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1.
Dis Markers ; 2022: 1118195, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2138216

ABSTRACT

Background: Mitochondria have been involved in host defense upon viral infections. Factor Xa (FXa), a coagulating factor, may also have influence on mitochondrial functionalities. The aim was to analyze if in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMEC), the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) spike protein subunits, S1 and S2 (S1+S2), could alter mitochondrial metabolism and what is the role of FXA. Methods: HPMEC were incubated with and without recombinants S1+S2 (10 nmol/L each). Results: In control conditions, S1+S2 failed to modify FXa expression. However, in LPS (1 µg/mL)-incubated HPMEC, S1+S2 significantly increased FXa production. LPS tended to reduce mitochondrial membrane potential with respect to control, but in higher and significant degree, it was reduced when S1+S2 were present. LPS did not significantly modify cytochrome c oxidase activity as compared with control. Addition of S1+S2 spike subunits to LPS-incubated HPMEC significantly increased cytochrome c oxidase activity with respect to control. Lactate dehydrogenase activity was also increased by S1+S2 with respect to control and LPS alone. Protein expression level of uncoupled protein-2 (UCP-2) was markedly expressed when S1+S2 were added together to LPS. Rivaroxaban (50 nmol/L), a specific FXa inhibitor, significantly reduced all the above-mentioned alterations induced by S1+S2 including UCP-2 expression. Conclusions: In HPMEC undergoing to preinflammatory condition, COVID-19 S1+S2 spike subunits promoted alterations in mitochondria metabolism suggesting a shift from aerobic towards anaerobic metabolism that was accompanied of high FXa production. Rivaroxaban prevented all the mitochondrial metabolic changes mediated by the present COVID-19 S1 and S2 spike subunits suggesting the involvement of endogenous FXa.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Factor Xa/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Rivaroxaban/pharmacology , Rivaroxaban/metabolism , Electron Transport Complex IV/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology , Lipopolysaccharides/metabolism , Mitochondria/metabolism
2.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 16236, 2022 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2050539

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 prefusion spike protein is characterized by a high degree of flexibility and temporal transformations associated with its multifunctional behavior. In this study, we have examined the dynamics of the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in detail. Its primary, binding subdomain with human Angiotensin Covering Enzyme II includes a highly conspicuous flap or loop that is part of a beta hairpin loop structural motif. Dynamic details of the RBD obtained through RMSF and Order Parameter calculations are consistent with structural details including the stability of "glue" points or dominant interaction energy residues of the RBD in the Up and Down states with its neighboring N-terminal domain (NTD) protomer. The RBD flap in the Up state protomer periodically obstructs the binding site on an approximate 70 ns time interval and is reminiscent of an HIV-1 protease polypeptide flap that opens and closes to modulate that enzymes activity. No claim is made here regarding the possible modulating role of the flap; however, the flap may be a potential site for therapeutic targeting aimed at keeping it in the closed state, as previously demonstrated in the inhibition of the HIV-1 protease polypeptide. The RBD primary binding subdomain is further shown to have not only similar dynamics but, also, an approximate 30% sequence similarity to the HIV-1 protease polypeptide.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Angiotensins/metabolism , HIV Protease , Humans , Peptides/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
3.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 19(5): 577-587, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830043

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) can capture and kill viruses, such as influenza viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), thus contributing to host defense. Contrary to our expectation, we show here that the histones released by NETosis enhance the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, as found by using live SARS-CoV-2 and two pseudovirus systems as well as a mouse model. The histone H3 or H4 selectively binds to subunit 2 of the spike (S) protein, as shown by a biochemical binding assay, surface plasmon resonance and binding energy calculation as well as the construction of a mutant S protein by replacing four acidic amino acids. Sialic acid on the host cell surface is the key molecule to which histones bridge subunit 2 of the S protein. Moreover, histones enhance cell-cell fusion. Finally, treatment with an inhibitor of NETosis, histone H3 or H4, or sialic acid notably affected the levels of sgRNA copies and the number of apoptotic cells in a mouse model. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could hijack histones from neutrophil NETosis to promote its host cell attachment and entry process and may be important in exploring pathogenesis and possible strategies to develop new effective therapies for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Histones , Mice , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization
4.
Cell ; 185(4): 614-629.e21, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1676664

