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1.
J Virol ; 96(14): e0065322, 2022 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938007

ABSTRACT

Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is an avian coronavirus that causes infectious bronchitis, an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease of chickens. IBV evolution under the pressure of comprehensive and widespread vaccination requires surveillance for vaccine resistance, as well as periodic vaccine updates. Reverse genetics systems are very valuable tools in virology, as they facilitate rapid genetic manipulation of viral genomes, thereby advancing basic and applied research. We report here the construction of an infectious clone of IBV strain Beaudette as a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). The engineered full-length IBV clone allowed the rescue of an infectious virus that was phenotypically indistinguishable from the parental virus. We used the infectious IBV clone and examined whether an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) can be produced by the replicase gene ORF1 and autocatalytically released from the replicase polyprotein through cleavage by the main coronavirus protease. We show that IBV tolerates insertion of the EGFP ORF at the 3' end of the replicase gene, between the sequences encoding nsp13 and nsp16 (helicase, RNA exonuclease, RNA endonuclease, and RNA methyltransferase). We further show that EGFP is efficiently cleaved from the replicase polyprotein and can be localized in double-membrane vesicles along with viral RNA polymerase and double-stranded RNA, an intermediate of IBV genome replication. One of the engineered reporter EGFP viruses were genetically stable during passage in cultured cells. We demonstrate that the reporter EGFP viruses can be used to study virus replication in host cells and for antiviral drug discovery and development of diagnostic assays. IMPORTANCE Reverse genetics systems based on bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) are the most valuable systems in coronavirus research. Here, we describe the establishment of a reverse genetics system for the avian coronavirus strain Beaudette, the most intensively studied strain. We cloned a copy of the avian coronavirus genome into a BAC vector and recovered infectious virus in permissive cells. We used the new system to construct reporter viruses that produce enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). The EGFP coding sequence was inserted into 11 known cleavage sites of the major coronavirus protease in the replicase gene ORF1. Avian coronavirus tolerated the insertion of the EGFP coding sequence at three sites. The engineered reporter viruses replicated with parental efficiency in cultured cells and were sufficiently genetically stable. The new system facilitates functional genomics of the avian coronavirus genome but can also be used for the development of novel vaccines and anticoronaviral drugs.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Infectious bronchitis virus , Reverse Genetics , Animals , Chickens , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins , Infectious bronchitis virus/genetics , Peptide Hydrolases , Polyproteins , RNA, Viral/genetics
2.
Eur J Pharm Sci ; 176: 106234, 2022 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1881967

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) have been successfully used as a platform technology for delivering nucleic acids to the liver. To broaden the application of LNPs in targeting non-hepatic tissues, we developed LNP-based RNA therapies (siRNA or mRNA) for the respiratory tract. Such optimized LNP systems could offer an early treatment strategy for viral respiratory tract infections such as COVID-19. METHODS: We generated a small library of six LNP formulations with varying helper lipid compositions and characterized their hydrodynamic diameter, size distribution and cargo entrapment properties. Next, we screened these LNP formulations for particle uptake and evaluated their potential for transfecting mRNA encoding green fluorescence protein (GFP) or SARS-CoV2 nucleocapsid-GFP fusion reporter gene in a human airway epithelial cell line in vitro. Following LNP-siGFP delivery, GFP protein knockdown efficiency was assessed by flow cytometry to determine %GFP+ cells and median fluorescence intensity (MFI) for GFP. Finally, lead LNP candidates were validated in Friend leukemia virus B (FVB) male mice via intranasal delivery of an mRNA encoding luciferase, using in vivo bioluminescence imaging. RESULTS: Dynamic light scattering revealed that all LNP formulations contained particles with an average diameter of <100 nm and a polydispersity index of <0.2. Human airway epithelial cell lines in culture internalized LNPs with differential GFP transfection efficiencies (73-97%). The lead formulation LNP6 entrapping GFP or Nuc-GFP mRNA demonstrated the highest transfection efficiency (97%). Administration of LNP-GFP siRNA resulted in a significant reduction of GFP protein expression. For in vivo studies, intranasal delivery of LNPs containing helper lipids (DSPC, DOPC, ESM or DOPS) with luciferase mRNA showed significant increase in luminescence expression in nasal cavity and lungs by at least 10 times above baseline control. CONCLUSION: LNP formulations enable the delivery of RNA payloads into human airway epithelial cells, and in the murine respiratory system; they can be delivered to nasal mucosa and lower respiratory tract via intranasal delivery. The composition of helper lipids in LNPs crucially modulates transfection efficiencies in airway epithelia, highlighting their importance in effective delivery of therapeutic products for airways diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanoparticles , Animals , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Humans , Lipids , Liposomes , Male , Mice , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering , RNA, Viral , Respiratory System/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
3.
ACS Chem Biol ; 17(4): 840-853, 2022 04 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852373

