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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2505, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1747189

ABSTRACT

Mpro, the main protease of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is essential for the viral life cycle. Accordingly, several groups have performed in silico screens to identify Mpro inhibitors that might be used to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. We selected more than five hundred compounds from the top-ranking hits of two very large in silico screens for on-demand synthesis. We then examined whether these compounds could bind to Mpro and inhibit its protease activity. Two interesting chemotypes were identified, which were further evaluated by characterizing an additional five hundred synthesis on-demand analogues. The compounds of the first chemotype denatured Mpro and were considered not useful for further development. The compounds of the second chemotype bound to and enhanced the melting temperature of Mpro. The most active compound from this chemotype inhibited Mpro in vitro with an IC50 value of 1 µM and suppressed replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in tissue culture cells. Its mode of binding to Mpro was determined by X-ray crystallography, revealing that it is a non-covalent inhibitor. We propose that the inhibitors described here could form the basis for medicinal chemistry efforts that could lead to the development of clinically relevant inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Molecular Conformation , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nitriles/chemistry , Nitriles/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Quinazolines/chemistry , Quinazolines/metabolism , Quinazolines/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(4)2022 Feb 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708485

ABSTRACT

Despite the fact that a range of vaccines against COVID-19 have already been created and are used for mass vaccination, the development of effective, safe, technological, and affordable vaccines continues. We have designed a vaccine that combines the recombinant protein and DNA vaccine approaches in a self-assembled particle. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 was conjugated to polyglucin:spermidine and mixed with DNA vaccine (pVAXrbd), which led to the formation of particles of combined coronavirus vaccine (CCV-RBD) that contain the DNA vaccine inside and RBD protein on the surface. CCV-RBD particles were characterized with gel filtration, electron microscopy, and biolayer interferometry. To investigate the immunogenicity of the combined vaccine and its components, mice were immunized with the DNA vaccine pVAXrbd or RBD protein as well as CCV-RBD particles. The highest antigen-specific IgG and neutralizing activity were induced by CCV-RBD, and the level of antibodies induced by DNA or RBD alone was significantly lower. The cellular immune response was detected only in the case of DNA or CCV-RBD vaccination. These results demonstrate that a combination of DNA vaccine and RBD protein in one construct synergistically increases the humoral response to RBD protein in mice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Animals , Binding Sites , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dextrans/chemistry , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Protein Domains , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Spermidine/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/genetics , Vaccines, DNA/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/pharmacology , Vero Cells
3.
Protein Expr Purif ; 194: 106075, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703723

ABSTRACT

Brevibacillus choshinensis is a gram-positive bacterium that is known to efficiently secrete recombinant proteins. However, the expression of these proteins is often difficult depending upon the expressed protein. In this study, we demonstrated that the addition of arginine hydrochloride and proline to the culture medium dramatically increased protein expression. By culturing bacterial cells in 96-well plates, we were able to rapidly examine the expression conditions and easily scale up to 96 mL of culture for production. Although functional expression of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein without any solubility-enhancing tag in bacterial strains (including Escherichia coli) has not been reported to date, we succeeded in efficiently producing RBD which showed a similar CD spectrum to that of RBD produced by eukaryotic cell expression systems. Furthermore, RBD from the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) was also produced. Physicochemical analyses indicated that omicron RBD exhibited markedly increased instability compared to the wild-type. We also revealed that the Fab format of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody C121 can be produced in large quantities using the same expression system. The obtained C121 Fab bound to wild-type RBD but not to omicron RBD. These results strongly suggest that the Brevibacillus expression system is useful for facilitating the efficient expression of proteins that are difficult to fold and will thus contribute to the rapid physicochemical evaluation of functional proteins.


Subject(s)
Brevibacillus , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Arginine/metabolism , Brevibacillus/genetics , Brevibacillus/metabolism , Humans , Proline/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
4.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702075

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Lung/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Bronchi/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Models, Biological , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 2/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism
5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 838082, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674340

