in 288,247 SARS-CoV-2 major (consensus) sequences representing the dominant viral population. The A→G mutations observed in minor viral populations in the initial patient cohort were increasingly detected in European consensus sequences between March and June 2020 (P < 0.001) followed by a decline of these mutations in autumn and early winter (P < 0.001). We propose that ADAR-induced deamination of RNA is a significant source of mutated SARS-CoV-2 and hypothesize that the degree of RNA deamination may determine or reflect viral fitness and infectivity.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Deaminase/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Point Mutation , RNA Editing , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Adenosine/metabolism , Adenosine Deaminase/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Deamination , Female , Genetic Fitness , Genome, Viral , Guanine/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Sweden/epidemiology , Viral Load , Virulence
4.
Cell Rep ; 38(6): 110344, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639571

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs, and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic, several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all three mink adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Biological/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Animals , COVID-19 , Ferrets/immunology , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Humans , Mink/immunology , Mutation , Pandemics , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
5.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572669

ABSTRACT

Genotype screening was implemented in Italy and showed a significant prevalence of new SARS-CoV-2 mutants carrying Q675H mutation, near the furin cleavage site of spike protein. Currently, this mutation, which is expressed on different SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating worldwide, has not been thoughtfully investigated. Therefore, we performed phylogenetic and biocomputational analysis to better understand SARS-CoV-2 Q675H mutants' evolutionary relationships with other circulating lineages and Q675H function in its molecular context. Our studies reveal that Q675H spike mutation is the result of parallel evolution because it arose independently in separate evolutionary clades. In silico data show that the Q675H mutation gives rise to a hydrogen-bonds network in the spike polar region. This results in an optimized directionality of arginine residues involved in interaction of spike with the furin binding pocket, thus improving proteolytic exposure of the viral protein. Furin was predicted to have a greater affinity for Q675H than Q675 substrate conformations. As a consequence, Q675H mutation could confer a fitness advantage to SARS-CoV-2 by promoting a more efficient viral entry. Interestingly, here we have shown that Q675H spike mutation is documented in all the VOCs. This finding highlights that VOCs are still evolving to enhance viral fitness and to adapt to the human host. At the same time, it may suggest Q675H spike mutation involvement in SARS-CoV-2 evolution.


Subject(s)
Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
6.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(12): 1788-1801.e6, 2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509671

ABSTRACT

Previous work found that the co-occurring mutations R203K/G204R on the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein are increasing in frequency among emerging variants of concern or interest. Through a combination of in silico analyses, this study demonstrates that R203K/G204R are adaptive, while large-scale phylogenetic analyses indicate that R203K/G204R associate with the emergence of the high-transmissibility SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7. Competition experiments suggest that the 203K/204R variants possess a replication advantage over the preceding R203/G204 variants, possibly related to ribonucleocapsid (RNP) assembly. Moreover, the 203K/204R virus shows increased infectivity in human lung cells and hamsters. Accordingly, we observe a positive association between increased COVID-19 severity and sample frequency of 203K/204R. Our work suggests that the 203K/204R mutations contribute to the increased transmission and virulence of select SARS-CoV-2 variants. In addition to mutations in the spike protein, mutations in the nucleocapsid protein are important for viral spreading during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genome, Viral , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Cricetulus , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutagenesis , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phylogeny , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Selection, Genetic , Severity of Illness Index , Virion/genetics , Virion/growth & development , Virion/pathogenicity , Virulence , Virus Replication
7.
J Mol Evol ; 88(5): 421-423, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1342961

ABSTRACT

Transmission of viruses from one species to another is not unusual in nature. Despite this, evolutionarily successful transmissions are rare. Such events can cause pandemics and are followed by host-virus coevolution procedures that can increase the fitness potential of viruses. In this perspective article, I recognize eight main types of trans-species viral transmission. I consider two of them as evolutionarily successful, explaining why coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be one of them.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Biological Coevolution , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Animals , Betacoronavirus/growth & development , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Genetic Fitness , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
mBio ; 12(4): e0058721, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327613

