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1.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 13(50): 60612-60624, 2021 Dec 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1569206

ABSTRACT

New analytical techniques that overcome major drawbacks of current routinely used viral infection diagnosis methods, i.e., the long analysis time and laboriousness of real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and the insufficient sensitivity of "antigen tests", are urgently needed in the context of SARS-CoV-2 and other highly contagious viruses. Here, we report on an antifouling terpolymer-brush biointerface that enables the rapid and sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 in untreated clinical samples. The developed biointerface carries a tailored composition of zwitterionic and non-ionic moieties and allows for the significant improvement of antifouling capabilities when postmodified with biorecognition elements and exposed to complex media. When deployed on a surface of piezoelectric sensor and postmodified with human-cell-expressed antibodies specific to the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2, it made possible the quantitative analysis of untreated samples by a direct detection assay format without the need of additional amplification steps. Natively occurring N-protein-vRNA complexes, usually disrupted during the sample pre-treatment steps, were detected in the untreated clinical samples. This biosensor design improved the bioassay sensitivity to a clinically relevant limit of detection of 1.3 × 104 PFU/mL within a detection time of only 20 min. The high specificity toward N-protein-vRNA complexes was validated both by mass spectrometry and qRT-PCR. The performance characteristics were confirmed by qRT-PCR through a comparative study using a set of clinical nasopharyngeal swab samples. We further demonstrate the extraordinary fouling resistance of this biointerface through exposure to other commonly used crude biological samples (including blood plasma, oropharyngeal, stool, and nasopharyngeal swabs), measured via both the surface plasmon resonance and piezoelectric measurements, which highlights the potential to serve as a generic platform for a wide range of biosensing applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Polymers/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Biofouling , Biological Assay , Biosensing Techniques , Humans , Ions , Limit of Detection , Mass Spectrometry , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Reproducibility of Results , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling
2.
Chem Commun (Camb) ; 57(79): 10222-10225, 2021 Oct 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1408635

ABSTRACT

We developed a one-minute, one-step SARS-CoV-2 antigen assay based on protein-induced fluorescence enhancement of a DNA aptamer. The system showed significant selectivity and sensitivity towards both nucleocapsid protein and SARS-CoV-2 virus lysate, but with marked improvements in speed and manufacturability. We hence propose this platform as a mix-and-read testing strategy for SARS-CoV-2 that can be applied to POC diagnostics in clinical settings, especially in low- and middle-income countries.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Biological Assay , Carbocyanines/chemistry , Fluorescence , Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry
3.
Mol Syst Biol ; 17(9): e10079, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406892

ABSTRACT

We modeled 3D structures of all SARS-CoV-2 proteins, generating 2,060 models that span 69% of the viral proteome and provide details not available elsewhere. We found that ˜6% of the proteome mimicked human proteins, while ˜7% was implicated in hijacking mechanisms that reverse post-translational modifications, block host translation, and disable host defenses; a further ˜29% self-assembled into heteromeric states that provided insight into how the viral replication and translation complex forms. To make these 3D models more accessible, we devised a structural coverage map, a novel visualization method to show what is-and is not-known about the 3D structure of the viral proteome. We integrated the coverage map into an accompanying online resource (https://aquaria.ws/covid) that can be used to find and explore models corresponding to the 79 structural states identified in this work. The resulting Aquaria-COVID resource helps scientists use emerging structural data to understand the mechanisms underlying coronavirus infection and draws attention to the 31% of the viral proteome that remains structurally unknown or dark.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/chemistry , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/genetics , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology/methods , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/chemistry , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Molecular Mimicry , Neuropilin-1/chemistry , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Interaction Mapping/methods , Protein Multimerization , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/chemistry , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
4.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 190: 636-648, 2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401500