ABSTRACT

Recombinant antibodies such as nanobodies are progressively demonstrating to be a valid alternative to conventional monoclonal antibodies also for clinical applications. Furthermore, they do not solely represent a substitute for monoclonal antibodies but their unique features allow expanding the applications of biotherapeutics and changes the pattern of disease treatment. Nanobodies possess the double advantage of being small and simple to engineer. This combination has promoted extremely diversified approaches to design nanobody-based constructs suitable for particular applications. Both the format geometry possibilities and the functionalization strategies have been widely explored to provide macromolecules with better efficacy with respect to single nanobodies or their combination. Nanobody multimers and nanobody-derived reagents were developed to image and contrast several cancer diseases and have shown their effectiveness in animal models. Their capacity to block more independent signaling pathways simultaneously is considered a critical advantage to avoid tumor resistance, whereas the mass of these multimeric compounds still remains significantly smaller than that of an IgG, enabling deeper penetration in solid tumors. When applied to CAR-T cell therapy, nanobodies can effectively improve the specificity by targeting multiple epitopes and consequently reduce the side effects. This represents a great potential in treating malignant lymphomas, acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, multiple myeloma and solid tumors. Apart from cancer treatment, multispecific drugs and imaging reagents built with nanobody blocks have demonstrated their value also for detecting and tackling neurodegenerative, autoimmune, metabolic, and infectious diseases and as antidotes for toxins. In particular, multi-paratopic nanobody-based constructs have been developed recently as drugs for passive immunization against SARS-CoV-2 with the goal of impairing variant survival due to resistance to antibodies targeting single epitopes. Given the enormous research activity in the field, it can be expected that more and more multimeric nanobody molecules will undergo late clinical trials in the next future. Systematic Review Registration.


Subject(s)
Single-Domain Antibodies/chemistry , Single-Domain Antibodies/therapeutic use , Animals , Autoimmune Diseases/immunology , Autoimmune Diseases/therapy , Communicable Diseases/immunology , Communicable Diseases/therapy , Humans , Immunomodulation , Molecular Imaging , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/therapy , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/therapeutic use , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology
6.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262591, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666759

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) is the most abundant viral protein expressed in host samples and is an important antigen for diagnosis. N is a 45 kDa protein that does not present disulfide bonds. Intending to avoid non-specific binding of SARS-CoV-2 N to antibodies from patients who previously had different coronaviruses, a 35 kDa fragment of N was expressed without a conserved motif in E. coli as inclusion bodies (N122-419-IB). Culture media and IB washing conditions were chosen to obtain N122-419-IB with high yield (370 mg/L bacterial culture) and protein purity (90%). High pressure solubilizes protein aggregates by weakening hydrophobic and ionic interactions and alkaline pH promotes solubilization by electrostatic repulsion. The association of pH 9.0 and 2.4 kbar promoted efficient solubilization of N122-419-IB without loss of native-like tertiary structure that N presents in IB. N122-419 was refolded with a yield of 85% (326 mg/L culture) and 95% purity. The refolding process takes only 2 hours and the protein is ready for use after pH adjustment, avoiding the necessity of dialysis or purification. Antibody binding of COVID-19-positive patients sera to N122-419 was confirmed by Western blotting. ELISA using N122-419 is effective in distinguishing between sera presenting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 from those who do not. To the best of our knowledge, the proposed condition for IB solubilization is one of the mildest described. It is possible that the refolding process can be extended to a wide range of proteins with high yields and purity, even those that are sensible to very alkaline pH.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Inclusion Bodies/chemistry , Protein Refolding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Hydrostatic Pressure , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Solubility
7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(6)2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1650946

ABSTRACT

The development of small-molecules targeting different components of SARS-CoV-2 is a key strategy to complement antibody-based treatments and vaccination campaigns in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we show that two thiol-based chemical probes that act as reducing agents, P2119 and P2165, inhibit infection by human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and decrease the binding of spike glycoprotein to its receptor, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Proteomics and reactive cysteine profiling link the antiviral activity to the reduction of key disulfides, specifically by disruption of the Cys379-Cys432 and Cys391-Cys525 pairs distal to the receptor binding motif in the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike glycoprotein. Computational analyses provide insight into conformation changes that occur when these disulfides break or form, consistent with an allosteric role, and indicate that P2119/P2165 target a conserved hydrophobic binding pocket in the RBD with the benzyl thiol-reducing moiety pointed directly toward Cys432. These collective findings establish the vulnerability of human coronaviruses to thiol-based chemical probes and lay the groundwork for developing compounds of this class, as a strategy to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 infection by shifting the spike glycoprotein redox scaffold.