ABSTRACT

Since the D614G substitution in the spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged, the variant strain has undergone a rapid expansion to become the most abundant strain worldwide. Therefore, this substitution may provide an advantage for viral spreading. To explore the mechanism, we analyzed 18 viral isolates containing S proteins with either G614 or D614 (S-G614 and S-D614, respectively). The plaque assay showed a significantly higher virus titer in S-G614 than in S-D614 isolates. We further found increased cleavage of the S protein at the furin substrate site, a key event that promotes syncytium formation, in S-G614 isolates. The enhancement of the D614G substitution in the cleavage of the S protein and in syncytium formation has been validated in cells expressing S protein. The effect on the syncytium was abolished by furin inhibitor treatment and mutation of the furin cleavage site, suggesting its dependence on cleavage by furin. Our study pointed to the impact of the D614G substitution on syncytium formation through enhanced furin-mediated S cleavage, which might increase the transmissibility and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 strains containing S-G614. IMPORTANCE Analysis of viral genomes and monitoring of the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 over time has identified the D614G substitution in spike (S) as the most prevalent expanding variant worldwide, which might confer a selective advantage in transmission. Several studies showed that the D614G variant replicates and transmits more efficiently than the wild-type virus, but the mechanism is unclear. By comparing 18 virus isolates containing S with either D614 or G614, we found significantly higher virus titers in association with higher furin protease-mediated cleavage of S, an event that promotes syncytium formation and virus infectivity, in the S-G614 viruses. The effect of the D614G substitution on furin-mediated S cleavage and the resulting enhancement of the syncytium phenotype has been validated in S-expressing cells. This study suggests a possible effect of the D614G substitution on S of SARS-CoV-2; the antiviral effect through targeting furin protease is worthy of being investigated in proper animal models.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Furin/metabolism , Giant Cells/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Vero Cells , Viral Load/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
9.
mBio ; 12(4): e0085021, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1297961

ABSTRACT

Since its emergence in 2019, circulating populations of the new coronavirus (CoV) continuously acquired genetic diversity. At the end of 2020, a variant named 20I/501Y.V1 (lineage B.1.1.7) emerged and replaced other circulating strains in several regions. This phenomenon has been poorly associated with biological evidence that this variant and the original strain exhibit different phenotypic characteristics. Here, we analyze the replication ability of this new variant in different cellular models using for comparison an ancestral D614G European strain (lineage B1). Results from comparative replication kinetics experiments in vitro and in a human reconstituted bronchial epithelium showed no difference. However, when both viruses were put in competition in human reconstituted bronchial epithelium, the 20I/501Y.V1 variant outcompeted the ancestral strain. All together, these findings demonstrate that this new variant replicates more efficiently and may contribute to a better understanding of the progressive replacement of circulating strains by the severe acute respiratory CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) 20I/501Y.V1 variant. IMPORTANCE The emergence of several SARS-CoV-2 variants raised numerous questions concerning the future course of the pandemic. We are currently observing a replacement of the circulating viruses by the variant from the United Kingdom known as 20I/501Y.V1, from the B.1.1.7 lineage, but there is little biological evidence that this new variant exhibits a different phenotype. In the present study, we used different cellular models to assess the replication ability of the 20I/501Y.V1 variant. Our results showed that this variant replicates more efficiently in human reconstituted bronchial epithelium, which may explain why it spreads so rapidly in human populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Genetic Fitness/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Vero Cells , Viral Load
10.
Viruses ; 13(5)2021 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1234834

ABSTRACT

The understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving the fitness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its mutational evolution is still a critical issue. We built a simplified computational model, called SpikePro, to predict the SARS-CoV-2 fitness from the amino acid sequence and structure of the spike protein. It contains three contributions: the inter-human transmissibility of the virus predicted from the stability of the spike protein, the infectivity computed in terms of the affinity of the spike protein for the ACE2 receptor, and the ability of the virus to escape from the human immune response based on the binding affinity of the spike protein for a set of neutralizing antibodies. Our model reproduces well the available experimental, epidemiological and clinical data on the impact of variants on the biophysical characteristics of the virus. For example, it is able to identify circulating viral strains that, by increasing their fitness, recently became dominant at the population level. SpikePro is a useful, freely available instrument which predicts rapidly and with good accuracy the dangerousness of new viral strains. It can be integrated and play a fundamental role in the genomic surveillance programs of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that, despite all the efforts, remain time-consuming and expensive.


