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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 120(25): e2207210120, 2023 06 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238795

ABSTRACT

The classical manifestation of COVID-19 is pulmonary infection. After host cell entry via human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (hACE2), the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus can infect pulmonary epithelial cells, especially the AT2 (alveolar type II) cells that are crucial for maintaining normal lung function. However, previous hACE2 transgenic models have failed to specifically and efficiently target the cell types that express hACE2 in humans, especially AT2 cells. In this study, we report an inducible, transgenic hACE2 mouse line and showcase three examples for specifically expressing hACE2 in three different lung epithelial cells, including AT2 cells, club cells, and ciliated cells. Moreover, all these mice models develop severe pneumonia after SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study demonstrates that the hACE2 model can be used to precisely study any cell type of interest with regard to COVID-19-related pathologies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Animals , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2 , Epithelial Cells , Alveolar Epithelial Cells , Disease Models, Animal
2.
J Med Virol ; 95(6): e28863, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238042

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 has not only caused millions of deaths worldwide, but it has also led to economic recession and the collapse of public health systems. The vaccines and antivirals developed in response to the pandemic have improved the situation markedly; however, the pandemic is still not under control with recurring surges. Thus, it is still necessary to develop therapeutic agents. In our previous studies, we designed and synthesized a series of novel 2-anilinoquinazolin-4(3H)-one derivatives, and demonstrated inhibitory activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and MERS-CoV in vitro. We then conducted in vivo studies using modified compounds that are suitable for oral administration. These compounds demonstrated no toxicity in rats and inhibited viral entry. Here, we investigated the in vivo efficacy of these drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2. Three candidate drugs, 7-chloro-2-((3,5-dichlorophenyl)amino)quinazolin-4(3H)-one (1), N-(7-chloro-4-oxo-3,4-dihydroquinazolin-2-yl)-N-(3,5-dichlorophenyl)acetamide (2), and N-(7-chloro-4-oxo-3,4-dihydroquinazolin-2-yl)-N-(3,5-difluorophenyl)acetamide (3) were administered orally to hACE2 transgenic mice at a dose of 100 mg/kg. All three drugs improved survival rate and reduced the viral load in the lungs. These results show that the derivatives possess in vivo antiviral efficacy similar to that of molnupiravir, which is currently being used to treat COVID-19. Overall, our data suggest that 2-anilinoquinazolin-4(3H)-one derivatives are promising as potential oral antiviral drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Rats , Acetamides , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Mice, Transgenic , Quinazolines/pharmacology , Quinazolines/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
Elife ; 122023 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236082

ABSTRACT

We sought to define the mechanism underlying lung microvascular regeneration in a model of severe acute lung injury (ALI) induced by selective lung endothelial cell ablation. Intratracheal instillation of DT in transgenic mice expressing human diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor targeted to ECs resulted in ablation of >70% of lung ECs, producing severe ALI with near complete resolution by 7 days. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, eight distinct endothelial clusters were resolved, including alveolar aerocytes (aCap) ECs expressing apelin at baseline and general capillary (gCap) ECs expressing the apelin receptor. At 3 days post-injury, a novel gCap EC population emerged characterized by de novo expression of apelin, together with the stem cell marker, protein C receptor. These stem-like cells transitioned at 5 days to proliferative endothelial progenitor-like cells, expressing apelin receptor together with the pro-proliferative transcription factor, Foxm1, and were responsible for the rapid replenishment of all depleted EC populations by 7 days post-injury. Treatment with an apelin receptor antagonist prevented ALI resolution and resulted in excessive mortality, consistent with a central role for apelin signaling in EC regeneration and microvascular repair. The lung has a remarkable capacity for microvasculature EC regeneration which is orchestrated by newly emergent apelin-expressing gCap endothelial stem-like cells that give rise to highly proliferative, apelin receptor-positive endothelial progenitors responsible for the regeneration of the lung microvasculature.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury , Transcriptome , Mice , Animals , Humans , Apelin/metabolism , Apelin Receptors/metabolism , Lung , Mice, Transgenic , Endothelial Cells/metabolism
4.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 2962, 2023 05 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243557

