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1.
Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) ; 69(12): 1141-1159, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2115208

ABSTRACT

Considerable efforts have been made on the development of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) for delivering of nucleic acids in LNP-based medicines, including a first-ever short interfering RNA (siRNA) medicine, Onpattro, and the mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which have been approved and are currently in use worldwide. The successful rational design of ionizable cationic lipids was a major breakthrough that dramatically increased delivery efficiency in this field. The LNPs would be expected to be useful as a platform technology for the delivery of various therapeutic modalities for genome editing and even for undiscovered therapeutic mechanisms. In this review, the current progress of my research, including the molecular design of pH-sensitive cationic lipids, their applications for various tissues and cell types, and for delivering various macromolecules, including siRNA, antisense oligonucleotide, mRNA, and the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated (Cas) system will be described. Mechanistic studies regarding relationships between the physicochemical properties of LNPs, drug delivery, and biosafety are also summarized. Furthermore, current issues that need to be addressed for next generation drug delivery systems are discussed.


Subject(s)
Drug Carriers/chemistry , Lipids/chemistry , Liposomes/chemistry , Nanoparticles/chemistry , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cations/chemistry , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , RNA, Guide/chemistry , RNA, Guide/metabolism , RNA, Small Interfering/chemistry , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , /metabolism
2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(21)2022 Nov 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099578

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a rapidly evolving pathogen that has caused a global pandemic characterized by several consecutive waves. Based on epidemiological and NGS data, many different variants of SARS-CoV-2 were described and characterized since the original variant emerged in Wuhan in 2019. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 variants differ in transmissibility and pathogenicity in the human population, although the molecular basis for this difference is still debatable. A significant role is attributed to amino acid changes in the binding surface of the Spike protein to the ACE2 receptor, which may facilitate virus entry into the cell or contribute to immune evasion. We modeled in silico the interaction between Spike RBDs of Wuhan-Hu-1, Delta, and Omicron BA.1 variants and ACE2 at different pHs (pH 5 and pH 7) and showed that the strength of this interaction was higher for the Omicron BA.1 RBD compared to Wuhan-Hu-1 or Delta RBDs and that the effect was more profound at pH 5. This finding is strikingly related to the increased ability of Omicron variants to spread in the population. We also noted that during its spread in the population, SARS-CoV-2 evolved to a more charged, basic composition. We hypothesize that the more basic surface of the Omicron variant may facilitate its spread in the upper respiratory tract but not in the lower respiratory tract, where pH estimates are different. We calculated the amyloidogenic properties of Spike RBDs in different SARS-CoV-2 variants and found eight amyloidogenic regions in the Spike RBDs for each of the variants predicted by the FoldAmyloid program. Although all eight regions were almost identical in the Wuhan to Gamma variants, two of them were significantly longer in both Omicron variants, making the Omicron RBD more amyloidogenic. We discuss how the increased predicted amyloidogenicity of the Omicron variants RBDs may be important for protein stability, influence its interaction with ACE2 and contribute to immune evasion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
3.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(20)2022 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2071514

ABSTRACT

The adsorption kinetics of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein subunit with the receptor binding domain at abiotic surfaces was investigated. A combination of sensitive methods was used such as atomic force microscopy yielding a molecular resolution, a quartz microbalance, and optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy. The two latter methods yielded in situ information about the protein adsorption kinetics under flow conditions. It was established that at pH 3.5-4 the protein adsorbed on mica and silica surfaces in the form of compact quasi-spherical aggregates with an average size of 14 nm. The maximum coverage of the layers was equal to 3 and 1 mg m-2 at pH 4 and 7.4, respectively. The experimental data were successfully interpreted in terms of theoretical results derived from modeling. The experiments performed for flat substrates were complemented by investigations of the protein corona formation at polymer particles carried out using in situ laser Doppler velocimetry technique. In this way, the zeta potential of the protein layers was acquired as a function of the coverage. Applying the electrokinetic model, these primary data were converted to the dependence of the subunit zeta potential on pH. It was shown that a complete acid-base characteristic of the layer can be acquired only using nanomolar quantities of the protein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Protein Corona , Humans , Adsorption , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Polymers , Surface Properties , Quartz , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , SARS-CoV-2 , Silicon Dioxide/chemistry , Proteins
4.
mBio ; 13(5): e0165022, 2022 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053125

