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1.
mBio ; 12(5): e0181321, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462901

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Nanoparticles/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Glycosylation , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sf9 Cells , Viral Vaccines/immunology
3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5552, 2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434105

ABSTRACT

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the extreme release of inflammatory mediators into the blood in response to infection (e.g., bacterial infection, COVID-19), resulting in the dysfunction of multiple organs. Currently, there is no direct treatment for sepsis. Here we report an abiotic hydrogel nanoparticle (HNP) as a potential therapeutic agent for late-stage sepsis. The HNP captures and neutralizes all variants of histones, a major inflammatory mediator released during sepsis. The highly optimized HNP has high capacity and long-term circulation capability for the selective sequestration and neutralization of histones. Intravenous injection of the HNP protects mice against a lethal dose of histones through the inhibition of platelet aggregation and migration into the lungs. In vivo administration in murine sepsis model mice results in near complete survival. These results establish the potential for synthetic, nonbiological polymer hydrogel sequestrants as a new intervention strategy for sepsis therapy and adds to our understanding of the importance of histones to this condition.


Subject(s)
Hydrogels/therapeutic use , Nanoparticles/therapeutic use , Sepsis/drug therapy , Animals , Blood Platelets/drug effects , Cell Adhesion , Cell Survival/drug effects , Disease Models, Animal , Histones/antagonists & inhibitors , Histones/metabolism , Histones/toxicity , Hydrogels/chemistry , Hydrogels/metabolism , Hydrogels/pharmacology , Lung/drug effects , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nanoparticles/metabolism , Platelet Aggregation/drug effects , Polyethylene Glycols/chemistry , Polyethylene Glycols/metabolism , Polyethylene Glycols/pharmacology , Polyethylene Glycols/therapeutic use , Protein Binding , Sepsis/mortality , Survival Rate
4.
Proteins ; 89(9): 1065-1078, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222689

ABSTRACT

SARS coronavirus 2 is neutralized by proteins that block receptor-binding sites on spikes that project from the viral envelope. In particular, substantial research investment has advanced monoclonal antibody therapies to the clinic where they have shown partial efficacy in reducing viral burden and hospitalization. An alternative is to use the host entry receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as a soluble decoy that broadly blocks SARS-associated coronaviruses with limited potential for viral escape. Here, we summarize efforts to engineer higher affinity variants of soluble ACE2 that rival the potency of affinity-matured antibodies. Strategies have also been used to increase the valency of ACE2 decoys for avid spike interactions and to improve pharmacokinetics via IgG fusions. Finally, the intrinsic catalytic activity of ACE2 for the turnover of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II may directly address COVID-19 symptoms and protect against lung and cardiovascular injury, conferring dual mechanisms of action unachievable by monoclonal antibodies. Soluble ACE2 derivatives therefore have the potential to be next generation therapeutics for addressing the immediate needs of the current pandemic and possible future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Molecular Mimicry , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/metabolism , Mutation , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nanoparticles/metabolism , Protein Binding , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry
5.
Bioconjug Chem ; 32(5): 1034-1046, 2021 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217668

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 caused the COVID-19 pandemic that lasted for more than a year. Globally, there is an urgent need to use safe and effective vaccines for immunization to achieve comprehensive protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Focusing on developing a rapid vaccine platform with significant immunogenicity as well as broad and high protection efficiency, we designed a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) displayed on self-assembled ferritin nanoparticles. In a 293i cells eukaryotic expression system, this candidate vaccine was prepared and purified. After rhesus monkeys are immunized with 20 µg of RBD-ferritin nanoparticles three times, the vaccine can elicit specific humoral immunity and T cell immune response, and the neutralizing antibodies can cross-neutralize four SARS-CoV-2 strains from different sources. In the challenge protection test, after nasal infection with 2 × 105 CCID50 SARS-CoV-2 virus, compared with unimmunized control animals, virus replication in the vaccine-immunized rhesus monkeys was significantly inhibited, and respiratory pathology observations also showed only slight pathological damage. These analyses will benefit the immunization program of the RBD-ferritin nanoparticle vaccine in the clinical trial design and the platform construction to present a specific antigen domain in the self-assembling nanoparticle in a short time to harvest stable, safe, and effective vaccine candidates for new SARS-CoV-2 isolates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Binding Sites , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Ferritins/chemistry , Ferritins/metabolism , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta , Male , Nanoparticles/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Ultracentrifugation
6.
Curr Opin Virol ; 48: 65-72, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1203009

ABSTRACT

Vaccines based on mRNA-containing lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) pioneered by Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania are a promising new vaccine platform used by two of the leading vaccines against coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). However, there are many questions regarding their mechanism of action in humans that remain unanswered. Here we consider the immunological features of LNP components and off-target effects of the mRNA, both of which could increase the risk of side effects. We suggest ways to mitigate these potential risks by harnessing dendritic cell (DC) biology.


Subject(s)
Dendritic Cells/immunology , Immunization/methods , Lipids , Nanoparticles , RNA, Messenger , Vaccines/classification , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Lipids/administration & dosage , Lipids/immunology , Nanoparticles/administration & dosage , Nanoparticles/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/administration & dosage , RNA, Messenger/immunology
7.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2273: 131-138, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1092090

ABSTRACT

The current coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2), underscores the threat posed by newly emerging viruses. The understanding of the mechanisms driving early infection events, that are crucial for the exponential spread of the disease, is mandatory and can be significantly implemented generating 3D in vitro models as experimental platforms to investigate the infection substrates and how the virus invades and ravages the tissues.We here describe a protocol for the creation of a synthetic hydrogel-based 3D culture system that mimics in vitro the complex architectures and mechanical cues distinctive of the upper airway epithelia. We then expose the in vitro generated 3D nasal and tracheal epithelia to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that display the typical shape and size distinctive of SARS-CoV-2 and of the majority of Coronaviridae presently known.The infection platform here described provides an efficient and highly physiological in vitro model that reproduces the host-pathogen early interactions, using virus-mimicking nanoparticles, and offers a flexible tool to study virus entry into the cell. At the same time, it reduces the risk of accidental infection/spillovers for researchers, which represents a crucial aspect when dealing with a virus that is highly contagious, virulent, and even deadly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Culture Techniques/methods , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Nanoparticles/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gold , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Molecular Mimicry/immunology , Nose/virology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Trachea/virology , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization
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