ABSTRACT

Herd immunity achieved through mass vaccination is an effective approach to prevent contagious diseases. Nonetheless, emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants with frequent mutations largely evaded humoral immunity induced by Spike-based COVID-19 vaccines. Herein, we develop a lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-formulated mRNA-based T-cell-inducing antigen, which targeted three SARS-CoV-2 proteome regions that enriched human HLA-I epitopes (HLA-EPs). Immunization of HLA-EPs induces potent cellular responses to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in humanized HLA-A*02:01/DR1 and HLA-A*11:01/DR1 transgenic mice. Of note, the sequences of HLA-EPs are highly conserved among SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. In humanized HLA-transgenic mice and female rhesus macaques, dual immunization with the LNP-formulated mRNAs encoding HLA-EPs and the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant (RBDbeta) is more efficacious in preventing infection of SARS-CoV-2 Beta and Omicron BA.1 variants than single immunization of LNP-RBDbeta. This study demonstrates the necessity to strengthen the vaccine effectiveness by comprehensively stimulating both humoral and cellular responses, thereby offering insight for optimizing the design of COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Mice , Female , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , Macaca mulatta , Epitopes , Antibodies , Mice, Transgenic , T-Lymphocytes , HLA-A Antigens
5.
Eur J Pharm Sci ; 187: 106489, 2023 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20241144

ABSTRACT

Despite several vaccines that are currently approved for human use to control the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), there is an urgent medical need for therapeutic and prophylactic options. SARS-CoV-2 binding and entry in human cells involves interactions of its spike (S) protein with several host cell surface factors, including heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In this paper we investigated the potential of sulphated Hyaluronic Acid (sHA), a HSPG mimicking polymer, to inhibit the binding of SARS-CoV-2 S protein to human ACE2 receptor. After the assessment of different sulfation degree of sHA backbone, a series of sHA functionalized with different hydrophobic side chains were synthesized and screened. The compound showing the highest binding affinity to the viral S protein was further characterized by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) towards ACE2 and viral S protein binding domain. Selected compounds were formulated as solutions for nebulization and, after being characterized in terms of aerosolization performance and droplet size distribution, their efficacy was assessed in vivo using the K18 human (h)ACE2 transgenic mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Mice , Humans , Hyaluronic Acid , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Sulfates , Mice, Transgenic
6.
Vaccine ; 41(32): 4743-4751, 2023 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20231210

ABSTRACT

Targeting the site of infection is a promising strategy for improving vaccine effectivity. To date, licensed COVID-19 vaccines have been administered intramuscularly despite the fact that SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus. Here, we aim to induce local protective mucosal immune responses with an inhaled subunit vaccine candidate, ISR52, based on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 protein. When tested in a lethal challenge hACE2 transgenic SARS-CoV-2 mouse model, intranasal and intratracheal administration of ISR52 provided superior protection against severe infection, compared to the subcutaneous injection of the vaccine. Interestingly for a protein-based vaccine, inhaled ISR52 elicited both CD4 and CD8 T-cell Spike-specific responses that were maintained for at least 6 months in wild-type mice. Induced IgG and IgA responses cross-reacting with several SARS- CoV-2 variants of concern were detected in the lung and in serum and protected animals displayed neutralizing antibodies. Based on our results, we are developing ISR52 as a dry powder formulation for inhalation, that does not require cold-chain distribution or the use of needle administration, for evaluation in a Phase I/II clinical trial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Mice, Transgenic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral
7.
PLoS Pathog ; 19(5): e1011409, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2323254