Subject(s)
Amino Alcohols/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Phenyl Ethers/pharmacology , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Sulfhydryl Compounds/pharmacology , Allosteric Regulation , Amino Alcohols/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Disulfides/antagonists & inhibitors , Disulfides/chemistry , Disulfides/metabolism , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nasal Mucosa/drug effects , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Oxidation-Reduction , Phenyl Ethers/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Receptors, Virus/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Sulfhydryl Compounds/chemistry
8.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262868, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1643287

ABSTRACT

A serological COVID-19 Multiplex Assay was developed and validated using serum samples from convalescent patients and those collected prior to the 2020 pandemic. After initial testing of multiple potential antigens, the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (NP) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein were selected for the human COVID-19 Multiplex Assay. A comparison of synthesized and mammalian expressed RBD proteins revealed clear advantages of mammalian expression. Antibodies directed against NP strongly correlated with SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization assay titers (rsp = 0.726), while anti-RBD correlation was moderate (rsp = 0.436). Pan-Ig, IgG, IgA, and IgM against NP and RBD antigens were evaluated on the validation sample sets. Detection of NP and RBD specific IgG and IgA had outstanding performance (AUC > 0.90) for distinguishing patients from controls, but the dynamic range of the IgG assay was substantially greater. The COVID-19 Multiplex Assay was utilized to identify seroprevalence to SARS-CoV-2 in people living in a low-incidence community in Ithaca, NY. Samples were taken from a cohort of healthy volunteers (n = 332) in early June 2020. Only two volunteers had a positive result on a COVID-19 PCR test performed prior to serum sampling. Serological testing revealed an exposure rate of at least 1.2% (NP) or as high as 5.7% (RBD), higher than the measured incidence rate of 0.16% in the county at that time. This highly sensitive and quantitative assay can be used for monitoring community exposure rates and duration of immune response following both infection and vaccination.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/standards , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/chemistry , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/chemistry , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , New York/epidemiology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
9.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 200: 428-437, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633983

ABSTRACT

Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) is the primary antigen of the virus for development of sensitive diagnostic assays of COVID-19. In this paper, we demonstrate the significant impact of dimerization of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) N-protein on sensitivity of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based diagnostics. The expressed purified protein from E. coli is composed of dimeric and monomeric forms, which have been further characterized using biophysical and immunological techniques. Indirect ELISA indicated elevated susceptibility of the dimeric form of the nucleocapsid protein for identification of protein-specific monoclonal antibody as compared to the monomeric form. This finding also confirmed with the modelled structure of monomeric and dimeric nucleocapsid protein via HHPred software and its solvent accessible surface area, which indicates higher stability and antigenicity of the dimeric type as compared to the monomeric form. The sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA at 95% CI are 99.0% (94.5-99.9) and 95.0% (83.0-99.4), respectively, for the highest purified dimeric form of the N protein. As a result, using the highest purified dimeric form will improve the sensitivity of the current nucleocapsid-dependent ELISA for COVID-19 diagnosis, and manufacturers should monitor and maintain the monomer-dimer composition for accurate and robust diagnostics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Circular Dichroism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/isolation & purification , Dimerization , Epitopes/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Models, Molecular , Phosphoproteins/biosynthesis , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
J Med Chem ; 64(19): 14332-14343, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621195

ABSTRACT

In addition to a variety of viral-glycoprotein receptors (e.g., heparan sulfate, Niemann-Pick C1, etc.), dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN), from the C-type lectin receptor family, plays one of the most important pathogenic functions for a wide range of viruses (e.g., Ebola, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), HIV-1, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, etc.) that invade host cells before replication; thus, its inhibition represents a relevant extracellular antiviral therapy. We report two novel p-tBu-calixarene glycoclusters 1 and 2, bearing tetrahydroxamic acid groups, which exhibit micromolar inhibition of soluble DC-SIGN binding and provide nanomolar IC50 inhibition of both DC-SIGN-dependent Jurkat cis-cell infection by viral particle pseudotyped with Ebola virus glycoprotein and the HCMV-gB-recombinant glycoprotein interaction with monocyte-derived dendritic cells expressing DC-SIGN. A unique cooperative involvement of sugar, linker, and calixarene core is likely behind the strong avidity of DC-SIGN for these low-valent systems. We claim herein new promising candidates for the rational development of a large spectrum of antiviral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Calixarenes/chemistry , Cell Adhesion Molecules/antagonists & inhibitors , Glycoconjugates/metabolism , Glycoproteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Hydroxamic Acids/chemistry , Lectins, C-Type/antagonists & inhibitors , Phenols/chemistry , Receptors, Cell Surface/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Cell Line , Cytomegalovirus/metabolism , Dendritic Cells/cytology , Dendritic Cells/metabolism , Ebolavirus/physiology , Glycoconjugates/chemistry , Glycoconjugates/pharmacology , Glycoproteins/genetics , Glycoproteins/metabolism , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Models, Biological , Protein Binding , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism
11.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613826