ABSTRACT

RNA detection is important in diverse diagnostic and analytical applications. RNAs can be rapidly detected using molecular beacons, which fluoresce upon hybridizing to a target RNA but require oligonucleotides with complex fluorescent dye and quencher conjugations. Here, we describe a simplified method for rapid fluorescence detection of a target RNA using simple unmodified DNA oligonucleotides. To detect RNA, we developed Lettuce, a fluorogenic DNA aptamer that binds and activates the fluorescence of DFHBI-1T, an otherwise nonfluorescent molecule that resembles the chromophore found in green fluorescent protein. Lettuce was selected from a randomized DNA library based on binding to DFHBI-agarose. We further show that Lettuce can be split into two separate oligonucleotide components, which are nonfluorescent on their own but become fluorescent when their proximity is induced by a target RNA. We designed several pairs of split Lettuce fragments that contain an additional 15-20 nucleotides that are complementary to adjacent regions of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA, resulting in Lettuce fluorescence only in the presence of the viral RNA. Overall, these studies describe a simplified RNA detection approach using fully unmodified DNA oligonucleotides that reconstitute the Lettuce aptamer templated by RNA.


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide , COVID-19 , Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , COVID-19/diagnosis , DNA/chemistry , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Green Fluorescent Proteins , Humans , RNA/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820426

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2, SARS2) remains a great global health threat and demands identification of more effective and SARS2-targeted antiviral drugs, even with successful development of anti-SARS2 vaccines. Viral replicons have proven to be a rapid, safe, and readily scalable platform for high-throughput screening, identification, and evaluation of antiviral drugs against positive-stranded RNA viruses. In the study, we report a unique robust HIV long terminal repeat (LTR)/T7 dual-promoter-driven and dual-reporter firefly luciferase (fLuc) and green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing SARS2 replicon. The genomic organization of the replicon was designed with quite a few features that were to ensure the replication fidelity of the replicon, to maximize the expression of the full-length replicon, and to offer the monitoring flexibility of the replicon replication. We showed the success of the construction of the replicon and expression of reporter genes fLuc and GFP and SARS structural N from the replicon DNA or the RNA that was in vitro transcribed from the replicon DNA. We also showed detection of the negative-stranded genomic RNA (gRNA) and subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) intermediates, a hallmark of replication of positive-stranded RNA viruses from the replicon. Lastly, we showed that expression of the reporter genes, N gene, gRNA, and sgRNA from the replicon was sensitive to inhibition by Remdesivir. Taken together, our results support use of the replicon for identification of anti-SARS2 drugs and development of new anti-SARS strategies targeted at the step of virus replication.


