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1.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260850, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613341

ABSTRACT

Novel strains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) harboring nucleotide changes (mutations) in the spike gene have emerged and are spreading rapidly. These mutations are associated with SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility, virulence, or resistance to some neutralizing antibodies. Thus, the accurate detection of spike mutants is crucial for controlling SARS-CoV-2 transmission and identifying neutralizing antibody-resistance caused by amino acid changes in the receptor-binding domain. Here, we developed five SARS-CoV-2 spike gene primer pairs (5-SSG primer assay; 69S, 144S, 417S, 484S, and 570S) and verified their ability to detect nine key spike mutations (ΔH69/V70, T95I, G142D, ΔY144, K417T/N, L452R, E484K/Q, N501Y, and H655Y) using a Sanger sequencing-based assay. The 5-SSG primer assay showed 100% specificity and a conservative limit of detection with a median tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) values of 1.4 × 102 TCID50/mL. The accuracy of the 5-SSG primer assay was confirmed by next generation sequencing. The results of these two approaches showed 100% consistency. Taken together, the ability of the 5-SSG primer assay to accurately detect key SARS-CoV-2 spike mutants is reliable. Thus, it is a useful tool for detecting SARS-CoV-2 spike gene mutants in a clinical setting, thereby helping to improve the management of patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, RNA/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , DNA Primers/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Limit of Detection , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
2.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 420, 2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585885

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is identified as a zoonotic disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, which also can cross-transmit to many animals but not mice. Genetic modifications of SARS-CoV-2 or mice enable the mice susceptible to viral infection. Although neither is the natural situation, they are currently utilized to establish mouse infection models. Here we report a direct contact transmission of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351 in wild-type mice. The SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) replicated efficiently and induced significant pathological changes in lungs and tracheas, accompanied by elevated proinflammatory cytokines in the lungs and sera. Mechanistically, the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) spike protein turned to a high binding affinity to mouse angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (mACE2), allowing the mice highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) infection. Our work suggests that SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) expands the host range and therefore increases its transmission route without adapted mutation. As the wild house mice live with human populations quite closely, this possible transmission route could be potentially risky. In addition, because SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) is one of the major epidemic strains and the mACE2 in laboratory-used mice is naturally expressed and regulated, the SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351)/mice could be a much convenient animal model system to study COVID-19 pathogenesis and evaluate antiviral inhibitors and vaccines.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Receptors, Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Replication
3.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103748, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568650

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Limited knowledge exists regarding antibody affinity maturation following mRNA vaccination in naïve vs. COVID-19 recovered individuals and potential sex differences. METHODS: We elucidated post-vaccination antibody profiles of 69 naïve and 17 COVID-19 convalescent adults using pseudovirus neutralization assay (PsVNA) covering SARS-CoV-2 WA-1, variants of concern (VOCs) and variants of interest (VOIs). Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) was used to measure antibody affinity against prefusion spike and receptor binding domain (RBD) and RBD mutants. FINDINGS: Higher neutralizing antibodies were observed in convalescent vs. naïve adults against, WA-1, VOCs, and VOIs. Antibody binding to RBD and RBD mutants showed lower binding of post-vaccination sera from naïve compared with convalescent individuals. Moreover, we observed early antibody affinity maturation in convalescent individuals after one vaccine dose and higher antibody affinity after two doses compared with the naïve group. Among the naïve participants, antibody affinity against the SARS-CoV-2 prefusion spike was significantly higher for males than females even though there were no difference in neutralization titers between sexes. INTERPRETATION: This study demonstrates the impact of prior infection on vaccine-induced antibody affinity maturation and difference in antibody affinity between males and females. Further studies are needed to determine whether antibody affinity may contribute to correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. FUNDING: The antibody characterization work described in this manuscript was supported by FDA's Medical Countermeasures Initiative (MCMi) grant #OCET 2021-1565 to S.K and intramural FDA-CBER COVID-19 supplemental funds. The SPARTA program was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services contract 75N93019C00052, and the University of Georgia (US) grant UGA-001. T.M.R is also supported by the Georgia Research Alliance (US) grant GRA-001. The CTRU was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UL1TR002378.