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/metabolism , Immobilized Nucleic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , CHO Cells , Cricetulus , Glycosylation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomycetales/genetics
12.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 197: 68-76, 2022 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587673

ABSTRACT

The C-terminal domain of SARS-CoV main protease (Mpro-C) can form 3D domain-swapped dimer by exchanging the α1-helices fully buried inside the protein hydrophobic core, under non-denaturing conditions. Here, we report that Mpro-C can also form amyloid fibrils under the 3D domain-swappable conditions in vitro, and the fibrils are not formed through runaway/propagated domain swapping. It is found that there are positive correlations between the rates of domain swapping dimerization and amyloid fibrillation at different temperatures, and for different mutants. However, some Mpro-C mutants incapable of 3D domain swapping can still form amyloid fibrils, indicating that 3D domain swapping is not essential for amyloid fibrillation. Furthermore, NMR H/D exchange data and molecular dynamics simulation results suggest that the protofibril core region tends to unpack at the early stage of 3D domain swapping, so that the amyloid fibrillation can proceed during the 3D domain swapping process. We propose that 3D domain swapping makes it possible for the unpacking of the amyloidogenic fragment of the protein and thus accelerates the amyloid fibrillation process kinetically, which explains the well-documented correlations between amyloid fibrillation and 3D domain swapping observed in many proteins.


Subject(s)
Amyloid/chemistry , Amyloid/metabolism , Amyloidosis/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Protein Domains/physiology , Amyloidosis/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Dimerization , Disulfides/chemistry , Disulfides/metabolism , Kinetics , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Polymerization , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Folding , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Temperature
13.
Mol Immunol ; 141: 287-296, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559780

ABSTRACT

As the second wave of COVID-19 launched, various variants of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have emerged with a dramatic global spread amongst millions of people causing unprecedented case fatalities and economic shut-downs. That initiated a necessity for developing specific diagnostics and therapeutics along with vaccines to control such a pandemic. This endeavor describes generation of murine derived recombinant single-chain fragment variable (scFv) as a monoclonal antibody (MAb) platform targeting the receptor binding domain (RBD) of Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. A specific synthesized RBD coding sequence was cloned and expressed in Baculovirus expression system. The recombinant RBD (rRBD) was ascertained to be at the proper encoding size of ∼ 600bp and expressed protein of the molecular weight of ∼ 21KDa. Purified rRBD was proved genuinely antigenic and immunogenic, exhibiting specific reactivity to anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody in an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and inducing strong seroconversion in immunized mice. The scFv phage display library against rRBD was successfully constructed, revealing ∼ 90 % recombination frequency, and great enriching factor reaching 88 % and 25 % in polyclonal Ab-based and MAb-based ELISAs, respectively. Typically, three unique scFvs were generated, selected, purified and molecularly identified. That was manifested by their: accurate structure, close relation to the mouse immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily, right anchored six complementarily-determining regions (CDRs) as three within variable heavy (vH) and variable light (vL) regions each, and proper configuration of the three-dimensional (3D) structure. Besides, their expression downstream in a non-suppressive amber codon of E. coli strain SS32 created a distinct protein band at an apparent molecular weight of ∼ 27KDa. Moreover, the purified scFvs showed authentic immunoreactivity and specificity to both rRBD and SARS-CoV-2 in western blot and ELISA. Accordingly, these developed scFvs platform might be a functional candidate for research, inexpensive diagnostics and therapeutics, mitigating spread of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cell Surface Display Techniques , Epitopes/immunology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Chain Antibodies/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Specificity , Baculoviridae , COVID-19/prevention & control , Escherichia coli , Female , Genetic Vectors , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Models, Molecular , Peptide Library , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Single-Chain Antibodies/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Biomolecules ; 11(12)2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551563

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by a newly emerged coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that has rapidly progressed into a pandemic. This unprecedent emergency has stressed the significance of developing effective therapeutics to fight the current and future outbreaks. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 surface Spike protein is the main target for vaccines and represents a helpful "tool" to produce neutralizing antibodies or diagnostic kits. In this work, we provide a detailed characterization of the native RBD produced in three major model systems: Escherichia coli, insect and HEK-293 cells. Circular dichroism, gel filtration chromatography and thermal denaturation experiments indicated that recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD proteins are stable and correctly folded. In addition, their functionality and receptor-binding ability were further evaluated through ELISA, flow cytometry assays and bio-layer interferometry.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Escherichia coli/genetics , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Insecta/cytology , Protein Binding , Protein Denaturation , Protein Domains , Protein Folding , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 587: 69-77, 2022 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540389

