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1.
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
2.
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
3.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 277-283, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585239

ABSTRACT

The novel SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), first found in early November 2021, has sparked considerable global concern and it has >50 mutations, many of which are known to affect transmissibility or cause immune escape. In this study, we sought to investigate the virological characteristics of the Omicron variant and compared it with the Delta variant which has dominated the world since mid-2021. Omicron variant replicated more slowly than the Delta variant in transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2)-overexpressing VeroE6 (VeroE6/TMPRSS2) cells. Notably, the Delta variant replicated well in Calu3 cell line which has robust TMPRSS2 expression, while the Omicron variant replicated poorly in this cell line. Competition assay showed that Delta variant outcompeted Omicron variant in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu3 cells. To confirm the difference in entry pathway between the Omicron and Delta variants, we assessed the antiviral effect of bafilomycin A1, chloroquine (inhibiting endocytic pathway), and camostat (inhibiting TMPRSS2 pathway). Camostat potently inhibited the Delta variant but not the Omicron variant, while bafilomycin A1 and chloroquine could inhibit both Omicron and Delta variants. Moreover, the Omicron variant also showed weaker cell-cell fusion activity when compared with Delta variant in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells. Collectively, our results suggest that Omicron variant infection is not enhanced by TMPRSS2 but is largely mediated via the endocytic pathway. The difference in entry pathway between Omicron and Delta variants may have an implication on the clinical manifestations or disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication , Animals , Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/pathology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Endocytosis/drug effects , Esters/pharmacology , Guanidines/pharmacology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Lung Neoplasms/pathology , Macrolides/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Cultivation , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Whole Genome Sequencing
4.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580425

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.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3172, 2021 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550281

ABSTRACT

Secreted class 3 semaphorins (Sema3s) form tripartite complexes with the plexin receptor and neuropilin coreceptor, which are both transmembrane proteins that together mediate semaphorin signal for neuronal axon guidance and other processes. Despite extensive investigations, the overall architecture of and the molecular interactions in the Sema3/plexin/neuropilin complex are incompletely understood. Here we present the cryo-EM structure of a near intact extracellular region complex of Sema3A, PlexinA4 and Neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) at 3.7 Å resolution. The structure shows a large symmetric 2:2:2 assembly in which each subunit makes multiple interactions with others. The two PlexinA4 molecules in the complex do not interact directly, but their membrane proximal regions are close to each other and poised to promote the formation of the intracellular active dimer for signaling. The structure reveals a previously unknown interface between the a2b1b2 module in Nrp1 and the Sema domain of Sema3A. This interaction places the a2b1b2 module at the top of the complex, far away from the plasma membrane where the transmembrane regions of Nrp1 and PlexinA4 embed. As a result, the region following the a2b1b2 module in Nrp1 must span a large distance to allow the connection to the transmembrane region, suggesting an essential role for the long non-conserved linkers and the MAM domain in neuropilin in the semaphorin/plexin/neuropilin complex.


Subject(s)
Nerve Tissue Proteins/ultrastructure , Neuropilin-1/ultrastructure , Receptors, Cell Surface/ultrastructure , Semaphorin-3A/ultrastructure , Animals , COS Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mutation , Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics , Nerve Tissue Proteins/isolation & purification , Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/isolation & purification , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Multimerization/genetics , Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics , Receptors, Cell Surface/isolation & purification , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/ultrastructure , Semaphorin-3A/genetics , Semaphorin-3A/isolation & purification , Semaphorin-3A/metabolism
6.
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
7.
Cell Rep ; 37(3): 109838, 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517083

ABSTRACT

As severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spreads, variants with enhanced virulence and transmissibility have emerged. Although in vitro systems allow rapid characterization, they do not fully recapitulate the dynamic interaction of virions and neutralizing antibodies in the airway. Here, we demonstrate that the N501Y variant permits respiratory infection in unmodified mice. We utilize N501Y to survey in vivo pseudovirus infection dynamics and susceptibility to reinfection with the L452R (Los Angeles), K417N + E484K (South Africa), and L452R + K417N + E484Q (India) variants. Human coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)+ or vaccinated antibody isotypes, titers, variant receptor binding domain (RBD) binding, and neutralization potential are studied, revealing numerous significant correlations. Immune escape of the K417N + E484K variant is observed because infection can be appreciated in the nasopharynx, but not lungs, of mice transferred with low-antibody-tier plasma. Conversely, near-complete protection is observed in animals receiving high-antibody-tier plasma, a phenomenon that can only be appreciated in vivo.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Genetic Variation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immune System , Immunization, Passive/methods , In Vitro Techniques , Mice , Mutation , Nasopharynx/virology , Protein Binding , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6103, 2021 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475296