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein undergoes RNA-induced phase separation (LLPS) and sequesters the host key stress granule (SG) proteins, Ras-GTPase-activating protein SH3-domain-binding protein 1 and 2 (G3BP1 and G3BP2) to inhibit SG formation. This will allow viral packaging and propagation in host cells. Based on a genomic-guided meta-analysis, here we identify upstream regulatory elements modulating the expression of G3BP1 and G3BP2 (collectively called G3BP1/2). Using this strategy, we have identified FOXA1, YY1, SYK, E2F-1, and TGFBR2 as activators and SIN3A, SRF, and AKT-1 as repressors of G3BP1/2 genes. Panels of the activators and repressors were then used to identify drugs that change their gene expression signatures. Two drugs, imatinib, and decitabine have been identified as putative modulators of G3BP1/2 genes and their regulators, suggesting their role as COVID-19 mitigation agents. Molecular docking analysis suggests that both drugs bind to G3BP1/2 with a much higher affinity than the SARS-CoV-2 N protein. This study reports imatinib and decitabine as candidate drugs against N protein and G3BP1/2 protein.


Subject(s)
Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , DNA Helicases/chemistry , Decitabine/chemistry , Imatinib Mesylate/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA Helicases/chemistry , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/antagonists & inhibitors , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , DNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , DNA Helicases/metabolism , Decitabine/pharmacology , Drug Delivery Systems , Genomics , Imatinib Mesylate/pharmacology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/metabolism , RNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
5.
Biomol NMR Assign ; 15(1): 219-227, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384623

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid protein N from SARS-CoV-2 is one of the most highly expressed proteins by the virus and plays a number of important roles in the transcription and assembly of the virion within the infected host cell. It is expected to be characterized by a highly dynamic and heterogeneous structure as can be inferred by bioinformatics analyses as well as from the data available for the homologous protein from SARS-CoV. The two globular domains of the protein (NTD and CTD) have been investigated while no high-resolution information is available yet for the flexible regions of the protein. We focus here on the 1-248 construct which comprises two disordered fragments (IDR1 and IDR2) in addition to the N-terminal globular domain (NTD) and report the sequence-specific assignment of the two disordered regions, a step forward towards the complete characterization of the whole protein.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Carbon Isotopes , Computational Biology , Hydrogen , Nitrogen Isotopes , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Structure, Secondary
6.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 413(18): 4635-4644, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384376

ABSTRACT

Pd-Ir nanocubes are promising peroxidase-mimicking nanozymes for immunoassays, enabled by their excellent stability, relatively high catalytic activity, and reproducible performance. A key step involved in the preparation of Pd-Ir nanocubes is the synthesis of Pd nanocubes. However, the traditional method to synthesize Pd nanocubes requires sophisticated and expensive equipment to precisely control the reaction temperature and highly skilled technicians to achieve satisfactory and reproducible product yields. Herein, we report a simple, cost-effective, high-yield (> 99%) and one-pot strategy to synthesize Pd nanocubes with sizes of 7, 18, and 51 nm for the preparation of Pd-Ir nanocubes. The resulting 18 nm Pd-Ir nanocubes display three orders of magnitude higher peroxidase activity compared to horseradish peroxidase, leading to a significantly increased detection sensitivity when applied in the immunoassay of nucleocapsid protein from SARS-CoV-2. Due to the simplicity in both material synthesis and assaying procedures and the excellent detection sensitivity, our method should allow for the generalized application of Pd-Ir nanocube-based immunoassays for the diagnosis of human diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Immunoassay/methods , Iridium/chemistry , Palladium/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Humans , Immunoassay/economics , Molecular Structure , Nanostructures/chemistry , Nanostructures/economics , Phosphoproteins/chemistry
7.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1936, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387331

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein is an abundant RNA-binding protein critical for viral genome packaging, yet the molecular details that underlie this process are poorly understood. Here we combine single-molecule spectroscopy with all-atom simulations to uncover the molecular details that contribute to N protein function. N protein contains three dynamic disordered regions that house putative transiently-helical binding motifs. The two folded domains interact minimally such that full-length N protein is a flexible and multivalent RNA-binding protein. N protein also undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation when mixed with RNA, and polymer theory predicts that the same multivalent interactions that drive phase separation also engender RNA compaction. We offer a simple symmetry-breaking model that provides a plausible route through which single-genome condensation preferentially occurs over phase separation, suggesting that phase separation offers a convenient macroscopic readout of a key nanoscopic interaction.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , Dimerization , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 502, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387327

