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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613826

ABSTRACT

Nucleic acid aptamers specific to S-protein and its receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2) virions are of high interest as potential inhibitors of viral infection and recognizing elements in biosensors. Development of specific therapy and biosensors is complicated by an emergence of new viral strains bearing amino acid substitutions and probable differences in glycosylation sites. Here, we studied affinity of a set of aptamers to two Wuhan-type RBD of S-protein expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cell line and Pichia pastoris that differ in glycosylation patterns. The expression system for the RBD protein has significant effects, both on values of dissociation constants and relative efficacy of the aptamer binding. We propose glycosylation of the RBD as the main force for observed differences. Moreover, affinity of a several aptamers was affected by a site of biotinylation. Thus, the robustness of modified aptamers toward new virus variants should be carefully tested.


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/metabolism , Immobilized Nucleic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , CHO Cells , Cricetulus , Glycosylation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomycetales/genetics
2.
Elife ; 102021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592091

ABSTRACT

Infection and viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 crucially depends on the binding of its Spike protein to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) presented on host cells. Glycosylation of both proteins is critical for this interaction. Recombinant soluble human ACE2 can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and is currently undergoing clinical tests for the treatment of COVID-19. We used 3D structural models and molecular dynamics simulations to define the ACE2 N-glycans that critically influence Spike-ACE2 complex formation. Engineering of ACE2 N-glycosylation by site-directed mutagenesis or glycosidase treatment resulted in enhanced binding affinities and improved virus neutralization without notable deleterious effects on the structural stability and catalytic activity of the protein. Importantly, simultaneous removal of all accessible N-glycans from recombinant soluble human ACE2 yields a superior SARS-CoV-2 decoy receptor with promise as effective treatment for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization
3.
Viral Immunol ; 34(3): 165-173, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1569564

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic is caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is, in turn, induced by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that triggers an acute respiratory disease. In recent years, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 is the third highly pathogenic event and large-scale epidemic affecting the human population. It follows the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012. This novel SARS-CoV-2 employs the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, like SARS-CoV, and spreads principally in the respiratory tract. The viral spike (S) protein of coronaviruses facilities the attachment to the cellular receptor, entrance, and membrane fusion. The S protein is a glycoprotein and is critical to elicit an immune response. Glycosylation is a biologically significant post-translational modification in virus surface proteins. These glycans play important roles in the viral life cycle, structure, immune evasion, and cell infection. However, it is necessary to search for new information about viral behavior and immunological host's response after SARS-CoV-2 infection. The present review discusses the implications of the CoV-2 S protein glycosylation in the SARS-CoV-2/ACE2 interaction and the immunological response. Elucidation of the glycan repertoire on the spike protein can propel research for the development of an appropriate vaccine.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/physiology , Glycosylation , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(48)2021 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517667

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mediates membrane fusion to allow entry of the viral genome into host cells. To understand its detailed entry mechanism and develop a specific entry inhibitor, in situ structural information on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in different states is urgent. Here, by using cryo-electron tomography, we observed both prefusion and postfusion spikes in ß-propiolactone-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virions and solved the in situ structure of the postfusion spike at nanometer resolution. Compared to previous reports, the six-helix bundle fusion core, the glycosylation sites, and the location of the transmembrane domain were clearly resolved. We observed oligomerization patterns of the spikes on the viral membrane, likely suggesting a mechanism of fusion pore formation.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Amino Acid Motifs , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Electron Microscope Tomography , Glycosylation , Protein Domains , Protein Multimerization , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
5.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 396, 2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517609

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a highly infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has infected more than 235 million individuals and led to more than 4.8 million deaths worldwide as of October 5 2021. Cryo-electron microscopy and topology show that the SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes lots of highly glycosylated proteins, such as spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and ORF3a proteins, which are responsible for host recognition, penetration, binding, recycling and pathogenesis. Here we reviewed the detections, substrates, biological functions of the glycosylation in SARS-CoV-2 proteins as well as the human receptor ACE2, and also summarized the approved and undergoing SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics associated with glycosylation. This review may not only broad the understanding of viral glycobiology, but also provide key clues for the development of new preventive and therapeutic methodologies against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Glycosylation , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics
6.
Front Immunol ; 12: 750386, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515534