ABSTRACT

The clathrin coat assembly protein AP180 drives endocytosis, which is crucial for numerous physiological events, such as the internalization and recycling of receptors, uptake of neurotransmitters and entry of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, by interacting with clathrin. Moreover, dysfunction of AP180 underlies the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, it is important to understand the mechanisms of assembly and, especially, disassembly of AP180/clathrin-containing cages. Here, we identified AP180 as a novel phosphatidic acid (PA)-binding protein from the mouse brain. Intriguingly, liposome binding assays using various phospholipids and PA species revealed that AP180 most strongly bound to 1-stearoyl-2-docosahexaenoyl-PA (18:0/22:6-PA) to a comparable extent as phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2), which is known to associate with AP180. An AP180 N-terminal homology domain (1-289 aa) interacted with 18:0/22:6-PA, and a lysine-rich motif (K38-K39-K40) was essential for binding. The 18:0/22:6-PA in liposomes in 100 nm diameter showed strong AP180-binding activity at neutral pH. Notably, 18:0/22:6-PA significantly attenuated the interaction of AP180 with clathrin. However, PI(4,5)P2 did not show such an effect. Taken together, these results indicate the novel mechanism by which 18:0/22:6-PA selectively regulates the disassembly of AP180/clathrin-containing cages.


Subject(s)
Clathrin/metabolism , Docosahexaenoic Acids/metabolism , Monomeric Clathrin Assembly Proteins/metabolism , Phosphatidic Acids/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , Brain/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Clathrin/chemistry , Docosahexaenoic Acids/chemistry , Endocytosis/physiology , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Mice , Monomeric Clathrin Assembly Proteins/chemistry , Monomeric Clathrin Assembly Proteins/genetics , Phosphatidic Acids/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization
16.
Glycobiology ; 32(1): 60-72, 2022 02 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501077

ABSTRACT

Extensive glycosylation of the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus not only shields the major part of it from host immune responses, but glycans at specific sites also act on its conformation dynamics and contribute to efficient host receptor binding, and hence infectivity. As variants of concern arise during the course of the coronavirus disease of 2019 pandemic, it is unclear if mutations accumulated within the spike protein would affect its site-specific glycosylation pattern. The Alpha variant derived from the D614G lineage is distinguished from others by having deletion mutations located right within an immunogenic supersite of the spike N-terminal domain (NTD) that make it refractory to most neutralizing antibodies directed against this domain. Despite maintaining an overall similar structural conformation, our mass spectrometry-based site-specific glycosylation analyses of similarly produced spike proteins with and without the D614G and Alpha variant mutations reveal a significant shift in the processing state of N-glycans on one specific NTD site. Its conversion to a higher proportion of complex type structures is indicative of altered spatial accessibility attributable to mutations specific to the Alpha variant that may impact its transmissibility. This and other more subtle changes in glycosylation features detected at other sites provide crucial missing information otherwise not apparent in the available cryogenic electron microscopy-derived structures of the spike protein variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Glycopeptides/chemistry , Mutation , Polysaccharides/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Carbohydrate Sequence , Datasets as Topic , Glycopeptides/genetics , Glycopeptides/metabolism , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Peptide Mapping , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
17.
J Mol Biol ; 434(2): 167332, 2022 01 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492301

ABSTRACT

Extensive glycosylation of viral glycoproteins is a key feature of the antigenic surface of viruses and yet glycan processing can also be influenced by the manner of their recombinant production. The low yields of the soluble form of the trimeric spike (S) glycoprotein from SARS-CoV-2 has prompted advances in protein engineering that have greatly enhanced the stability and yields of the glycoprotein. The latest expression-enhanced version of the spike incorporates six proline substitutions to stabilize the prefusion conformation (termed SARS-CoV-2 S HexaPro). Although the substitutions greatly enhanced expression whilst not compromising protein structure, the influence of these substitutions on glycan processing has not been explored. Here, we show that the site-specific N-linked glycosylation of the expression-enhanced HexaPro resembles that of an earlier version containing two proline substitutions (2P), and that both capture features of native viral glycosylation. However, there are site-specific differences in glycosylation of HexaPro when compared to 2P. Despite these discrepancies, analysis of the serological reactivity of clinical samples from infected individuals confirmed that both HexaPro and 2P protein are equally able to detect IgG, IgA, and IgM responses in all sera analysed. Moreover, we extend this observation to include an analysis of glycan engineered S protein, whereby all N-linked glycans were converted to oligomannose-type and conclude that serological activity is not impacted by large scale changes in glycosylation. These observations suggest that variations in glycan processing will not impact the serological assessments currently being performed across the globe.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Mutation, Missense/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Mannose/metabolism , Mutation, Missense/genetics , Oligosaccharides/metabolism , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Proline/genetics , Proline/immunology , Proline/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
J Biol Chem ; 297(5): 101329, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474696