ABSTRACT

Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have been emerging and some have been linked to an increase in case numbers globally. However, there is yet a lack of understanding of the molecular basis for the interactions between the human ACE2 (hACE2) receptor and these VOCs. Here we examined several VOCs including Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, and demonstrate that five variants receptor-binding domain (RBD) increased binding affinity for hACE2, and four variants pseudoviruses increased entry into susceptible cells. Crystal structures of hACE2-RBD complexes help identify the key residues facilitating changes in hACE2 binding affinity. Additionally, soluble hACE2 protein efficiently prevent most of the variants pseudoviruses. Our findings provide important molecular information and may help the development of novel therapeutic and prophylactic agents targeting these emerging mutants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/isolation & purification , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/ultrastructure , Animals , Cell Line, Tumor , Crystallography, X-Ray , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/ultrastructure , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Spodoptera , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Virus Attachment , Virus Internalization
9.
Molecules ; 26(19)2021 Oct 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463766

ABSTRACT

Commensal bacterium Clostridium paraputrificum J4 produces several extracellular chitinolytic enzymes including a 62 kDa chitinase Chit62J4 active toward 4-nitrophenyl N,N'-diacetyl-ß-d-chitobioside (pNGG). We characterized the crude enzyme from bacterial culture fluid, recombinant enzyme rChit62J4, and its catalytic domain rChit62J4cat. This major chitinase, securing nutrition of the bacterium in the human intestinal tract when supplied with chitin, has a pH optimum of 5.5 and processes pNGG with Km = 0.24 mM and kcat = 30.0 s-1. Sequence comparison of the amino acid sequence of Chit62J4, determined during bacterial genome sequencing, characterizes the enzyme as a family 18 glycosyl hydrolase with a four-domain structure. The catalytic domain has the typical TIM barrel structure and the accessory domains-2x Fn3/Big3 and a carbohydrate binding module-that likely supports enzyme activity on chitin fibers. The catalytic domain is highly homologous to a single-domain chitinase of Bacillus cereus NCTU2. However, the catalytic profiles significantly differ between the two enzymes despite almost identical catalytic sites. The shift of pI and pH optimum of the commensal enzyme toward acidic values compared to the soil bacterium is the likely environmental adaptation that provides C. paraputrificum J4 a competitive advantage over other commensal bacteria.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Chitin/metabolism , Chitinases/metabolism , Clostridium/metabolism , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Catalytic Domain , Chitinases/chemistry , Chitinases/genetics , Clostridium/growth & development , Clostridium/isolation & purification , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
10.
Sci Signal ; 14(689)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406596

ABSTRACT

Capping of viral messenger RNAs is essential for efficient translation, for virus replication, and for preventing detection by the host cell innate response system. The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes the 2'-O-methyltransferase nsp16, which, when bound to the coactivator nsp10, uses S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a donor to transfer a methyl group to the first ribonucleotide of the mRNA in the final step of viral mRNA capping. Here, we provide biochemical and structural evidence that this reaction requires divalent cations, preferably Mn2+, and a coronavirus-specific four-residue insert. We determined the x-ray structures of the SARS-CoV-2 2'-O-methyltransferase (the nsp16-nsp10 heterodimer) in complex with its reaction substrates, products, and divalent metal cations. These structural snapshots revealed that metal ions and the insert stabilize interactions between the capped RNA and nsp16, resulting in the precise alignment of the ribonucleotides in the active site. Comparison of available structures of 2'-O-methyltransferases with capped RNAs from different organisms revealed that the four-residue insert unique to coronavirus nsp16 alters the backbone conformation of the capped RNA in the binding groove, thereby promoting catalysis. This insert is highly conserved across coronaviruses, and its absence in mammalian methyltransferases makes this region a promising site for structure-guided drug design of selective coronavirus inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Manganese/metabolism , Methylation , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Stability , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/chemistry , S-Adenosylmethionine/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Signal Transduction , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
11.
J Virol ; 95(22): e0112621, 2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398575

