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1.
Nat Struct Mol Biol ; 28(9): 747-754, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370728

ABSTRACT

Drug discovery campaigns against COVID-19 are beginning to target the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. The highly conserved frameshift stimulation element (FSE), required for balanced expression of viral proteins, is a particularly attractive SARS-CoV-2 RNA target. Here we present a 6.9 Å resolution cryo-EM structure of the FSE (88 nucleotides, ~28 kDa), validated through an RNA nanostructure tagging method. The tertiary structure presents a topologically complex fold in which the 5' end is threaded through a ring formed inside a three-stem pseudoknot. Guided by this structure, we develop antisense oligonucleotides that impair FSE function in frameshifting assays and knock down SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in A549-ACE2 cells at 100 nM concentration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Cryoelectron Microscopy/methods , Frameshift Mutation/genetics , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Response Elements/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Animals , Base Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/ultrastructure , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/genetics
2.
Nat Protoc ; 16(6): 3141-3162, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1209962

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the shortcomings of the current testing paradigm for viral disease diagnostics. Here, we report a stepwise protocol for an RNA-extraction-free nano-amplified colorimetric test for rapid and naked-eye molecular diagnosis of COVID-19. The test employs a unique dual-prong approach that integrates nucleic acid (NA) amplification and plasmonic sensing for point-of-care detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with a sample-to-assay response time of <1 h. The RNA-extraction-free nano-amplified colorimetric test utilizes plasmonic gold nanoparticles capped with antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) as a colorimetric reporter to detect the amplified nucleic acid from the COVID-19 causative virus, SARS-CoV-2. The ASOs are specific for the SARS-CoV-2 N-gene, and binding of the ASOs to their target sequence results in the aggregation of the plasmonic gold nanoparticles. This highly specific agglomeration step leads to a change in the plasmonic response of the nanoparticles. Furthermore, when tested using clinical samples, the accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of the test were found to be >98.4%, >96.6% and 100%, respectively, with a detection limit of 10 copies/µL. The test can easily be adapted to diagnose other viral infections with a simple modification of the ASOs and primer sequences. It also provides a low-cost, rapid approach requiring minimal instrumentation that can be used as a screening tool for the diagnosis of COVID-19 at point-of-care settings in resource-poor situations. The colorimetric readout of the test can even be monitored using a handheld optical reader to obtain a quantitative response. Therefore, we anticipate that this protocol will be widely useful for the development of biosensors for the molecular diagnostics of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Gold/chemistry , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/chemistry , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/instrumentation , Colorimetry/instrumentation , Colorimetry/methods , Humans , Limit of Detection , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , Point-of-Care Testing , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
Immunohorizons ; 5(2): 70-80, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067831

ABSTRACT

Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) is a member of the JAK family of nonreceptor tyrosine kinase, together with JAK1, JAK2, and JAK3. JAKs are important signaling mediators of many proinflammatory cytokines and represent compelling pharmacological targets for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Pan-acting small-molecule JAK inhibitors were approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. However, their limited selectivity among JAK members have led to undesirable side effects, driving a search toward specific JAK inhibitors. Recently, TYK2 has emerged as a target of choice for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and severe COVID-19 with an optimum balance between efficacy and safety, based on observations from human genetics studies and clinical outcomes of several agents targeting cytokine pathways for which TYK2 plays an essential role. In this article, we address selective targeting of TYK2 from the genetic sequence space through development of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) against TYK2 mRNA. Potent ASO candidates were identified from the screening of over 200 ASOs using locked nucleic acid gapmer design. The lead ASOs exhibited potent and selective knockdown of TYK2 mRNA and protein across a panel of model human cell lines in a dose-dependent manner, showing no reduction in the mRNA and protein expression levels of other JAK paralogs. In agreement with the depletion of TYK2 proteins, several TYK2-mediated cytokine signaling pathways, including IFN-α and IL-12, were inhibited upon ASO treatment. Our results established the TYK2 ASOs as investigational tool compound and potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Autoimmune Diseases/drug therapy , COVID-19/drug therapy , Janus Kinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , TYK2 Kinase/genetics , Disease Progression , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Humans , Interferon-alpha/metabolism , Interleukin-12/metabolism , Jurkat Cells , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/therapeutic use , Signal Transduction
4.
ACS Nano ; 14(6): 7617-7627, 2020 06 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647565

ABSTRACT

The current outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) demands its rapid, convenient, and large-scale diagnosis to downregulate its spread within as well as across the communities. But the reliability, reproducibility, and selectivity of majority of such diagnostic tests fail when they are tested either to a viral load at its early representation or to a viral gene mutated during its current spread. In this regard, a selective "naked-eye" detection of SARS-CoV-2 is highly desirable, which can be tested without accessing any advanced instrumental techniques. We herein report the development of a colorimetric assay based on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), when capped with suitably designed thiol-modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) specific for N-gene (nucleocapsid phosphoprotein) of SARS-CoV-2, could be used for diagnosing positive COVID-19 cases within 10 min from the isolated RNA samples. The thiol-modified ASO-capped AuNPs agglomerate selectively in the presence of its target RNA sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and demonstrate a change in its surface plasmon resonance. Further, the addition of RNaseH cleaves the RNA strand from the RNA-DNA hybrid leading to a visually detectable precipitate from the solution mediated by the additional agglomeration among the AuNPs. The selectivity of the assay has been monitored in the presence of MERS-CoV viral RNA with a limit of detection of 0.18 ng/µL of RNA having SARS-CoV-2 viral load. Thus, the current study reports a selective and visual "naked-eye" detection of COVID-19 causative virus, SARS-CoV-2, without the requirement of any sophisticated instrumental techniques.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Metal Nanoparticles , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Base Sequence , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Colorimetry/methods , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Genes, Viral , Gold , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/ultrastructure , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Nanotechnology/methods , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surface Plasmon Resonance/methods
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