Subject(s)
/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibody Affinity/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Female , Humans , Male , Neutralization Tests , Protein Domains/immunology , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Vaccination , /immunology
4.
Science ; 373(6556)2021 Aug 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559379

ABSTRACT

The emergence of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) that are resistant to therapeutic antibodies highlights the need for continuing discovery of broadly reactive antibodies. We identified four receptor binding domain-targeting antibodies from three early-outbreak convalescent donors with potent neutralizing activity against 23 variants, including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.429, B.1.526, and B.1.617 VOCs. Two antibodies are ultrapotent, with subnanomolar neutralization titers [half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) 0.3 to 11.1 nanograms per milliliter; IC80 1.5 to 34.5 nanograms per milliliter). We define the structural and functional determinants of binding for all four VOC-targeting antibodies and show that combinations of two antibodies decrease the in vitro generation of escape mutants, suggesting their potential in mitigating resistance development.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Affinity , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/immunology , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Protein Domains , Receptors, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
Biochem J ; 478(19): 3671-3684, 2021 10 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1557441

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, the clinical syndrome caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has rapidly spread globally causing hundreds of millions of infections and over two million deaths. The potential animal reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 are currently unknown, however sequence analysis has provided plausible potential candidate species. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to enable its entry into host cells and establish infection. We analyzed the binding surface of ACE2 from several important animal species to begin to understand the parameters for the ACE2 recognition by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD). We employed Shannon entropy analysis to determine the variability of ACE2 across its sequence and particularly in its RBD interacting region, and assessed differences between various species' ACE2 and human ACE2. Recombinant ACE2 from human, hamster, horseshoe bat, cat, ferret, and cow were evaluated for RBD binding. A gradient of binding affinities were seen where human and hamster ACE2 were similarly in the low nanomolar range, followed by cat and cow. Surprisingly, horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus sinicus) and ferret (Mustela putorius) ACE2s had poor binding activity compared with the other species' ACE2. The residue differences and binding properties between the species' variants provide a framework for understanding ACE2-RBD binding and virus tropism.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Cats , Dogs , Humans , Mice , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Tropism
6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3172, 2021 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550281

ABSTRACT

Secreted class 3 semaphorins (Sema3s) form tripartite complexes with the plexin receptor and neuropilin coreceptor, which are both transmembrane proteins that together mediate semaphorin signal for neuronal axon guidance and other processes. Despite extensive investigations, the overall architecture of and the molecular interactions in the Sema3/plexin/neuropilin complex are incompletely understood. Here we present the cryo-EM structure of a near intact extracellular region complex of Sema3A, PlexinA4 and Neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) at 3.7 Å resolution. The structure shows a large symmetric 2:2:2 assembly in which each subunit makes multiple interactions with others. The two PlexinA4 molecules in the complex do not interact directly, but their membrane proximal regions are close to each other and poised to promote the formation of the intracellular active dimer for signaling. The structure reveals a previously unknown interface between the a2b1b2 module in Nrp1 and the Sema domain of Sema3A. This interaction places the a2b1b2 module at the top of the complex, far away from the plasma membrane where the transmembrane regions of Nrp1 and PlexinA4 embed. As a result, the region following the a2b1b2 module in Nrp1 must span a large distance to allow the connection to the transmembrane region, suggesting an essential role for the long non-conserved linkers and the MAM domain in neuropilin in the semaphorin/plexin/neuropilin complex.


Subject(s)
Nerve Tissue Proteins/ultrastructure , Neuropilin-1/ultrastructure , Receptors, Cell Surface/ultrastructure , Semaphorin-3A/ultrastructure , Animals , COS Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mutation , Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics , Nerve Tissue Proteins/isolation & purification , Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/isolation & purification , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Multimerization/genetics , Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics , Receptors, Cell Surface/isolation & purification , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/ultrastructure , Semaphorin-3A/genetics , Semaphorin-3A/isolation & purification , Semaphorin-3A/metabolism
7.
Biomolecules ; 11(12)2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551563