ABSTRACT

Bacteria have evolved many different signal transduction systems to sense and respond to changing environmental conditions. Signal integration is mainly achieved by signal recognition at extracytosolic ligand-binding domains (LBDs) of receptors. Hundreds of different LBDs have been reported, and our understanding of their sensing properties is growing. Receptors must function over a range of environmental pH values, but there is little information available on the robustness of sensing as a function of pH. Here, we have used isothermal titration calorimetry to determine the pH dependence of ligand recognition by nine LBDs that cover all major LBD superfamilies, of periplasmic solute-binding proteins, and cytosolic LBDs. We show that periplasmic LBDs recognize ligands over a very broad pH range, frequently stretching over eight pH units. This wide pH range contrasts with a much narrower pH response range of the cytosolic LBDs analyzed. Many LBDs must be dimeric to bind ligands, and analytical ultracentrifugation studies showed that the LBD of the Tar chemoreceptor forms dimers over the entire pH range tested. The pH dependences of Pseudomonas aeruginosa motility and chemotaxis were bell-shaped and centered at pH 7.0. Evidence for pH robustness of signaling in vivo was obtained by Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) measurements of the chemotaxis pathway responses in Escherichia coli. Bacteria have evolved several strategies to cope with extreme pH, such as periplasmic chaperones for protein refolding. The intrinsic pH resistance of periplasmic LBDs appears to be another strategy that permits bacteria to survive under adverse conditions. IMPORTANCE Demonstration of the pH robustness of extracytoplasmic sensing reveals a previously undescribed evolutionary mechanism that enables bacteria to monitor environmental changes under changing conditions. This mechanism includes the maintenance of the dimeric state of four-helixbundle ligand-binding domains (LBDs). The construction of biosensors is a rapidly growing field of research, and their use to monitor the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic has impressively demonstrated their usefulness. LBDs represent an enormous reservoir of binding modules that can be used to create novel biosensors. Among ligands recognized by LBDs are neurotransmitters, hormones, and quorum-sensing signals. The demonstration that extracytosolic LBDs bind their signals over a wide range of pH values will facilitate the design of biosensors that function under highly variable conditions of acidity and alkalinity.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins , COVID-19 , Humans , Ligands , Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Pandemics , Chemotaxis , Bacteria/metabolism , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Hormones/metabolism , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
5.
Expert Rev Respir Med ; 16(10): 1093-1099, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2051063

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Residual alveolar inflammation seems to be paramount in post-COVID pathophysiology. Currently, we still lack a reliable marker to detect and track alveolar phlogosis in these patients. Exhaled Breath Condensate (EBC) pH has robust evidences highlighting its correlation with lung phlogosis in various diseases. We aim to define the reliability of alveolar and bronchial EBC pH in the assessment and in the follow up of post-COVID-related inflammation. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We enrolled 10 patients previously hospitalized due to COVID-19 pneumonia. We performed a complete follow-up after 3 months and 6 months from discharge. Each visit included routine blood tests, arterial blood gas analysis, 6-minute walking test, spirometry, diffusing capacity and body plethysmography. Finally, bronchial and alveolar EBC were collected at the end of each visit. RESULTS: Alveolar EBC pH was significantly lower than bronchial EBC pH at T1, alveolar EBC pH tended to be more acid after 3 months from hospital discharge compared to the same sample 6 months later. Serum inflammatory biomarkers showed no significant differences from T1 to T2. Alveolar EBC pH was positively correlated with neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Collecting EBC pH could help to understand pathophysiologic mechanism as well as monitoring alveolar inflammation in the post-COVID syndrome.


Subject(s)
Breath Tests , COVID-19 , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Biomarkers/analysis , Inflammation/diagnosis , Disease Progression , Exhalation/physiology
6.
Anal Chem ; 94(38): 13171-13180, 2022 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2028625

ABSTRACT

An electrochemical platform for generating and controlling a localized pH microenvironment on demand is proposed by employing a closed-loop control algorithm based on an iridium oxide pH sensor input. We use a combination of solution-borne quinones and galvanostatic excitation on a prepatterned indium tin oxide (ITO) working electrode to modulate pH within a very well confined, small volume of solution close to the electrode surface. We demonstrate that the rate of pH change can be controlled at up to 2 pH s-1 with an excellent repeatability (±0.004). The desired pH microenvironment can be stably maintained for longer than 2 h within ±0.0012 pH. As a high-impact application of the platform technology, we propose a single-step immunoassay and demonstrate its utility in measuring C-reactive protein (CRP), a critical inflammatory marker in various conditions such as myocardial infarction and even SARS-Cov-2. Utilizing pH modulation technology along with pH-sensitive fluorescence dye simplifies the immunoassay process into a single-step, where a mixture of all of the reagents is incubated only for 1 h without any washing steps or the need to change solution. This simplified immunoassay process minimizes the hands-on time of the end-user and thus decreases technician-driven errors. Moreover, the absence of complicated liquid-handling hardware makes it more suitable and attractive for an ultracompact platform to ultimately be used in a point-of-care diagnostic assay.


