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2.
J Virol ; 96(4): e0162221, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706888

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can induce mild to life-threatening symptoms. Especially individuals over 60 years of age or with underlying comorbidities, including heart or lung disease and diabetes, or immunocompromised patients are at a higher risk. Fatal multiorgan damage in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients can be attributed to an interleukin-6 (IL-6)-dominated cytokine storm. Consequently, IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) monoclonal antibody treatment for severe COVID-19 cases has been approved for therapy. High concentrations of soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R) were found in COVID-19 intensive care unit patients, suggesting the involvement of IL-6 trans-signaling in disease pathology. Here, in analogy to bispecific antibodies (bsAbs), we developed the first bispecific IL-6 trans-signaling inhibitor, c19s130Fc, which blocks viral infection and IL-6 trans-signaling. c19s130Fc is a designer protein of the IL-6 trans-signaling inhibitor cs130 fused to a single-domain nanobody directed against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. c19s130Fc binds with high affinity to IL-6:sIL-6R complexes as well as the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, as shown by surface plasmon resonance. Using cell-based assays, we demonstrate that c19s130Fc blocks IL-6 trans-signaling-induced proliferation and STAT3 phosphorylation in Ba/F3-gp130 cells as well as SARS-CoV-2 infection and STAT3 phosphorylation in Vero cells. Taken together, c19s130Fc represents a new class of bispecific inhibitors consisting of a soluble cytokine receptor fused to antiviral nanobodies and principally demonstrates the multifunctionalization of trans-signaling inhibitors. IMPORTANCE The availability of effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is a large step forward in managing the pandemic situation. In addition, therapeutic options, e.g., monoclonal antibodies to prevent viral cell entry and anti-inflammatory therapies, including glucocorticoid treatment, are currently developed or in clinical use to treat already infected patients. Here, we report a novel dual-specificity inhibitor to simultaneously target SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus-induced hyperinflammation. This was achieved by fusing an inhibitor of viral cell entry with a molecule blocking IL-6, a key mediator of SARS-CoV-2-induced hyperinflammation. Through this dual action, this molecule may have the potential to efficiently ameliorate symptoms of COVID-19 in infected individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cytokine Receptor gp130 , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytokine Receptor gp130/chemistry , Cytokine Receptor gp130/genetics , Humans , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , Single-Domain Antibodies/chemistry , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Vero Cells
3.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 152, 2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1701655

ABSTRACT

The complement system constitutes the innate defense against pathogens. Its dysregulation leads to diseases and is a critical determinant in many viral infections, e.g., COVID-19. Factor H (FH) is the main regulator of the alternative pathway of complement activation and could be a therapy to restore homeostasis. However, recombinant FH is not available. Engineered FH versions may be alternative therapeutics. Here, we designed a synthetic protein, MFHR13, as a multitarget complement regulator. It combines the dimerization and C5-regulatory domains of human FH-related protein 1 (FHR1) with the C3-regulatory and cell surface recognition domains of human FH, including SCR 13. In summary, the fusion protein MFHR13 comprises SCRs FHR11-2:FH1-4:FH13:FH19-20. It protects sheep erythrocytes from complement attack exhibiting 26 and 4-fold the regulatory activity of eculizumab and human FH, respectively. Furthermore, we demonstrate that MFHR13 and FHR1 bind to all proteins forming the membrane attack complex, which contributes to the mechanistic understanding of FHR1. We consider MFHR13 a promising candidate as therapeutic for complement-associated diseases.


Subject(s)
Blood Proteins/metabolism , Complement Activation , Complement Factor H/metabolism , Complement System Proteins/metabolism , Erythrocytes/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Bryopsida/genetics , Bryopsida/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Complement Membrane Attack Complex/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sheep
4.
Chembiochem ; 23(2): e202100514, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653182

ABSTRACT

In addition to a membrane anchor, the transmembrane domain (TMD) of single-pass transmembrane proteins (SPTMPs) recently has shown essential roles in the cross-membrane activity or receptor assembly/clustering. However, these small TMD peptides are generally hydrophobic and dynamic, difficult to be expressed and purified. Here, we have integrated the power of TrpLE fusion protein and a sequence-specific nickel-assisted cleavage (SNAC)-tag to produce small TMD peptides in a highly efficient way under mild conditions, which uses Ni2+ as the cleavage reagent, avoiding the usage of toxic cyanogen bromide (CNBr). Furthermore, this method simplifies the downstream protein purification and reconstitution. Two representative TMDs, including the Spike-TMD from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS2), were successfully produced with high-quality nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra. Therefore, our study provides a more efficient and practical approach for general structural characterization of the small TM proteins.