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by a newly emerged coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that has rapidly progressed into a pandemic. This unprecedent emergency has stressed the significance of developing effective therapeutics to fight the current and future outbreaks. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 surface Spike protein is the main target for vaccines and represents a helpful "tool" to produce neutralizing antibodies or diagnostic kits. In this work, we provide a detailed characterization of the native RBD produced in three major model systems: Escherichia coli, insect and HEK-293 cells. Circular dichroism, gel filtration chromatography and thermal denaturation experiments indicated that recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD proteins are stable and correctly folded. In addition, their functionality and receptor-binding ability were further evaluated through ELISA, flow cytometry assays and bio-layer interferometry.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Escherichia coli/genetics , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Insecta/cytology , Protein Binding , Protein Denaturation , Protein Domains , Protein Folding , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 11 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542799

ABSTRACT

As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread among human populations, genetic changes occur and accumulate in the circulating virus. Some of these genetic changes have caused amino acid mutations, including deletions, which may have a potential impact on critical SARS-CoV-2 countermeasures, including vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Considerable efforts have been made to categorize the amino acid mutations of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) protein, along with certain mutations in other regions within the S protein as specific variants, in an attempt to study the relationship between these mutations and the biological behavior of the virus. However, the currently used whole genome sequencing surveillance technologies can test only a small fraction of the positive specimens with high viral loads and often generate uncertainties in nucleic acid sequencing that needs additional verification for precision determination of mutations. This article introduces a generic protocol to routinely sequence a 437-bp nested RT-PCR cDNA amplicon of the ACE2 RBD and a 490-bp nested RT-PCR cDNA amplicon of the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S gene for detection of the amino acid mutations needed for accurate determination of all variants of concern and variants of interest according to the definitions published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This protocol was able to amplify both nucleic acid targets into cDNA amplicons to be used as templates for Sanger sequencing on all 16 clinical specimens that were positive for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Protein Domains/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
Cells ; 10(12)2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538383

ABSTRACT

Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells, and their function is essential to configure adaptative immunity and avoid excessive inflammation. DCs are predicted to play a crucial role in the clinical evolution of the infection by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV)-2. DCs interaction with the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, which mediates cell receptor binding and subsequent fusion of the viral particle with host cell, is a key step to induce effective immunity against this virus and in the S protein-based vaccination protocols. Here we evaluated human DCs in response to SARS-CoV-2 S protein, or to a fragment encompassing the receptor binding domain (RBD) challenge. Both proteins increased the expression of maturation markers, including MHC molecules and costimulatory receptors. DCs interaction with the SARS-CoV-2 S protein promotes activation of key signaling molecules involved in inflammation, including MAPK, AKT, STAT1, and NFκB, which correlates with the expression and secretion of distinctive proinflammatory cytokines. Differences in the expression of ACE2 along the differentiation of human monocytes to mature DCs and inter-donor were found. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 S protein promotes inflammatory response and provides molecular links between individual variations and the degree of response against this virus.


Subject(s)
Dendritic Cells/pathology , Dendritic Cells/virology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Cell Differentiation , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Protein Domains , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , STAT Transcription Factors/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Tissue Donors
11.
J Clin Invest ; 131(18)2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533156

ABSTRACT

The efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines is high, but breakthrough infections still occur. We compared the SARS-CoV-2 genomes of 76 breakthrough cases after full vaccination with BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), or JNJ-78436735 (Janssen) to unvaccinated controls (February-April 2021) in metropolitan New York, including their phylogenetic relationship, distribution of variants, and full spike mutation profiles. The median age of patients in the study was 48 years; 7 required hospitalization and 1 died. Most breakthrough infections (57/76) occurred with B.1.1.7 (Alpha) or B.1.526 (Iota). Among the 7 hospitalized cases, 4 were infected with B.1.1.7, including 1 death. Both unmatched and matched statistical analyses considering age, sex, vaccine type, and study month as covariates supported the null hypothesis of equal variant distributions between vaccinated and unvaccinated in χ2 and McNemar tests (P > 0.1), highlighting a high vaccine efficacy against B.1.1.7 and B.1.526. There was no clear association among breakthroughs between type of vaccine received and variant. In the vaccinated group, spike mutations in the N-terminal domain and receptor-binding domain that have been associated with immune evasion were overrepresented. The evolving dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 variants requires broad genomic analyses of breakthrough infections to provide real-life information on immune escape mediated by circulating variants and their spike mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Evolution, Molecular , Immune Evasion/genetics , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , New York City , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
12.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(48)2021 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517667