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged at the end of 2019 and has been responsible for the still ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Prophylactic vaccines have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of COVID-19. Identification of SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) is important to assess vaccine protection efficacy, including their ability to protect against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoC). Here, we report the generation and use of a recombinant (r)SARS-CoV-2 USA/WA1/2020 (WA-1) strain expressing Venus and an rSARS-CoV-2 strain expressing mCherry and containing mutations K417N, E484K, and N501Y found in the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) glycoprotein of the South African (SA) B.1.351 (beta [ß]) VoC in bifluorescent-based assays to rapidly and accurately identify human monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) able to neutralize both viral infections in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, our bifluorescent-based system accurately recapitulated findings observed using individual viruses. Moreover, fluorescent-expressing rSARS-CoV-2 strain and the parental wild-type (WT) rSARS-CoV-2 WA-1 strain had similar viral fitness in vitro, as well as similar virulence and pathogenicity in vivo in the K18 human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) transgenic mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We demonstrate that these new fluorescent-expressing rSARS-CoV-2 can be used in vitro and in vivo to easily identify hMAbs that simultaneously neutralize different SARS-CoV-2 strains, including VoC, for the rapid assessment of vaccine efficacy or the identification of prophylactic and/or therapeutic broadly NAbs for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is responsible of the COVID-19 pandemic that has warped daily routines and socioeconomics. There is still an urgent need for prophylactics and therapeutics to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. In this study, we demonstrate the feasibility of using bifluorescent-based assays for the rapid identification of hMAbs with neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2, including VoC in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, results obtained with these bifluorescent-based assays recapitulate those observed with individual viruses, demonstrating their feasibility to rapidly advance our understanding of vaccine efficacy and to identify broadly protective human NAbs for the therapeutic treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/therapeutic use , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Genes, Reporter , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , Lung/drug effects , Lung/virology , Mice , Mutation , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(17)2021 Aug 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374427

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the causative agent of the COVID19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes for a small accessory protein termed Orf9b, which targets the mitochondrial outer membrane protein TOM70 in infected cells. TOM70 is involved in a signaling cascade that ultimately leads to the induction of type I interferons (IFN-I). This cascade depends on the recruitment of Hsp90-bound proteins to the N-terminal domain of TOM70. Binding of Orf9b to TOM70 decreases the expression of IFN-I; however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. We show that the binding of Orf9b to TOM70 inhibits the recruitment of Hsp90 and chaperone-associated proteins. We characterized the binding site of Orf9b within the C-terminal domain of TOM70 and found that a serine in position 53 of Orf9b and a glutamate in position 477 of TOM70 are crucial for the association of both proteins. A phosphomimetic variant Orf9bS53E showed drastically reduced binding to TOM70 and did not inhibit Hsp90 recruitment, suggesting that Orf9b-TOM70 complex formation is regulated by phosphorylation. Eventually, we identified the N-terminal TPR domain of TOM70 as a second binding site for Orf9b, which indicates a so far unobserved contribution of chaperones in the mitochondrial targeting of the viral protein.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/isolation & purification , Humans , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/isolation & purification , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/isolation & purification , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Binding/immunology , Protein Domains/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells
15.
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
16.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367850

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Hemoglobins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Hypoxia , Cell Survival , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/cytology , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Humans , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Pulmonary Artery/cytology , Pulmonary Artery/pathology , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
17.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1355049

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has rapidly spread to more than 222 countries and has put global public health at high risk. The world urgently needs cost-effective and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, antiviral, and therapeutic drugs to control it. In this study, we engineered the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and produced it in the plant Nicotiana benthamiana in a glycosylated and deglycosylated form. Expression levels of both glycosylated (gRBD) and deglycosylated (dRBD) RBD were greater than 45 mg/kg fresh weight. The purification yields were 22 mg of pure protein/kg of plant biomass for gRBD and 20 mg for dRBD, which would be sufficient for commercialization of these vaccine candidates. The purified plant-produced RBD protein was recognized by an S protein-specific monoclonal antibody, demonstrating specific reactivity of the antibody to the plant-produced RBD proteins. The SARS-CoV-2 RBD showed specific binding to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. In mice, the plant-produced RBD antigens elicited high titers of antibodies with a potent virus-neutralizing activity. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating that mice immunized with plant-produced deglycosylated RBD form elicited high titer of RBD-specific antibodies with potent neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, obtained data support that plant-produced glycosylated and in vivo deglycosylated RBD antigens, developed in this study, are promising vaccine candidates for the prevention of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Glycosylation , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , Plants, Genetically Modified , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering , Protein Stability , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tobacco/genetics , Tobacco/metabolism , Vero Cells
18.
Biomolecules ; 11(8)2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334992

