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1.
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
2.
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
3.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 44, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683982

ABSTRACT

The wide transmission and host adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 have led to the rapid accumulation of mutations, posing significant challenges to the effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. Although several neutralizing antibodies were authorized for emergency clinical use, convalescent patients derived natural antibodies are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 Spike mutation. Here, we describe the screen of a panel of SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) targeted nanobodies (Nbs) from a synthetic library and the design of a biparatopic Nb, named Nb1-Nb2, with tight affinity and super-wide neutralization breadth against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Deep-mutational scanning experiments identify the potential binding epitopes of the Nbs on the RBD and demonstrate that biparatopic Nb1-Nb2 has a strong escape-resistant feature against more than 60 tested RBD amino acid substitutions. Using pseudovirion-based and trans-complementation SARS-CoV-2 tools, we determine that the Nb1-Nb2 broadly neutralizes multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants at sub-nanomolar levels, including Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), Delta (B.1.617.2), Lambda (C.37), Kappa (B.1.617.1), and Mu (B.1.621). Furthermore, a heavy-chain antibody is constructed by fusing the human IgG1 Fc to Nb1-Nb2 (designated as Nb1-Nb2-Fc) to improve its neutralization potency, yield, stability, and potential half-life extension. For the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) that harbors unprecedented multiple RBD mutations, Nb1-Nb2-Fc keeps a firm affinity (KD < 1.0 × 10-12 M) and strong neutralizing activity (IC50 = 1.46 nM for authentic Omicron virus). Together, we developed a tetravalent biparatopic human heavy-chain antibody with ultrapotent and broad-spectrum SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity which highlights the potential clinical applications.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/pharmacology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibody Affinity , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/biosynthesis , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/genetics , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/biosynthesis , Single-Domain Antibodies/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
4.
Microb Cell Fact ; 21(1): 21, 2022 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666655

ABSTRACT

We have developed a method for the inexpensive, high-level expression of antigenic protein fragments of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in Escherichia coli. Our approach uses the thermophilic family 9 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM9) as an N-terminal carrier protein and affinity tag. The CBM9 module was joined to SARS-CoV-2 protein fragments via a flexible proline-threonine linker, which proved to be resistant to E. coli proteases. Two CBM9-spike protein fragment fusion proteins and one CBM9-nucleocapsid fragment fusion protein largely resisted protease degradation, while most of the CBM9 fusion proteins were degraded at some site in the SARS-CoV-2 protein fragment. All of the fusion proteins were highly expressed in E. coli and the CBM9-ID-H1 fusion protein was shown to yield 122 mg/L of purified product. Three purified CBM9-SARS-CoV-2 fusion proteins were tested and found to bind antibodies directed to the appropriate SARS-CoV-2 antigenic regions. The largest intact CBM9 fusion protein, CBM9-ID-H1, incorporates spike protein amino acids 540-588, which is a conserved region overlapping and C-terminal to the receptor binding domain that is widely recognized by human convalescent sera and contains a putative protective epitope.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/analysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
MAbs ; 14(1): 2021601, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625321

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019, caused by SARS-CoV-2, remains an on-going pandemic, partly due to the emergence of variant viruses that can "break-through" the protection of the current vaccines and neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), highlighting the needs for broadly nAbs and next-generation vaccines. We report an antibody that exhibits breadth and potency in binding the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the virus spike glycoprotein across SARS coronaviruses. Initially, a lead antibody was computationally discovered and crystallographically validated that binds to a highly conserved surface of the RBD of wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Subsequently, through experimental affinity enhancement and computational affinity maturation, it was further developed to bind the RBD of all concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants, SARS-CoV-1 and pangolin coronavirus with pico-molar binding affinities, consistently exhibited strong neutralization activity against wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha and Delta variants. These results identify a vulnerable target site on coronaviruses for development of pan-sarbecovirus nAbs and vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Affinity , Antibody Specificity , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/genetics , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fragments/immunology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Monte Carlo Method , Neutralization Tests , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Protein Domains , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Infect Genet Evol ; 97: 105188, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568934

ABSTRACT

The best and most effective way to combat pandemics is to use effective vaccines and live attenuated vaccines are among the most effective vaccines. However, one of the major problems is the length of time it takes to get the attenuated vaccines. Today, the CRISPR toolkit (Clustered Regularly Inerspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) has made it possible to make changes with high efficiency and speed. Using this toolkit to make point mutations on the RNA virus's genome in a coculture of permissive and nonpermissive cells and under controlled conditions can accelerate changes in the genome and accelerate natural selection to obtain live attenuated vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , CRISPR-Cas Systems , Gene Editing/methods , Mutation Rate , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , APOBEC Deaminases/genetics , APOBEC Deaminases/immunology , Adenosine Deaminase/genetics , Adenosine Deaminase/immunology , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/biosynthesis , Endonucleases/genetics , Endonucleases/immunology , Gene Expression , Genome, Viral , Humans , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Selection, Genetic , Vaccines, Attenuated , Viral Proteins/immunology
7.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 586: 137-142, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1520712