Subject(s)
Biosensing Techniques , COVID-19 , C-Reactive Protein , Electrochemical Techniques , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Immunoassay , Quinones , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(38): e2209514119, 2022 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2017036

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cell entry starts with membrane attachment and ends with spike (S) protein-catalyzed membrane fusion depending on two cleavage steps, namely, one usually by furin in producing cells and the second by TMPRSS2 on target cells. Endosomal cathepsins can carry out both. Using real-time three-dimensional single-virion tracking, we show that fusion and genome penetration require virion exposure to an acidic milieu of pH 6.2 to 6.8, even when furin and TMPRSS2 cleavages have occurred. We detect the sequential steps of S1-fragment dissociation, fusion, and content release from the cell surface in TMPRRS2-overexpressing cells only when exposed to acidic pH. We define a key role of an acidic environment for successful infection, found in endosomal compartments and at the surface of TMPRSS2-expressing cells in the acidic milieu of the nasal cavity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nasal Cavity , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , Virus Internalization , COVID-19/virology , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Nasal Cavity/chemistry , Nasal Cavity/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Anal Chem ; 94(29): 10400-10407, 2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2016501

ABSTRACT

An optical pH probe is a simple and effective tool for determining an accurate pH value in its localized area. However, basic pH probes with pKBH+ values above 8 have rarely been reported, although many components with high pKa such as arginine play important roles in vivo. Herein, we introduce novel colorimetric and fluorescent basic probes 1-5, which are designed using push-pull-type aminoquinoline and aminobenzoquinoline fluorophores, with pKBH+ values ranging from 8.4 to 9.9. After the basicity of the remarkably sensitive basic probe 4 was tuned, it was able to successfully distinguish between the pKa values of MeOH (15.5) and EtOH (15.9), thus displaying selective protonation and fluorescence enhancement in MeOH over EtOH. Our pH probes can be used to detect MeOH poisoning in commercial EtOH products such as hand sanitizers, providing an effective solution to this problem observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Methanol , Ethanol , Fluorescent Dyes , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Pandemics
9.
Water Res ; 223: 119021, 2022 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2004603

ABSTRACT

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide biocides application has been increased, which will eventually result in enhanced residuals in treated wastewater. At the same time, chlorine disinfection of secondary effluents and hospital wastewaters has been intensified. With respect to predicted elevated exposure in wastewater, the chlorination kinetics, transformation pathways and toxicity evolution were investigated in this study for two typical isothiazolinone biocides, methyl-isothiazolinone (MIT) and chloro-methyl-isothiazolinone (CMIT). Second-order rate constants of 0.13 M-1·s-1, 1.95 × 105 M-1·s-1 and 5.14 × 105 M-1·s-1 were determined for the reaction of MIT with HOCl, Cl2O and Cl2, respectively, while reactivity of CMIT was around 1-2 orders of magnitude lower. While chlorination of isothiazolinone biocides at pH 7.1 was dominated by Cl2O-oxidation, acidic pH and elevated Cl- concentration favored free active chlorine (FAC) speciation into Cl2 and increased overall isothiazolinone removal. Regardless of the dominant FAC species, the elimination of MIT and CMIT resulted in an immediate loss of acute toxicity under all experimental conditions, which was attributed to a preferential attack at the S-atom resulting in subsequent formation of sulfoxides and sulfones and eventually an S-elimination. However, chlorination of isothiazolinone biocides in secondary effluent only achieved <10% elimination at typical disinfection chlorine exposure 200 mg·L-1·min, but was predicted to be remarkably increased by acidizing solution to pH 5.5. Alternative measures might be needed to minimize the discharge of these toxic chemicals into the aquatic environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Water Purification , Chlorine , Disinfectants/toxicity , Halogenation , Halogens , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Kinetics , Pandemics , Sulfones , Sulfoxides , Thiazoles , Waste Water , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Water Purification/methods
10.
Environ Res ; 214(Pt 3): 113943, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1983018