ABSTRACT

The multifunctional nucleocapsid (N) protein in SARS-CoV-2 binds the ~30 kb viral RNA genome to aid its packaging into the 80-90 nm membrane-enveloped virion. The N protein is composed of N-terminal RNA-binding and C-terminal dimerization domains that are flanked by three intrinsically disordered regions. Here we demonstrate that the N protein's central disordered domain drives phase separation with RNA, and that phosphorylation of an adjacent serine/arginine rich region modulates the physical properties of the resulting condensates. In cells, N forms condensates that recruit the stress granule protein G3BP1, highlighting a potential role for N in G3BP1 sequestration and stress granule inhibition. The SARS-CoV-2 membrane (M) protein independently induces N protein phase separation, and three-component mixtures of N + M + RNA form condensates with mutually exclusive compartments containing N + M or N + RNA, including annular structures in which the M protein coats the outside of an N + RNA condensate. These findings support a model in which phase separation of the SARS-CoV-2 N protein contributes both to suppression of the G3BP1-dependent host immune response and to packaging genomic RNA during virion assembly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Helicases/genetics , DNA Helicases/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/genetics , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , RNA Helicases/genetics , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/genetics , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics
9.
FASEB J ; 34(8): 9832-9842, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388029

ABSTRACT

To date, the recently discovered SARS-CoV-2 virus has afflicted >6.9 million people worldwide and disrupted the global economy. Development of effective vaccines or treatments for SARS-CoV-2 infection will be aided by a molecular-level understanding of SARS-CoV-2 proteins and their interactions with host cell proteins. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein is highly homologous to the N protein of SARS-CoV, which is essential for viral RNA replication and packaging into new virions. Emerging models indicate that nucleocapsid proteins of other viruses can form biomolecular condensates to spatiotemporally regulate N protein localization and function. Our bioinformatic analyses, in combination with pre-existing experimental evidence, suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein is capable of forming or regulating biomolecular condensates in vivo by interaction with RNA and key host cell proteins. We discuss multiple models, whereby the N protein of SARS-CoV-2 may harness this activity to regulate viral life cycle and host cell response to viral infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Binding Sites , Computational Biology , Cytoplasmic Granules/chemistry , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Kinases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Assembly , Virus Replication
10.
Mol Cell ; 80(6): 1092-1103.e4, 2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386332

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid (N) protein of coronaviruses serves two major functions: compaction of the RNA genome in the virion and regulation of viral gene transcription. It is not clear how the N protein mediates such distinct functions. The N protein contains two RNA-binding domains surrounded by regions of intrinsic disorder. Phosphorylation of the central disordered region promotes the protein's transcriptional function, but the underlying mechanism is not known. Here, we show that the N protein of SARS-CoV-2, together with viral RNA, forms biomolecular condensates. Unmodified N protein forms partially ordered gel-like condensates and discrete 15-nm particles based on multivalent RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions. Phosphorylation reduces these interactions, generating a more liquid-like droplet. We propose that distinct oligomeric states support the two functions of the N protein: unmodified protein forms a structured oligomer that is suited for nucleocapsid assembly, and phosphorylated protein forms a liquid-like compartment for viral genome processing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Multimerization , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
11.
EBioMedicine ; 69: 103465, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293743