Subject(s)
Replicon , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Luciferases, Firefly/genetics , Luciferases, Firefly/metabolism , Promoter Regions, Genetic , RNA, Guide , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
Nat Biotechnol ; 40(7): 1132-1142, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1805637

ABSTRACT

The low photostability of fluorescent proteins is a limiting factor in many applications of fluorescence microscopy. Here we present StayGold, a green fluorescent protein (GFP) derived from the jellyfish Cytaeis uchidae. StayGold is over one order of magnitude more photostable than any currently available fluorescent protein and has a cellular brightness similar to mNeonGreen. We used StayGold to image the dynamics of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with high spatiotemporal resolution over several minutes using structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and observed substantially less photobleaching than with a GFP variant optimized for stability in the ER. Using StayGold fusions and SIM, we also imaged the dynamics of mitochondrial fusion and fission and mapped the viral spike proteins in fixed cells infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. As StayGold is a dimer, we created a tandem dimer version that allowed us to observe the dynamics of microtubules and the excitatory post-synaptic density in neurons. StayGold will substantially reduce the limitations imposed by photobleaching, especially in live cell or volumetric imaging.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Endoplasmic Reticulum , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Humans , Microscopy, Fluorescence/methods
6.
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol ; 322(3): R161-R169, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770007

ABSTRACT

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) is produced in the paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic nuclei (SON). Peripheral AVP, which is secreted from the posterior pituitary, is produced in the magnocellular division of the PVN (mPVN) and SON. In addition, AVP is produced in the parvocellular division of the PVN (pPVN), where corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) is synthesized. These peptides synergistically modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Previous studies have revealed that the HPA axis was activated by hypovolemia. However, the detailed dynamics of AVP in the pPVN under hypovolemic state has not been elucidated. Here, we evaluated the effects of hypovolemia and hyperosmolality on the hypothalamus, using AVP-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) transgenic rats. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) or 3% hypertonic saline (HTN) was intraperitoneally administered to develop hypovolemia or hyperosmolality. AVP-eGFP intensity was robustly upregulated at 3 and 6 h after intraperitoneal administration of PEG or HTN in the mPVN. While in the pPVN, eGFP intensity was significantly increased at 6 h after intraperitoneal administration of PEG with significant induction of Fos-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons. Consistently, eGFP mRNA, AVP hnRNA, and CRF mRNA in the pPVN and plasma AVP and corticosterone were significantly increased at 6 h after intraperitoneal administration of PEG. The results suggest that AVP and CRF syntheses in the pPVN were activated by hypovolemia, resulting in the activation of the HPA axis.


Subject(s)
Arginine Vasopressin/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System/metabolism , Hypovolemia/metabolism , Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus/metabolism , Animals , Corticosterone/blood , Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone/genetics , Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/biosynthesis , Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System/physiopathology , Hypovolemia/genetics , Hypovolemia/physiopathology , Injections, Intraperitoneal , Male , Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus/physiopathology , Polyethylene Glycols/administration & dosage , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos/metabolism , Rats, Transgenic , Rats, Wistar , Saline Solution, Hypertonic/administration & dosage , Supraoptic Nucleus/metabolism , Supraoptic Nucleus/physiopathology , Time Factors , Up-Regulation
7.
Life Sci ; 293: 120284, 2022 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1620913

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a key regulator of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) recently identified as the membrane receptor for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we aim to study whether two receptors from RAS, the angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1R) and the bradykinin 2 receptor (B2R) modulate ACE2 internalization induced by a recombinant receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Also, we investigated the impact of ACE2 coexpression on AT1R and B2R functionality. MATERIALS AND METHODS: To study ACE2 internalization, we assessed the distribution of green fluorescent protein (GFP) signal in HEK293T cells coexpressing GFP-tagged ACE2 and AT1R, or B2R, or AT1R plus B2R in presence of RBD alone or in combination with AT1R or B2R ligands. To estimate ACE2 internalization, we classified GFP signal distribution as plasma membrane uniform GFP (PMU-GFP), plasma membrane clustered GFP (PMC-GFP) or internalized GFP and calculated its relative frequency. Additionally, we investigated the effect of ACE2 coexpression on AT1R and B2R inhibitory action on voltage-gated calcium channels (CaV2.2) currents by patch-clamp technique. KEY FINDINGS: RBD induced ACE2-GFP internalization in a time-dependent manner. RBD-induced ACE2-GFP internalization was increased by angiotensin II and reduced by telmisartan in cells coexpressing AT1R. RBD-induced ACE2-GFP internalization was strongly inhibited by B2R co-expression. This effect was mildly modified by bradykinin and rescued by angiotensin II in presence of AT1R. ACE2 coexpression impacted on B2R- and AT1R-mediated inhibition of CaV2.2 currents. SIGNIFICANCE: Our work contributes to understand the role of RAS modulators in the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/biosynthesis , Receptor, Bradykinin B2/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/administration & dosage , Angiotensin II/pharmacology , Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/analysis , Green Fluorescent Proteins/analysis , Green Fluorescent Proteins/biosynthesis , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/analysis , Receptor, Bradykinin B2/analysis , Recombinant Proteins/administration & dosage
8.
Biologicals ; 75: 12-15, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616379