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mediates membrane fusion to allow entry of the viral genome into host cells. To understand its detailed entry mechanism and develop a specific entry inhibitor, in situ structural information on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in different states is urgent. Here, by using cryo-electron tomography, we observed both prefusion and postfusion spikes in ß-propiolactone-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virions and solved the in situ structure of the postfusion spike at nanometer resolution. Compared to previous reports, the six-helix bundle fusion core, the glycosylation sites, and the location of the transmembrane domain were clearly resolved. We observed oligomerization patterns of the spikes on the viral membrane, likely suggesting a mechanism of fusion pore formation.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Amino Acid Motifs , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Electron Microscope Tomography , Glycosylation , Protein Domains , Protein Multimerization , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
13.
Cell Rep ; 37(3): 109869, 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517084

ABSTRACT

The dramatically expanding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) needs multiple effective countermeasures. Neutralizing nanobodies (Nbs) are a potential therapeutic strategy for treating COVID-19. Here, we characterize several receptor binding domain (RBD)-specific Nbs isolated from an Nb library derived from an alpaca immunized with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike glycoprotein (S); among them, three Nbs exhibit picomolar potency against SARS-CoV-2 live virus, pseudotyped viruses, and circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. To improve their efficacy, various configurations of Nbs are engineered. Nb15-NbH-Nb15, a trimer constituted of three Nbs, is constructed to be bispecific for human serum albumin (HSA) and RBD of SARS-CoV-2. Nb15-NbH-Nb15 exhibits single-digit ng/ml neutralization potency against the wild-type and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2 with a long half-life in vivo. In addition, we show that intranasal administration of Nb15-NbH-Nb15 provides effective protection for both prophylactic and therapeutic purposes against SARS-CoV-2 infection in transgenic hACE2 mice. Nb15-NbH-Nb15 is a potential candidate for both the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 through respiratory administration.


Subject(s)
Administration, Intranasal , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Bispecific/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Camelids, New World , Epitopes/chemistry , Female , Humans , Kinetics , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering/methods , Serum Albumin, Human/chemistry , Single-Domain Antibodies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22202, 2021 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1514421

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for COVID-19 pandemic, causing large numbers of cases and deaths. It initiates entry into human cells by binding to the peptidase domain of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor via its receptor binding domain of S1 subunit of spike protein (SARS-CoV-2-RBD). Employing neutralizing antibodies to prevent binding between SARS-CoV-2-RBD and ACE2 is an effective COVID-19 therapeutic solution. Previous studies found that CC12.3 is a highly potent neutralizing antibody that was isolated from a SARS-CoV-2 infected patient, and its Fab fragment (Fab CC12.3) bound to SARS-CoV-2-RBD with comparable binding affinity to ACE2. To enhance its binding affinity, we employed computational protein design to redesign all CDRs of Fab CC12.3 and molecular dynamics (MD) to validate their predicted binding affinities by the MM-GBSA method. MD results show that the predicted binding affinities of the three best designed Fabs CC12.3 (CC12.3-D02, CC12.3-D05, and CC12.3-D08) are better than those of Fab CC12.3 and ACE2. Additionally, our results suggest that enhanced binding affinities of CC12.3-D02, CC12.3-D05, and CC12.3-D08 are caused by increased SARS-CoV-2-RBD binding interactions of CDRs L1 and L3. This study redesigned neutralizing antibodies with better predicted binding affinities to SARS-CoV-2-RBD than Fab CC12.3 and ACE2. They are promising candidates as neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Binding Sites , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
15.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21849, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505527