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has overwhelmed health systems worldwide and highlighted limitations of diagnostic testing. Several types of diagnostic tests including RT-PCR-based assays and antigen detection by lateral flow assays, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, have been developed and deployed in a short time. METHODS: Here, we describe an immunoaffinity purification approach followed a by high resolution mass spectrometry-based targeted qualitative assay capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen from nasopharyngeal swab samples. Based on our discovery experiments using purified virus, recombinant viral protein and nasopharyngeal swab samples from COVID-19 positive patients, nucleocapsid protein was selected as a target antigen. We then developed an automated antibody capture-based workflow coupled to targeted high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) - parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) assay on an Orbitrap Exploris 480 mass spectrometer. An ensemble machine learning-based model for determining COVID-19 positive samples was developed using fragment ion intensities from the PRM data. FINDINGS: The optimized targeted assay, which was used to analyze 88 positive and 88 negative nasopharyngeal swab samples for validation, resulted in 98% (95% CI = 0.922-0.997) (86/88) sensitivity and 100% (95% CI = 0.958-1.000) (88/88) specificity using RT-PCR-based molecular testing as the reference method. INTERPRETATION: Our results demonstrate that direct detection of infectious agents from clinical samples by tandem mass spectrometry-based assays have potential to be deployed as diagnostic assays in clinical laboratories, which has hitherto been limited to analysis of pure microbial cultures. FUNDING: This study was supported by DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance Margdarshi Fellowship grant IA/M/15/1/502023 awarded to AP and the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Immunoassay/methods , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Animals , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Automation, Laboratory/methods , Automation, Laboratory/standards , COVID-19 Serological Testing/standards , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Immunoassay/standards , Machine Learning , Mass Spectrometry/standards , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity
12.
Molecules ; 26(13)2021 Jun 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288960

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic lacks treatments; for this reason, the search for potential compounds against therapeutic targets is still necessary. Bioinformatics tools have allowed the rapid in silico screening of possible new metabolite candidates from natural resources or repurposing known ones. Thus, in this work, we aimed to select phytochemical candidates from Peruvian plants with antiviral potential against three therapeutical targets of SARS-CoV-2. (2) Methods: We applied in silico technics, such as virtual screening, molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation, and MM/GBSA estimation. (3) Results: Rutin, a compound present in Peruvian native plants, showed affinity against three targets of SARS-CoV-2. The molecular dynamics simulation demonstrated the high stability of receptor-ligand systems during the time of the simulation. Our results showed that the Mpro-Rutin system exhibited higher binding free energy than PLpro-Rutin and N-Rutin systems through MM/GBSA analysis. (4) Conclusions: Our study provides insight on natural metabolites from Peruvian plants with therapeutical potential. We found Rutin as a potential candidate with multiple pharmacological properties against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Phytochemicals/chemistry , Phytochemicals/pharmacology , Plants/chemistry , Plants/metabolism , Asteraceae/chemistry , Asteraceae/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Databases, Factual , Humans , Lepidium/chemistry , Lepidium/metabolism , Ligands , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peru , Phosphoproteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Rutin/chemistry , Rutin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Clin Exp Immunol ; 205(3): 363-378, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249405

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly throughout the world, leading to a global effort to develop vaccines and treatments. Despite extensive progress, there remains a need for treatments to bolster the immune responses in infected immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients who recently underwent a haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Immunological protection against COVID-19 is mediated by both short-lived neutralizing antibodies and long-lasting virus-reactive T cells. Therefore, we propose that T cell therapy may augment efficacy of current treatments. For the greatest efficacy with minimal adverse effects, it is important that any cellular therapy is designed to be as specific and directed as possible. Here, we identify T cells from COVID-19 patients with a potentially protective response to two major antigens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Spike and Nucleocapsid protein. By generating clones of highly virus-reactive CD4+ T cells, we were able to confirm a set of nine immunodominant epitopes and characterize T cell responses against these. Accordingly, the sensitivity of T cell clones for their specific epitope, as well as the extent and focus of their cytokine response was examined. Moreover, using an advanced T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing approach, we determined the paired TCR-αß sequences of clones of interest. While these data on a limited population require further expansion for universal application, the results presented here form a crucial first step towards TCR-transgenic CD4+ T cell therapy of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Amino Acid Sequence , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/virology , Clone Cells/immunology , Clone Cells/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Immunodominant Epitopes/genetics , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
14.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2843, 2021 05 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228252