Subject(s)
Nickel/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalysis , Humans , Membrane Proteins/chemistry , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/isolation & purification , Proteolysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
Chembiochem ; 23(2): e202100514, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1549172

ABSTRACT

In addition to a membrane anchor, the transmembrane domain (TMD) of single-pass transmembrane proteins (SPTMPs) recently has shown essential roles in the cross-membrane activity or receptor assembly/clustering. However, these small TMD peptides are generally hydrophobic and dynamic, difficult to be expressed and purified. Here, we have integrated the power of TrpLE fusion protein and a sequence-specific nickel-assisted cleavage (SNAC)-tag to produce small TMD peptides in a highly efficient way under mild conditions, which uses Ni2+ as the cleavage reagent, avoiding the usage of toxic cyanogen bromide (CNBr). Furthermore, this method simplifies the downstream protein purification and reconstitution. Two representative TMDs, including the Spike-TMD from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS2), were successfully produced with high-quality nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra. Therefore, our study provides a more efficient and practical approach for general structural characterization of the small TM proteins.


Subject(s)
Nickel/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalysis , Humans , Membrane Proteins/chemistry , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/isolation & purification , Proteolysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Immunogenetics ; 73(6): 459-477, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1427234

ABSTRACT

Since 2019, the world was involved with SARS-CoV-2 and consequently, with the announcement by the World Health Organization that COVID-19 was a pandemic, scientific were an effort to obtain the best approach to combat this global dilemma. The best way to prevent the pandemic from spreading further is to use a vaccine against COVID-19. Here, we report the design of a recombinant multi-epitope vaccine against the four proteins spike or crown (S), membrane (M), nucleocapsid (N), and envelope (E) of SARS-CoV-2 using immunoinformatics tools. We evaluated the most antigenic epitopes that bind to HLA class 1 subtypes, along with HLA class 2, as well as B cell epitopes. Beta-defensin 3 and PADRE sequence were used as adjuvants in the structure of the vaccine. KK, GPGPG, and AAY linkers were used to fuse the selected epitopes. The nucleotide sequence was cloned into pET26b(+) vector using restriction enzymes XhoI and NdeI, and HisTag sequence was considered in the C-terminal of the construct. The results showed that the proposed candidate vaccine is a 70.87 kDa protein with high antigenicity and immunogenicity as well as non-allergenic and non-toxic. A total of 95% of the selected epitopes have conservancy with similar sequences. Molecular docking showed a strong binding between the vaccine structure and tool-like receptor (TLR) 7/8. The docking, molecular dynamics, and MM/PBSA analysis showed that the vaccine established a stable interaction with both structures of TLR7 and TLR8. Simulation of immune stimulation by this vaccine showed that it evokes immune responses related to humoral and cellular immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Base Sequence , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/metabolism , Computational Biology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , HLA Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Molecular Weight , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Toll-Like Receptor 7/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 8/chemistry , Vaccines, Subunit/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/metabolism , Vaccinology , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology
7.
Biol Aujourdhui ; 215(1-2): 25-43, 2021.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358361

ABSTRACT

Targeted protein degradation (TPD), discovered twenty years ago through the PROTAC technology, is rapidly developing thanks to the implication of many scientists from industry and academia. PROTAC chimeras are heterobifunctional molecules able to link simultaneously a protein to be degraded and an E3 ubiquitin ligase. This allows the protein ubiquitination and its degradation by 26S proteasome. PROTACs have evolved from small peptide molecules to small non-peptide and orally available molecules. It was shown that PROTACs are capable to degrade proteins considered as "undruggable" i.e. devoid of well-defined pockets and deep grooves possibly occupied by small molecules. Among these "hard to drug" proteins, several can be degraded by PROTACs: scaffold proteins, BAF complex, transcription factors, Ras family proteins. Two PROTACs are clinically tested for breast (ARV471) and prostate (ARV110) cancers. The protein degradation by proteasome is also induced by other types of molecules: molecular glues, hydrophobic tagging (HyT), HaloPROTACs and homo-PROTACs. Other cellular constituents are eligible to induced degradation: RNA-PROTACs for RNA binding proteins and RIBOTACs for degradation of RNA itself (SARS-CoV-2 RNA). TPD has recently moved beyond the proteasome with LYTACs (lysosome targeting chimeras) and MADTACs (macroautophagy degradation targeting chimeras). Several techniques such as screening platforms together with mathematical modeling and computational design are now used to improve the discovery of new efficient PROTACs.