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The successful development of messenger RNA vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 opened up venues for clinical nucleotide-based vaccinations. For development of DNA vaccines, we tested whether the EGF domain peptide of Developmentally regulated endothelial locus1 (E3 peptide) enhances uptake of extracellularly applied plasmid DNA. METHODS: DNA plasmid encoding lacZ or GFP was applied with a conditioned culture medium containing E3 peptide to cell lines in vitro or mouse soleus muscles in vivo, respectively. After 48 h incubation, gene expression was examined by ß-galactosidase (ß-gal) assay and fluorescent microscope, respectively. RESULTS: Application of E3 peptide-containing medium to cultured cell lines induced intense ß-gal activity in a dose-dependent manner. Intra-gastrocnemius injection of E3 peptide-containing medium to mouse soleus muscle succeeded in the induction of GFP fluorescence in many cells around the injection site. CONCLUSIONS: The administration of E3 peptide facilitates transmembrane uptake of extracellular DNA plasmid which induces sufficient extrinsic gene expression.


Subject(s)
DNA/genetics , Epidermal Growth Factor/chemistry , Gene Expression , Peptides , Plasmids/genetics , Plasmids/metabolism , Protein Domains , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cell Membrane/metabolism , DNA/metabolism , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Mice , Muscle, Skeletal , Vaccines, DNA/genetics , Vaccines, DNA/metabolism
9.
Front Immunol ; 12: 732298, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506693

ABSTRACT

Immune modulating therapies and vaccines are in high demand, not least to the recent global spread of SARS-CoV2. To achieve efficient activation of the immune system, professional antigen presenting cells have proven to be key coordinators of such responses. Especially targeted approaches, actively directing antigens to specialized dendritic cells, promise to be more effective and accompanied by reduced payload due to less off-target effects. Although antibody and glycan-based targeting of receptors on dendritic cells have been employed, these are often expensive and time-consuming to manufacture or lack sufficient specificity. Thus, we applied a small-molecule ligand that specifically binds Langerin, a hallmark receptor on Langerhans cells, conjugated to a model protein antigen. Via microneedle injection, this construct was intradermally administered into intact human skin explants, selectively loading Langerhans cells in the epidermis. The ligand-mediated cellular uptake outpaces protein degradation resulting in intact antigen delivery. Due to the pivotal role of Langerhans cells in induction of immune responses, this approach of antigen-targeting of tissue-resident immune cells offers a novel way to deliver highly effective vaccines with minimally invasive administration.


Subject(s)
Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens/administration & dosage , Green Fluorescent Proteins/administration & dosage , Langerhans Cells/metabolism , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Mannose-Binding Lectins/metabolism , Animals , Antigens/immunology , Antigens/metabolism , COS Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Injections, Intradermal , Langerhans Cells/immunology , Ligands , Miniaturization , Nanomedicine , Needles , Protein Binding , Protein Transport , Proteolysis , THP-1 Cells , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/metabolism
10.
Cell Rep ; 37(3): 109841, 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439922

