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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613826

ABSTRACT

Nucleic acid aptamers specific to S-protein and its receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2) virions are of high interest as potential inhibitors of viral infection and recognizing elements in biosensors. Development of specific therapy and biosensors is complicated by an emergence of new viral strains bearing amino acid substitutions and probable differences in glycosylation sites. Here, we studied affinity of a set of aptamers to two Wuhan-type RBD of S-protein expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cell line and Pichia pastoris that differ in glycosylation patterns. The expression system for the RBD protein has significant effects, both on values of dissociation constants and relative efficacy of the aptamer binding. We propose glycosylation of the RBD as the main force for observed differences. Moreover, affinity of a several aptamers was affected by a site of biotinylation. Thus, the robustness of modified aptamers toward new virus variants should be carefully tested.


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/metabolism , Immobilized Nucleic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , CHO Cells , Cricetulus , Glycosylation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomycetales/genetics
2.
J Extracell Vesicles ; 11(1): e12179, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605805

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry is mediated by the interaction of the viral spike (S) protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the host cell surface. Although a clinical trial testing soluble ACE2 (sACE2) for COVID-19 is currently ongoing, our understanding of the delivery of sACE2 via small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) is still rudimentary. With excellent biocompatibility allowing for the effective delivery of molecular cargos, sEVs are broadly studied as nanoscale protein carriers. In order to exploit the potential of sEVs, we design truncated CD9 scaffolds to display sACE2 on the sEV surface as a decoy receptor for the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, to enhance the sACE2-S binding interaction, we employ sACE2 variants. sACE2-loaded sEVs exhibit typical sEVs characteristics and bind to the S protein. Furthermore, engineered sEVs inhibit the entry of wild-type (WT), the globally dominant D614G variant, Beta (K417N-E484K-N501Y) variant, and Delta (L452R-T478K-D614G) variant SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, and protect against authentic SARS-CoV-2 and Delta variant infection. Of note, sACE2 variants harbouring sEVs show superior antiviral efficacy than WT sACE2 loaded sEVs. Therapeutic efficacy of the engineered sEVs against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was confirmed using K18-hACE2 mice. The current findings provide opportunities for the development of new sEVs-based antiviral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Vesicles/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
3.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 590: 34-41, 2022 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588232

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has led to more than 270 million infections and 5.3 million of deaths worldwide. Several major variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged and posed challenges in controlling the pandemic. The recently occurred Omicron variant raised serious concerns about reducing the efficacy of vaccines and neutralization antibodies due to its vast mutations. We have modelled the complex structure of the human ACE2 protein and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of Omicron Spike protein (S-protein), and conducted atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to study the binding interactions. The analysis shows that the Omicron RBD binds more strongly to the human ACE2 protein than the original strain. The mutations at the ACE2-RBD interface enhance the tight binding by increasing hydrogen bonding interaction and enlarging buried solvent accessible surface area.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Binding Sites , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Front Immunol ; 12: 795741, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581316

ABSTRACT

Glycan-masking the vaccine antigen by mutating the undesired antigenic sites with an additional N-linked glycosylation motif can refocus B-cell responses to desired epitopes, without affecting the antigen's overall-folded structure. This study examined the impact of glycan-masking mutants of the N-terminal domain (NTD) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, and found that the antigenic design of the S protein increases the neutralizing antibody titers against the Wuhan-Hu-1 ancestral strain and the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2). Our results demonstrated that the use of glycan-masking Ad-S-R158N/Y160T in the NTD elicited a 2.8-fold, 6.5-fold, and 4.6-fold increase in the IC-50 NT titer against the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, respectively. Glycan-masking of Ad-S-D428N in the RBD resulted in a 3.0-fold and 2.0-fold increase in the IC-50 neutralization titer against the Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) variants, respectively. The use of glycan-masking in Ad-S-R158N/Y160T and Ad-S-D428N antigen design may help develop universal COVID-19 vaccines against current and future emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes/immunology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adenoviridae/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Genetic Engineering , Genetic Vectors/genetics , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Neutralization Tests , Polysaccharides , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2021 Dec 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580695