TITLE: Dégradation induite des protéines par des molécules PROTAC et stratégies apparentées : développements à visée thérapeutique. ABSTRACT: Alors que, pour la plupart, les médicaments actuels sont de petites molécules inhibant l'action d'une protéine en bloquant un site d'interaction, la dégradation ciblée des protéines, découverte il y a une vingtaine d'années via les petites molécules PROTAC, connaît aujourd'hui un très grand développement, aussi bien au niveau universitaire qu'industriel. Cette dégradation ciblée permet de contrôler la concentration intracellulaire d'une protéine spécifique comme peuvent le faire les techniques basées sur les acides nucléiques (oligonucléotides antisens, ARNsi, CRISPR-Cas9). Les molécules PROTAC sont des chimères hétéro-bifonctionnelles capables de lier simultanément une protéine spécifique devant être dégradée et une E3 ubiquitine ligase. Les PROTAC sont donc capables de provoquer l'ubiquitinylation de la protéine ciblée et sa dégradation par le protéasome 26S. De nature peptidique, puis non peptidique, les PROTAC sont maintenant administrables par voie orale. Ce détournement du système ubiquitine protéasome permet aux molécules PROTAC d'élargir considérablement le champ des applications thérapeutiques puisque l'élimination de protéines dépourvues de poches ou de crevasses bien définies, dites difficiles à cibler, devient possible. Cette technologie versatile a conduit à la dégradation d'une grande variété de protéines comme des facteurs de transcription, des sérine/thréonine/tyrosine kinases, des protéines de structure, des protéines cytosoliques, des lecteurs épigénétiques. Certaines ligases telles que VHL, MDM2, cereblon et IAP sont couramment utilisées pour être recrutées par les PROTAC. Actuellement, le nombre de ligases pouvant être utilisées ainsi que la nature des protéines dégradées sont en constante augmentation. Deux PROTAC sont en étude clinique pour les cancers du sein (ARV471) et de la prostate (ARV110). La dégradation spécifique d'une protéine par le protéasome peut aussi être induite par d'autres types de molécules synthétiques : colles moléculaires, marqueurs hydrophobes, HaloPROTAC, homo-PROTAC. D'autres constituants cellulaires sont aussi éligibles à une dégradation induite : ARN-PROTAC pour les protéines se liant à l'ARN et RIBOTAC pour la dégradation de l'ARN lui-même comme celui du SARS-CoV-2. Des dégradations induites en dehors du protéasome sont aussi connues : LYTAC, pour des chimères détournant la dégradation de protéines extracellulaires vers les lysosomes, et MADTAC, pour des chimères détournant la dégradation par macroautophagie. Plusieurs techniques, en particulier des plates-formes de criblage, la modélisation mathématique et la conception computationnelle sont utilisées pour le développement de nouveaux PROTAC efficaces.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Design , Molecular Targeted Therapy/methods , Proteolysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antineoplastic Agents/chemistry , Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology , Autophagy , Catalysis , Humans , Lysosomes/metabolism , Neoplasm Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex/metabolism , Protein Conformation , Protein Processing, Post-Translational/drug effects , Protein Stability , Proteolysis/drug effects , RNA/drug effects , RNA-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacokinetics , Structure-Activity Relationship , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/metabolism , Ubiquitination
8.
Protein Sci ; 30(9): 1983-1990, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287395

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has applied significant pressure on overtaxed healthcare around the world, underscoring the urgent need for rapid diagnosis and treatment. We have developed a bacterial strategy for the expression and purification of a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) that includes the SD1 domain. Bacterial cytoplasm is a reductive environment, which is problematic when the recombinant protein of interest requires complicated folding and/or processing. The use of the CyDisCo system (cytoplasmic disulfide bond formation in E. coli) bypasses this issue by pre-expressing a sulfhydryl oxidase and a disulfide isomerase, allowing the recombinant protein to be correctly folded with disulfide bonds for protein integrity and functionality. We show that it is possible to quickly and inexpensively produce an active RBD in bacteria that is capable of recognizing and binding to the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme) receptor as well as antibodies in COVID-19 patient sera.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Escherichia coli/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Humans , Protein Domains , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
9.
Proteins ; 89(9): 1065-1078, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222689