ABSTRACT

Nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1) is a coronavirus (CoV) virulence factor that restricts cellular gene expression by inhibiting translation through blocking the mRNA entry channel of the 40S ribosomal subunit and by promoting mRNA degradation. We perform a detailed structure-guided mutational analysis of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 nsp1, revealing insights into how it coordinates these activities against host but not viral mRNA. We find that residues in the N-terminal and central regions of nsp1 not involved in docking into the 40S mRNA entry channel nonetheless stabilize its association with the ribosome and mRNA, both enhancing its restriction of host gene expression and enabling mRNA containing the SARS-CoV-2 leader sequence to escape translational repression. These data support a model in which viral mRNA binding functionally alters the association of nsp1 with the ribosome, which has implications for drug targeting and understanding how engineered or emerging mutations in SARS-CoV-2 nsp1 could attenuate the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Anisotropy , COVID-19/immunology , DNA Mutational Analysis , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Kinetics , Mutation , Phenotype , Point Mutation , Protein Biosynthesis , Protein Domains , RNA Stability , Ribosome Subunits, Small, Eukaryotic/metabolism , Ribosomes/metabolism
11.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009898, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394564

ABSTRACT

The respiratory disease COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Here we report the discovery of ethacridine as a potent drug against SARS-CoV-2 (EC50 ~ 0.08 µM). Ethacridine was identified via high-throughput screening of an FDA-approved drug library in living cells using a fluorescence assay. Plaque assays, RT-PCR and immunofluorescence imaging at various stages of viral infection demonstrate that the main mode of action of ethacridine is through inactivation of viral particles, preventing their binding to the host cells. Consistently, ethacridine is effective in various cell types, including primary human nasal epithelial cells that are cultured in an air-liquid interface. Taken together, our work identifies a promising, potent, and new use of the old drug via a distinct mode of action for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Ethacridine/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Virus Activation/drug effects , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Humans , Vero Cells , Virion/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(14): 5413-5424, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387160

ABSTRACT

Methods for tracking RNA inside living cells without perturbing their natural interactions and functions are critical within biology and, in particular, to facilitate studies of therapeutic RNA delivery. We present a stealth labeling approach that can efficiently, and with high fidelity, generate RNA transcripts, through enzymatic incorporation of the triphosphate of tCO, a fluorescent tricyclic cytosine analogue. We demonstrate this by incorporation of tCO in up to 100% of the natural cytosine positions of a 1.2 kb mRNA encoding for the histone H2B fused to GFP (H2B:GFP). Spectroscopic characterization of this mRNA shows that the incorporation rate of tCO is similar to cytosine, which allows for efficient labeling and controlled tuning of labeling ratios for different applications. Using live cell confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, we show that the tCO-labeled mRNA is efficiently translated into H2B:GFP inside human cells. Hence, we not only develop the use of fluorescent base analogue labeling of nucleic acids in live-cell microscopy but also, importantly, show that the resulting transcript is translated into the correct protein. Moreover, the spectral properties of our transcripts and their translation product allow for their straightforward, simultaneous visualization in live cells. Finally, we find that chemically transfected tCO-labeled RNA, unlike a state-of-the-art fluorescently labeled RNA, gives rise to expression of a similar amount of protein as its natural counterpart, hence representing a methodology for studying natural, unperturbed processing of mRNA used in RNA therapeutics and in vaccines, like the ones developed against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Fluorescence , Fluorescent Dyes/analysis , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Molecular Imaging , RNA, Messenger/analysis , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Cytosine/analogs & derivatives , Cytosine/analysis , Cytosine/chemical synthesis , Cytosine/chemistry , Fluorescent Dyes/chemical synthesis , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Histones/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Structure , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/therapeutic use , Spectrometry, Fluorescence
13.
Bioengineered ; 12(1): 4407-4419, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373615