ABSTRACT

The hallmark of severe COVID-19 involves systemic cytokine storm and multi-organ injury including testicular inflammation, reduced testosterone, and germ cell depletion. The ACE2 receptor is also expressed in the resident testicular cells, however, SARS-CoV-2 infection and mechanisms of testicular injury are not fully understood. The testicular injury could be initiated by direct virus infection or exposure to systemic inflammatory mediators or viral antigens. We characterized SARS-CoV-2 infection in different human testicular 2D and 3D culture systems including primary Sertoli cells, Leydig cells, mixed seminiferous tubule cells (STC), and 3D human testicular organoids (HTO). Data shows that SARS-CoV-2 does not productively infect any testicular cell type. However, exposure of STC and HTO to inflammatory supernatant from infected airway epithelial cells and COVID-19 plasma decreased cell viability and resulted in the death of undifferentiated spermatogonia. Further, exposure to only SARS-CoV-2 Envelope protein caused inflammatory response and cytopathic effects dependent on TLR2, while Spike 1 or Nucleocapsid proteins did not. A similar trend was observed in the K18-hACE2 transgenic mice which demonstrated a disrupted tissue architecture with no evidence of virus replication in the testis that correlated with peak lung inflammation. Virus antigens including Spike 1 and Envelope proteins were also detected in the serum during the acute stage of the disease. Collectively, these data strongly suggest that testicular injury associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection is likely an indirect effect of exposure to systemic inflammation and/or SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Data also provide novel insights into the mechanism of testicular injury and could explain the clinical manifestation of testicular symptoms associated with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Male , Mice , Animals , Humans , COVID-19/metabolism , Testis , SARS-CoV-2 , Bystander Effect , Inflammation/metabolism , Mice, Transgenic
8.
Microbiol Spectr ; 11(3): e0065323, 2023 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320659

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to a worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite the high efficacy of the authorized vaccines, there may be uncertain and unknown side effects or disadvantages associated with current vaccination approaches. Live-attenuated vaccines (LAVs) have been shown to elicit robust and long-term protection by the induction of host innate and adaptive immune responses. In this study, we sought to verify an attenuation strategy by generating 3 double open reading frame (ORF)-deficient recombinant SARS-CoV-2s (rSARS-CoV-2s) simultaneously lacking two accessory ORF proteins (ORF3a/ORF6, ORF3a/ORF7a, and ORF3a/ORF7b). We report that these double ORF-deficient rSARS-CoV-2s have slower replication kinetics and reduced fitness in cultured cells compared with their parental wild-type (WT) counterpart. Importantly, these double ORF-deficient rSARS-CoV-2s showed attenuation in both K18 hACE2 transgenic mice and golden Syrian hamsters. A single intranasal dose vaccination induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and some variants of concern and activated viral component-specific T cell responses. Notably, double ORF-deficient rSARS-CoV-2s were able to protect, as determined by the inhibition of viral replication, shedding, and transmission, against challenge with SARS-CoV-2 in both K18 hACE2 mice and golden Syrian hamsters. Collectively, our results demonstrate the feasibility of implementing the double ORF-deficient strategy to develop safe, immunogenic, and protective LAVs to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated COVID-19. IMPORTANCE Live-attenuated vaccines (LAVs) are able to induce robust immune responses, including both humoral and cellular immunity, representing a very promising option to provide broad and long-term immunity. To develop LAVs for SARS-CoV-2, we engineered attenuated recombinant SARS-CoV-2 (rSARS-CoV-2) that simultaneously lacks the viral open reading frame 3a (ORF3a) in combination with either ORF6, ORF7a, or ORF7b (Δ3a/Δ6, Δ3a/Δ7a, and Δ3a/Δ7b, respectively) proteins. Among them, the rSARS-CoV-2 Δ3a/Δ7b was completely attenuated and able to provide 100% protection against an otherwise lethal challenge in K18 hACE2 transgenic mice. Moreover, the rSARS-CoV-2 Δ3a/Δ7b conferred protection against viral transmission between golden Syrian hamsters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cricetinae , Animals , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated/genetics , Mesocricetus , COVID-19/prevention & control , Vaccination , Immunization , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Mice, Transgenic , Antibodies, Viral
9.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(9)2023 May 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320397