ABSTRACT

SARS coronavirus 2 is neutralized by proteins that block receptor-binding sites on spikes that project from the viral envelope. In particular, substantial research investment has advanced monoclonal antibody therapies to the clinic where they have shown partial efficacy in reducing viral burden and hospitalization. An alternative is to use the host entry receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as a soluble decoy that broadly blocks SARS-associated coronaviruses with limited potential for viral escape. Here, we summarize efforts to engineer higher affinity variants of soluble ACE2 that rival the potency of affinity-matured antibodies. Strategies have also been used to increase the valency of ACE2 decoys for avid spike interactions and to improve pharmacokinetics via IgG fusions. Finally, the intrinsic catalytic activity of ACE2 for the turnover of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II may directly address COVID-19 symptoms and protect against lung and cardiovascular injury, conferring dual mechanisms of action unachievable by monoclonal antibodies. Soluble ACE2 derivatives therefore have the potential to be next generation therapeutics for addressing the immediate needs of the current pandemic and possible future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Molecular Mimicry , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/metabolism , Mutation , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nanoparticles/metabolism , Protein Binding , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry
10.
EMBO J ; 40(11): e102277, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194823

ABSTRACT

The ongoing outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) demonstrates the continuous threat of emerging coronaviruses (CoVs) to public health. SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share an otherwise non-conserved part of non-structural protein 3 (Nsp3), therefore named as "SARS-unique domain" (SUD). We previously found a yeast-2-hybrid screen interaction of the SARS-CoV SUD with human poly(A)-binding protein (PABP)-interacting protein 1 (Paip1), a stimulator of protein translation. Here, we validate SARS-CoV SUD:Paip1 interaction by size-exclusion chromatography, split-yellow fluorescent protein, and co-immunoprecipitation assays, and confirm such interaction also between the corresponding domain of SARS-CoV-2 and Paip1. The three-dimensional structure of the N-terminal domain of SARS-CoV SUD ("macrodomain II", Mac2) in complex with the middle domain of Paip1, determined by X-ray crystallography and small-angle X-ray scattering, provides insights into the structural determinants of the complex formation. In cellulo, SUD enhances synthesis of viral but not host proteins via binding to Paip1 in pBAC-SARS-CoV replicon-transfected cells. We propose a possible mechanism for stimulation of viral translation by the SUD of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Peptide Initiation Factors/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS Virus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Bacterial Proteins , Chromatography, Gel , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Crystallography, X-Ray , Genes, Reporter , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunoprecipitation , Luminescent Proteins , Models, Molecular , Peptide Initiation Factors/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Biosynthesis , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Mapping , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Ribosome Subunits/metabolism , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Scattering, Small Angle , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , X-Ray Diffraction
11.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 558: 79-85, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193239

ABSTRACT

During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected almost 108 individuals. Quite a number of vaccines against COVID-19 were therefore developed, and a few recently received authorization for emergency use. Overall, these vaccines target specific viral proteins by antibodies whose synthesis is directly elicited or indirectly triggered by nucleic acids coding for the desired targets. Among these targets, the receptor binding domain (RBD) of COVID-19 spike protein (SP) does frequently occur in the repertoire of candidate vaccines. However, the immunogenicity of RBD per se is limited by its low molecular mass, and by a structural rearrangement of full-length SP accompanied by the detachment of RBD. Here we show that the RBD of COVID-19 SP can be conveniently produced in Escherichia coli when fused to a fragment of CRM197, a variant of diphtheria toxin currently used for a number of conjugated vaccines. In particular, we show that the CRM197-RBD chimera solubilized from inclusion bodies can be refolded and purified to a state featuring the 5 native disulphide bonds of the parental proteins, the competence in binding angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and a satisfactory stability at room temperature. Accordingly, our observations provide compulsory information for the development of a candidate vaccine directed against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/biosynthesis , Bacterial Proteins/isolation & purification , Base Sequence , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Inclusion Bodies/chemistry , Inclusion Bodies/metabolism , Mass Spectrometry , Models, Molecular , Protein Refolding , Protein Stability , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Temperature , Time Factors
12.
SLAS Discov ; 26(6): 749-756, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1136206