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, the new SARS-CoV-2-related COVID-19 disease has caused a global pandemic and shut down the public life worldwide. Several proteins have emerged as potential therapeutic targets for drug development, and we sought out to review the commercially available and marketed SARS-CoV-2-targeted libraries ready for high-throughput virtual screening (HTVS). We evaluated the SARS-CoV-2-targeted, protease-inhibitor-focused and protein-protein-interaction-inhibitor-focused libraries to gain a better understanding of how these libraries were designed. The most common were ligand- and structure-based approaches, along with various filtering steps, using molecular descriptors. Often, these methods were combined to obtain the final library. We recognized the abundance of targeted libraries offered and complimented by the inclusion of analytical data; however, serious concerns had to be raised. Namely, vendors lack the information on the library design and the references to the primary literature. Few references to active compounds were also provided when using the ligand-based design and usually only protein classes or a general panel of targets were listed, along with a general reference to the methods, such as molecular docking for the structure-based design. No receptor data, docking protocols or even references to the applied molecular docking software (or other HTVS software), and no pharmacophore or filter design details were given. No detailed functional group or chemical space analyses were reported, and no specific orientation of the libraries toward the design of covalent or noncovalent inhibitors could be observed. All libraries contained pan-assay interference compounds (PAINS), rapid elimination of swill compounds (REOS) and aggregators, as well as focused on the drug-like model, with the majority of compounds possessing their molecular mass around 500 g/mol. These facts do not bode well for the use of the reviewed libraries in drug design and lend themselves to commercial drug companies to focus on and improve.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Drug Design/methods , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Databases, Chemical , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
6.
Molecules ; 27(1)2022 Jan 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580563

ABSTRACT

Before entering the cell, the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) binds to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor. Hence, this RBD is a critical target for the development of antiviral agents. Recent studies have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in the RBD have spread globally. The purpose of this in silico study was to determine the potential of a fruit bromelain-derived peptide. DYGAVNEVK. to inhibit the entry of various SARS-CoV-2 variants into human cells by targeting the hACE binding site within the RBD. Molecular docking analysis revealed that DYGAVNEVK interacts with several critical RBD binding residues responsible for the adhesion of the RBD to hACE2. Moreover, 100 ns MD simulations revealed stable interactions between DYGAVNEVK and RBD variants derived from the trajectory of root-mean-square deviation (RMSD), radius of gyration (Rg), and root-mean-square fluctuation (RMSF) analysis, as well as free binding energy calculations. Overall, our computational results indicate that DYGAVNEVK warrants further investigation as a candidate for preventing SARS-CoV-2 due to its interaction with the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bromelains , Computer Simulation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bromelains/chemistry , Bromelains/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
7.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580425

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mediates attachment of the virus to the host cell receptor and fusion between the virus and the cell membrane. The S1 subunit of the spike glycoprotein (S1 protein) contains the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor binding domain. The SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern contain mutations in the S1 subunit. The spike protein is the primary target of neutralizing antibodies generated following infection, and constitutes the viral component of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. METHODS: Therefore, in this work we assessed the effect of exposure (24 h) to 10 nM SARS-CoV-2 recombinant S1 protein on physiologically relevant human bronchial (bro) and alveolar (alv) lung mucosa models cultured at air-liquid interface (ALI) (n = 6 per exposure condition). Corresponding sham exposed samples served as a control. The bro-ALI model was developed using primary bronchial epithelial cells and the alv-ALI model using representative type II pneumocytes (NCI-H441). RESULTS: Exposure to S1 protein induced the surface expression of ACE2, toll like receptor (TLR) 2, and TLR4 in both bro-ALI and alv-ALI models. Transcript expression analysis identified 117 (bro-ALI) and 97 (alv-ALI) differentially regulated genes (p ≤ 0.01). Pathway analysis revealed enrichment of canonical pathways such as interferon (IFN) signaling, influenza, coronavirus, and anti-viral response in the bro-ALI. Secreted levels of interleukin (IL) 4 and IL12 were significantly (p < 0.05) increased, whereas IL6 decreased in the bro-ALI. In the case of alv-ALI, enriched terms involving p53, APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand) tight junction, integrin kinase, and IL1 signaling were identified. These terms are associated with lung fibrosis. Further, significantly (p < 0.05) increased levels of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines IFNγ, IL1ꞵ, IL2, IL4, IL6, IL8, IL10, IL13, and tumor necrosis factor alpha were detected in alv-ALI, whereas IL12 was decreased. Altered levels of these cytokines are also associated with lung fibrotic response. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we observed a typical anti-viral response in the bronchial model and a pro-fibrotic response in the alveolar model. The bro-ALI and alv-ALI models may serve as an easy and robust platform for assessing the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern at different lung regions.