ABSTRACT

Although the accessory proteins are considered non-essential for coronavirus replication, accumulating evidences demonstrate they are critical to virus-host interaction and pathogenesis. Orf9b is a unique accessory protein of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. It is implicated in immune evasion by targeting mitochondria, where it associates with the versatile adapter TOM70. Here, we determined the crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 orf9b in complex with the cytosolic segment of human TOM70 to 2.2 Å. A central portion of orf9b occupies the deep pocket in the TOM70 C-terminal domain (CTD) and adopts a helical conformation strikingly different from the ß-sheet-rich structure of the orf9b homodimer. Interactions between orf9b and TOM70 CTD are primarily hydrophobic and distinct from the electrostatic interaction between the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) EEVD motif and the TOM70 N-terminal domain (NTD). Using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), we demonstrated that the orf9b dimer does not bind TOM70, but a synthetic peptide harboring a segment of orf9b (denoted C-peptide) binds TOM70 with nanomolar KD. While the interaction between C-peptide and TOM70 CTD is an endothermic process, the interaction between Hsp90 EEVD and TOM70 NTD is exothermic, which underscores the distinct binding mechanisms at NTD and CTD pockets. Strikingly, the binding affinity of Hsp90 EEVD motif to TOM70 NTD is reduced by ~29-fold when orf9b occupies the pocket of TOM70 CTD, supporting the hypothesis that orf9b allosterically inhibits the Hsp90/TOM70 interaction. Our findings shed light on the mechanism underlying SARS-CoV-2 orf9b mediated suppression of interferon responses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/chemistry , Multiprotein Complexes/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Escherichia coli/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Multiprotein Complexes/metabolism , Multiprotein Complexes/ultrastructure , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2697, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225508

ABSTRACT

Although human antibodies elicited by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleocapsid (N) protein are profoundly boosted upon infection, little is known about the function of N-reactive antibodies. Herein, we isolate and profile a panel of 32 N protein-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from a quick recovery coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) convalescent patient who has dominant antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 N protein rather than to the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. The complex structure of the N protein RNA binding domain with the highest binding affinity mAb (nCoV396) reveals changes in the epitopes and antigen's allosteric regulation. Functionally, a virus-free complement hyperactivation analysis demonstrates that nCoV396 specifically compromises the N protein-induced complement hyperactivation, which is a risk factor for the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 patients, thus laying the foundation for the identification of functional anti-N protein mAbs.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , Complement Activation/drug effects , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Allosteric Regulation , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity , Antigen-Antibody Complex/chemistry , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Conformation
16.
J Med Virol ; 93(4): 2177-2195, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217372

ABSTRACT

The emerged novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has created a global health crisis that warrants an accurate and detailed characterization of the rapidly evolving viral genome for understanding its epidemiology, pathogenesis, and containment. Here, we explored 61,485 sequences of the nucleocapsid (N) protein, a potent diagnostic and prophylactic target, for identifying the mutations to review their roles in real-time polymerase chain reaction based diagnosis and observe consequent impacts. Compared to the Wuhan reference strain, a total of 1034 unique nucleotide mutations were identified in the mutant strains (49.15%, n = 30,221) globally. Of these mutations, 367 occupy primer binding sites including the 3'-end mismatch to the primer-pair of 11 well-characterized primer sets. Noteworthily, CDC (USA) recommended the N2 primer set contained a lower mismatch than the other primer sets. Moreover, 684 amino acid (aa) substitutions were located across 317 (75.66% of total aa) unique positions including 82, 21, and 83 of those in the RNA binding N-terminal domain (NTD), SR-rich region, and C-terminal dimerization domain, respectively. Moreover, 11 in-frame deletions, mostly (n = 10) within the highly flexible linker region, were revealed, and the rest was within the NTD region. Furthermore, we predicted the possible consequence of high-frequency mutations (≥20) and deletions on the tertiary structure of the N protein. Remarkably, we observed that a high frequency (67.94% of mutated sequences) co-occuring mutations (R203K and G204R) destabilized and decreased overall structural flexibility. The N protein of SARS-CoV-2 comprises an average of 1.2 mutations per strain compared to 4.4 and 0.4 in Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and SARS-CoV, respectively. Despite being proposed as the alternative target to spike protein for vaccine and therapeutics, the ongoing evolution of the N protein may challenge these endeavors, thus needing further immunoinformatics analyses. Therefore, continuous monitoring is required for tracing the ongoing evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 N protein in prophylactic and diagnostic interventions.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Genes, Viral , Genome, Viral , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation
17.
Immunity ; 54(5): 1066-1082.e5, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216346