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a significant threat to human health. Despite its similarity to related coronaviruses, there are currently no specific treatments for COVID-19 infection, and therefore there is an urgent need to develop therapies for this and future coronavirus outbreaks. Formation of the cap at the 5' end of viral RNA has been shown to help coronaviruses evade host defenses. Nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) is responsible for N7-methylation of the cap guanosine in coronaviruses. This enzyme is highly conserved among coronaviruses and is a bifunctional protein with both N7-methyltransferase and 3'-5' exonuclease activities that distinguish nsp14 from its human equivalent. Mutational analysis of SARS-CoV nsp14 highlighted its role in viral replication and translation efficiency of the viral genome. In this paper, we describe the characterization and development of a high-throughput assay for nsp14 utilizing RapidFire technology. The assay has been used to screen a library of 1771 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs. From this, we have validated nitazoxanide as a selective inhibitor of the methyltransferase activity of nsp14. Although modestly active, this compound could serve as a starting point for further optimization.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Nitro Compounds/pharmacology , RNA Caps/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA, Viral/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thiazoles/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiparasitic Agents/chemistry , Antiparasitic Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular , Drug Repositioning , Enzyme Assays , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Gene Expression , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/metabolism , Humans , Kinetics , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Methylation , Nitro Compounds/chemistry , Prescription Drugs/chemistry , Prescription Drugs/pharmacology , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Thiazoles/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
13.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(3): e1009328, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1115314

ABSTRACT

A key step to the SARS-CoV-2 infection is the attachment of its Spike receptor-binding domain (S RBD) to the host receptor ACE2. Considerable research has been devoted to the development of neutralizing antibodies, including llama-derived single-chain nanobodies, to target the receptor-binding motif (RBM) and to block ACE2-RBD binding. Simple and effective strategies to increase potency are desirable for such studies when antibodies are only modestly effective. Here, we identify and characterize a high-affinity synthetic nanobody (sybody, SR31) as a fusion partner to improve the potency of RBM-antibodies. Crystallographic studies reveal that SR31 binds to RBD at a conserved and 'greasy' site distal to RBM. Although SR31 distorts RBD at the interface, it does not perturb the RBM conformation, hence displaying no neutralizing activities itself. However, fusing SR31 to two modestly neutralizing sybodies dramatically increases their affinity for RBD and neutralization activity against SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. Our work presents a tool protein and an efficient strategy to improve nanobody potency.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibody Affinity , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/chemistry , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics
14.
Biophys J ; 120(6): 1105-1119, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1103746

ABSTRACT

Cell penetration after recognition of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus by the ACE2 receptor and the fusion of its viral envelope membrane with cellular membranes are the early steps of infectivity. A region of the Spike protein of the virus, identified as the "fusion peptide" (FP), is liberated at its N-terminal site by a specific cleavage occurring in concert with the interaction of the receptor-binding domain of the Spike. Studies have shown that penetration is enhanced by the required binding of Ca2+ ions to the FPs of coronaviruses, but the mechanisms of membrane insertion and destabilization remain unclear. We have predicted the preferred positions of Ca2+ binding to the SARS-CoV-2-FP, the role of Ca2+ ions in mediating peptide-membrane interactions, the preferred mode of insertion of the Ca2+-bound SARS-CoV-2-FP, and consequent effects on the lipid bilayer from extensive atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and trajectory analyses. In a systematic sampling of the interactions of the Ca2+-bound peptide models with lipid membranes, SARS-CoV-2-FP penetrated the bilayer and disrupted its organization only in two modes involving different structural domains. In one, the hydrophobic residues F833/I834 from the middle region of the peptide are inserted. In the other, more prevalent mode, the penetration involves residues L822/F823 from the LLF motif, which is conserved in CoV-2-like viruses, and is achieved by the binding of Ca2+ ions to the D830/D839 and E819/D820 residue pairs. FP penetration is shown to modify the molecular organization in specific areas of the bilayer, and the extent of membrane binding of the SARS-CoV-2 FP is significantly reduced in the absence of Ca2+ ions. These findings provide novel mechanistic insights regarding the role of Ca2+ in mediating SARS-CoV-2 fusion and provide a detailed structural platform to aid the ongoing efforts in rational design of compounds to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 cell entry.