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic situation due to COVID-19 has given rise to the massive use of disinfectant products, many of them based on silver atoms. After the use of these products, the silver passes into the aqueous effluents, becoming an emerging contaminant in waters. In this work, a novel procedure for the total and simultaneous removal of ionic and nanomeric silver in aqueous samples is introduced, employing magnetic nanoparticles wrapped with an ionic liquid (Fe3O4@IL) as a removal agent. Experimental variables such as pH, contact time, temperature, as well as pollutant and removal agent doses were studied to achieve the total elimination, exhibiting exceptional conditions for the removal of different concentrations of silvers species in water. The approach achieves 100% removal efficiency for the simultaneous removal of both silver species, goal not achieved previously. Also, 100% removal efficiency is reached for the both species separately, since ionic silver is adsorbed onto the Fe3O4, while nanomeric silver is extracted in the IL. Particularly, for concentrations within the range 50-200 µg L-1, total removal efficiency was reached for a wide range of temperatures and a pH range 7-9, achieved in just 15 min, for all cases. Additionally, the doses of Fe3O4@IL employed to remove all concentrations of silver were 13.7 mg. Characterization of Fe3O4@IL surfaces before and after the process was performed by means of Field Effect Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy. Fe3O4@IL was recycled by employing 100 µL of 1% HNO3 solution, allowing its use for 10 additional silver removal cycles without loss of efficiency. The study of adsorption kinetics and equilibrium isotherms reveal a Freundlich-type adsorption, which suggests affinity between sites in the complex surface of Fe3O4@IL, and Elovich kinetics, indicative of chemisorption onto a heterogeneous surface, while the temperature shows no effect on the results.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ionic Liquids , Magnetite Nanoparticles , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Adsorption , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Ionic Liquids/chemistry , Kinetics , Magnetite Nanoparticles/chemistry , Silver/chemistry , Water/chemistry , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
11.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262591, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1968842

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Inclusion Bodies/chemistry , Protein Refolding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Hydrostatic Pressure , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Solubility
12.
Cells ; 11(13)2022 06 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933986

ABSTRACT

Two pore channels (TPCs) are implicated in vesicle trafficking, virus infection, and autophagy regulation. As Na+- or Ca2+-permeable channels, TPCs have been reported to be activated by NAADP, PI(3,5)P2, and/or high voltage. However, a comparative study on the function and regulation of the three mammalian TPC subtypes is currently lacking. Here, we used the electrophysiological recording of enlarged endolysosome vacuoles, inside-out and outside-out membrane patches to examine the three TPCs of rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus, or Oc) heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells. While PI(3,5)P2 evoked Na+ currents with a potency order of OcTPC1 > OcTPC3 > OcTPC2, only OcTPC2 displayed a strict dependence on PI(3,5)P2. Both OcTPC1 and OcTPC3 were activatable by PI3P and OcTPC3 was also activated by additional phosphoinositide species. While OcTPC2 was voltage-independent, OcTPC1 and OcTPC3 showed voltage dependence with OcTPC3 depending on high positive voltages. Finally, while OcTPC2 preferred a luminal pH of 4.6-6.0 in endolysosomes, OcTPC1 was strongly inhibited by extracytosolic pH 5.0 in both voltage-dependent and -independent manners, and OcTPC3 was inhibited by pH 6.0 but potentiated by pH 8.0. Thus, the three OcTPCs form phosphoinositide-activated Na+ channels with different ligand selectivity, voltage dependence, and extracytosolic pH sensitivity, which likely are optimally tuned for function in specific endolysosomal populations.


Subject(s)
Lysosomes , Phosphatidylinositols , Animals , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Ions , Mammals , Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates , Rabbits
13.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0269024, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933303