Subject(s)
Lung/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Bronchi/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Models, Biological , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 2/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism
8.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580423

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causal agent of the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in late 2019. The outbreak of variants with mutations in the region encoding the spike protein S1 sub-unit that can make them more resistant to neutralizing or monoclonal antibodies is the main point of the current monitoring. This study examines the feasibility of predicting the variant lineage and monitoring the appearance of reported mutations by sequencing only the region encoding the S1 domain by Pacific Bioscience Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing (PacBio SMRT). Using the PacBio SMRT system, we successfully sequenced 186 of the 200 samples previously sequenced with the Illumina COVIDSeq (whole genome) system. PacBio SMRT detected mutations in the S1 domain that were missed by the COVIDseq system in 27/186 samples (14.5%), due to amplification failure. These missing positions included mutations that are decisive for lineage assignation, such as G142D (n = 11), N501Y (n = 6), or E484K (n = 2). The lineage of 172/186 (92.5%) samples was accurately determined by analyzing the region encoding the S1 domain with a pipeline that uses key positions in S1. Thus, the PacBio SMRT protocol is appropriate for determining virus lineages and detecting key mutations.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Genotype , Humans , Mutation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Sequence Analysis, DNA/methods
9.
J Cell Mol Med ; 26(1): 25-34, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1570773

ABSTRACT

Transmission electron microscopy has historically been indispensable for virology research, as it offers unique insight into virus function. In the past decade, as cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has matured and become more accessible, we have been able to peer into the structure of viruses at the atomic level and understand how they interact with the host cell, with drugs or with antibodies. Perhaps, there was no time in recent history where cryo-EM was more needed, as SARS-CoV-2 has spread around the globe, causing millions of deaths and almost unquantifiable economic devastation. In this concise review, we aim to mark the most important contributions of cryo-EM to understanding the structure and function of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, from surface spikes to the virus core and from virus-receptor interactions to antibody binding.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/biosynthesis , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Epitopes/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Secondary , Receptors, Virus/immunology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Serine Endopeptidases/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virion/drug effects , Virion/pathogenicity , Virion/ultrastructure
10.
Cell Rep ; 37(12): 110156, 2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1549680

ABSTRACT

The recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Beta (B.1.351) and Gamma (P.1) variants of concern (VoCs) include a key mutation (N501Y) found in the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant that enhances affinity of the spike protein for its receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Additional mutations are found in these variants at residues 417 and 484 that appear to promote antibody evasion. In contrast, the Epsilon variants (B.1.427/429) lack the N501Y mutation yet exhibit antibody evasion. We have engineered spike proteins to express these receptor binding domain (RBD) VoC mutations either in isolation or in different combinations and analyze the effects using biochemical assays and cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structural analyses. Overall, our findings suggest that the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variant spikes can be rationalized as the result of mutations that confer increased ACE2 affinity, increased antibody evasion, or both, providing a framework to dissect the molecular factors that drive VoC evolution.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Binding Sites , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
11.
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 23(27): 14873-14888, 2021 Jul 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541260