ABSTRACT

Antibodies targeting Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 have been suggested to account for the majority of neutralizing activity in COVID-19 convalescent sera and several neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) have been isolated, characterized and proposed as emergency therapeutics in the form of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). However, SARS-CoV-2 variants are rapidly spreading worldwide from the sites of initial identification. The variants of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.167.2 (Delta) showed mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein potentially able to cause escape from nAb responses with a consequent reduction of efficacy of vaccines and mAbs-based therapy. We produced the recombinant RBD (rRBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein from the Wuhan-Hu 1 reference sequence in a mammalian system, for mice immunization to isolate new mAbs with neutralizing activity. Here we describe four mAbs that were able to bind the rRBD in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and the transmembrane full-length spike protein expressed in HEK293T cells by flow cytometry assay. Moreover, the mAbs recognized the RBD in supernatants of SARS-CoV-2 infected VERO E6 cells by Western Blot under non-reducing condition or in supernatants of cells infected with lentivirus pseudotyped for spike protein, by immunoprecipitation assay. Three out of four mAbs lost their binding efficiency to completely N-deglycosylated rRBD and none was able to bind the same recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli, suggesting that the epitopes recognized by three mAbs are generated by the conformational structure of the glycosylated native protein. Of particular relevance, three mAbs were able to inhibit Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 infection of VERO E6 cells in a plaque-reduction neutralization test and the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 as well as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOC in a pseudoviruses-based neutralization test. These mAbs represent important additional tools for diagnosis and therapy of COVID-19 and may contribute to the understanding of the functional structure of SARS-CoV-2 RBD.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(47)2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500833

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus responsible for the global pandemic contains a novel furin cleavage site in the spike protein (S) that increases viral infectivity and syncytia formation in cells. Here, we show that O-glycosylation near the furin cleavage site is mediated by members of the GALNT enzyme family, resulting in decreased furin cleavage and decreased syncytia formation. Moreover, we show that O-glycosylation is dependent on the novel proline at position 681 (P681). Mutations of P681 seen in the highly transmissible alpha and delta variants abrogate O-glycosylation, increase furin cleavage, and increase syncytia formation. Finally, we show that GALNT family members capable of glycosylating S are expressed in human respiratory cells that are targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our results suggest that host O-glycosylation may influence viral infectivity/tropism by modulating furin cleavage of S and provide mechanistic insight into the role of the P681 mutations found in the highly transmissible alpha and delta variants.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Furin/metabolism , Giant Cells , Glycosylation , Humans , N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488607

ABSTRACT

Emerging evidence suggests that males are more susceptible to severe infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus than females. A variety of mechanisms may underlie the observed gender-related disparities including differences in sex hormones. However, the precise mechanisms by which female sex hormones may provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 infectivity remains unknown. Here we report new insights into the molecular basis of the interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and the human ACE2 receptor. We further report that glycosylation of the ACE2 receptor enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Importantly, estrogens can disrupt glycan-glycan interactions and glycan-protein interactions between the human ACE2 and the SARS-CoV-2 thereby blocking its entry into cells. In a mouse model of COVID-19, estrogens reduced ACE2 glycosylation and thereby alveolar uptake of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These results shed light on a putative mechanism whereby female sex hormones may provide protection from developing severe infection and could inform the development of future therapies against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Estrogens/chemistry , Estrogens/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Biological Transport , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Estrogens/pharmacology , Glycosylation/drug effects , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Polysaccharides/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tunicamycin/pharmacology
9.
Blood ; 138(16): 1481-1489, 2021 10 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484294

ABSTRACT

A subset of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) become critically ill, suffering from severe respiratory problems and also increased rates of thrombosis. The causes of thrombosis in severely ill patients with COVID-19 are still emerging, but the coincidence of critical illness with the timing of the onset of adaptive immunity could implicate an excessive immune response. We hypothesized that platelets might be susceptible to activation by anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (anti-SARS-CoV-2) antibodies and might contribute to thrombosis. We found that immune complexes containing recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and anti-spike immunoglobulin G enhanced platelet-mediated thrombosis on von Willebrand factor in vitro, but only when the glycosylation state of the Fc domain was modified to correspond with the aberrant glycosylation previously identified in patients with severe COVID-19. Furthermore, we found that activation was dependent on FcγRIIA, and we provide in vitro evidence that this pathogenic platelet activation can be counteracted by the therapeutic small molecules R406 (fostamatinib) and ibrutinib, which inhibit tyrosine kinases Syk and Btk, respectively, or by the P2Y12 antagonist cangrelor.