Subject(s)
Calcium/metabolism , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Cell Membrane Permeability , Membrane Lipids/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pressure , Probability , Protein Stability , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Water/chemistry
15.
Mol Biotechnol ; 63(3): 240-248, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1037255

ABSTRACT

The global public health has been compromised since the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late December 2019. There are no specific antiviral drugs available to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection. Besides the rapid dissemination of SARS-CoV-2, several variants have been identified with a potential epidemiologic and pathogenic variation. This fact has forced antiviral drug development strategies to stay innovative, including new drug discovery protocols, combining drugs, and establishing new drug classes. Thus, developing novel screening methods and direct-targeting viral enzymes could be an attractive strategy to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this study, we designed, optimized, and validated a cell-based assay protocol for high-throughput screening (HTS) antiviral drug inhibitors against main viral protease (3CLpro). We applied the split-GFP complementation to develop GFP-split-3CLpro HTS system. The system consists of GFP-based reporters that become fluorescent upon cleavage by SARS-CoV-2 protease 3CLpro. We generated a stable GFP-split-3CLpro HTS system valid to screen large drug libraries for inhibitors to SARS-CoV-2 main protease in the bio-safety level 2 laboratory, providing real-time antiviral activity of the tested compounds. Using this assay, we identified a new class of viral protease inhibitors derived from quinazoline compounds that worth further in vitro and in vivo validation.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Drug Development , Green Fluorescent Proteins/chemistry , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries
16.
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
17.
J Virol ; 95(3)2021 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-920894

ABSTRACT

Torovirus (ToV) has recently been classified into the new family Tobaniviridae, although historically, it belonged to the Coronavirus (CoV) family. The nucleocapsid (N) proteins of CoVs are predominantly localized in the cytoplasm, where the viruses replicate, but in some cases the proteins are partially located in the nucleolus. Many studies have investigated the subcellular localization and nucleocytoplasmic trafficking signals of the CoV N proteins, but little is known about ToV N proteins. Here, we studied the subcellular localization of the bovine ToV (BToV) N protein (BToN) and characterized its nucleocytoplasmic trafficking signals. Unlike other CoVs, BToN in infected cells was transported mainly to the nucleolus during early infection but was distributed predominantly in the nucleoplasm rather than in the nucleolus during late infection. Interestingly, a small quantity of BToN was detected in the cytoplasm during infection. Examination of a comprehensive set of substitution or deletion mutants of BToN fused with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) revealed that clusters of arginine (R) residues comprise nuclear/nucleolar localization signals (NLS/NoLS), and the C-terminal region served as a chromosomal maintenance 1 (CRM1)-independent nuclear export signal (NES). Moreover, recombinant viruses with mutations in the NLS/NoLS, but retaining nuclear accumulation, were successfully rescued and showed slightly reduced growth ability, while the virus that lost the NLS/NoLS-mediated nuclear accumulation of BToN was not rescued. These results indicate that BToN uniquely accumulates mainly in nuclear compartments during infection, regulated by an R-rich NLS/NoLS and a CRM1-independent NES, and that the BToN accumulation in the nuclear compartment driven by NLS/NoLS is important for virus growth.IMPORTANCE ToVs are diarrhea-causing pathogens detected in many species, including humans. BToV has spread worldwide, leading to economic loss, and there is currently no treatment or vaccine available. Positive-stranded RNA viruses, including ToVs, replicate in the cytoplasm, and their structural proteins generally accumulate in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, BToN accumulated predominantly in the nucleus/nucleolus during all infectious processes, with only a small fraction accumulating in the cytoplasm despite being a major structural protein. Furthermore, we identified unique nucleocytoplasmic trafficking signals and demonstrated the importance of NLS/NoLS for virus growth. This study is the first to undertake an in-depth investigation of the subcellular localization and intracellular trafficking signals of BToN. Our findings additionally suggest that the NLS/NoLS-mediated nuclear accumulation of BToN is important for virus replication. An understanding of the unique features of BToV may provide novel insights into the assembly mechanisms of not only ToVs but also other positive-stranded RNA viruses.