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, first detected in December 2019, is still emerging through virus mutations. Although almost under control in some countries due to effective vaccines that are mitigating the worldwide pandemic, the urgency to develop additional vaccines and therapeutic treatments is imperative. In this work, the natural polyphenols corilagin and 1,3,6-tri-O-galloy-ß-d-glucose (TGG) are investigated to determine the structural basis of inhibitor interactions as potential candidates to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral entry into target cells. First, the therapeutic potential of the ligands are assessed on the ACE2/wild-type RBD. We first use molecular docking followed by molecular dynamics, to take into account the conformational flexibility that plays a significant role in ligand binding and that cannot be captured using only docking, and then analyze more precisely the affinity of these ligands using MMPBSA binding free energy. We show that both ligands bind to the ACE2/wild-type RBD interface with good affinities which might prevent the ACE2/RBD association. Second, we confirm the potency of these ligands to block the ACE2/RBD association using a combination of surface plasmon resonance and biochemical inhibition assays. These experiments confirm that TGG and, to a lesser extent, corilagin, inhibit the binding of RBD to ACE2. Both experiments and simulations show that the ligands interact preferentially with RBD, while weak binding is observed with ACE2, hence, avoiding potential physiological side-effects induced by the inhibition of ACE2. In addition to the wild-type RBD, we also study numerically three RBD mutations (E484K, N501Y and E484K/N501Y) found in the main SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns. We find that corilagin could be as effective for RBD/E484K but less effective for the RBD/N501Y and RBD/E484K-N501Y mutants, while TGG strongly binds at relevant locations to all three mutants, demonstrating the significant interest of these molecules as potential inhibitors for variants of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Gallic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Glucose/analogs & derivatives , Glucosides/chemistry , Hydrolyzable Tannins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Binding Sites , Gallic Acid/chemistry , Glucose/chemistry , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
12.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0135221, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526454

ABSTRACT

The emerging new lineages of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) have marked a new phase of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Understanding the recognition mechanisms of potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (NAbs) against the spike protein is pivotal for developing new vaccines and antibody drugs. Here, we isolated several monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) from the B cell receptor repertoires of a SARS-CoV-2 convalescent. Among these MAbs, the antibody nCoV617 demonstrates the most potent neutralizing activity against authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as prophylactic and therapeutic efficacies against the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) transgenic mouse model in vivo. The crystal structure of S-RBD in complex with nCoV617 reveals that nCoV617 mainly binds to the back of the "ridge" of RBD and shares limited binding residues with ACE2. Under the background of the S-trimer model, it potentially binds to both "up" and "down" conformations of S-RBD. In vitro mutagenesis assays show that mutant residues found in the emerging new lineage B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 do not affect nCoV617 binding to the S-RBD. These results provide a new human-sourced neutralizing antibody against the S-RBD and assist vaccine development. IMPORTANCE COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to global health and the economy, so it is necessary to find safe and effective antibody drugs and treatments. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is responsible for binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. It contains a variety of dominant neutralizing epitopes and is an important antigen for the development of new coronavirus antibodies. The significance of our research lies in the determination of new epitopes, the discovery of antibodies against RBD, and the evaluation of the antibodies' neutralizing effect. The identified antibodies here may be drug candidates for the development of clinical interventions for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/immunology , Viral Load/drug effects
13.
J Mol Model ; 27(11): 323, 2021 Oct 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525539

ABSTRACT

The world has face the COVID-19 pandemic which has already caused millions of death. Due to the urgency in fighting the virus, we study five residues of free amino acids present in the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S). We investigated the spontaneous interaction between amino acids and silver ions (Ag+), considering these ions as a virucide chemical agent for SARS-CoV-2. The amino acid-Ag+ systems were investigated in a gaseous medium and a simulated water environment was described with a continuum model (PCM) the calculations were performed within the framework of density functional theory (DFT). Calculations related to the occupied orbitals of higher energy showed that Ag+ has a tendency to interact with the nitrile groups (-NH). The negative values of the Gibbs free energies show that the interaction process between amino acids-Ag+ in both media occurs spontaneously. There is a decrease in Gibbs free energy from the amino acid-Ag+ interactions immersed in a water solvation simulator.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Density Functional Theory , Silver/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Amino Acids/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Binding Sites , Cations, Monovalent , Gene Expression , Humans , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Silver/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Static Electricity , Thermodynamics
14.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260283, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523456

