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1.
Biol Chem ; 403(5-6): 453, 2022 03 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855059

Subject(s)
Protein Engineering
2.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 209(Pt A): 1379-1388, 2022 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796724

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 engages with human cells through the binding of its Spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) to the receptor ACE2. Molecular blocking of this engagement represents a proven strategy to treat COVID-19. Here, we report a single-chain antibody (nanobody, DL4) isolated from immunized alpaca with picomolar affinity to RBD. DL4 neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses with an IC50 of 0.101 µg mL-1 (6.2 nM). A crystal structure of the DL4-RBD complex at 1.75-Å resolution unveils the interaction detail and reveals a direct competition mechanism for DL4's ACE2-blocking and hence neutralizing activity. The structural information allows us to rationally design a mutant with higher potency. Our work adds diversity of neutralizing nanobodies against SARS-CoV-2 and should encourage protein engineering to improve antibody affinities in general.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Domain Antibodies , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
3.
ACS Synth Biol ; 11(3): 1030-1039, 2022 03 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1795844

ABSTRACT

In addition to its biological function, the stability of a protein is a major determinant for its applicability. Unfortunately, engineering proteins for improved functionality usually results in destabilization of the protein. This so-called stability-function trade-off can be explained by the simple fact that the generation of a novel protein function─or the improvement of an existing one─necessitates the insertion of mutations, i.e., deviations from the evolutionarily optimized wild-type sequence. In fact, it was demonstrated that gain-of-function mutations are not more destabilizing than other random mutations. The stability-function trade-off is a universal phenomenon during protein evolution that has been observed with completely different types of proteins, including enzymes, antibodies, and engineered binding scaffolds. In this review, we discuss three types of strategies that have been successfully deployed to overcome this omnipresent obstacle in protein engineering approaches: (i) using highly stable parental proteins, (ii) minimizing the extent of destabilization during functional engineering (by library optimization and/or coselection for stability and function), and (iii) repairing damaged mutants through stability engineering. The implementation of these strategies in protein engineering campaigns will facilitate the efficient generation of protein variants that are not only functional but also stable and therefore better-suited for subsequent applications.


Subject(s)
Protein Engineering , Proteins , Gene Library , Mutant Proteins , Mutation , Protein Engineering/methods , Proteins/genetics
4.
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 24(16): 9141-9145, 2022 Apr 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784055

ABSTRACT

Dimerization of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) is a prerequisite for its processing activity. With >2000 mutations already reported in Mpro, SARS-CoV-2 may accumulate mutations in the Mpro dimeric interface to stabilize it further. We employed high-throughput protein design strategies to design the symmetrical dimeric interface of Mpro (300 000 designs) to identify mutational hotspots that render the Mpro more stable. We found that ∼22% of designed mutations that yield stable Mpro dimers already exist in SARS-CoV-2 genomes and are currently circulating. Our multi-parametric analyses highlight potential Mpro mutations that SARS-CoV-2 may develop, providing a foundation for assessing viral adaptation and mutational surveillance.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Dimerization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
Curr Opin Struct Biol ; 74: 102385, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783716

ABSTRACT

Antigen design guided by high-resolution viral glycoprotein structures has successfully generated diverse vaccine candidates for COVID-19. Using conjugation systems to combine antigen design with computationally optimized nanoparticles, researchers have been able to display multivalent antigens with beneficial substitutions that elicited robust humoral immunity with enhanced neutralization potency and breadth. Here, we discuss strategies that have been used for structure-based design and nanoparticle display to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates as well as potential next-generation vaccine candidates to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants and other coronaviruses that emerge into the human population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Engineering
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(6)2022 Mar 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732071

ABSTRACT

Nanobodies provide important advantages over traditional antibodies, including their smaller size and robust biochemical properties such as high thermal stability, high solubility, and the ability to be bioengineered into novel multivalent, multi-specific, and high-affinity molecules, making them a class of emerging powerful therapies against SARS-CoV-2. Recent research efforts on the design, protein engineering, and structure-functional characterization of nanobodies and their binding with SARS-CoV-2 S proteins reflected a growing realization that nanobody combinations can exploit distinct binding epitopes and leverage the intrinsic plasticity of the conformational landscape for the SARS-CoV-2 S protein to produce efficient neutralizing and mutation resistant characteristics. Structural and computational studies have also been instrumental in quantifying the structure, dynamics, and energetics of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding with nanobodies. In this review, a comprehensive analysis of the current structural, biophysical, and computational biology investigations of SARS-CoV-2 S proteins and their complexes with distinct classes of nanobodies targeting different binding sites is presented. The analysis of computational studies is supplemented by an in-depth examination of mutational scanning simulations and identification of binding energy hotspots for distinct nanobody classes. The review is focused on the analysis of mechanisms underlying synergistic binding of multivalent nanobodies that can be superior to single nanobodies and conventional nanobody cocktails in combating escape mutations by effectively leveraging binding avidity and allosteric cooperativity. We discuss how structural insights and protein engineering approaches together with computational biology tools can aid in the rational design of synergistic combinations that exhibit superior binding and neutralization characteristics owing to avidity-mediated mechanisms.