Subject(s)
Computational Biology/methods , Genetic Fitness/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Mutation/genetics , Protein Binding/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Software , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2642, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225505

ABSTRACT

Despite its clinical importance, the SARS-CoV-2 gene set remains unresolved, hindering dissection of COVID-19 biology. We use comparative genomics to provide a high-confidence protein-coding gene set, characterize evolutionary constraint, and prioritize functional mutations. We select 44 Sarbecovirus genomes at ideally-suited evolutionary distances, and quantify protein-coding evolutionary signatures and overlapping constraint. We find strong protein-coding signatures for ORFs 3a, 6, 7a, 7b, 8, 9b, and a novel alternate-frame gene, ORF3c, whereas ORFs 2b, 3d/3d-2, 3b, 9c, and 10 lack protein-coding signatures or convincing experimental evidence of protein-coding function. Furthermore, we show no other conserved protein-coding genes remain to be discovered. Mutation analysis suggests ORF8 contributes to within-individual fitness but not person-to-person transmission. Cross-strain and within-strain evolutionary pressures agree, except for fewer-than-expected within-strain mutations in nsp3 and S1, and more-than-expected in nucleocapsid, which shows a cluster of mutations in a predicted B-cell epitope, suggesting immune-avoidance selection. Evolutionary histories of residues disrupted by spike-protein substitutions D614G, N501Y, E484K, and K417N/T provide clues about their biology, and we catalog likely-functional co-inherited mutations. Previously reported RNA-modification sites show no enrichment for conservation. Here we report a high-confidence gene set and evolutionary-history annotations providing valuable resources and insights on SARS-CoV-2 biology, mutations, and evolution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Betacoronavirus/classification , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Codon , Evolution, Molecular , Genes, Viral , Genetic Fitness , Genetic Variation , Open Reading Frames , Phylogeny , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
13.
Science ; 372(6540): 412-417, 2021 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199748

ABSTRACT

Understanding when severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged is critical to evaluating our current approach to monitoring novel zoonotic pathogens and understanding the failure of early containment and mitigation efforts for COVID-19. We used a coalescent framework to combine retrospective molecular clock inference with forward epidemiological simulations to determine how long SARS-CoV-2 could have circulated before the time of the most recent common ancestor of all sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Our results define the period between mid-October and mid-November 2019 as the plausible interval when the first case of SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Hubei province, China. By characterizing the likely dynamics of the virus before it was discovered, we show that more than two-thirds of SARS-CoV-2-like zoonotic events would be self-limited, dying out without igniting a pandemic. Our findings highlight the shortcomings of zoonosis surveillance approaches for detecting highly contagious pathogens with moderate mortality rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , China/epidemiology , Computer Simulation , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Phylogeny , Retrospective Studies , Viral Zoonoses
14.
mSphere ; 6(2)2021 03 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1166378

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) carrying the D614G mutation on the spike protein is the predominant circulating variant and is associated with enhanced infectivity. However, whether this dominant variant can potentially spread through the cold chain and whether the spike protein affects virus stability after cold storage remain unclear. To compare the infectivity of two SARS-CoV-2 variants, namely, SARS-CoV-2 variants with spike protein with the D614 mutation (S-D614) and G614 mutation (S-G614), after different periods of refrigeration (4°C) and freezing (-20°C). We also determined the integrity of the viral RNA and the ability of the spike protein to bind angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) after storage at these conditions. The results showed that SARS-CoV-2 was more stable and infectious after storage at -20°C than at 4°C. Particularly, the S-G614 variant was found to be more stable than the S-D614 variant. The spike protein of the S-G614 variant had better binding ability with the ACE2 receptor than that of the S-D614 variant after storage at -20°C for up to 30 days. Our findings revealed that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable and infectious after refrigeration or freezing, and their stability and infectivity up to 30 days depends on the spike variant. Stability and infectivity are related to each other, and the higher stability of S-G614 compared to that of S-D614 may contribute to rapid viral spread of the S-G614 variant.IMPORTANCE It has been observed that variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are more stable and infectious after storage at -20°C than at 4°C. A SARS-CoV-2 S-D614G variant is currently the most dominant variant in circulation and is associated with enhanced infectivity. We compared the stability of two SARS-CoV-2 variants: the early S-D614 variant carrying the D614 spike protein and the new S-G614 variant carrying the G614 spike protein, stored at both 4°C and -20°C for different periods. We observed that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable and infectious after refrigeration or freezing, which further depends on the spike variant, that is, the ability of the spike protein to bind with the ACE2 receptor with higher efficiency. The high stability of the S-G614 variant also explains its rapid spread and infectivity. Therefore, precautions should be taken during and after handling food preserved under cold conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Cold Temperature , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Humans , Mutation , Protein Stability
15.
Nature ; 592(7854): 438-443, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164876