ABSTRACT

The huge worldwide demand for vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2 has necessitated the continued development of novel improved formulations capable of reducing the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we evaluated novel protein subunit vaccine formulations containing a resistin-trimerized spike antigen, SmT1. When combined with sulfated lactosyl archaeol (SLA) archaeosome adjuvant, formulations induced robust antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in mice. Antibodies had strong neutralizing activity, preventing viral spike binding and viral infection. In addition, the formulations were highly efficacious in a hamster challenge model reducing viral load and body weight loss even after a single vaccination. The antigen-specific antibodies generated by our vaccine formulations had stronger neutralizing activity than human convalescent plasma, neutralizing the spike proteins of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern. As such, our SmT1 antigen along with SLA archaeosome adjuvant comprise a promising platform for the development of efficacious protein subunit vaccine formulations for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/chemistry , Antigens, Archaeal/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Lipids/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Body Weight , COVID-19/therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Passive , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Neutralization Tests , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2 , Toll-Like Receptors/immunology , Vero Cells , Viral Load
16.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21725, 2021 11 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504567

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 enters the intestine by the spike protein binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in enterocyte apical membranes, leading to diarrhea in some patients. Early treatment of COVID-19-associated diarrhea could relieve symptoms and limit viral spread within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Diosmectite, an aluminomagnesium silicate adsorbent clay with antidiarrheal effects, is recommended in some COVID-19 management protocols. In rotavirus models, diosmectite prevents pathogenic effects by binding the virus and its enterotoxin. We tested the trapping and anti-inflammatory properties of diosmectite in a SARS-CoV-2 model. Trapping effects were tested in Caco-2 cells using spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) and heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 preparations. Trapping was assessed by immunofluorescence, alone or in the presence of cells. The effect of diosmectite on nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) activation and CXCL10 secretion induced by the spike protein RBD and heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 were analyzed by Western blot and ELISA, respectively. Diosmectite bound the spike protein RBD and SARS-CoV-2 preparation, and inhibited interaction of the spike protein RBD with ACE2 receptors on the Caco-2 cell surface. Diosmectite exposure also inhibited NF-kappaB activation and CXCL10 secretion. These data provide direct evidence that diosmectite can bind SARS-CoV-2 components and inhibit downstream inflammation, supporting a mechanistic rationale for consideration of diosmectite as a management option for COVID-19-associated diarrhea.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Chemokine CXCL10/metabolism , NF-kappa B p50 Subunit/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Silicates/chemistry , Adsorption , Aluminum Compounds/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents , Binding Sites , Caco-2 Cells , Chromatography, Liquid , Clay , Diarrhea/etiology , Diarrhea/therapy , Enterocytes/metabolism , Gastroenterology , Humans , Magnesium Compounds/chemistry , Mass Spectrometry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Domains , Rotavirus , Silicates/metabolism
17.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0105921, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495012

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2019 and has since caused a global pandemic resulting in millions of cases and deaths. Diagnostic tools and serological assays are critical for controlling the outbreak, especially assays designed to quantitate neutralizing antibody levels, considered the best correlate of protection. As vaccines become increasingly available, it is important to identify reliable methods for measuring neutralizing antibody responses that correlate with authentic virus neutralization but can be performed outside biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratories. While many neutralizing assays using pseudotyped virus have been developed, there have been few studies comparing the different assays to each other as surrogates for authentic virus neutralization. Here, we characterized three enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and three pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) neutralization assays and assessed their concordance with authentic virus neutralization. The most accurate assays for predicting authentic virus neutralization were luciferase- and secreted embryonic alkaline phosphatase (SEAP)-expressing pseudotyped virus neutralizations, followed by green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing pseudotyped virus neutralization, and then the ELISAs. IMPORTANCE The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Prior infection or vaccination can be detected by the presence of antibodies in the blood. Antibodies in the blood are also considered to be protective against future infections from the same virus. The "gold standard" assay for detecting protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is neutralization of authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this assay can only be performed under highly restrictive biocontainment conditions. We therefore characterized six antibody-detecting assays for their correlation with authentic virus neutralization. The significance of our research is in outlining the advantages and disadvantages of the different assays and identifying the optimal surrogate assay for authentic virus neutralization. This will allow for more accurate assessments of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 following infection and vaccination.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus/immunology
18.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1240, 2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493232