ABSTRACT

To better understand primary and recall T cell responses during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to examine unmanipulated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cells. By using peptide-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tetramers for direct ex vivo analysis, we characterized CD8+ T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in COVID-19 patients and unexposed individuals. Unlike CD8+ T cells directed toward subdominant epitopes (B7/N257, A2/S269, and A24/S1,208) CD8+ T cells specific for the immunodominant B7/N105 epitope were detected at high frequencies in pre-pandemic samples and at increased frequencies during acute COVID-19 and convalescence. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells in pre-pandemic samples from children, adults, and elderly individuals predominantly displayed a naive phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. T cell receptor (TCR) analyses revealed diverse TCRαß repertoires and promiscuous αß-TCR pairing within B7/N105+CD8+ T cells. Our study demonstrates high naive precursor frequency and TCRαß diversity within immunodominant B7/N105-specific CD8+ T cells and provides insight into SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell origins and subsequent responses.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Amino Acid Motifs , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Child , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
18.
Protein Sci ; 30(8): 1723-1729, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1209781

ABSTRACT

Extant fold-switching proteins remodel their secondary structures and change their functions in response to environmental stimuli. These shapeshifting proteins regulate biological processes and are associated with a number of diseases, including tuberculosis, cancer, Alzheimer's, and autoimmune disorders. Thus, predictive methods are needed to identify more fold-switching proteins, especially since all naturally occurring instances have been discovered by chance. In response to this need, two high-throughput predictive methods have recently been developed. Here we test them on ORF9b, a newly discovered fold switcher and potential therapeutic target from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Promisingly, both methods correctly indicate that ORF9b switches folds. We then tested the same two methods on ORF9b1, the ORF9b homolog from SARS-CoV-1. Again, both methods predict that ORF9b1 switches folds, a finding consistent with experimental binding studies. Together, these results (a) demonstrate that protein fold switching can be predicted using high-throughput computational approaches and (b) suggest that fold switching might be a general characteristic of ORF9b homologs.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Folding , Protein Structure, Secondary , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
19.
J Bioinform Comput Biol ; 19(4): 2150011, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1208936

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global health crisis. Developing vaccines would need a good knowledge of genetic properties of SARS-CoV-2. The most fundamental approach is to look into the structures of its RNA, in particular, the nucleotides and amino acids. This motivates our research on this topic. We study the occurrence structures of nitrogenous bases and amino acids. To this aim, we devise a structural metric which could measure the structure differences for bases or amino acids. By analyzing various SARS-CoV-2 samples, we calculate the distance matrices for nitrogenous bases and amino acids. Based on the distance matrices, we find the average distance matrices for them, respectively. Then we identify the relations of all the minimal distances between bases and amino acids. The results also show that different substructures would yield much more diversified distances between amino acids. In the end, we also conduct the comparison of our structural metric with other frequently used metrics, in particular, Hausdorff metrics.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Amino Acids/genetics , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/chemistry
20.
Nanoscale ; 13(15): 7285-7293, 2021 Apr 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199322

ABSTRACT

Interest in cryo-Electron Microscopy (EM) imaging has skyrocketed in recent years due to its pristine views of macromolecules and materials. As advances in instrumentation and computing algorithms spurred this progress, there is renewed focus to address specimen-related challenges. Here we contribute a microchip-based toolkit to perform complementary structural and biochemical analysis on low-molecular weight proteins. As a model system, we used the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein (48 kDa) due to its stability and important role in therapeutic development. Cryo-EM structures of the N protein monomer revealed a flexible N-terminal "top hat" motif and a helical-rich C-terminal domain. To complement our structural findings, we engineered microchip-based immunoprecipitation assays that led to the discovery of the first antibody binding site on the N protein. The data also facilitated molecular modeling of a variety of pandemic and common cold-related coronavirus proteins. Such insights may guide future pandemic-preparedness protocols through immuno-engineering strategies to mitigate viral outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Cryoelectron Microscopy , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Molecular Weight , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protein Structure, Secondary
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