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection of host cells is driven by binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike-(S)-protein to lung type II pneumocytes, followed by virus replication. Surfactant protein SP-D, member of the front-line immune defense of the lungs, binds glycosylated structures on invading pathogens such as viruses to induce their clearance from the lungs. The objective of this study is to measure the pulmonary SP-D levels in COVID-19 patients and demonstrate the activity of SP-D against SARS-CoV-2, opening the possibility of using SP-D as potential therapy for COVID-19 patients. Pulmonary SP-D concentrations were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage samples from patients with corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by anti-SP-D ELISA. Binding assays were performed by ELISAs. Protein bridge and aggregation assays were performed by gel electrophoresis followed by silver staining and band densitometry. Viral replication was evaluated in vitro using epithelial Caco-2 cells. Results indicate that COVID-19 patients (n = 12) show decreased pulmonary levels of SP-D (median = 68.9 ng/mL) when compared to levels reported for healthy controls in literature. Binding assays demonstrate that SP-D binds the SARS-CoV-2 glycosylated spike-(S)-protein of different emerging clinical variants. Binding induces the formation of protein bridges, the critical step of viral aggregation to facilitate its clearance. SP-D inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in Caco-2 cells (EC90 = 3.7 µg/mL). Therefore, SP-D recognizes and binds to the spike-(S)-protein of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, initiates the aggregation, and inhibits viral replication in cells. Combined with the low levels of SP-D observed in COVID-19 patients, these results suggest that SP-D is important in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and that rhSP-D supplementation has the potential to be a novel class of anti-viral that will target SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Binding , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/genetics , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication
19.
Biomed Res Int ; 2021: 6614000, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327769

ABSTRACT

Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have shown the ability to inhibit in vitro viral replications of coronaviridae viruses such as SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. However, clinical trial outcomes have been disparate, suggesting that CQ and HCQ antiviral mechanisms are not fully understood. Based on three-dimensional structural similarities between HCQ and the known ACE2 specific inhibitor MLN-4760, we compared their modulation on ACE2 activity. Here we describe, for the first time, in a cell-free in vitro system that HCQ directly and dose-dependently inhibits the activity of recombinant human ACE2, with a potency similar to the MLN-4760. Further analysis suggests that HCQ binds to a noncompetitive site other than the one occupied by MLN-4760. We also determined that the viral spike glycoprotein segment that comprises the RBD segment has no effect on ACE2 activity but unexpectedly was able to partially reverse the inhibition induced by HCQ but not that by MLN-4760. In summary, here we demonstrate the direct inhibitory action of HCQ over the activity of the enzyme ACE2. Then, by determining the activity of ACE2, we reveal that the interaction with the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 leads to structural changes that at least partially displace the interaction of the said enzyme with HCQ. These results may help to explain why the effectiveness of HCQ in clinical trials has been so variable. Additionally, this knowledge could be used for to develop techniques for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hydroxychloroquine , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/chemistry , Hydroxychloroquine/metabolism , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Imidazoles/chemistry , Imidazoles/metabolism , Imidazoles/pharmacology , Leucine/analogs & derivatives , Leucine/chemistry , Leucine/metabolism , Leucine/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 14748, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319045

ABSTRACT

Candidemia caused by Candida spp. is a serious threat in hospital settings being a major cause of acquired infection and death and a possible contributor to Covid-19 mortality. Candidemia incidence has been rising worldwide following increases in fungicide-resistant pathogens highlighting the need for more effective antifungal agents with novel modes of action. The membrane-bound enzyme alternative oxidase (AOX) promotes fungicide resistance and is absent in humans making it a desirable therapeutic target. However, the lipophilic nature of the AOX substrate (ubiquinol-10) has hindered its kinetic characterisation in physiologically-relevant conditions. Here, we present the purification and expression of recombinant AOXs from C. albicans and C. auris in a self-assembled proteoliposome (PL) system. Kinetic parameters (Km and Vmax) with respect to ubiquinol-10 have been determined. The PL system has also been employed in dose-response assays with novel AOX inhibitors. Such information is critical for the future development of novel treatments for Candidemia.


Subject(s)
Candida albicans/enzymology , Drug Resistance, Fungal , Fungal Proteins/metabolism , Liposomes/metabolism , Mitochondrial Proteins/metabolism , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , Plant Proteins/metabolism , Antifungal Agents/pharmacology , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Fungal Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Fungal Proteins/genetics , Kinetics , Mitochondrial Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Mitochondrial Proteins/genetics , Oxidoreductases/antagonists & inhibitors , Oxidoreductases/genetics , Plant Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Plant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
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