ABSTRACT

Activation of the innate immune system via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) is key to generate lasting adaptive immunity. PRRs detect unique chemical patterns associated with invading microorganisms, but whether and how the physical properties of PRR ligands influence the development of the immune response remains unknown. Through the study of fungal mannans, we show that the physical form of PRR ligands dictates the immune response. Soluble mannans are immunosilent in the periphery but elicit a potent pro-inflammatory response in the draining lymph node (dLN). By modulating the physical form of mannans, we developed a formulation that targets both the periphery and the dLN. When combined with viral glycoprotein antigens, this mannan formulation broadens epitope recognition, elicits potent antigen-specific neutralizing antibodies, and confers protection against viral infections of the lung. Thus, the physical properties of microbial ligands determine the outcome of the immune response and can be harnessed for vaccine development.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Candida albicans/chemistry , Mannans/immunology , Aluminum Hydroxide/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibody Specificity/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epitopes/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Immunization , Inflammation/pathology , Interferons/metabolism , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Ligands , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Lymph Nodes/immunology , Lymph Nodes/metabolism , Macrophages/metabolism , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Paranasal Sinuses/metabolism , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1/metabolism , Solubility , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Transcription Factor RelB/metabolism , Vero Cells , beta-Glucans/metabolism
5.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(47): 19794-19801, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521695

ABSTRACT

Effective screening of infectious diseases requires a fast, cheap, and population-scale testing. Antigen pool testing can increase the test rate and shorten the screening time, thus being a valuable approach for epidemic prevention and control. However, the overall percent agreement (OPA) with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one-half to three-quarters, hampering it from being a comprehensive method, especially pool testing, beyond the gold-standard PCR. Here, a multiantibodies transistor assay is developed for sensitive and highly precise antigen pool testing. The multiantibodies capture SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 proteins with different configurations, resulting in an antigen-binding affinity down to 0.34 fM. The limit of detection reaches 3.5 × 10-17 g mL-1SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 protein in artificial saliva, 4-5 orders of magnitude lower than existing transistor sensors. The testing of 60 nasopharyngeal swabs exhibits ∼100% OPA with PCR within an average diagnoses time of 38.9 s. Owing to its highly precise feature, a portable integrated platform is fabricated, which achieves 10-in-1 pooled screening for high testing throughput. This work solves the long-standing problem of antigen pool testing, enabling it to be a valuable tool in precise diagnoses and population-wide screening of COVID-19 or other epidemics in the future.


Subject(s)
Antibodies/immunology , Immunoassay/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Transistors, Electronic , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Immunoassay/instrumentation , Limit of Detection , Nasopharynx/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Protein Subunits/genetics , Protein Subunits/immunology , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Saliva/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
Proteomics ; 22(5-6): e2100047, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442031

ABSTRACT

Fast, cheap, and easy to implement point-of-care testing for various pathogens constituted a game changer in past years due to its potential for early disease diagnosis. Herein, we report on the proof-of-concept of a simple method enabling in vitro detection of a structural spike protein subunit from the SARS-CoV-2 (S1 ) in aqueous samples. At the core of this discovery lies the well-known paradigm of monitoring the capacitive current across a reconstituted zwitterionic lipid membrane subjected to a periodic transmembrane potential, followed by the real-time spectral analysis enabling the extraction of the second harmonic of the capacitive current. Subsequent changes in the amplitude of this harmonic recorded during lipid membrane-S1 interactions were correlated with alterations induced in the inner membrane potential profile by the S1 protein subunit adsorption, and were shown to be augmented by ionic strength, the presence of a specific monoclonal antibody designed against the S1 subunit and the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein receptor, and uninhibited by the presence of other human serum proteins.


Subject(s)
Biosensing Techniques , COVID-19 , Humans , Immunoassay , Lipids , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
J Med Chem ; 64(19): 14887-14894, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428719

ABSTRACT

Antiviral treatments of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been extensively pursued to conquer the pandemic. To inhibit the viral entry to the host cell, we designed and obtained three peptide sequences via quartz crystal microbalance measurement screening, which showed high affinity at nanomole to the S1 subunit of the spike protein and wild-type SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. Circular dichroism spectroscopy measurements revealed significant conformation changes of the S1 protein upon encounter with the three peptides. The peptides were able to effectively block the infection of a pseudovirus to 50% by inhibiting the host cell lines binding with the S1 protein, evidenced by the results from Western blotting and pseudovirus luciferase assay. Moreover, the combination of the three peptides could increase the inhibitory rate to 75%. In conclusion, the three chemically synthetic neutralizing peptides and their combinations hold promising potential as effective therapeutics in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Peptides/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Circular Dichroism , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization/drug effects
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 141, 2021 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387322

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses spike (S) glycoproteins mediate viral entry into host cells by binding to host receptors. However, how the S1 subunit undergoes conformational changes for receptor recognition has not been elucidated in Alphacoronavirus. Here, we report the cryo-EM structures of the HCoV-229E S trimer in prefusion state with two conformations. The activated conformation may pose the potential exposure of the S1-RBDs by decreasing of the interaction area between the S1-RBDs and the surrounding S1-NTDs and S1-RBDs compared to the closed conformation. Furthermore, structural comparison of our structures with the previously reported HCoV-229E S structure showed that the S trimers trended to open the S2 subunit from the closed conformation to open conformation, which could promote the transition from pre- to postfusion. Our results provide insights into the mechanisms involved in S glycoprotein-mediated Alphacoronavirus entry and have implications for vaccine and therapeutic antibody design.