Subject(s)
Binding Sites , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Single-Domain Antibodies/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Amino Acids , Antibody Affinity , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/metabolism , Humans , Multiprotein Complexes/chemistry , Mutagenesis , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Single-Domain Antibodies/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
Nat Immunol ; 23(3): 423-430, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713201

ABSTRACT

The global severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic requires effective therapies against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and neutralizing antibodies are a promising therapy. A noncompeting pair of human neutralizing antibodies (B38 and H4) blocking SARS-CoV-2 binding to its receptor, ACE2, have been described previously. Here, we develop bsAb15, a bispecific monoclonal antibody (bsAb) based on B38 and H4. bsAb15 has greater neutralizing efficiency than these parental antibodies, results in less selective pressure and retains neutralizing ability to most SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (with more potent neutralizing activity against the Delta variant). We also selected for escape mutants of the two parental mAbs, a mAb cocktail and bsAb15, demonstrating that bsAb15 can efficiently neutralize all single-mAb escape mutants. Furthermore, prophylactic and therapeutic application of bsAb15 reduced the viral titer in infected nonhuman primates and human ACE2 transgenic mice. Therefore, this bsAb is a feasible and effective strategy to treat and prevent severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Bispecific/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Bispecific/chemistry , Antibodies, Bispecific/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Epitopes , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Mice , Neutralization Tests , Protein Engineering/methods , Structure-Activity Relationship
8.
J Am Chem Soc ; 144(9): 3761-3765, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713117

ABSTRACT

The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need for cost-effective processes to rapidly manufacture antiviral drugs at scale. Here we report a concise biocatalytic process for Molnupiravir, a nucleoside analogue recently approved as an orally available treatment for SARS-CoV-2. Key to the success of this process was the development of an efficient biocatalyst for the production of N-hydroxy-cytidine through evolutionary adaption of the hydrolytic enzyme cytidine deaminase. This engineered biocatalyst performs >85 000 turnovers in less than 3 h, operates at 180 g/L substrate loading, and benefits from in situ crystallization of the N-hydroxy-cytidine product (85% yield), which can be converted to Molnupiravir by a selective 5'-acylation using Novozym 435.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytidine Deaminase/metabolism , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2 , Biocatalysis , Cytidine/biosynthesis , Cytidine/metabolism , Cytidine Deaminase/genetics , Escherichia coli/enzymology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Hydroxylamines , Metabolic Engineering , Protein Engineering , Uridine/metabolism
9.
Nat Chem Biol ; 18(3): 342-351, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639481

ABSTRACT

Vaccine hesitancy and emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) escaping vaccine-induced immune responses highlight the urgency for new COVID-19 therapeutics. Engineered angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) proteins with augmented binding affinities for SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein may prove to be especially efficacious against multiple variants. Using molecular dynamics simulations and functional assays, we show that three amino acid substitutions in an engineered soluble ACE2 protein markedly augmented the affinity for the S protein of the SARS-CoV-2 WA-1/2020 isolate and multiple VOCs: B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.617.2 (Delta). In humanized K18-hACE2 mice infected with the SARS-CoV-2 WA-1/2020 or P.1 variant, prophylactic and therapeutic injections of soluble ACE22.v2.4-IgG1 prevented lung vascular injury and edema formation, essential features of CoV-2-induced SARS, and above all improved survival. These studies demonstrate broad efficacy in vivo of an engineered ACE2 decoy against SARS-CoV-2 variants in mice and point to its therapeutic potential.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acid Sequence , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Antiviral Agents , Drug Discovery , Humans , Lung Injury , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
10.
Elife ; 102021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592091