ABSTRACT

We have previously published research on the anti-viral properties of an alkaloid mixture extracted from Nuphar lutea, the major components of the partially purified mixture found by NMR analysis. These are mostly dimeric sesquiterpene thioalkaloids called thiobinupharidines and thiobinuphlutidines against the negative strand RNA measles virus (MV). We have previously reported that this extract inhibits the MV as well as its ability to downregulate several MV proteins in persistently MV-infected cells, especially the P (phospho)-protein. Based on our observation that the Nuphar extract is effective in vitro against the MV, and the immediate need that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic created, we tested here the ability of 6,6'-dihydroxythiobinupharidine DTBN, an active small molecule, isolated from the Nuphar lutea extract, on COVID-19. As shown here, DTBN effectively inhibits SARS-CoV-2 production in Vero E6 cells at non-cytotoxic concentrations. The short-term daily administration of DTBN to infected mice delayed the occurrence of severe clinical outcomes, lowered virus levels in the lungs and improved survival with minimal changes in lung histology. The viral load on lungs was significantly reduced in the treated mice. DTBN is a pleiotropic small molecule with multiple targets. Its anti-inflammatory properties affect a variety of pathogens including SARS-CoV-2 as shown here. Its activity appears to target both pathogen specific (as suggested by docking analysis) as well as cellular proteins, such as NF-κB, PKCs, cathepsins and topoisomerase 2, that we have previously identified in our work. Thus, this combined double action of virus inhibition and anti-inflammatory activity may enhance the overall effectivity of DTBN. The promising results from this proof-of-concept in vitro and in vivo preclinical study should encourage future studies to optimize the use of DTBN and/or its molecular derivatives against this and other related viruses.


Subject(s)
Alkaloids , COVID-19 , Nuphar , Mice , Animals , SARS-CoV-2 , Nuphar/chemistry , Alkaloids/pharmacology , Alkaloids/therapeutic use , Alkaloids/chemistry , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Mice, Transgenic
10.
Am J Pathol ; 193(7): 866-882, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309498

ABSTRACT

The disease severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) varies considerably from asymptomatic to serious, with fatal complications associated with dysregulation of innate and adaptive immunity. Lymphoid depletion in lymphoid tissues and lymphocytopenia have both been associated with poor disease outcomes in patients with COVID-19, but the mechanisms involved remain elusive. In this study, human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) transgenic mouse models susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were used to investigate the characteristics and determinants of lethality associated with the lymphoid depletion observed in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The lethality of Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 infection in K18-hACE2 mice was characterized by severe lymphoid depletion and apoptosis in lymphoid tissues related to fatal neuroinvasion. The lymphoid depletion was associated with a decreased number of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and their suppressed functionality below basal levels. Lymphoid depletion with reduced APC function was a specific feature observed in SARS-CoV-2 infection but not in influenza A infection and had the greatest prognostic value for disease severity in murine COVID-19. Comparison of transgenic mouse models resistant and susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection revealed that suppressed APC function could be determined by the hACE2 expression pattern and interferon-related signaling. Thus, we demonstrated that lymphoid depletion associated with suppressed APC function characterizes the lethality of COVID-19 mouse models. Our data also suggest a potential therapeutic approach to prevent the severe progression of COVID-19 by enhancing APC functionality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mice , Humans , Animals , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Mice, Transgenic , Disease Susceptibility , Antigen-Presenting Cells , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/metabolism
11.
Front Immunol ; 13: 1055811, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309285

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a global health concern since 2019. The viral spike protein infects the host by binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expressed on the cell surface, which is then processed by type II transmembrane serine protease. However, ACE2 does not react to SARS-CoV-2 in inbred wild-type mice, which poses a challenge for preclinical research with animal models, necessitating a human ACE2 (hACE2)-expressing transgenic mouse model. Cytokeratin 18 (K18) promoter-derived hACE2 transgenic mice [B6.Cg-Tg(K18-ACE2)2Prlmn/J] are widely used for research on SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. However, SARS-CoV-2 infection is lethal at ≥105 PFU and SARS-CoV-2 target cells are limited to type-1 alveolar pneumocytes in K18-hACE2 mice, making this model incompatible with infections in the human lung. Hence, we developed lung-specific SARS-CoV-2 infection mouse models with surfactant protein B (SFTPB) and secretoglobin family 1a member 1 (Scgb1a1) promoters. After inoculation of 105 PFU of SARS-CoV-2 to the K18-hACE2, SFTPB-hACE2, and SCGB1A1-hACE2 models, the peak viral titer was detected at 2 days post-infection and then gradually decreased. In K18-hACE2 mice, the body temperature decreased by approximately 10°C, body weight decreased by over 20%, and the survival rate was reduced. However, SFTPB-hACE2 and SCGB1A1-hACE2 mice showed minimal clinical signs after infection. The virus targeted type I pneumocytes in K18-hACE2 mice; type II pneumocytes in SFTPB-hACE2 mice; and club, goblet, and ciliated cells in SCGB1A1-hACE2 mice. A time-dependent increase in severe lung lesions was detected in K18-hACE2 mice, whereas mild lesions developed in SFTPB-hACE2 and SCGB1A1-hACE2 mice. Spleen, small intestine, and brain lesions developed in K18-hACE2 mice but not in SFTPB-hACE2 and SCGB1A1-hACE2 mice. These newly developed SFTPB-hACE2 and SCGB1A1-hACE2 mice should prove useful to expand research on hACE2-mediated respiratory viruses.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Viruses ; 15(4)2023 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293805