Subject(s)
Blood Platelets/pathology , COVID-19/complications , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Thrombosis/pathology , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigen-Antibody Complex/immunology , Blood Platelets/immunology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Platelet Activation/immunology , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/virology , von Willebrand Factor/genetics
10.
Anal Chem ; 93(43): 14392-14400, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475240

ABSTRACT

Understanding the glycosylation of the envelope spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is important in defining the antigenic surface of this key viral target. However, the underlying protein architecture may significantly influence glycan occupancy and processing. There is, therefore, potential for different recombinant fragments of S protein to display divergent glycosylation. Here, we show that the receptor binding domain (RBD), when expressed as a monomer, exhibits O-linked glycosylation, which is not recapitulated in the native-like soluble trimeric protein. We unambiguously assign O-linked glycosylation by homogenizing N-linked glycosylation using the enzymatic inhibitor, kifunensine, and then analyzing the resulting structures by electron-transfer higher-energy collision dissociation (EThcD) in an Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid instrument. In the native-like trimer, we observe a single unambiguous O-linked glycan at T323, which displays very low occupancy. In contrast, several sites of O-linked glycosylation can be identified when RBD is expressed as a monomer, with T323 being almost completely occupied. We ascribe this effect to the relaxation of steric restraints arising from quaternary protein architecture. Our analytical approach has also highlighted that fragmentation ions arising from trace levels of truncated N-linked glycans can be misassigned as proximal putative O-linked glycan structures, particularly where a paucity of diagnostic fragments were obtained. Overall, we show that in matched expression systems the quaternary protein architecture limits O-linked glycosylation of the spike protein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Glycosylation , Humans , Polysaccharides , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
11.
Cells ; 10(10)2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470797

ABSTRACT

Prediction of linear B cell epitopes is of interest for the production of antigen-specific antibodies and the design of peptide-based vaccines. Here, we present BCEPS, a web server for predicting linear B cell epitopes tailored to select epitopes that are immunogenic and capable of inducing cross-reactive antibodies with native antigens. BCEPS implements various machine learning models trained on a dataset including 555 linearized conformational B cell epitopes that were mined from antibody-antigen protein structures. The best performing model, based on a support vector machine, reached an accuracy of 75.38% ± 5.02. In an independent dataset consisting of B cell epitopes retrieved from the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), this model achieved an accuracy of 67.05%. In BCEPS, predicted epitopes can be ranked according to properties such as flexibility, accessibility and hydrophilicity, and with regard to immunogenicity, as judged by their predicted presentation by MHC II molecules. BCEPS also detects if predicted epitopes are located in ectodomains of membrane proteins and if they possess N-glycosylation sites hindering antibody recognition. Finally, we exemplified the use of BCEPS in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, showing that it can identify B cell epitopes targeted by neutralizing antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Computational Biology/methods , Databases, Factual , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antigens , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Glycosylation , Histocompatibility Antigens Class II , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Internet , Machine Learning , Mice , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Domains , Proteins/chemistry , Reproducibility of Results , Software , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20428, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1469984

ABSTRACT

Glycosylation is the most common post-translational modification and has myriad of biological functions. However, glycan analysis has always been a challenge. Here, we would like to present new techniques for glycan fingerprinting based on enzymatic fluorescent labeling and gel electrophoresis. The method is illustrated on SARS2 spike (S) glycoproteins. SARS2, a novel coronavirus and the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has had significant social and economic impacts since the end of 2019. To obtain the N-glycan fingerprint of an S protein, glycans released from the protein are first labeled through enzymatic incorporation of fluorophore-conjugated sialic acid or fucose, then separated by SDS-PAGE, and finally visualized with a fluorescent imager. To identify the labeled glycans of a fingerprint, glycan standards and glycan ladders are enzymatically generated and run alongside the samples as references. By comparing the mobility of a labeled glycan to that of a glycan standard, the identity of glycans maybe determined. O-glycans can also be fingerprinted. Due to the lack of an enzyme for broad O-glycan release, O-glycans on the S protein can be labeled with fluorescent sialic acid and digested with trypsin to obtain labeled glycan peptides that are then separated by gel electrophoresis. Glycan fingerprinting could serve as a quick method for globally assessing the glycosylation of a specific glycoprotein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Polysaccharides/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Carbocyanines/chemistry , Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Fucose/analogs & derivatives , Glycosylation , Humans , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Optical Imaging
13.
mBio ; 12(5): e0181321, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462901