Subject(s)
CD13 Antigens/metabolism , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Cell Line, Tumor , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Multimerization , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure
10.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 5(1): 220, 2020 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387194
11.
Cell Res ; 31(10): 1047-1060, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1380899

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (SARS2) has caused a global COVID-19 pandemic. The spike protein of SARS2 (SARS2-S) recognizes host receptors, including ACE2, to initiate viral entry in a complex biomechanical environment. Here, we reveal that tensile force, generated by bending of the host cell membrane, strengthens spike recognition of ACE2 and accelerates the detachment of spike's S1 subunit from the S2 subunit to rapidly prime the viral fusion machinery. Mechanistically, such mechano-activation is fulfilled by force-induced opening and rotation of spike's receptor-binding domain to prolong the bond lifetime of spike/ACE2 binding, up to 4 times longer than that of SARS-S binding with ACE2 under 10 pN force application, and subsequently by force-accelerated S1/S2 detachment which is up to ~103 times faster than that in the no-force condition. Interestingly, the SARS2-S D614G mutant, a more infectious variant, shows 3-time stronger force-dependent ACE2 binding and 35-time faster force-induced S1/S2 detachment. We also reveal that an anti-S1/S2 non-RBD-blocking antibody that was derived from convalescent COVID-19 patients with potent neutralizing capability can reduce S1/S2 detachment by 3 × 106 times under force. Our study sheds light on the mechano-chemistry of spike activation and on developing a non-RBD-blocking but S1/S2-locking therapeutic strategy to prevent SARS2 invasion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tensile Strength , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Immunization, Passive , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains/immunology , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/immunology , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Internalization
12.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367850

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects epithelial airway cells that express the host entry receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which binds to the S1 spike protein on the surface of the virus. To delineate the impact of S1 spike protein interaction with the ACE2 receptor, we incubated the S1 spike protein with human pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (HPAEC). HPAEC treatment with the S1 spike protein caused disruption of endothelial barrier function, increased levels of numerous inflammatory molecules (VCAM-1, ICAM-1, IL-1ß, CCL5, CXCL10), elevated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), and a mild rise in glycolytic reserve capacity. Because low oxygen tension (hypoxia) is associated with severe cases of COVID-19, we also evaluated treatment with hemoglobin (HbA) as a potential countermeasure in hypoxic and normal oxygen environments in analyses with the S1 spike protein. We found hypoxia downregulated the expression of the ACE2 receptor and increased the critical oxygen homeostatic signaling protein, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α); however, treatment of the cells with HbA yielded no apparent change in the levels of ACE2 or HIF-1α. Use of quantitative proteomics revealed that S1 spike protein-treated cells have few differentially regulated proteins in hypoxic conditions, consistent with the finding that ACE2 serves as the host viral receptor and is reduced in hypoxia. However, in normoxic conditions, we found perturbed abundance of proteins in signaling pathways related to lysosomes, extracellular matrix receptor interaction, focal adhesion, and pyrimidine metabolism. We conclude that the spike protein alone without the rest of the viral components is sufficient to elicit cell signaling in HPAEC, and that treatment with HbA failed to reverse the vast majority of these spike protein-induced changes.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Hemoglobins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Hypoxia , Cell Survival , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/cytology , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Humans , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Pulmonary Artery/cytology , Pulmonary Artery/pathology , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
13.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(33): 12930-12934, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358340

ABSTRACT

The main protease from SARS-CoV-2 is a homodimer. Yet, a recent 0.1-ms-long molecular dynamics simulation performed by D. E. Shaw's research group shows that it readily undergoes a symmetry-breaking event on passing from the solid state to aqueous solution. As a result, the subunits present distinct conformations of the binding pocket. By analyzing this long simulation, we uncover a previously unrecognized role of water molecules in triggering the transition. Interestingly, each subunit presents a different collection of long-lived water molecules. Enhanced sampling simulations performed here, along with machine learning approaches, further establish that the transition to the asymmetric state is essentially irreversible.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Water/chemistry , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
14.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(15)2021 Jul 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350316

