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1.
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
2.
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
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(17)2021 Aug 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379976

ABSTRACT

Antisense peptide technology (APT) is based on a useful heuristic algorithm for rational peptide design. It was deduced from empirical observations that peptides consisting of complementary (sense and antisense) amino acids interact with higher probability and affinity than the randomly selected ones. This phenomenon is closely related to the structure of the standard genetic code table, and at the same time, is unrelated to the direction of its codon sequence translation. The concept of complementary peptide interaction is discussed, and its possible applications to diagnostic tests and bioengineering research are summarized. Problems and difficulties that may arise using APT are discussed, and possible solutions are proposed. The methodology was tested on the example of SARS-CoV-2. It is shown that the CABS-dock server accurately predicts the binding of antisense peptides to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain without requiring predefinition of the binding site. It is concluded that the benefits of APT outweigh the costs of random peptide screening and could lead to considerable savings in time and resources, especially if combined with other computational and immunochemical methods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Engineering/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Algorithms , Amino Acid Sequence/genetics , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immunochemistry/methods , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/genetics , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
Biochemistry ; 60(46): 3429-3435, 2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1292169

ABSTRACT

The formation of specific protein-protein interactions (PPIs) drive most biological processes. Malfunction of such interactions is the molecular driver of many diseases. Our ability to engineer existing PPIs or create new ones has become a vital research tool. In addition, engineered proteins with new or altered interactions are among the most critical drugs that have been developed in recent years. These include antibodies, cytokines, inhibitors, and others. Here, we provide a perspective on the current status of the methods used to engineer new or altered PPIs. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a worldwide quest to develop specific PPI inhibitors as drugs, provided an up-to-date and state-of-the-art status report on the methodologies for engineering PPIs targeting the interaction of the viral spike protein with its cellular target, ACE2. Multiple, very high affinity binders were generated within a few months using in vitro evolution by itself, or in combination with computational design. The different experimental and computational methods used to block this interaction provide a road map for the future of PPI engineering.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Protein Engineering/methods , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology , Humans , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Nat Chem Biol ; 17(10): 1057-1064, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281726

ABSTRACT

The predominant approach for antibody generation remains animal immunization, which can yield exceptionally selective and potent antibody clones owing to the powerful evolutionary process of somatic hypermutation. However, animal immunization is inherently slow, not always accessible and poorly compatible with many antigens. Here, we describe 'autonomous hypermutation yeast surface display' (AHEAD), a synthetic recombinant antibody generation technology that imitates somatic hypermutation inside engineered yeast. By encoding antibody fragments on an error-prone orthogonal DNA replication system, surface-displayed antibody repertoires continuously mutate through simple cycles of yeast culturing and enrichment for antigen binding to produce high-affinity clones in as little as two weeks. We applied AHEAD to generate potent nanobodies against the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein, a G-protein-coupled receptor and other targets, offering a template for streamlined antibody generation at large.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation/immunology , Protein Engineering/methods , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Antibodies/immunology , Antigens , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Peptide Library , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Single-Domain Antibodies/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3661, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275912

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has caused a global pandemic. Antibodies can be powerful biotherapeutics to fight viral infections. Here, we use the human apoferritin protomer as a modular subunit to drive oligomerization of antibody fragments and transform antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 into exceptionally potent neutralizers. Using this platform, half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values as low as 9 × 10-14 M are achieved as a result of up to 10,000-fold potency enhancements compared to corresponding IgGs. Combination of three different antibody specificities and the fragment crystallizable (Fc) domain on a single multivalent molecule conferred the ability to overcome viral sequence variability together with outstanding potency and IgG-like bioavailability. The MULTi-specific, multi-Affinity antiBODY (Multabody or MB) platform thus uniquely leverages binding avidity together with multi-specificity to deliver ultrapotent and broad neutralizers against SARS-CoV-2. The modularity of the platform also makes it relevant for rapid evaluation against other infectious diseases of global health importance. Neutralizing antibodies are a promising therapeutic for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Specificity , Apoferritins/chemistry , Biological Availability , Epitope Mapping , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Protein Engineering/methods , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Tissue Distribution
10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 10617, 2021 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236094