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 viral attachment and entry into host cells is mediated by a direct interaction between viral spike glycoproteins and membrane bound angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The receptor binding motif (RBM), located within the S1 subunit of the spike protein, incorporates the majority of known ACE2 contact residues responsible for high affinity binding and associated virulence. Observation of existing crystal structures of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (SRBD)-ACE2 interface, combined with peptide array screening, allowed us to define a series of linear native RBM-derived peptides that were selected as potential antiviral decoy sequences with the aim of directly binding ACE2 and attenuating viral cell entry. RBM1 (16mer): S443KVGGNYNYLYRLFRK458, RBM2A (25mer): E484GFNCYFPLQSYGFQPTNGVGYQPY508, RBM2B (20mer): F456NCYFPLQSYGFQPTNGVGY505 and RBM2A-Sc (25mer): NYGLQGSPFGYQETPYPFCNFVQYG. Data from fluorescence polarisation experiments suggested direct binding between RBM peptides and ACE2, with binding affinities ranging from the high nM to low µM range (Kd = 0.207-1.206 µM). However, the RBM peptides demonstrated only modest effects in preventing SRBD internalisation and showed no antiviral activity in a spike protein trimer neutralisation assay. The RBM peptides also failed to suppress S1-protein mediated inflammation in an endogenously expressing ACE2 human cell line. We conclude that linear native RBM-derived peptides are unable to outcompete viral spike protein for binding to ACE2 and therefore represent a suboptimal approach to inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 viral cell entry. These findings reinforce the notion that larger biologics (such as soluble ACE2, 'miniproteins', nanobodies and antibodies) are likely better suited as SARS-CoV-2 cell-entry inhibitors than short-sequence linear peptides.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Internalization , A549 Cells , Humans , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
15.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0257089, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523422

ABSTRACT

Recombinant production of viral proteins can be used to produce vaccine antigens or reagents to identify antibodies in patient serum. Minimally, these proteins must be correctly folded and have appropriate post-translation modifications. Here we report the production of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) in the green algae Chlamydomonas. RBD fused to a fluorescent reporter protein accumulates as an intact protein when targeted for ER-Golgi retention or secreted from the cell, while a chloroplast localized version is truncated. The ER-retained RBD fusion protein was able to bind the human ACE2 receptor, the host target of SARS-CoV-2, and was specifically out-competed by mammalian cell-produced recombinant RBD, suggesting that the algae produced proteins are sufficiently post-translationally modified to act as authentic SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Because algae can be grown at large scale very inexpensively, this recombinant protein may be a low cost alternative to other expression platforms.


Subject(s)
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Chlamydomonas reinhardtii/genetics , Chlamydomonas reinhardtii/metabolism , Cloning, Molecular , Humans , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification
16.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(11): e1009560, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523396

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, is of zoonotic origin. Evolutionary analyses assessing whether coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 infected ancestral species of modern-day animal hosts could be useful in identifying additional reservoirs of potentially dangerous coronaviruses. We reasoned that if a clade of species has been repeatedly exposed to a virus, then their proteins relevant for viral entry may exhibit adaptations that affect host susceptibility or response. We perform comparative analyses across the mammalian phylogeny of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2, in order to uncover evidence for selection acting at its binding interface with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We uncover that in rodents there is evidence for adaptive amino acid substitutions at positions comprising the ACE2-spike interaction interface, whereas the variation within ACE2 proteins in primates and some other mammalian clades is not consistent with evolutionary adaptations. We also analyze aminopeptidase N (APN), the receptor for the human coronavirus 229E, a virus that causes the common cold, and find evidence for adaptation in primates. Altogether, our results suggest that the rodent and primate lineages may have had ancient exposures to viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E, respectively.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adaptation, Physiological/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , Animals , CD13 Antigens/genetics , CD13 Antigens/physiology , Common Cold/genetics , Common Cold/virology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/genetics , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Evolution, Molecular , Genomics , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Host Specificity/genetics , Host Specificity/physiology , Humans , Mammals/genetics , Mammals/virology , Phylogeny , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Selection, Genetic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Internalization
17.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488616