ABSTRACT

Increasing evidence suggests that elderly people with dementia are vulnerable to the development of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In Alzheimer's disease (AD), the major form of dementia, ß-amyloid (Aß) levels in the blood are increased; however, the impact of elevated Aß levels on the progression of COVID-19 remains largely unknown. Here, our findings demonstrate that Aß1-42, but not Aß1-40, bound to various viral proteins with a preferentially high affinity for the spike protein S1 subunit (S1) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the viral receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). These bindings were mainly through the C-terminal residues of Aß1-42. Furthermore, Aß1-42 strengthened the binding of the S1 of SARS-CoV-2 to ACE2 and increased the viral entry and production of IL-6 in a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus infection model. Intriguingly, data from a surrogate mouse model with intravenous inoculation of Aß1-42 show that the clearance of Aß1-42 in the blood was dampened in the presence of the extracellular domain of the spike protein trimers of SARS-CoV-2, whose effects can be prevented by a novel anti-Aß antibody. In conclusion, these findings suggest that the binding of Aß1-42 to the S1 of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 may have a negative impact on the course and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further investigations are warranted to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and examine whether reducing the level of Aß1-42 in the blood is beneficial to the fight against COVID-19 and AD.


Subject(s)
Amyloid beta-Peptides/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , Alzheimer Disease/complications , Alzheimer Disease/metabolism , Amyloid beta-Peptides/chemistry , Animals , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization
15.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(33): 13205-13211, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349637

ABSTRACT

The receptor binding and proteolysis of Spike of SARS-CoV-2 release its S2 subunit to rearrange and catalyze viral-cell fusion. This deploys the fusion peptide for insertion into the cell membranes targeted. We show that this fusion peptide transforms from intrinsic disorder in solution into a wedge-shaped structure inserted in bilayered micelles, according to chemical shifts, 15N NMR relaxation, and NOEs. The globular fold of three helices contrasts the open, extended forms of this region observed in the electron density of compact prefusion states. In the hydrophobic, narrow end of the wedge, helices 1 and 2 contact the fatty acyl chains of phospholipids, according to NOEs and proximity to a nitroxide spin label deep in the membrane mimic. The polar end of the wedge may engage and displace lipid head groups and bind Ca2+ ions for membrane fusion. Polar helix 3 protrudes from the bilayer where it might be accessible to antibodies.


Subject(s)
Micelles , Peptides/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Peptides/chemistry , Phospholipids/chemistry , Phospholipids/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
16.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(1): e0003021, 2021 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341308

ABSTRACT

Monitoring and strategic response to variants in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represent a considerable challenge in the current pandemic and for future viral outbreaks. Mutations/deletions of the virion's prefusion Spike protein may have significant impact on vaccines and therapeutics that utilize this key structural protein in their mitigation strategies. In this study, we have demonstrated how dominant energetic landscape mappings ("glue points") based on ab inito all-atom force fields coupled with phylogenetic sequence alignment information can identify key residue mutations and deletions associated with variants. We also found several examples of excellent homology of stabilizing residue glue points across the lineages of betacoronavirus Spike proteins that we have called "sequence homologous glue points." SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates the least number of stabilizing glue points associated with interchain interactions among Down-state protomers across lineages. Additionally, we computationally studied variants among the trimeric Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 using all-atom molecular dynamics to ascertain structural and energetic changes among variants. We examined both a theoretically based triple mutant and the UK or B.1.1.7 variant. For the theoretical triple mutant, we demonstrated through alanine substitutions that three key residues could cause the transition of Down-to-Up protomer states, where the transition is characterized by the "arm" length of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) rather than the hinge angle. For the B.1.1.7 variant, we demonstrated the critical importance of mutations D614G and N501Y on the structure and binding, respectively, of the Spike protein. We note that these same two key mutations are also found in the South African B.1.351 variant. IMPORTANCE Viral variants represent a major challenge to monitoring viral outbreaks and formulating strategic health care responses. Variants represent transmitting viruses that have specific mutations and deletions associated with their genome. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 and other related viruses (betacoronaviruses), many of these mutations and deletions are associated with the Spike protein that the virus uses to infect cells. Here, we have analyzed both SARS-CoV-2 variants and related viruses, such as Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), in order to understand not only differences, but also key similarities between them. Understanding similarities can be as important as differences in determining key functional features of a class of viruses, such as the betacoronaviruses. We have used both phylogenetic analysis, which traces genetic similarities and differences, along with independent biophysics analysis, which adds function or behavior, in order to determine possible functional differences and hence possible transmission and infection differences among variants and lineages.


