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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.
Biomolecules ; 12(2)2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674481

ABSTRACT

Ribonuclease inhibitors (RIs) are an indispensable biotechnological tool for the detection and manipulation of RNA. Nowadays, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, highly sensitive detection of RNA has become more important than ever. Although the recombinant expression of RNase inhibitors is possible in E. coli, the robust expression is complicated by maintaining the redox potential and solubility by various expression tags. In the present paper we describe the expression of RI in baculovirus-infected High Five cells in large scale utilizing a modified transfer vector combining the beneficial properties of Profinity Exact Tag and pONE system. The recombinant RI is expressed at a high level in a fusion form, which is readily cleaved during on-column chromatography. A subsequent anion exchange chromatography was used as a polishing step to yield 12 mg native RI per liter of culture. RI expressed in insect cells shows higher thermal stability than the commercially available RI products (mainly produced in E. coli) based on temperature-dependent RNase inhibition studies. The endotoxin-free RI variant may also be applied in future therapeutics as a safe additive to increase mRNA stability in mRNA-based vaccines.


Subject(s)
Insecta/genetics , Insecta/metabolism , Placental Hormones/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Animals , Enzyme Stability , Humans , Placental Hormones/isolation & purification , Placental Hormones/metabolism , Plasmids , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Temperature
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.
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.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010175, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592244

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, as dangerous mutations emerge, there is an increased demand for specific treatments for SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. The spike glycoprotein on the virus envelope binds to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on host cells through its receptor binding domain (RBD) to mediate virus entry. Thus, blocking this interaction may inhibit viral entry and consequently stop infection. Here, we generated fusion proteins composed of the extracellular portions of ACE2 and RBD fused to the Fc portion of human IgG1 (ACE2-Ig and RBD-Ig, respectively). We demonstrate that ACE2-Ig is enzymatically active and that it can be recognized by the SARS-CoV-2 RBD, independently of its enzymatic activity. We further show that RBD-Ig efficiently inhibits in-vivo SARS-CoV-2 infection better than ACE2-Ig. Mechanistically, we show that anti-spike antibody generation, ACE2 enzymatic activity, and ACE2 surface expression were not affected by RBD-Ig. Finally, we show that RBD-Ig is more efficient than ACE2-Ig at neutralizing high virus titers. We thus propose that RBD-Ig physically blocks virus infection by binding to ACE2 and that RBD-Ig should be used for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/metabolism , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Protein Domains , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , Binding Sites, Antibody , COVID-19/prevention & control , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/therapeutic use , Immunoglobulin G/therapeutic use , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells
7.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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
11.
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
12.
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
13.
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
14.
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
15.
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
16.
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
17.
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
18.
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
19.
Virology ; 556: 73-78, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1049897

ABSTRACT

The need to stem the current outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19 is driving the search for inhibitors that will block coronavirus replication and pathogenesis. The coronavirus 3C-like protease (3CLpro) encoded in the replicase polyprotein is an attractive target for antiviral drug development because protease activity is required for generating a functional replication complex. Reagents that can be used to screen for protease inhibitors and for identifying the replicase products of SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed. Here we describe a luminescence-based biosensor assay for evaluating small molecule inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro/main protease. We also document that a polyclonal rabbit antiserum developed against SARS-CoV 3CLpro cross reacts with the highly conserved 3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2. These reagents will facilitate the pre-clinical evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Biosensing Techniques/methods , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Immune Sera/immunology , Luciferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/immunology , Cross Reactions , Luciferases/genetics , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Rabbits , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/immunology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
20.
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
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