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Nasogastric tube (NGT) placement is a procedure commonly performed in mechanically ventilated (MV) patients. Chest X-Ray is the diagnostic gold-standard to confirm its correct placement, with the downsides of requiring MV patients' mobilization and of intrinsic actinic risk. Other potential methods to confirm NGT placement have shown lower accuracy compared to chest X-ray; end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) and pH analysis have already been singularly investigated as an alternative to the gold standard. Aim of this study was to determine threshold values in ETCO2 and pH measurement at which correct NGT positioning can be confirmed with the highest accuracy. MATERIALS & METHODS: This was a prospective, multicenter, observational trial; a continuous cohort of eligible patients was allocated with site into two arms. Patients underwent general anesthesia, orotracheal intubation and MV; in the first and second group we respectively assessed the difference between tracheal and esophageal ETCO2 and between esophageal and gastric pH values. RESULTS: From November 2020 to March 2021, 85 consecutive patients were enrolled: 40 in the ETCO2 group and 45 in the pH group. The ETCO2 ROC analysis for predicting NGT tracheal misplacement demonstrated an optimal ETCO2 cutoff value of 25.5 mmHg, with both sensitivity and specificity reaching 1.0 (AUC 1.0, p < 0.001). The pH ROC analysis for predicting NGT correct gastric placement resulted in an optimal pH cutoff value of 4.25, with mild diagnostic accuracy (AUC 0.79, p < 0.001). DISCUSSION: In patients receiving MV, ETCO2 and pH measurements respectively identified incorrect and correct NGT placement, allowing the identification of threshold values potentially able to improve correct NGT positioning. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03934515 (www.clinicaltrials.gov).


Subject(s)
Intubation, Gastrointestinal , Respiration, Artificial , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Intubation, Gastrointestinal/methods , Pilot Projects , Prospective Studies
14.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1920-1935, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908682

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and related sarbecoviruses enter host cells by receptor-recognition and membrane-fusion. An indispensable step in fusion is the formation of 6-helix bundle by viral spike heptad repeats 1 and 2 (HR1 and HR2). Here, we report the construction of 5-helix bundle (5HB) proteins for virus infection inhibition. The optimal construct inhibits SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry with sub-micromolar IC50. Unlike HR2-based peptides that cannot bind spike in the pre-fusion conformation, 5HB features with the capability of binding to pre-fusion spike. Furthermore, 5HB binds viral HR2 at both serological- and endosomal-pH, highlighting its entry-inhibition capacity when SARS-CoV-2 enters via either cell membrane fusion or endosomal route. Finally, we show that 5HB could neutralize S-mediated entry of the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variants and a wide spectrum of sarbecoviruses. These data provide proof-of-concept evidence that 5HB might be developed for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging sarbecovirus infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization
15.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(27): e2200109119, 2022 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908382

ABSTRACT

Understanding the factors that influence the airborne survival of viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in aerosols is important for identifying routes of transmission and the value of various mitigation strategies for preventing transmission. We present measurements of the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosol droplets (∼5 to 10 µm equilibrated radius) over timescales spanning 5 s to 20 min using an instrument to probe survival in a small population of droplets (typically 5 to 10) containing ∼1 virus/droplet. Measurements of airborne infectivity change are coupled with a detailed physicochemical analysis of the airborne droplets containing the virus. A decrease in infectivity to ∼10% of the starting value was observable for SARS-CoV-2 over 20 min, with a large proportion of the loss occurring within the first 5 min after aerosolization. The initial rate of infectivity loss was found to correlate with physical transformation of the equilibrating droplet; salts within the droplets crystallize at relative humidities (RHs) below 50%, leading to a near-instant loss of infectivity in 50 to 60% of the virus. However, at 90% RH, the droplet remains homogenous and aqueous, and the viral stability is sustained for the first 2 min, beyond which it decays to only 10% remaining infectious after 10 min. The loss of infectivity at high RH is consistent with an elevation in the pH of the droplets, caused by volatilization of CO2 from bicarbonate buffer within the droplet. Four different variants of SARS-CoV-2 were compared and found to have a similar degree of airborne stability at both high and low RH.


Subject(s)
Aerosolized Particles and Droplets , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aerosolized Particles and Droplets/chemistry , Aerosolized Particles and Droplets/isolation & purification , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Humidity , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
16.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 10970, 2022 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908293