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, the world has been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and we now face the emergence of several variants. We aimed to assess the differences between the wild-type (Wt) (Wuhan) strain and the P.1 (Gamma) and Delta variants using infected K18-hACE2 mice. The clinical manifestations, behavior, virus load, pulmonary capacity, and histopathological alterations were analyzed. The P.1-infected mice showed weight loss and more severe clinical manifestations of COVID-19 than the Wt and Delta-infected mice. The respiratory capacity was reduced in the P.1-infected mice compared to the other groups. Pulmonary histological findings demonstrated that a more aggressive disease was generated by the P.1 and Delta variants compared to the Wt strain of the virus. The quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 viral copies varied greatly among the infected mice although it was higher in P.1-infected mice on the day of death. Our data revealed that K18-hACE2 mice infected with the P.1 variant develop a more severe infectious disease than those infected with the other variants, despite the significant heterogeneity among the mice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Disease Models, Animal , Mice, Transgenic , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virulence
13.
Vaccine ; 41(21): 3337-3346, 2023 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293136

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks have constituted a public health issue with drastic mortality higher than 34%, necessitating the development of an effective vaccine. During MERS-CoV infection, the trimeric spike protein on the viral envelope is primarily responsible for attachment to host cellular receptor, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). With the goal of generating a protein-based prophylactic, we designed a subunit vaccine comprising the recombinant S1 protein with a trimerization motif (S1-Fd) and examined its immunogenicity and protective immune responses in combination with various adjuvants. We found that sera from immunized wild-type and human DPP4 transgenic mice contained S1-specific antibodies that can neutralize MERS-CoV infection in susceptible cells. Vaccination with S1-Fd protein in combination with a saponin-based QS-21 adjuvant provided long-term humoral as well as cellular immunity in mice. Our findings highlight the significance of the trimeric S1 protein in the development of MERS-CoV vaccines and offer a suitable adjuvant, QS-21, to induce robust and prolonged memory T cell response.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Mice , Humans , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 , Immunity, Cellular , Mice, Transgenic , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Recombinant Proteins , Vaccines, Subunit , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
14.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 2179, 2023 04 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2299017

ABSTRACT

A full understanding of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine-mediated antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 circulating variants will inform vaccine effectiveness and vaccination development strategies. Here, we offer insights into the inactivated vaccine-induced antibody responses after prime-boost vaccination at both the polyclonal and monoclonal levels. We characterized the VDJ sequence of 118 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and found that 20 neutralizing mAbs showed varied potency and breadth against a range of variants including XBB.1.5, BQ.1.1, and BN.1. Bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) based on nonoverlapping mAbs exhibited enhanced neutralizing potency and breadth against the most antibody-evasive strains, such as XBB.1.5, BQ.1.1, and BN.1. The passive transfer of mAbs or their bsAb effectively protected female hACE2 transgenic mice from challenge with an infectious Delta or Omicron BA.2 variant. The neutralization mechanisms of these antibodies were determined by structural characterization. Overall, a broad spectrum of potent and distinct neutralizing antibodies can be induced in individuals immunized with the SARS-CoV-2 inactivated vaccine BBIBP-CorV, suggesting the application potential of inactivated vaccines and these antibodies for preventing infection by SARS-CoV-2 circulating variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Female , Animals , Mice , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Mice, Transgenic , Vaccines, Inactivated , Antibodies, Viral
15.
Int J Pharm ; 638: 122921, 2023 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2298791