ABSTRACT

Nuclear pore complexes (NPC) regulate molecular traffics on nuclear envelope, which plays crucial roles during cell fate specification and diseases. The viral accessory protein NSP9 of SARS-CoV-2 is reported to interact with nucleoporin 62 (NUP62), a structural component of the NPC, but its biological impact on the host cell remain obscure. Here, we established new cell line models with ectopic NSP9 expression and determined the subcellular destination and biological functions of NSP9. Confocal imaging identified NSP9 to be largely localized in close proximity to the endoplasmic reticulum. In agreement with the subcellular distribution of NSP9, association of NSP9 with NUP62 was observed in cytoplasm. Furthermore, the overexpression of NSP9 correlated with a reduction of NUP62 expression on the nuclear envelope, suggesting that attenuating NUP62 expression might have contributed to defective NPC formation. Importantly, the loss of NUP62 impaired translocation of p65, a subunit of NF-κB, upon TNF-α stimulation. Concordantly, NSP9 over-expression blocked p65 nuclear transport. Taken together, these data shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying the modulation of host cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Endoplasmic Reticulum/virology , Gene Knockdown Techniques , HeLa Cells , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Models, Biological , Nuclear Envelope/metabolism , Nuclear Envelope/virology , Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Transcription Factor RelA/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
8.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(20)2021 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470893

ABSTRACT

SputnikV is a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology. The vaccine has been shown to induce both humoral and cellular immune responses, yet the mechanisms remain largely unknown. Forty SputnikV vaccinated individuals were included in this study which aimed to demonstrate the location of immunogenic domains of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein using an overlapping peptide library. Additionally, cytokines in the serum of vaccinated and convalescent COVID-19 patients were analyzed. We have found antibodies from both vaccinated and convalescent sera bind to immunogenic regions located in multiple domains of SARS-CoV-2 S protein, including Receptor Binding Domain (RBD), N-terminal Domain (NTD), Fusion Protein (FP) and Heptad Repeats (HRs). Interestingly, many peptides were recognized by immunized and convalescent serum antibodies and correspond to conserved regions in circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2. This breadth of reactivity was still evident 90 days after the first dose of the vaccine, showing that the vaccine has induced a prolonged response. As evidenced by the activation of T cells, cellular immunity strongly suggests the high potency of the SputnikV vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Adult , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/immunology , Principal Component Analysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Vaccination
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(44)2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470027

ABSTRACT

The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in over 100 million infections and millions of deaths. Effective vaccines remain the best hope of curtailing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, morbidity, and mortality. The vaccines in current use require cold storage and sophisticated manufacturing capacity, which complicates their distribution, especially in less developed countries. We report the development of a candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that is purely protein based and directly targets antigen-presenting cells. It consists of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike receptor-binding domain (SpikeRBD) fused to an alpaca-derived nanobody that recognizes class II major histocompatibility complex antigens (VHHMHCII). This vaccine elicits robust humoral and cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Both young and aged mice immunized with two doses of VHHMHCII-SpikeRBD elicit high-titer binding and neutralizing antibodies. Immunization also induces strong cellular immunity, including a robust CD8 T cell response. VHHMHCII-SpikeRBD is stable for at least 7 d at room temperature and can be lyophilized without loss of efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antigen-Presenting Cells/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Camelids, New World/immunology , Female , Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Secondary , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Pandemics/prevention & control , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/administration & dosage , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Single-Domain Antibodies/administration & dosage , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
10.
Curr Top Med Chem ; 21(14): 1235-1250, 2021 Oct 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441869