ABSTRACT

Infection and viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 crucially depends on the binding of its Spike protein to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) presented on host cells. Glycosylation of both proteins is critical for this interaction. Recombinant soluble human ACE2 can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and is currently undergoing clinical tests for the treatment of COVID-19. We used 3D structural models and molecular dynamics simulations to define the ACE2 N-glycans that critically influence Spike-ACE2 complex formation. Engineering of ACE2 N-glycosylation by site-directed mutagenesis or glycosidase treatment resulted in enhanced binding affinities and improved virus neutralization without notable deleterious effects on the structural stability and catalytic activity of the protein. Importantly, simultaneous removal of all accessible N-glycans from recombinant soluble human ACE2 yields a superior SARS-CoV-2 decoy receptor with promise as effective treatment for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization
11.
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
12.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512697

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) enters host cells mainly by the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which can recognize the spike (S) protein by its extracellular domain. Previously, recombinant soluble ACE2 (sACE2) has been clinically used as a therapeutic treatment for cardiovascular diseases. Recent data demonstrated that sACE2 can also be exploited as a decoy to effectively inhibit the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, through blocking SARS-CoV-2 binding to membrane-anchored ACE2. In this study, we summarized the current findings on the optimized sACE2-based strategies as a therapeutic agent, including Fc fusion to prolong the half-life of sACE2, deep mutagenesis to create high-affinity decoys for SARS-CoV-2, or designing the truncated functional fragments to enhance its safety, among others. Considering that COVID-19 patients are often accompanied by manifestations of cardiovascular complications, we think that administration of sACE2 in COVID-19 patients may be a promising therapeutic strategy to simultaneously treat both cardiovascular diseases and SARS-CoV-2 infection. This review would provide insights for the development of novel therapeutic agents against the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cardiovascular Diseases/drug therapy , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cardiovascular Diseases/complications , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21768, 2021 11 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505016

ABSTRACT

Rapid design, screening, and characterization of biorecognition elements (BREs) is essential for the development of diagnostic tests and antiviral therapeutics needed to combat the spread of viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To address this need, we developed a high-throughput pipeline combining in silico design of a peptide library specific for SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and microarray screening to identify binding sequences. Our optimized microarray platform allowed the simultaneous screening of ~ 2.5 k peptides and rapid identification of binding sequences resulting in selection of four peptides with nanomolar affinity to the SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Finally, we demonstrated the successful integration of one of the top peptides into an electrochemical sensor with a clinically relevant limit of detection for S protein in spiked saliva. Our results demonstrate the utility of this novel pipeline for the selection of peptide BREs in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and the broader application of such a platform in response to future viral threats.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Combinatorial Chemistry Techniques , Peptides/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology , Electrochemistry/methods , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Interferometry , Kinetics , Peptide Library , Protein Array Analysis , Protein Engineering , Saliva/immunology
14.
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
15.
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
16.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5506, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428815

ABSTRACT

Antibody engineering technologies face increasing demands for speed, reliability and scale. We develop CeVICA, a cell-free nanobody engineering platform that uses ribosome display for in vitro selection of nanobodies from a library of 1011 randomized sequences. We apply CeVICA to engineer nanobodies against the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and identify >800 binder families using a computational pipeline based on CDR-directed clustering. Among 38 experimentally-tested families, 30 are true RBD binders and 11 inhibit SARS-CoV-2 pseudotyped virus infection. Affinity maturation and multivalency engineering increase nanobody binding affinity and yield a virus neutralizer with picomolar IC50. Furthermore, the capability of CeVICA for comprehensive binder prediction allows us to validate the fitness of our nanobody library. CeVICA offers an integrated solution for rapid generation of divergent synthetic nanobodies with tunable affinities in vitro and may serve as the basis for automated and highly parallel nanobody engineering.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/chemistry , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Protein Binding , Reproducibility of Results , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(38)2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397979

ABSTRACT

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing cost. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Protein Engineering/methods , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Saccharomycetales/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit
18.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3802, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387351

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has mutated during the global pandemic leading to viral adaptation to medications and vaccinations. Here we describe an engineered human virus receptor, ACE2, by mutagenesis and screening for binding to the receptor binding domain (RBD). Three cycles of random mutagenesis and cell sorting achieved sub-nanomolar affinity to RBD. Our structural data show that the enhanced affinity comes from better hydrophobic packing and hydrogen-bonding geometry at the interface. Additional disulfide mutations caused the fixing of a closed ACE2 conformation to avoid off-target effects of protease activity, and also improved structural stability. Our engineered ACE2 neutralized SARS-CoV-2 at a 100-fold lower concentration than wild type; we also report that no escape mutants emerged in the co-incubation after 15 passages. Therapeutic administration of engineered ACE2 protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection, decreased lung virus titers and pathology. Our results provide evidence of a therapeutic potential of engineered ACE2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Cricetinae , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Male , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
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