ABSTRACT

Continued uncontrolled transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in many parts of the world is creating conditions for substantial evolutionary changes to the virus1,2. Here we describe a newly arisen lineage of SARS-CoV-2 (designated 501Y.V2; also known as B.1.351 or 20H) that is defined by eight mutations in the spike protein, including three substitutions (K417N, E484K and N501Y) at residues in its receptor-binding domain that may have functional importance3-5. This lineage was identified in South Africa after the first wave of the epidemic in a severely affected metropolitan area (Nelson Mandela Bay) that is located on the coast of the Eastern Cape province. This lineage spread rapidly, and became dominant in Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces within weeks. Although the full import of the mutations is yet to be determined, the genomic data-which show rapid expansion and displacement of other lineages in several regions-suggest that this lineage is associated with a selection advantage that most plausibly results from increased transmissibility or immune escape6-8.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Mutation , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , DNA Mutational Analysis , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Immune Evasion , Models, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Selection, Genetic , South Africa/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Time Factors
16.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 555: 147-153, 2021 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157143

ABSTRACT

Several existing drugs are currently being tested worldwide to treat COVID-19 patients. Recent data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is rapidly evolving into more transmissible variants. It is therefore highly possible that SARS-CoV-2 can accumulate adaptive mutations modulating drug susceptibility and hampering viral antigenicity. Thus, it is vital to predict potential non-synonymous mutation sites and predict the evolution of protein structural modifications leading to drug tolerance. As two FDA-approved anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs, boceprevir, and telaprevir, have been shown to effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the main protease (Mpro), here we used a high-throughput interface-based protein design strategy to identify mutational hotspots and potential signatures of adaptation in these drug binding sites of Mpro. Several mutants exhibited reduced binding affinity to these drugs, out of which hotspot residues having a strong tendency to undergo positive selection were identified. The data further indicated that these anti-HCV drugs have larger footprints in the mutational landscape of Mpro and hence encompass the highest potential for positive selection and adaptation. These findings are crucial in understanding the potential structural modifications in the drug binding sites of Mpro and thus its signatures of adaptation. Furthermore, the data could provide systemic strategies for robust antiviral design and discovery against COVID-19 in the future.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Physiological/genetics , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Drug Design , Drug Resistance, Viral/genetics , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites/drug effects , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Hepacivirus/drug effects , Hepacivirus/enzymology , Ligands , Models, Molecular , Oligopeptides/chemistry , Oligopeptides/pharmacology , Proline/analogs & derivatives , Proline/chemistry , Proline/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Selection, Genetic/genetics , Structure-Activity Relationship
17.
Nature ; 592(7852): 122-127, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1104508

ABSTRACT

During the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, a D614G substitution in the spike glycoprotein (S) has emerged; virus containing this substitution has become the predominant circulating variant in the COVID-19 pandemic1. However, whether the increasing prevalence of this variant reflects a fitness advantage that improves replication and/or transmission in humans or is merely due to founder effects remains unknown. Here we use isogenic SARS-CoV-2 variants to demonstrate that the variant that contains S(D614G) has enhanced binding to the human cell-surface receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), increased replication in primary human bronchial and nasal airway epithelial cultures as well as in a human ACE2 knock-in mouse model, and markedly increased replication and transmissibility in hamster and ferret models of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data show that the D614G substitution in S results in subtle increases in binding and replication in vitro, and provides a real competitive advantage in vivo-particularly during the transmission bottleneck. Our data therefore provide an explanation for the global predominance of the variant that contains S(D614G) among the SARS-CoV-2 viruses that are currently circulating.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Founder Effect , Gene Knock-In Techniques , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Nasal Mucosa/cytology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/analysis , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
18.
Cell ; 184(5): 1171-1187.e20, 2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can mutate and evade immunity, with consequences for efficacy of emerging vaccines and antibody therapeutics. Here, we demonstrate that the immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) receptor binding motif (RBM) is a highly variable region of S and provide epidemiological, clinical, and molecular characterization of a prevalent, sentinel RBM mutation, N439K. We demonstrate N439K S protein has enhanced binding affinity to the hACE2 receptor, and N439K viruses have similar in vitro replication fitness and cause infections with similar clinical outcomes as compared to wild type. We show the N439K mutation confers resistance against several neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, including one authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and reduces the activity of some polyclonal sera from persons recovered from infection. Immune evasion mutations that maintain virulence and fitness such as N439K can emerge within SARS-CoV-2 S, highlighting the need for ongoing molecular surveillance to guide development and usage of vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Genetic Fitness , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virulence
19.
J Virol ; 95(3)2021 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1028435