ABSTRACT

Approaches are needed for therapy of the severe acute respiratory syndrome from SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19). Interfering with the interaction of viral antigens with the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor is a promising strategy by blocking the infection of the coronaviruses into human cells. We have implemented a novel protein engineering technology to produce a super-potent tetravalent form of ACE2, coupled to the human immunoglobulin γ1 Fc region, using a self-assembling, tetramerization domain from p53 protein. This high molecular weight Quad protein (ACE2-Fc-TD) retains binding to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding spike protein and can form a complex with the spike protein plus anti-viral antibodies. The ACE2-Fc-TD acts as a powerful decoy protein that out-performs soluble monomeric and dimeric ACE2 proteins and blocks both SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus and SARS-CoV-2 virus infection with greatly enhanced efficacy. The ACE2 tetrameric protein complex promise to be important for development as decoy therapeutic proteins against COVID-19. In contrast to monoclonal antibodies, ACE2 decoy is unlikely to be affected by mutations in SARS-CoV-2 that are beginning to appear in variant forms. In addition, ACE2 multimeric proteins will be available as therapeutic proteins should new coronaviruses appear in the future because these are likely to interact with ACE2 receptor.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , Protein Engineering/methods , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Drug Design , Haplorhini , Humans , Protein Binding , Protein Structural Elements , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
11.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 9136, 2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207152

ABSTRACT

Coiled-coil (CC) dimer-forming peptides are attractive designable modules for mediating protein association. Highly stable CCs are desired for biological activity regulation and assay. Here, we report the design and versatile applications of orthogonal CC dimer-forming peptides with a dissociation constant in the low nanomolar range. In vitro stability and specificity was confirmed in mammalian cells by enzyme reconstitution, transcriptional activation using a combination of DNA-binding and a transcriptional activation domain, and cellular-enzyme-activity regulation based on externally-added peptides. In addition to cellular regulation, coiled-coil-mediated reporter reconstitution was used for the detection of cell fusion mediated by the interaction between the spike protein of pandemic SARS-CoV2 and the ACE2 receptor. This assay can be used to investigate the mechanism of viral spike protein-mediated fusion or screening for viral inhibitors under biosafety level 1 conditions.


Subject(s)
Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cell Fusion , Circular Dichroism , Giant Cells/virology , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Luciferases/genetics , Luciferases/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , Peptides/genetics , Protein Engineering/methods , Protein Multimerization , Protein Stability , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic
12.
STAR Protoc ; 2(1): 100357, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062654

ABSTRACT

The RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase (RdRp) from SARS-CoV-2 is an important drug target because it is responsible for viral RNA genome replication. Efficient production of recombinant RdRp is important in screening antivirals to treat COVID-19. Here, we present our protocol for expression of tag-free replication complex proteins in E. coli and subsequent purification. Despite the added complexity of multiple purification steps, our methods provide greater activity, yield at lower cost, and are faster than baculovirus expression systems. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Dangerfield et al. (2020).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Escherichia coli/genetics , Protein Engineering/methods , Recombinant Proteins , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/isolation & purification , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
13.
Commun Biol ; 3(1): 715, 2020 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-940863

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has elicited a global health crisis of catastrophic proportions. With only a few vaccines approved for early or limited use, there is a critical need for effective antiviral strategies. In this study, we report a unique antiviral platform, through computational design of ACE2-derived peptides which both target the viral spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) and recruit E3 ubiquitin ligases for subsequent intracellular degradation of SARS-CoV-2 in the proteasome. Our engineered peptide fusions demonstrate robust RBD degradation capabilities in human cells and are capable of inhibiting infection-competent viral production, thus prompting their further experimental characterization and therapeutic development.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Pandemics , Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering/methods , Proteolysis , Receptors, Virus , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Ribonucleoproteins/genetics , Ribonucleoproteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/genetics , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/metabolism , Virus Attachment
14.
Science ; 370(6521): 1208-1214, 2020 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-913668

ABSTRACT

We developed a de novo protein design strategy to swiftly engineer decoys for neutralizing pathogens that exploit extracellular host proteins to infect the cell. Our pipeline allowed the design, validation, and optimization of de novo human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) decoys to neutralize severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The best monovalent decoy, CTC-445.2, bound with low nanomolar affinity and high specificity to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) showed that the design is accurate and can simultaneously bind to all three RBDs of a single spike protein. Because the decoy replicates the spike protein target interface in hACE2, it is intrinsically resilient to viral mutational escape. A bivalent decoy, CTC-445.2d, showed ~10-fold improvement in binding. CTC-445.2d potently neutralized SARS-CoV-2 infection of cells in vitro, and a single intranasal prophylactic dose of decoy protected Syrian hamsters from a subsequent lethal SARS-CoV-2 challenge.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Receptors, Virus/antagonists & inhibitors , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cricetinae , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Directed Molecular Evolution/methods , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering/methods , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
15.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(45): 28046-28055, 2020 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889324