ABSTRACT

Pharmaceutical wastewater contamination via azithromycin antibiotic and the continuous emergence of some strains of bacteria, cancer, and the Covid-19 virus. Azithromycin wastewater treatment using the biosynthesized Hematite nanoparticles (α-HNPs) and the biocompatible activities of the resulted nanosystem were reported. Biofabrication of α-HNPs using Echinacea purpurea liquid extract as a previously reported approach was implemented. An evaluation of the adsorption technique via the biofabricated α-HNPs for the removal of the Azr drug contaminant from the pharmaceutical wastewater was conducted. Adsorption isotherm, kinetics, and thermodynamic parameters of the Azr on the α-HNPs surface have been investigated as a batch mode of equilibrium experiments. Antibacterial, anticancer, and antiviral activities were conducted as Azr@α-HNPs. The optimum conditions for the adsorption study were conducted as solution pH = 10, 150 mg dose of α-HNPs, and Azr concentration 400 mg/L at 293 K. The most fitted isothermal model was described according to the Langmuir model at adsorption capacity 114.05 mg/g in a pseudo-second-order kinetic mechanistic at R2 0.9999. Thermodynamic study manifested that the adsorption behavior is a spontaneous endothermic chemisorption process. Subsequently, studying the biocompatible applications of the Azr@α-HNPs. Azr@α-HNPs antibacterial activity revealed a synergistic effect in the case of Gram-positive more than Gram-negative bacteria. IC50 of Azr@α-HNPs cytotoxicity against MCF7, HepG2, and HCT116 cell lines was investigated and it was found to be 78.1, 81.7, and 93.4 µg/mL respectively. As the first investigation of the antiviral use of Azr@α-HNPs against SARS-CoV-2, it was achieved a safety therapeutic index equal to 25.4 revealing a promising antiviral activity. An admirable impact of the use of the biosynthesized α-HNPs and its removal nanosystem product Azr@α-HNPs was manifested and it may be used soon as a platform of the drug delivery nanosystem for the biomedical applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Adsorption , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents , Azithromycin/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Kinetics , Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles , Pharmaceutical Preparations , SARS-CoV-2 , Thermodynamics , Waste Water , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
17.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3714, 2022 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908171

ABSTRACT

Proteins can be empowered via SpyTag for anchoring and nanoassembly, through covalent bonding to SpyCatcher partners. Here we generate a switchable version of SpyCatcher, allowing gentle purification of SpyTagged proteins. We introduce numerous histidines adjacent to SpyTag's binding site, giving moderate pH-dependent release. After phage-based selection, our final SpySwitch allows purification of SpyTag- and SpyTag003-fusions from bacterial or mammalian culture by capture at neutral pH and release at pH 5, with purity far beyond His-tag methods. SpySwitch is also thermosensitive, capturing at 4 °C and releasing at 37 °C. With flexible choice of eluent, SpySwitch-purified proteins can directly assemble onto multimeric scaffolds. 60-mer multimerization enhances immunogenicity and we use SpySwitch to purify receptor-binding domains from SARS-CoV-2 and 11 other sarbecoviruses. For these receptor-binding domains we determine thermal resilience (for mosaic vaccine development) and cross-recognition by antibodies. Antibody EY6A reacts across all tested sarbecoviruses, towards potential application against new coronavirus pandemic threats.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hot Temperature , Animals , Antibodies , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Mammals , SARS-CoV-2
18.
J Phys Chem B ; 126(26): 4828-4839, 2022 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900410

ABSTRACT

As a type I viral fusion protein, SARS-CoV-2 spike undergoes a pH-dependent switch to mediate the endosomal positioning of the receptor-binding domain to facilitate viral entry into cells and immune evasion. Gaps in our knowledge concerning the conformational transitions and key intramolecular motivations have hampered the development of effective therapeutics against the virus. To clarify the pH-sensitive elements on spike-gating the receptor-binding domain (RBD) opening and understand the details of the RBD opening transition, we performed microsecond-time scale constant pH molecular dynamics simulations in this study. We identified the deeply buried D571 with a clear pKa shift, suggesting a potential pH sensor, and showed the coupling of ionization of D571 with spike RBD-up/down equilibrium. We also computed the free-energy landscape for RBD opening and identified the crucial interactions that influence RBD dynamics. The atomic-level characterization of the pH-dependent spike activation mechanism provided herein offers new insights for a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and infection and hence supports the discovery of novel therapeutics for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
19.
Nat Immunol ; 23(5): 649-651, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873527
20.
Biophys Chem ; 287: 106829, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850725

ABSTRACT

The viral main protease (Mpro) from a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a key enzyme essential for viral replication and has become an attractive target for antiviral drug development. The Mpro forms a functional dimer and exhibits a pH-dependent enzyme activity and dimerization. Here, we report a molecular dynamics (MD) investigation to gain insights into the structural stability of the enzyme dimer at neutral and acidic pH. Our data shows larger changes in structure of the protein with the acidic pH than that with the neutral pH. Structural analysis of MD trajectories reveals a substantial increase in intersubunit separation, the loss of domain contacts, binding free energy and interaction energy of the dimer which implies the protein instability and tendency of dimer dissociation at acidic pH. The loss in the interaction energy is mainly driven by electrostatic interactions. We have identified the intersubunit hydrogen-bonding residues involved in the decreased dimer stability. These findings may be helpful for rational drug design and target evaluation against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
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