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) whole-genome analysis has identified five large clades worldwide which emerged in 2019 (19A and 19B) and in 2020 (20A, 20B, and 20C). This study aimed to analyze the diffusion of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain using maximum-likelihood phylogenetic and Bayesian phylodynamic analyses. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was estimated to have emerged in Wuhan, China, around 24 November 2019. Phylogenetic analyses of the first 12,511 SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences obtained worldwide, including 290 from 11 different regions of Spain, revealed 62 independent introductions of the virus in the country. Most sequences from Spain were distributed in clades characterized by a D614G substitution in the S gene (20A, 20B, and 20C) and an L84S substitution in ORF8 (19B) with 163 and 118 sequences, respectively, with the remaining sequences branching in 19A. A total of 110 (38%) sequences from Spain grouped in four different monophyletic clusters of clade 20A (20A-Sp1 and 20A-Sp2) and 19B clade (19B-Sp1 and 19B-Sp2) along with sequences from 29 countries worldwide. The MRCAs of clusters 19A-Sp1, 20A-Sp1, 19A-Sp2, and 20A-Sp2 were estimated to have occurred in Spain around 21 and 29 January and 6 and 17 February 2020, respectively. The prevalence of clade 19B in Spain (40%) was by far higher than in any other European country during the first weeks of the epidemic, probably as a result of a founder effect. However, this variant was replaced by G614-bearing viruses in April. In vitro assays showed an enhanced infectivity of pseudotyped virions displaying the G614 substitution compared with those having D614, suggesting a fitness advantage of D614G.IMPORTANCE Multiple SARS-CoV-2 introductions have been detected in Spain, and at least four resulted in the emergence of locally transmitted clusters that originated not later than mid-February, with further dissemination to many other countries around the world, and a few weeks before the explosion of COVID-19 cases detected in Spain during the first week of March. The majority of the earliest variants detected in Spain branched in the clade 19B (D614 viruses), which was the most prevalent clade during the first weeks of March, pointing to a founder effect. However, from mid-March to June 2020, G614-bearing viruses (clades 20A, 20B, and 20C) overcame D614 variants in Spain, probably as a consequence of an evolutionary advantage of this substitution in the spike protein. A higher infectivity of G614-bearing viruses than D614 variants was detected, suggesting that this substitution in SARS-CoV-2 spike protein could be behind the variant shift observed in Spain.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Founder Effect , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genetic Fitness , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Spain/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
20.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5986, 2020 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-947534

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which jumped into the human population in late 2019 from a currently uncharacterised animal reservoir. Due to this recent association with humans, SARS-CoV-2 may not yet be fully adapted to its human host. This has led to speculations that SARS-CoV-2 may be evolving towards higher transmissibility. The most plausible mutations under putative natural selection are those which have emerged repeatedly and independently (homoplasies). Here, we formally test whether any homoplasies observed in SARS-CoV-2 to date are significantly associated with increased viral transmission. To do so, we develop a phylogenetic index to quantify the relative number of descendants in sister clades with and without a specific allele. We apply this index to a curated set of recurrent mutations identified within a dataset of 46,723 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients worldwide. We do not identify a single recurrent mutation in this set convincingly associated with increased viral transmission. Instead, recurrent mutations currently in circulation appear to be evolutionary neutral and primarily induced by the human immune system via RNA editing, rather than being signatures of adaptation. At this stage we find no evidence for significantly more transmissible lineages of SARS-CoV-2 due to recurrent mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Genetic Fitness , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Mutation Rate , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Alleles , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , RNA Editing , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Species Specificity
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