ABSTRACT

After almost two years from its first evidence, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to afflict people worldwide, highlighting the need for multiple antiviral strategies. SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro/3CLpro) is a recognized promising target for the development of effective drugs. Because single target inhibition might not be sufficient to block SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication, multi enzymatic-based therapies may provide a better strategy. Here we present a structural and biochemical characterization of the binding mode of MG-132 to both the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, and to the human Cathepsin-L, suggesting thus an interesting scaffold for the development of double-inhibitors. X-ray diffraction data show that MG-132 well fits into the Mpro active site, forming a covalent bond with Cys145 independently from reducing agents and crystallization conditions. Docking of MG-132 into Cathepsin-L well-matches with a covalent binding to the catalytic cysteine. Accordingly, MG-132 inhibits Cathepsin-L with nanomolar potency and reversibly inhibits Mpro with micromolar potency, but with a prolonged residency time. We compared the apo and MG-132-inhibited structures of Mpro solved in different space groups and we identified a new apo structure that features several similarities with the inhibited ones, offering interesting perspectives for future drug design and in silico efforts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Cathepsin L/drug effects , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/drug effects , Leupeptins/chemistry , Leupeptins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Catalytic Domain/drug effects , Cathepsin L/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Drug Design , Drug Discovery , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptidomimetics , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Virus Replication/drug effects , X-Ray Diffraction
18.
J Virol ; 95(19): e0068521, 2021 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486511

ABSTRACT

The human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 acts as the host cell receptor for SARS-CoV-2 and the other members of the Coronaviridae family SARS-CoV-1 and HCoV-NL63. Here, we report the biophysical properties of the SARS-CoV-2 spike variants D614G, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 with affinities to the ACE2 receptor and infectivity capacity, revealing weaknesses in the developed neutralizing antibody approaches. Furthermore, we report a preclinical characterization package for a soluble receptor decoy engineered to be catalytically inactive and immunologically inert, with broad neutralization capacity, that represents an attractive therapeutic alternative in light of the mutational landscape of COVID-19. This construct efficiently neutralized four SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. The decoy also displays antibody-like biophysical properties and manufacturability, strengthening its suitability as a first-line treatment option in prophylaxis or therapeutic regimens for COVID-19 and related viral infections. IMPORTANCE Mutational drift of SARS-CoV-2 risks rendering both therapeutics and vaccines less effective. Receptor decoy strategies utilizing soluble human ACE2 may overcome the risk of viral mutational escape since mutations disrupting viral interaction with the ACE2 decoy will by necessity decrease virulence, thereby preventing meaningful escape. The solution described here of a soluble ACE2 receptor decoy is significant for the following reasons: while previous ACE2-based therapeutics have been described, ours has novel features, including (i) mutations within ACE2 to remove catalytical activity and systemic interference with the renin/angiotensin system, (ii) abrogated FcγR engagement, reduced risk of antibody-dependent enhancement of infection, and reduced risk of hyperinflammation, and (iii) streamlined antibody-like purification process and scale-up manufacturability indicating that this receptor decoy could be produced quickly and easily at scale. Finally, we demonstrate that ACE2-based therapeutics confer a broad-spectrum neutralization potency for ACE2-tropic viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in contrast to therapeutic MAb.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibody-Dependent Enhancement , COVID-19/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Kinetics , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
19.
J Virol ; 95(16): e0061721, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486509