Subject(s)
Protein Subunits/genetics , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Base Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Sequence Alignment , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/classification , United Kingdom
17.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(20)2020 Oct 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298152

ABSTRACT

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels responsible for rapid neural and neuromuscular signal transmission. Although it is well documented that 16 subunits are encoded by the human genome, their presence in airway epithelial cells (AECs) remains poorly understood, and contribution to pathology is mainly discussed in the context of cancer. We analysed nAChR subunit expression in the human lungs of smokers and non-smokers using transcriptomic data for whole-lung tissues, isolated large AECs, and isolated small AECs. We identified differential expressions of nAChRs in terms of detection and repartition in the three modalities. Smoking-associated alterations were also unveiled. Then, we identified an nAChR transcriptomic print at the single-cell level. Finally, we reported the localizations of detectable nAChRs in bronchi and large bronchioles. Thus, we compiled the first complete atlas of pulmonary nAChR subunits to open new avenues to further unravel the involvement of these receptors in lung homeostasis and respiratory diseases.


Subject(s)
Lung/metabolism , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Receptors, Nicotinic/metabolism , Adult , Age Factors , Cell Cycle , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/genetics , Receptors, Nicotinic/chemistry , Receptors, Nicotinic/genetics , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/pathology , Signal Detection, Psychological , Smoking , Transcription, Genetic
18.
Science ; 372(6541): 525-530, 2021 04 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1138286

ABSTRACT

Substitution for aspartic acid (D) by glycine (G) at position 614 in the spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) appears to facilitate rapid viral spread. The G614 strain and its recent variants are now the dominant circulating forms. Here, we report cryo-electron microscopy structures of a full-length G614 S trimer, which adopts three distinct prefusion conformations that differ primarily by the position of one receptor-binding domain. A loop disordered in the D614 S trimer wedges between domains within a protomer in the G614 spike. This added interaction appears to prevent premature dissociation of the G614 trimer-effectively increasing the number of functional spikes and enhancing infectivity-and to modulate structural rearrangements for membrane fusion. These findings extend our understanding of viral entry and suggest an improved immunogen for vaccine development.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Models, Molecular , Mutant Proteins/chemistry , Mutant Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Receptors, Coronavirus/chemistry , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization
19.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 4257, 2021 02 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091461

ABSTRACT

The worldwide CoVid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented push across the whole of the scientific community to develop a potent antiviral drug and vaccine as soon as possible. Existing academic, governmental and industrial institutions and companies have engaged in large-scale screening of existing drugs, in vitro, in vivo and in silico. Here, we are using in silico modelling of possible SARS-CoV-2 drug targets, as deposited on the Protein Databank (PDB), and ascertain their dynamics, flexibility and rigidity. For example, for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-using its complete homo-trimer configuration with 2905 residues-our method identifies a large-scale opening and closing of the S1 subunit through movement of the S[Formula: see text] domain. We compute the full structural information of this process, allowing for docking studies with possible drug structures. In a dedicated database, we present similarly detailed results for the further, nearly 300, thus far resolved SARS-CoV-2-related protein structures in the PDB.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Development/methods , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Binding Sites , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Models, Molecular , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Binding , Protein Domains/drug effects , Protein Multimerization/drug effects , Protein Subunits/drug effects , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure
20.
Eur J Med Chem ; 215: 113242, 2021 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086914

ABSTRACT

Currently, SARS-CoV-2 virus is an emerging pathogen that has posed a serious threat to public health worldwide. However, no agents have been approved to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections to date, underscoring the great need for effective and practical therapies for SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. We reported that a focused screen of OA saponins identified 3-O-ß-chacotriosyl OA benzyl ester 2 as a novel small molecule inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 virus entry, via binding to SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein (S). We performed structure-activity relationship profiling of 2 and discovered C-17-COOH of OA was an important modification site that improved both inhibitor potency toward SARS-CoV-2 and selectivity index. Then optimization from hit to lead resulted in a potent fusion inhibitor 12f displaying strong inhibition against infectious SARS-CoV-2 with an IC50 value of 0.97 µM in vitro. Mechanism studies confirmed that inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry of 12f was mediated by the direct interaction with SARS-CoV-2 S2 subunit to block membrane fusion. These 3-O-ß-chacotriosyl OA amide saponins are suitable for further optimization as SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors with the potential to be developed as therapeutic agents for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 virus infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Saponins/pharmacology , Triterpenes/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Discovery , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Molecular Structure , Protein Binding , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Saponins/chemical synthesis , Saponins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship , Triterpenes/chemical synthesis , Triterpenes/metabolism , Vero Cells
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