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2), resulting in a serious burden on public health and social economy worldwide. SARS-CoV-2 infection is mainly initialized in the nasopharyngeal cavity through the binding of viral spike (S) protein to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptors which are widely expressed in many human cells. Thus, blockade of the interaction between viral S protein and hACE2 receptor in the primary entry site is a promising prevention strategy for the management of COVID-19. Here we showed protein microparticles (PMPs) decorated with hACE2 could bind and neutralize SARS-CoV-2 S protein-expressing pseudovirus (PSV) and protect host cells from infection in vitro. In the hACE2 transgenic mouse model, administration of intranasal spray with hACE2-decorated PMPs markedly decreased the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs though the inflammation was not attenuated significantly. Our results provided evidence for developing functionalized PMPs as a potential strategy for preventing emerging air-borne infectious pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Mice , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Mice, Transgenic
16.
Cells ; 12(7)2023 04 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294986

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic was triggered by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, whose peak occurred in the years 2020 and 2021. The main target of this virus is the lung, and the infection is associated with an accentuated inflammatory process involving mainly the innate arm of the immune system. Here, we described the induction of a pulmonary inflammatory process triggered by the intranasal (IN) instillation of UV-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 in C57BL/6 female mice, and then the evaluation of the ability of vitamin D (VitD) to control this process. The assays used to estimate the severity of lung involvement included the total and differential number of cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), histopathological analysis, quantification of T cell subsets, and inflammatory mediators by RT-PCR, cytokine quantification in lung homogenates, and flow cytometric analysis of cells recovered from lung parenchyma. The IN instillation of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 triggered a pulmonary inflammatory process, consisting of various cell types and mediators, resembling the typical inflammation found in transgenic mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. This inflammatory process was significantly decreased by the IN delivery of VitD, but not by its IP administration, suggesting that this hormone could have a therapeutic potential in COVID-19 if locally applied. To our knowledge, the local delivery of VitD to downmodulate lung inflammation in COVID-19 is an original proposition.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pneumonia , Mice , Animals , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vitamin D/pharmacology , Pandemics , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Vitamins , Mice, Transgenic
17.
JCI Insight ; 8(7)2023 04 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2304483

ABSTRACT

Currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines induce humoral and cellular responses to epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, though the relative roles of antibodies and T cells in protection are not well understood. To understand the role of vaccine-elicited T cell responses in protection, we established a T cell-only vaccine using a DC-targeted lentiviral vector expressing single CD8+ T cell epitopes of the viral nucleocapsid, spike, and ORF1. Immunization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-transgenic mice with ex vivo lentiviral vector-transduced DCs or by direct injection of the vector induced the proliferation of functional antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, resulting in a 3-log decrease in virus load upon live virus challenge that was effective against the ancestral virus and Omicron variants. The Pfizer/BNT162b2 vaccine was also protective in mice, but the antibodies elicited did not cross-react on the Omicron variants, suggesting that the protection was mediated by T cells. The studies suggest that the T cell response plays an important role in vaccine protection. The findings suggest that the incorporation of additional T cell epitopes into current vaccines would increase their effectiveness and broaden protection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Animals , Humans , Mice , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , BNT162 Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Animal
18.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 12(1): 2202269, 2023 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294850