ABSTRACT

Population genetic variability in immune system genes can often underlie variability in immune responses to pathogens. Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes are emerging as critical determinants of both severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection severity and long-term immunity, after either recovery or vaccination. A hallmark of coronavirus disease 2019 is its highly variable severity and breadth of immune responses between individuals. To address the underlying mechanisms behind this phenomenon, we analyzed the proteolytic processing of S1 spike glycoprotein precursor antigenic peptides across ten common allotypes of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1), a polymorphic intracellular enzyme that can regulate cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses by generating or destroying antigenic peptides. We utilized a systematic proteomic approach that allows the concurrent analysis of hundreds of trimming reactions in parallel, thus better emulating antigen processing in the cell. While all ERAP1 allotypes were capable of producing optimal ligands for major histocompatibility complex class I molecules, including known severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 epitopes, they presented significant differences in peptide sequences produced, suggesting allotype-dependent sequence biases. Allotype 10, previously suggested to be enzymatically deficient, was rather found to be functionally distinct from other allotypes. Our findings suggest that common ERAP1 allotypes can be a major source of heterogeneity in antigen processing and through this mechanism contribute to variable immune responses in coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
Aminopeptidases/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Immunoglobulin Allotypes/immunology , Minor Histocompatibility Antigens/immunology , Peptides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Aminopeptidases/chemistry , Antigen Presentation/immunology , Humans , Minor Histocompatibility Antigens/chemistry , Peptides/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
19.
Protein Expr Purif ; 190: 106003, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474960

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 protein subunit vaccines are currently being evaluated by multiple manufacturers to address the global vaccine equity gap, and need for low-cost, easy to scale, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines. In this paper, we report on the generation of the receptor-binding domain RBD203-N1 yeast expression construct, which produces a recombinant protein capable of eliciting a robust immune response and protection in mice against SARS-CoV-2 challenge infections. The RBD203-N1 antigen was expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris X33. After fermentation at the 5 L scale, the protein was purified by hydrophobic interaction chromatography followed by anion exchange chromatography. The purified protein was characterized biophysically and biochemically, and after its formulation, the immunogenicity was evaluated in mice. Sera were evaluated for their efficacy using a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus assay. The RBD203-N1 protein was expressed with a yield of 492.9 ± 3.0 mg/L of fermentation supernatant. A two-step purification process produced a >96% pure protein with a recovery rate of 55 ± 3% (total yield of purified protein: 270.5 ± 13.2 mg/L fermentation supernatant). The protein was characterized to be a homogeneous monomer that showed a well-defined secondary structure, was thermally stable, antigenic, and when adjuvanted on Alhydrogel in the presence of CpG it was immunogenic and induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. The characteristics of the RBD203-N1 protein-based vaccine show that this candidate is another well suited RBD-based construct for technology transfer to manufacturing entities and feasibility of transition into the clinic to evaluate its immunogenicity and safety in humans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , Gene Expression , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Humans , Mice , Protein Domains , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/chemistry , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology
20.
J Biol Chem ; 297(4): 101238, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433455

ABSTRACT

The D614G mutation in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 alters the fitness of the virus, leading to the dominant form observed in the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the molecular basis of the mechanism by which this mutation enhances fitness is not clear. Here we demonstrated by cryo-electron microscopy that the D614G mutation resulted in increased propensity of multiple receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in an upward conformation poised for host receptor binding. Multiple substates within the one RBD-up or two RBD-up conformational space were determined. According to negative staining electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and differential scanning fluorimetry, the most significant impact of the mutation lies in its ability to eliminate the unusual cold-induced unfolding characteristics and to significantly increase the thermal stability under physiological pH. The D614G spike variant also exhibited exceptional long-term stability when stored at 37 °C for up to 2 months. Our findings shed light on how the D614G mutation enhances the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 through a stabilizing mutation and suggest an approach for better design of spike protein-based conjugates for vaccine development.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Calorimetry, Differential Scanning , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , Protein Domains , Protein Stability , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Temperature
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