ABSTRACT

Vaccines pave the way out of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Besides mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines, effective protein-based vaccines are needed for immunization against current and emerging variants. We have developed a virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine using the baculovirus-insect cell expression system, a robust production platform known for its scalability, low cost, and safety. Baculoviruses were constructed encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins: full-length S, stabilized secreted S, or the S1 domain. Since subunit S only partially protected mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge, we produced S1 for conjugation to bacteriophage AP205 VLP nanoparticles using tag/catcher technology. The S1 yield in an insect-cell bioreactor was ∼11 mg/liter, and authentic protein folding, efficient glycosylation, partial trimerization, and ACE2 receptor binding was confirmed. Prime-boost immunization of mice with 0.5 µg S1-VLPs showed potent neutralizing antibody responses against Wuhan and UK/B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variants. This two-component nanoparticle vaccine can now be further developed to help alleviate the burden of COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Vaccination is essential to reduce disease severity and limit the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Protein-based vaccines are useful to vaccinate the world population and to boost immunity against emerging variants. Their safety profiles, production costs, and vaccine storage temperatures are advantageous compared to mRNA and adenovirus vector vaccines. Here, we use the versatile and scalable baculovirus expression vector system to generate a two-component nanoparticle vaccine to induce potent neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants. These nanoparticle vaccines can be quickly adapted as boosters by simply updating the antigen component.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Nanoparticles/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Glycosylation , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sf9 Cells , Viral Vaccines/immunology
14.
Front Immunol ; 12: 748566, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463474

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains a major health challenge globally. Previous studies have suggested that changes in the glycosylation of IgG are closely associated with the severity of COVID-19. This study aimed to compare the profiles of IgG N-glycome between COVID-19 patients and healthy controls. A case-control study was conducted, in which 104 COVID-19 patients and 104 age- and sex-matched healthy individuals were recruited. Serum IgG N-glycome composition was analyzed by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography with the ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (HILIC-UPLC) approach. COVID-19 patients have a decreased level of IgG fucosylation, which upregulates antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) in acute immune responses. In severe cases, a low level of IgG sialylation contributes to the ADCC-regulated enhancement of inflammatory cytokines. The decreases in sialylation and galactosylation play a role in COVID-19 pathogenesis via the activation of the lectin-initiated alternative complement pathway. IgG N-glycosylation underlines the complex clinical phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity , Case-Control Studies , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Complement Pathway, Mannose-Binding Lectin , Female , Glycosylation , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype
15.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 413(29): 7305-7318, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1460297

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global pandemic of COVID-19, is an abundant, heavily glycosylated surface protein that plays a key role in receptor binding and host cell fusion, and is the focus of all current vaccine development efforts. Variants of concern are now circulating worldwide that exhibit mutations in the spike protein. Protein sequence and glycosylation variations of the spike may affect viral fitness, antigenicity, and immune evasion. Global surveillance of the virus currently involves genome sequencing, but tracking emerging variants should include quantitative measurement of changes in site-specific glycosylation as well. In this work, we used data-dependent acquisition (DDA) and data-independent acquisition (DIA) mass spectrometry to quantitatively characterize the five N-linked glycosylation sites of the glycoprotein standard alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), as well as the 22 sites of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We found that DIA compared favorably to DDA in sensitivity, resulting in more assignments of low-abundance glycopeptides. However, the reproducibility across replicates of DIA-identified glycopeptides was lower than that of DDA, possibly due to the difficulty of reliably assigning low-abundance glycopeptides confidently. The differences in the data acquired between the two methods suggest that DIA outperforms DDA in terms of glycoprotein coverage but that overall performance is a balance of sensitivity, selectivity, and statistical confidence in glycoproteomics. We assert that these analytical and bioinformatics methods for assigning and quantifying glycoforms would benefit the process of tracking viral variants as well as for vaccine development.


Subject(s)
Glycomics/methods , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Proteomics/methods , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Limit of Detection , Reproducibility of Results , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
16.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(42)2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447423

ABSTRACT

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that efficiently neutralize SARS-CoV-2 have been developed at an unprecedented speed. Notwithstanding, there is a vague understanding of the various Ab functions induced beyond antigen binding by the heavy-chain constant domain. To explore the diverse roles of Abs in SARS-CoV-2 immunity, we expressed a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (SP) binding mAb (H4) in the four IgG subclasses present in human serum (IgG1-4) using glyco-engineered Nicotiana benthamiana plants. All four subclasses, carrying the identical antigen-binding site, were fully assembled in planta and exhibited a largely homogeneous xylose- and fucose-free glycosylation profile. The Ab variants ligated to the SP with an up to fivefold increased binding activity of IgG3. Furthermore, all H4 subtypes were able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2. However, H4-IgG3 exhibited an up to 50-fold superior neutralization potency compared with the other subclasses. Our data point to a strong protective effect of IgG3 Abs in SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggest that superior neutralization might be a consequence of cross-linking the SP on the viral surface. This should be considered in therapy and vaccine development. In addition, we underscore the versatile use of plants for the rapid expression of complex proteins in emergency cases.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/biosynthesis , Glycosylation , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis
17.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 579: 69-75, 2021 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432975