ABSTRACT

Breakthrough infections by SARS-CoV-2 variants pose a global challenge to COVID-19 pandemic control, and the development of more effective vaccines of broad-spectrum protection is needed. In this study, we constructed pVAX1-based plasmids encoding receptor-binding domain (RBD) chimera of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 variants, including pAD1002 (encoding RBDSARS/BA1), pAD1003 (encoding RBDSARS/Beta) and pAD131 (encoding RBDBA1/Beta). Plasmids pAD1002 and pAD131 were far more immunogenic than pAD1003 in terms of eliciting RBD-specific IgG when intramuscularly administered without electroporation. Furthermore, dissolvable microneedle array patches (MAP) greatly enhanced the immunogenicity of these DNA constructs in mice and rabbits. MAP laden with pAD1002 (MAP-1002) significantly outperformed inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine in inducing RBD-specific IFN-γ+ effector and memory T cells, and generated T lymphocytes of different homing patterns compared to that induced by electroporated DNA in mice. In consistence with the high titer neutralization results of MAP-1002 antisera against SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses, MAP-1002 protected human ACE2-transgenic mice from Omicron BA.1 challenge. Collectively, MAP-based DNA constructs encoding chimeric RBDs of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 variants, as represented by MAP-1002, are potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates worthy further translational study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus , Vaccines, DNA , Animals , Humans , Mice , Rabbits , COVID-19 Vaccines , SARS-CoV-2 , Pandemics , DNA , Mice, Transgenic , Antibodies, Viral , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
19.
Dis Model Mech ; 15(11)2022 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2264622

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19, causes life-threatening disease. This novel coronavirus enters host cells via the respiratory tract, promoting the formation of severe pulmonary lesions and systemic disease. Few animal models can simulate the clinical signs and pathology of COVID-19 patients. Diverse preclinical studies using K18-hACE2 mice and Syrian golden hamsters, which are highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 in the respiratory tract, are emerging; however, the systemic pathogenesis and cellular tropism of these models remain obscure. We intranasally infected K18-hACE2 mice and Syrian golden hamsters with SARS-CoV-2, and compared the clinical features, pathogenesis, cellular tropism and infiltrated immune-cell subsets. In K18-hACE2 mice, SARS-CoV-2 persistently replicated in alveolar cells and caused pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease, resulting in fatal outcomes. Conversely, in Syrian golden hamsters, transient SARS-CoV-2 infection in bronchial cells caused reversible pulmonary disease, without mortality. Our findings provide comprehensive insights into the pathogenic spectrum of COVID-19 using preclinical models.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cricetinae , Mice , Animals , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2 , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/pathology , Mice, Transgenic
20.
Clin Sci (Lond) ; 137(7): 543-559, 2023 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2285529

ABSTRACT

Poor disease outcomes and lethality are directly related to endothelial dysfunction in betacoronavirus infections. Here, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the vascular dysfunction caused by the betacoronaviruses MHV-3 and SARS-CoV-2. Wild-type C57BL/6 (WT) and knockout mice for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS-/-) or TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1-/-) were infected with MHV-3, and K18-hACE2 transgenic mice expressing human ACE2 were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Isometric tension was used to evaluate vascular function. Protein expression was determined by immunofluorescence. Tail-cuff plethysmography and Doppler were used to assess blood pressure and flow, respectively. Nitric oxide (NO) was quantified with the DAF probe. ELISA was used to assess cytokine production. Survival curves were estimated using Kaplan-Meier. MHV-3 infection reduced aortic and vena cava contractility, arterial blood pressure, and blood flow, resulting in death. Resistance mesenteric arteries showed increased contractility. The contractility of the aorta was normalized by removing the endothelium, inhibiting iNOS, genetically deleting iNOS, or scavenging NO. In the aorta, iNOS and phospho-NF-kB p65 subunit expression was enhanced, along with basal NO production. TNF production was increased in plasma and vascular tissue. Genetic deletion of TNFR1 prevented vascular changes triggered by MHV-3, and death. Basal NO production and iNOS expression were also increased by SARS-CoV-2. In conclusion, betacoronavirus induces an endothelium-dependent decrease in contractility in macro-arteries and veins, leading to circulatory failure and death via TNF/iNOS/NO. These data highlight the key role of the vascular endothelium and TNF in the pathogenesis and lethality of coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Shock , Mice , Humans , Animals , Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II/genetics , Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II/metabolism , Nitric Oxide Synthase/metabolism , Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I/genetics , Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Nitric Oxide/metabolism , Mice, Transgenic , Mesenteric Arteries/metabolism
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