ABSTRACT

Widespread infection due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) has led to a global pandemic. Currently, various approaches are being taken up to develop vaccines and therapeutics to treat SARS-CoV2 infection. Consequently, the S protein has become an important target protein for developing vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV2. However, the highly infective nature of SARS-CoV2 restricts experimentation with the virus to highly secure BSL3 facilities. The availability of fusion-enabled, nonreplicating, and nonbiohazardous mimics of SARS-CoV2 virus fusion, containing the viral S or S and M protein in their native conformation on mammalian cells, can serve as a useful substitute for studying viral fusion for testing various inhibitors of viral fusion. This would avoid the use of the BSL3 facility for fusion studies required to develop therapeutics. In the present study, we have developed SARS-CoV2 virus fusion mimics (SCFMs) using mammalian cells transfected with constructs coding for S or S and M protein. The fusogenic property of the mimic(s) and their interaction with the functional human ACE2 receptors was confirmed experimentally. We have also shown that such mimics can easily be used in an inhibition assay. These mimic(s) can be easily prepared on a large scale, and such SCFMs can serve as an invaluable resource for viral fusion inhibition assays and in vitro screening of antiviral agents, which can be shared/handled between labs/facilities without worrying about any biohazard while working under routine laboratory conditions, avoiding the use of BSL3 laboratory.Abbreviations :SCFM: SARS-CoV2 Virus Fusion Mimic; ACE2: Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2; hACE2: Human Angiotensin-Converting enzyme 2; MEF: Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts; HBSS: Hanks Balanced Salt Solution; FBS: Fetal Bovine Serum.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Containment of Biohazards/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Embryo, Mammalian , Fibroblasts/drug effects , Fibroblasts/virology , Gene Expression , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , MCF-7 Cells , Mice , Molecular Mimicry , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Primary Cell Culture , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Transfection , Vero Cells , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
14.
J Virol ; 95(18): e0068721, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373942

ABSTRACT

The emerging coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread worldwide, resulting in global public health emergencies and economic crises. In the present study, a noninfectious and biosafety level 2 (BSL2)-compatible SARS-CoV-2 replicon expressing a nano luciferase (nLuc) reporter was constructed in a bacterial artificial chromosomal (BAC) vector by reverse genetics. The nLuc reporter is highly sensitive, easily quantifiable, and high throughput adaptable. Upon transfecting the SARS-CoV-2 replicon BAC plasmid DNA into Vero E6 cells, we could detect high levels of nLuc reporter activity and viral RNA transcript, suggesting the replication of the replicon. The replicon replication was further demonstrated by the findings that deleting nonstructural protein 15 or mutating its catalytic sites significantly reduced replicon replication, whereas providing the nucleocapsid protein in trans enhanced replicon replication in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, we showed that remdesivir, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved antiviral drug, significantly inhibited the replication of the replicon, providing proof of principle for the application of our replicon as a useful tool for developing antivirals. Taken together, this study established a sensitive and BSL2-compatible reporter system in a single BAC plasmid for investigating the functions of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in viral replication and evaluating antiviral compounds. This should contribute to the global effort to combat this deadly viral pathogen. IMPORTANCE The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is having a catastrophic impact on human lives. Combatting the pandemic requires effective vaccines and antiviral drugs. In the present study, we developed a SARS-CoV-2 replicon system with a sensitive and easily quantifiable reporter. Unlike studies involving infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus that must be performed in a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) facility, the replicon is noninfectious and thus can be safely used in BSL2 laboratories. The replicon will provide a valuable tool for testing antiviral drugs and studying SARS-CoV-2 biology.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Replicon , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , HEK293 Cells , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans
15.
Nanotheranostics ; 5(4): 461-471, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369901

ABSTRACT

The gold nanoclusters (Au NCs) are a special kind of gold nanomaterial containing several gold atoms. Because of their small size and large surface area, Au NCs possess macroscopic quantum tunneling and dielectric domain effects. Furthermore, Au NCs fluorescent materials have longer luminous time and better photobleaching resistance compared with other fluorescent materials. The synthetic process of traditional Au NCs is complicated. Traditional Au NCs are prepared mainly by using polyamide amine type dendrites, and sixteen alkyl trimethylamine bromide or sulfhydryl small molecule as stabilizers. They are consequently synthesized by the reduction of strong reducing agents such as sodium borohydride. Notably, these materials are toxic and environmental-unfriendly. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop more effective methods for synthesizing Au NCs via a green approach. On the other hand, the self-assembly of protein gold cluster-based materials, and their biomedical applications have become research hotspots in this field. We have been working on the synthesis, assembly and application of protein conjugated gold clusters for a long time. In this review, the synthesis and assembly of protein-gold nanoclusters and their usage in cell imaging and other medical research are discussed.