Subject(s)
Cell Nucleus/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Torovirus/physiology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Cell Line , Cell Nucleolus/metabolism , Cytoplasm/metabolism , Humans , Mutation , Nuclear Export Signals , Nuclear Localization Signals , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Torovirus/growth & development , Torovirus/metabolism , Virus Replication/genetics
18.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 165(Pt B): 1626-1633, 2020 Dec 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-866724

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2, and recombinant ACE2 decoys are being evaluated as new antiviral therapies. We designed and tested an antibody-like ACE2-Fc fusion protein, which has the benefit of long pharmacological half-life and the potential to facilitate immune clearance of the virus. Out of a concern that the intrinsic catalytic activity of ACE2 may unintentionally alter the balance of its hormonal substrates and cause adverse cardiovascular effects in treatment, we performed a mutagenesis screening for inactivating the enzyme. Three mutants, R273A, H378A and E402A, completely lost their enzymatic activity for either surrogate or physiological substrates. All of them remained capable of binding SARS-CoV-2 and could suppress the transduction of a pseudotyped virus in cell culture. This study established new ACE2-Fc candidates as antiviral treatment for SARS-CoV-2 without potentially harmful side effects from ACE2's catalytic actions toward its vasoactive substrates.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments , Recombinant Fusion Proteins , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/genetics , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/pharmacology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mutation, Missense , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology
19.
Vaccine ; 38(42): 6487-6499, 2020 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-720733

ABSTRACT

The many carbohydrate chains on Covid-19 coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its S-protein form a glycan-shield that masks antigenic peptides and decreases uptake of inactivated virus or S-protein vaccines by APC. Studies on inactivated influenza virus and recombinant gp120 of HIV vaccines indicate that glycoengineering of glycan-shields to present α-gal epitopes (Galα1-3Galß1-4GlcNAc-R) enables harnessing of the natural anti-Gal antibody for amplifying vaccine efficacy, as evaluated in mice producing anti-Gal. The α-gal epitope is the ligand for the natural anti-Gal antibody which constitutes ~1% of immunoglobulins in humans. Upon administration of vaccines presenting α-gal epitopes, anti-Gal binds to these epitopes at the vaccination site and forms immune complexes with the vaccines. These immune complexes are targeted for extensive uptake by APC as a result of binding of the Fc portion of immunocomplexed anti-Gal to Fc receptors on APC. This anti-Gal mediated effective uptake of vaccines by APC results in 10-200-fold higher anti-viral immune response and in 8-fold higher survival rate following challenge with a lethal dose of live influenza virus, than same vaccines lacking α-gal epitopes. It is suggested that glycoengineering of carbohydrate chains on the glycan-shield of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 or on S-protein vaccines, for presenting α-gal epitopes, will have similar amplifying effects on vaccine efficacy. α-Gal epitope synthesis on coronavirus vaccines can be achieved with recombinant α1,3galactosyltransferase, replication of the virus in cells with high α1,3galactosyltransferase activity as a result of stable transfection of cells with several copies of the α1,3galactosyltransferase gene (GGTA1), or by transduction of host cells with replication defective adenovirus containing this gene. In addition, recombinant S-protein presenting multiple α-gal epitopes on the glycan-shield may be produced in glycoengineered yeast or bacteria expression systems containing the corresponding glycosyltransferases. Prospective Covid-19 vaccines presenting α-gal epitopes may provide better protection than vaccines lacking this epitope because of increased uptake by APC.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/genetics , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Trisaccharides/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Dendritic Cells/drug effects , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Dendritic Cells/virology , Genetic Engineering , HIV Core Protein p24/chemistry , HIV Core Protein p24/genetics , HIV Core Protein p24/immunology , HIV Envelope Protein gp120/chemistry , HIV Envelope Protein gp120/genetics , HIV Envelope Protein gp120/immunology , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Macrophages/drug effects , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/virology , Mice , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Trisaccharides/chemistry , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Viral Vaccines/biosynthesis , Viral Vaccines/genetics
20.
PLoS One ; 15(8): e0237295, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695314

ABSTRACT

We develop fully glycosylated computational models of ACE2-Fc fusion proteins which are promising targets for a COVID-19 therapeutic. These models are tested in their interaction with a fragment of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the Spike Protein S of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, via atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. We see that some ACE2 glycans interact with the S fragments, and glycans are influencing the conformation of the ACE2 receptor. Additionally, we optimize algorithms for protein glycosylation modelling in order to expedite future model development. All models and algorithms are openly available.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Algorithms , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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