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Virus-like Particles (VLPs) are non-genetic multimeric nanoparticles synthesized through in vitro or in vivo self-assembly of one or more viral structural proteins. Immunogenicity and safety of VLPs make them ideal candidates for vaccine development and efficient nanocarriers for foreign antigens or adjuvants to activate the immune system. AIMS: The present study aimed to design and synthesize a chimeric VLP vaccine of the phage Qbeta (Qß) coat protein presenting the universal epitope of the coronavirus. METHODS: The RNA phage Qß coat protein was designed and synthesized, denoted as Qbeta. The CoV epitope, a universal epitope of coronavirus, was inserted into the C-terminal of Qbeta using genetic recombination, designated as Qbeta-CoV. The N-terminal of Qbeta-CoV was successively inserted into the TEV restriction site using mCherry red fluorescent label and modified affinity purified histidine label 6xHE, which was denoted as HE-Qbeta-CoV. Isopropyl ß-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) assessment revealed the expression of Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV in the BL21 (DE3) cells. The fusion protein was purified by salting out using ammonium sulfate and affinity chromatography. The morphology of particles was observed using electron microscopy. The female BALB/C mice were immunized intraperitoneally with the Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-- CoV chimeric VLPs vaccines and their sera were collected for the detection of antibody level and antibody titer using ELISA. The serum is used for the neutralization test of the three viruses of MHV, PEDV, and PDCoV. RESULTS: The results revealed that the fusion proteins Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV could all obtain successful expression. Particles with high purity were obtained after purification; the chimeric particles of Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-CoV were found to be similar to Qbeta particles in morphology and formed chimeric VLPs. In addition, two chimeric VLP vaccines induced specific antibody responses in mice and the antibodies showed certain neutralizing activity. CONCLUSION: The successful construction of the chimeric VLPs of the phage Qß coat protein presenting the universal epitope of coronavirus provides a vaccine form with potential clinical applications for the treatment of coronavirus disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Animals , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Phylogeny , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
11.
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
12.
Cell Rep ; 36(8): 109614, 2021 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370458

ABSTRACT

Zoonotic pathogens, such as COVID-19, reside in animal hosts before jumping species to infect humans. The Carnivora, like mink, carry many zoonoses, yet how diversity in host immune genes across species affect pathogen carriage is poorly understood. Here, we describe a progressive evolutionary downregulation of pathogen-sensing inflammasome pathways in Carnivora. This includes the loss of nucleotide-oligomerization domain leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs), acquisition of a unique caspase-1/-4 effector fusion protein that processes gasdermin D pore formation without inducing rapid lytic cell death, and the formation of a caspase-8 containing inflammasome that inefficiently processes interleukin-1ß. Inflammasomes regulate gut immunity, but the carnivorous diet has antimicrobial properties that could compensate for the loss of these immune pathways. We speculate that the consequences of systemic inflammasome downregulation, however, can impair host sensing of specific pathogens such that they can reside undetected in the Carnivora.


Subject(s)
Carnivora/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Zoonoses/pathology , Animals , Caspase 1/genetics , Caspase 1/metabolism , Caspase 8/metabolism , Caspases, Initiator/genetics , Caspases, Initiator/metabolism , Cell Death , Cell Line , Humans , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology , Macrophages/cytology , Macrophages/drug effects , Macrophages/metabolism , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , NLR Proteins/genetics , NLR Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Salmonella typhi/pathogenicity , Zoonoses/immunology , Zoonoses/parasitology
13.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 366, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351981

ABSTRACT

GFP fusion-based fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography (FSEC) has been widely employed for membrane protein expression screening. However, fused GFP itself may occasionally affect the expression and/or stability of the targeted membrane protein, leading to both false-positive and false-negative results in expression screening. Furthermore, GFP fusion technology is not well suited for some membrane proteins, depending on their membrane topology. Here, we developed an FSEC assay utilizing nanobody (Nb) technology, named FSEC-Nb, in which targeted membrane proteins are fused to a small peptide tag and recombinantly expressed. The whole-cell extracts are solubilized, mixed with anti-peptide Nb fused to GFP for FSEC analysis. FSEC-Nb enables the evaluation of the expression, monodispersity and thermostability of membrane proteins without the need for purification but does not require direct GFP fusion to targeted proteins. Our results show FSEC-Nb as a powerful tool for expression screening of membrane proteins for structural and functional studies.


Subject(s)
Chromatography, Gel , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nanotechnology , Peptides/metabolism , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Animals , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/genetics , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/immunology , Cysteine Loop Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Receptors/metabolism , Fish Proteins/genetics , Fish Proteins/immunology , Fish Proteins/metabolism , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/immunology , Oryzias/genetics , Oryzias/metabolism , Peptides/genetics , Peptides/immunology , Protein Stability , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spectrometry, Fluorescence , Temperature , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology , Viral Proteins/metabolism
14.
Biol Cell ; 113(7): 311-328, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294968