Subject(s)
Fluorescent Dyes , Gold , Green Fluorescent Proteins , Metal Nanoparticles , Optical Imaging , Theranostic Nanomedicine , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Fluorescent Dyes/therapeutic use , Gold/chemistry , Gold/therapeutic use , Green Fluorescent Proteins/chemistry , Green Fluorescent Proteins/therapeutic use , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Metal Nanoparticles/therapeutic use
16.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 366, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351981

ABSTRACT

GFP fusion-based fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography (FSEC) has been widely employed for membrane protein expression screening. However, fused GFP itself may occasionally affect the expression and/or stability of the targeted membrane protein, leading to both false-positive and false-negative results in expression screening. Furthermore, GFP fusion technology is not well suited for some membrane proteins, depending on their membrane topology. Here, we developed an FSEC assay utilizing nanobody (Nb) technology, named FSEC-Nb, in which targeted membrane proteins are fused to a small peptide tag and recombinantly expressed. The whole-cell extracts are solubilized, mixed with anti-peptide Nb fused to GFP for FSEC analysis. FSEC-Nb enables the evaluation of the expression, monodispersity and thermostability of membrane proteins without the need for purification but does not require direct GFP fusion to targeted proteins. Our results show FSEC-Nb as a powerful tool for expression screening of membrane proteins for structural and functional studies.


Subject(s)
Chromatography, Gel , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nanotechnology , Peptides/metabolism , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Animals , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/genetics , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/immunology , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/metabolism , Fish Proteins/genetics , Fish Proteins/immunology , Fish Proteins/metabolism , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/immunology , Oryzias/genetics , Oryzias/metabolism , Peptides/genetics , Peptides/immunology , Protein Stability , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spectrometry, Fluorescence , Temperature , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology , Viral Proteins/metabolism
17.
J Trace Elem Med Biol ; 68: 126818, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300926

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that emerged late in 2019 is the etiologic agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). There is an urgent need to develop curative and preventive therapeutics to limit the current pandemic and to prevent the re-emergence of Covid-19. This study aimed to assess the in vitro activity of copper gluconate against SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Vero E6 cells were cultured with or without copper gluconate 18-24 hours before infection. Cells were infected with a recombinant GFP expressing SARS-CoV-2. Cells were infected with a recombinant GFP expressing SARS-CoV-2. Infected cells were incubated in fresh medium containing varying concentration of copper gluconate (supplemented with bovine serum albumin or not) for an additional 48 -h period. The infection level was measured by the confocal microscopy-based high content screening method. The cell viability in presence of copper gluconate was assessed by XTT and propidium iodide assays. RESULTS: The viability of Vero E6 cells exposed to copper gluconate up to 200 µM was found to be similar to that of unexposed cells, but it dropped below 70 % with 400 µM of this agent after 72 h of continuous exposure. The infection rate was 23.8 %, 18.9 %, 20.6 %, 6.9 %, 5.3 % and 5.2 % in cells treated prior infection with 0, 2, 10, 25, 50 and 100 µM of copper gluconate respectively. As compared to untreated cells, the number of infected cells was reduced by 71 %, 77 %, and 78 % with 25, 50, and 100 µM of copper gluconate respectively (p < 0.05). In cells treated only post-infection, the rate of infection dropped by 73 % with 100 µM of copper gluconate (p < 0.05). However, the antiviral activity of copper gluconate was abolished by the addition of bovine serum albumin. CONCLUSION: Copper gluconate was found to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vero E6 cells but this effect was abolished by albumin, which suggests that copper will not retain its activity in serum. Furthers studies are needed to investigate whether copper gluconate could be of benefit in mucosal administration such as mouthwash, nasal spray or aerosols.