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic of COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) is the critical determinant of viral tropism and infectivity. To investigate whether naturally occurring RBD mutations during the early transmission phase have altered the receptor binding affinity and infectivity, we first analyzed in silico the binding dynamics between SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutants and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. Among 32,123 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 isolates (December 2019 through March 2020), 302 nonsynonymous RBD mutants were identified and clustered into 96 mutant types. The six dominant mutations were analyzed applying molecular dynamics simulations (MDS). The mutant type V367F continuously circulating worldwide displayed higher binding affinity to human ACE2 due to the enhanced structural stabilization of the RBD beta-sheet scaffold. The MDS also indicated that it would be difficult for bat SARS-like CoV to infect humans. However, the pangolin CoV is potentially infectious to humans. The increased infectivity of V367 mutants was further validated by performing receptor-ligand binding enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), surface plasmon resonance, and pseudotyped virus assays. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomes of V367F mutants showed that during the early transmission phase, most V367F mutants clustered more closely with the SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain than the dual-mutation variants (V367F+D614G), which may derivate from recombination. The analysis of critical RBD mutations provides further insights into the evolutionary trajectory of early SARS-CoV-2 variants of zoonotic origin under negative selection pressure and supports the continuing surveillance of spike mutations to aid in the development of new COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. IMPORTANCE A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused the pandemic of COVID-19. The origin of SARS-CoV-2 was associated with zoonotic infections. The spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) is identified as the critical determinant of viral tropism and infectivity. Thus, whether mutations in the RBD of the circulating SARS-CoV-2 isolates have altered the receptor binding affinity and made them more infectious has been the research hot spot. Given that SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, the significance of our research is in identifying and validating the RBD mutant types emerging during the early transmission phase and increasing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor binding affinity and infectivity. Our study provides insights into the evolutionary trajectory of early SARS-CoV-2 variants of zoonotic origin. The continuing surveillance of RBD mutations with increased human ACE2 affinity in human or other animals is critical to the development of new COVID-19 drugs and vaccines against these variants during the sustained COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Gene Expression , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Kinetics , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phenylalanine/chemistry , Phenylalanine/metabolism , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Thermodynamics , Valine/chemistry , Valine/metabolism , Virulence , Virus Attachment
20.
J Virol ; 95(16): e0018721, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486048

ABSTRACT

Subversion of the host cell cycle to facilitate viral replication is a common feature of coronavirus infections. Coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein can modulate the host cell cycle, but the mechanistic details remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effects of manipulation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) N protein on the cell cycle and the influence on viral replication. Results indicated that PEDV N induced Vero E6 cell cycle arrest at S-phase, which promoted viral replication (P < 0.05). S-phase arrest was dependent on the N protein nuclear localization signal S71NWHFYYLGTGPHADLRYRT90 and the interaction between N protein and p53. In the nucleus, the binding of N protein to p53 maintained consistently high-level expression of p53, which activated the p53-DREAM pathway. The key domain of the N protein interacting with p53 was revealed to be S171RGNSQNRGNNQGRGASQNRGGNN194 (NS171-N194), in which G183RG185 are core residues. NS171-N194 and G183RG185 were essential for N-induced S-phase arrest. Moreover, small molecular drugs targeting the NS171-N194 domain of the PEDV N protein were screened through molecular docking. Hyperoside could antagonize N protein-induced S-phase arrest by interfering with interaction between N protein and p53 and inhibit viral replication (P < 0.05). The above-described experiments were also validated in porcine intestinal cells, and data were in line with results in Vero E6 cells. Therefore, these results reveal the PEDV N protein interacts with p53 to activate the p53-DREAM pathway, and subsequently induces S-phase arrest to create a favorable environment for virus replication. These findings provide new insight into the PEDV-host interaction and the design of novel antiviral strategies against PEDV. IMPORTANCE Many viruses subvert the host cell cycle to create a cellular environment that promotes viral growth. PEDV, an emerging and reemerging coronavirus, has led to substantial economic loss in the global swine industry. Our study is the first to demonstrate that PEDV N-induced cell cycle arrest during the S-phase promotes viral replication. We identified a novel mechanism of PEDV N-induced S-phase arrest, where the binding of PEDV N protein to p53 maintains consistently high levels of p53 expression in the nucleus to mediate S-phase arrest by activating the p53-DREAM pathway. Furthermore, a small molecular compound, hyperoside, targeted the PEDV N protein, interfering with the interaction between the N protein and p53 and, importantly, inhibited PEDV replication by antagonizing cell cycle arrest. This study reveals a new mechanism of PEDV-host interaction and also provides a novel antiviral strategy for PEDV. These data provide a foundation for further research into coronavirus-host interactions.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/drug effects , Quercetin/analogs & derivatives , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nuclear Localization Signals , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/genetics , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Quercetin/chemistry , Quercetin/pharmacology , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/drug effects , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/genetics , Signal Transduction , Swine , Swine Diseases/drug therapy , Swine Diseases/genetics , Swine Diseases/metabolism , Swine Diseases/virology , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/antagonists & inhibitors , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
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