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Comprehensive libraries of plasmids for SARS-CoV-2 proteins with various tags (e.g., Strep, HA, Turbo) are now available. They enable the identification of numerous potential protein-protein interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and host proteins. RESULTS: We present here a large library of SARS CoV-2 protein constructs fused with green and red fluorescent proteins and their initial characterisation in various human cell lines including lung epithelial cell models (A549, BEAS-2B), as well as in budding yeast. The localisation of a few SARS-CoV-2 proteins matches their proposed interactions with host proteins. These include the localisation of Nsp13 to the centrosome, Orf3a to late endosomes and Orf9b to mitochondria. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This library should facilitate further cellular investigations, notably by imaging techniques.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Peptide Library , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , A549 Cells , Cell Line , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , Microscopy, Fluorescence , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Time-Lapse Imaging , Viral Proteins/genetics
15.
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
16.
Curr Top Med Chem ; 21(14): 1235-1250, 2021 Oct 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274595

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Virus-like Particles (VLPs) are non-genetic multimeric nanoparticles synthesized through in vitro or in vivo self-assembly of one or more viral structural proteins. Immunogenicity and safety of VLPs make them ideal candidates for vaccine development and efficient nanocarriers for foreign antigens or adjuvants to activate the immune system. AIMS: The present study aimed to design and synthesize a chimeric VLP vaccine of the phage Qbeta (Qß) coat protein presenting the universal epitope of the coronavirus. METHODS: The RNA phage Qß coat protein was designed and synthesized, denoted as Qbeta. The CoV epitope, a universal epitope of coronavirus, was inserted into the C-terminal of Qbeta using genetic recombination, designated as Qbeta-CoV. The N-terminal of Qbeta-CoV was successively inserted into the TEV restriction site using mCherry red fluorescent label and modified affinity purified histidine label 6xHE, which was denoted as HE-Qbeta-CoV. Isopropyl ß-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) assessment revealed the expression of Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV in the BL21 (DE3) cells. The fusion protein was purified by salting out using ammonium sulfate and affinity chromatography. The morphology of particles was observed using electron microscopy. The female BALB/C mice were immunized intraperitoneally with the Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-- CoV chimeric VLPs vaccines and their sera were collected for the detection of antibody level and antibody titer using ELISA. The serum is used for the neutralization test of the three viruses of MHV, PEDV, and PDCoV. RESULTS: The results revealed that the fusion proteins Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV could all obtain successful expression. Particles with high purity were obtained after purification; the chimeric particles of Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-CoV were found to be similar to Qbeta particles in morphology and formed chimeric VLPs. In addition, two chimeric VLP vaccines induced specific antibody responses in mice and the antibodies showed certain neutralizing activity. CONCLUSION: The successful construction of the chimeric VLPs of the phage Qß coat protein presenting the universal epitope of coronavirus provides a vaccine form with potential clinical applications for the treatment of coronavirus disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Animals , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Phylogeny , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
17.
Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247308

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), various vaccines are being developed, with most vaccine candidates focusing on the viral spike protein. Here, we developed a previously unknown subunit vaccine comprising the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein fused with the tetanus toxoid epitope P2 (RBD-P2) and tested its efficacy in rodents and nonhuman primates (NHPs). We also investigated whether the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N) could increase vaccine efficacy. Immunization with N and RBD-P2 (RBDP2/N) + alum increased T cell responses in mice and neutralizing antibody levels in rats compared with those obtained using RBD-P2 + alum. Furthermore, in NHPs, RBD-P2/N + alum induced slightly faster SARS-CoV-2 clearance than that induced by RBD-P2 + alum, albeit without statistical significance. Our study supports further development of RBD-P2 as a vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. Also, it provides insights regarding the use of N in protein-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Tetanus Toxoid/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Female , Macaca fascicularis , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Transgenic , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Domains , Rats , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera , Tetanus Toxoid/genetics , Vero Cells
18.
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
19.
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
20.
Biol Cell ; 113(7): 311-328, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Comprehensive libraries of plasmids for SARS-CoV-2 proteins with various tags (e.g., Strep, HA, Turbo) are now available. They enable the identification of numerous potential protein-protein interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and host proteins. RESULTS: We present here a large library of SARS CoV-2 protein constructs fused with green and red fluorescent proteins and their initial characterisation in various human cell lines including lung epithelial cell models (A549, BEAS-2B), as well as in budding yeast. The localisation of a few SARS-CoV-2 proteins matches their proposed interactions with host proteins. These include the localisation of Nsp13 to the centrosome, Orf3a to late endosomes and Orf9b to mitochondria. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This library should facilitate further cellular investigations, notably by imaging techniques.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Peptide Library , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , A549 Cells , Cell Line , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , Microscopy, Fluorescence , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Time-Lapse Imaging , Viral Proteins/genetics
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