Subject(s)
Gluconates/pharmacology , Microscopy, Confocal , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Vero Cells
18.
Biol Cell ; 113(7): 311-328, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294968

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Comprehensive libraries of plasmids for SARS-CoV-2 proteins with various tags (e.g., Strep, HA, Turbo) are now available. They enable the identification of numerous potential protein-protein interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and host proteins. RESULTS: We present here a large library of SARS CoV-2 protein constructs fused with green and red fluorescent proteins and their initial characterisation in various human cell lines including lung epithelial cell models (A549, BEAS-2B), as well as in budding yeast. The localisation of a few SARS-CoV-2 proteins matches their proposed interactions with host proteins. These include the localisation of Nsp13 to the centrosome, Orf3a to late endosomes and Orf9b to mitochondria. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This library should facilitate further cellular investigations, notably by imaging techniques.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Peptide Library , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , A549 Cells , Cell Line , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , Microscopy, Fluorescence , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Time-Lapse Imaging , Viral Proteins/genetics
19.
J Virol Methods ; 295: 114221, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284316

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the culprit causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). For the study of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a BSL-2 laboratory, a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus particle (SARS2pp) production and infection system was constructed by using a lentiviral vector bearing dual-reporter genes eGFP and firefly luciferase (Luc2) for easy observation and analysis. Comparison of SARS2pp different production conditions revealed that the pseudovirus titer could be greatly improved by: 1) removing the last 19 amino acids of the spike protein and replacing the signal peptide with the mouse Igk signal sequence; 2) expressing the spike protein using CMV promoter other than CAG (a hybrid promoter consisting of a CMV enhancer, beta-actin promoter, splice donor, and a beta-globin splice acceptor); 3) screening better optimized spike protein sequences for SARS2pp production; and 4) adding 1 % BSA in the SARS2pp production medium. For infection, this SARS2pp system showed a good linear relationship between MOI 2-0.0002 and then was successfully used to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 infection inhibitors including recombinant human ACE2 proteins and SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. The kidney, liver and small intestine-derived cell lines were also found to show different susceptibility to SARSpp and SARS2pp. Given its robustness and good performance, it is believed that this pseudovirus particle production and infection system will greatly promote future research for SARS-CoV-2 entry mechanisms and inhibitors and can be easily applied to study new emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/pharmacology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Line , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Lentivirus/genetics , Luciferases, Firefly/genetics , Luciferases, Firefly/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virion , Virus Internalization/drug effects
20.
J Med Virol ; 93(4): 2301-2306, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217381

ABSTRACT

Assessment of commercial severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoassays for their capacity to provide reliable information on sera neutralizing activity is an emerging need. We evaluated the performance of two commercially available lateral flow immunochromatographic assays (LFIC; Wondfo SARS-CoV-2 Antibody test and the INNOVITA 2019-nCoV Ab test) in comparison with a SARS-CoV-2 neutralization pseudotyped assay for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis in hospitalized patients and investigate whether the intensity of the test band in LFIC associates with neutralizing antibody (NtAb) titers. Ninety sera were included from 51 patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. A green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter-based pseudotyped neutralization assay (vesicular stomatitis virus coated with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein) was used. Test line intensity was scored using a 4-level scale (0 to 3+). The overall sensitivity of LFIC assays was 91.1% for the Wondfo SARS-CoV-2 Antibody test, 72.2% for the INNOVITA 2019-nCoV IgG, 85.6% for the INNOVITA 2019-nCoV IgM, and 92.2% for the NtAb assay. Sensitivity increased for all assays in sera collected beyond day 14 after symptoms onset (93.9%, 79.6%, 93.9%, and 93.9%, respectively). Reactivities equal to or more intense than the positive control line (≥2+) in the Wondfo assay had a negative predictive value of 100% and a positive predictive value of 96.4% for high NtAb50 titers (≥1/160). Our findings support the use of LFIC assays evaluated herein, particularly the Wondfo test, for COVID-19 diagnosis. We also find evidence that these rapid immunoassays can be used to predict high SARS-CoV-2-S NtAb50 titers.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoassay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Green Fluorescent Proteins , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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