ABSTRACT

An essential mechanism for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection begins with the viral spike protein binding to the human receptor protein angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). Here, we describe a stepwise engineering approach to generate a set of affinity optimized, enzymatically inactivated ACE2 variants that potently block SARS-CoV-2 infection of cells. These optimized receptor traps tightly bind the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein and prevent entry into host cells. We first computationally designed the ACE2-RBD interface using a two-stage flexible protein backbone design process that improved affinity for the RBD by up to 12-fold. These designed receptor variants were affinity matured an additional 14-fold by random mutagenesis and selection using yeast surface display. The highest-affinity variant contained seven amino acid changes and bound to the RBD 170-fold more tightly than wild-type ACE2. With the addition of the natural ACE2 collectrin domain and fusion to a human immunoglobulin crystallizable fragment (Fc) domain for increased stabilization and avidity, the most optimal ACE2 receptor traps neutralized SARS-CoV-2-pseudotyped lentivirus and authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in the 10- to 100-ng/mL range. Engineered ACE2 receptor traps offer a promising route to fighting infections by SARS-CoV-2 and other ACE2-using coronaviruses, with the key advantage that viral resistance would also likely impair viral entry. Moreover, such traps can be predesigned for viruses with known entry receptors for faster therapeutic response without the need for neutralizing antibodies isolated from convalescent patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Drug Design , Protein Engineering/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Binding Sites , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation , Peptide Library , Protein Binding , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Saccharomyces cerevisiae , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
16.
Nat Struct Mol Biol ; 27(10): 934-941, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-691288

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 mediates receptor binding and cell entry and is the dominant target of the immune system. It exhibits substantial conformational flexibility. It transitions from closed to open conformations to expose its receptor-binding site and, subsequently, from prefusion to postfusion conformations to mediate fusion of viral and cellular membranes. S-protein derivatives are components of vaccine candidates and diagnostic assays, as well as tools for research into the biology and immunology of SARS-CoV-2. Here we have designed mutations in S that allow the production of thermostable, disulfide-bonded S-protein trimers that are trapped in the closed, prefusion state. Structures of the disulfide-stabilized and non-disulfide-stabilized proteins reveal distinct closed and locked conformations of the S trimer. We demonstrate that the designed, thermostable, closed S trimer can be used in serological assays. This protein has potential applications as a reagent for serology, virology and as an immunogen.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Flow Cytometry/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Disulfides/chemistry , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Conformation , Protein Engineering/methods , Protein Multimerization , Protein Stability , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Temperature
17.
J Theor Biol ; 505: 110425, 2020 11 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-680417

ABSTRACT

The interaction between the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a pivotal role in virus entry into the host cells. Since recombinant ACE2 protein has been suggested as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic agent, this study was conducted to design an ACE2 protein with more desirable properties. In this regard, the amino acids with central roles in enzymatic activity of the ACE2 were substituted. Moreover, saturation mutagenesis at the interaction interface between the ACE2 and RBD was performed to increase their interaction affinity. The best mutations to increase the structural and thermal stability of the ACE2 were also selected based on B factors and mutation effects. The obtained resulted revealed that the Arg273Gln and Thr445Gly mutation have drastically reduced the binding affinity of the angiotensin-II into the active site of ACE2. The Thr27Arg mutation was determined to be the most potent mutation to increase the binding affinity. The Asp427Arg mutation was done to decrease the flexibility of the region with high B factor. The Pro451Met mutation along with the Gly448Trp mutation was predicted to increase the thermodynamic stability and thermostability of the ACE2. The designed therapeutic ACE2 would have no enzymatic activity while it could bear stronger interaction with Spike glycoprotein of the SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, decreased in vivo enzymatic degradation would be anticipated due to increased thermostability. This engineered ACE2 could be exploited as a novel therapeutic agent against COVID-19 after necessary evaluations.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Design , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Protein Engineering/methods , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Directed Molecular Evolution , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/therapeutic use , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , Protein Stability , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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