ABSTRACT

Circular tandem repeat proteins ('cTRPs') are de novo designed protein scaffolds (in this and prior studies, based on antiparallel two-helix bundles) that contain repeated protein sequences and structural motifs and form closed circular structures. They can display significant stability and solubility, a wide range of sizes, and are useful as protein display particles for biotechnology applications. However, cTRPs also demonstrate inefficient self-assembly from smaller subunits. In this study, we describe a new generation of cTRPs, with longer repeats and increased interaction surfaces, which enhanced the self-assembly of two significantly different sizes of homotrimeric constructs. Finally, we demonstrated functionalization of these constructs with (1) a hexameric array of peptide-binding SH2 domains, and (2) a trimeric array of anti-SARS CoV-2 VHH domains. The latter proved capable of sub-nanomolar binding affinities towards the viral receptor binding domain and potent viral neutralization function.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Protein Engineering/methods , Proteins/chemistry , Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Tandem Repeat Sequences , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Computer Simulation , Crystallization , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Folding , Protein Structure, Secondary , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
19.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488610

ABSTRACT

The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor used by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses to attach to cells via the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of their viral spike protein. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several structures of protein complexes involving ACE2 and RBD as well as monoclonal antibodies and nanobodies have become available. We have leveraged the structural data to design peptides to target the interaction between the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 and SARS-CoV and ACE2, as contrasting exemplar, as well as the dimerization surface of ACE2 monomers. The peptides were modelled using our original method: PiPreD that uses native elements of the interaction between the targeted protein and cognate partner(s) that are subsequently included in the designed peptides. These peptides recapitulate stretches of residues present in the native interface plus novel and highly diverse conformations surrogating key interactions at the interface. To facilitate the access to this information we have created a freely available and dedicated web-based repository, PepI-Covid19 database, providing convenient access to this wealth of information to the scientific community with the view of maximizing its potential impact in the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic agents.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Peptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Databases, Factual , Humans , Models, Molecular , Peptide Library , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
20.
J Virol ; 95(19): e0086121, 2021 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486519

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the viral pathogen causing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. No effective treatment for COVID-19 has been established yet. The serine protease transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) is essential for viral spread and pathogenicity by facilitating the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells. The protease inhibitor camostat, an anticoagulant used in the clinic, has potential anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities against COVID-19. However, the potential mechanisms of viral resistance and antiviral activity of camostat are unclear. Herein, we demonstrate high inhibitory potencies of camostat for a panel of serine proteases, indicating that camostat is a broad-spectrum inhibitor of serine proteases. In addition, we determined the crystal structure of camostat in complex with a serine protease (uPA [urokinase-type plasminogen activator]), which reveals that camostat is inserted in the S1 pocket of uPA but is hydrolyzed by uPA, and the cleaved camostat covalently binds to Ser195. We also generated a homology model of the structure of the TMPRSS2 serine protease domain. The model shows that camostat uses the same inhibitory mechanism to inhibit the activity of TMPRSS2, subsequently preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread. IMPORTANCE Serine proteases are a large family of enzymes critical for multiple physiological processes and proven diagnostic and therapeutic targets in several clinical indications. The serine protease transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) was recently found to mediate SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host. Camostat mesylate (FOY 305), a serine protease inhibitor active against TMPRSS2 and used for the treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma and chronic pancreatitis, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lung cells. However, the direct inhibition mechanism of camostat mesylate for TMPRSS2 is unclear. Herein, we demonstrate that camostat uses the same inhibitory mechanism to inhibit the activity of TMPRSS2 as uPA, subsequently preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Esters/pharmacology , Guanidines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Serine Endopeptidases/pharmacology , Serine Proteases/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell , Esters/chemistry , Esters/metabolism , Guanidines/chemistry , Guanidines/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mouth Neoplasms , Protein Domains , Sequence Alignment , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Serine Proteases/chemistry , Serine Proteases/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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