ABSTRACT

N-glycosylation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of viral infections. However, the role of SARS-CoV-2 RBD N-glycosylation in viral entry remains elusive. In this study, we expressed and purified N331 and N343 N-glycosite mutants of SARS-CoV-2 RBD. We found that de-glycosylation at N331 and N343 drastically reduces the RBD binding to ACE2. More importantly, based on qualitative and quantitative virology research methods, we show that the mutation of RBD N-glycosites interfered with SARS-CoV-2 internalization rather than attachment potentially by decreasing RBD binding to the receptors. Also, the double N-glycosites mutant (N331 + N343) showed significantly increased sensitivity against the designated RBD neutralizing antibodies. Taken together, these results suggest that N-glycosylation of SARS-CoV-2 RBD is not only critical for viral internalization into respiratory epithelial cells but also shields the virus from neutralization. It may provide new insights into the biological process of early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infection with potential therapeutic implications.


Subject(s)
Polysaccharides/metabolism , Pulmonary Alveoli/cytology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Binding Sites , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Epithelial Cells , Glycosylation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Humans , Mutation , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Attachment
19.
Glycobiology ; 31(9): 1080-1092, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434394

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), started in 2019 in China and quickly spread into a global pandemic. Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) is highly conserved and is the most abundant protein in coronaviruses and is thus a potential target for both vaccine and point-of-care diagnostics. N Protein has been suggested in the literature as having posttranslational modifications (PTMs), and accurately defining these PTMs is critical for its potential use in medicine. Reports of phosphorylation of N protein have failed to provide detailed site-specific information. We have performed comprehensive glycomics, glycoproteomics and proteomics experiments on two different N protein preparations. Both were expressed in HEK293 cells; one was in-house expressed and purified without a signal peptide (SP) sequence, and the other was commercially produced with a SP channeling it through the secretory pathway. Our results show completely different PTMs on the two N protein preparations. The commercial product contained extensive N- and O-linked glycosylation as well as O-phosphorylation on site Thr393. Conversely, the native N Protein model had O-phosphorylation at Ser176 and no glycosylation, highlighting the importance of knowing the provenance of any commercial protein to be used for scientific or clinical studies. Recent studies have indicated that N protein can serve as an important diagnostic marker for COVID-19 and as a major immunogen by priming protective immune responses. Thus, detailed structural characterization of N protein may provide useful insights for understanding the roles of PTMs on viral pathogenesis, vaccine design and development of point-of-care diagnostics.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Protein Processing, Post-Translational/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs , Amino Acid Sequence , Binding Sites , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Phosphorylation , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 18847, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434148

ABSTRACT

As the SARS-CoV-2 has spread and the pandemic has dragged on, the virus continued to evolve rapidly resulting in the emergence of new highly transmissible variants that can be of public health concern. The evolutionary mechanisms that drove this rapid diversity are not well understood but neutral evolution should open the first insight. The neutral theory of evolution states that most mutations in the nucleic acid sequences are random and they can be fixed or disappear by purifying selection. Herein, we performed a neutrality test to better understand the selective pressures exerted over SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from homologue proteins of Betacoronavirus, as well as to the spikes from human clinical isolates of the virus. Specifically, Tyr and Asn have higher occurrence rates on the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) and in the overall sequence of spike proteins of Betacoronavirus, whereas His and Arg have lower occurrence rates. The in vivo evolutionary phenomenon of SARS-CoV-2 shows that Glu, Lys, Phe, and Val have the highest probability of occurrence in the emergent viral particles. Amino acids that have higher occurrence than the expected by the neutral control, are favorable and are fixed in the sequence while the ones that have lower occurrence than expected, influence the stability and/or functionality of the protein. Our results show that most unique mutations either for SARS-CoV-2 or its variants of health concern are under selective pressures, which could be related either to the evasion of the immune system, increasing the virus' fitness or altering protein - protein interactions with host proteins. We explored the consequences of those selected mutations in the structure and protein - protein interaction with the receptor. Altogether all these forces have shaped the spike protein and the continually evolving variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acids/chemistry , Amino Acids/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Drift , Glycosylation , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Mutation , Protein Binding/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
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