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1.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(10): 1383-1394, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621119

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of vaccines based on different platforms is essential, particularly in light of emerging viral variants, the absence of information on vaccine-induced immune durability, and potential paediatric use. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine for COVID-19 based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein stabilised in a pre-fusion conformation by a novel molecular clamp (spike glycoprotein-clamp [sclamp]). METHODS: We did a phase 1, double-blind, placebo-controlled, block-randomised trial of the sclamp subunit vaccine in a single clinical trial site in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Healthy adults (aged ≥18 to ≤55 years) who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, reported no close contact with anyone with active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and tested negative for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity were included. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups and received two doses via intramuscular injection 28 days apart of either placebo, sclamp vaccine at 5 µg, 15 µg, or 45 µg, or one dose of sclamp vaccine at 45 µg followed by placebo. Participants and study personnel, except the dose administration personnel, were masked to treatment. The primary safety endpoints included solicited local and systemic adverse events in the 7 days after each dose and unsolicited adverse events up to 12 months after dosing. Here, data are reported up until day 57. Primary immunogenicity endpoints were antigen-specific IgG ELISA and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assays assessed at 28 days after each dose. The study is ongoing and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04495933. FINDINGS: Between June 23, 2020, and Aug 17, 2020, of 314 healthy volunteers screened, 120 were randomly assigned (n=24 per group), and 114 (95%) completed the study up to day 57 (mean age 32·5 years [SD 10·4], 65 [54%] male, 55 [46%] female). Severe solicited reactions were infrequent and occurred at similar rates in participants receiving placebo (two [8%] of 24) and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose (three [3%] of 96). Both solicited reactions and unsolicited adverse events occurred at a similar frequency in participants receiving placebo and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine. Solicited reactions occurred in 19 (79%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 86 (90%) of 96 receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Unsolicited adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 35 (36%) of 96 participants receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 sclamp elicited a similar antigen-specific response irrespective of dose: 4 weeks after the initial dose (day 29) with 5 µg dose (geometric mean titre [GMT] 6400, 95% CI 3683-11 122), with 15 µg dose (7492, 4959-11 319), and the two 45 µg dose cohorts (8770, 5526-13 920 in the two-dose 45 µg cohort; 8793, 5570-13 881 in the single-dose 45 µg cohort); 4 weeks after the second dose (day 57) with two 5 µg doses (102 400, 64 857-161 676), with two 15 µg doses (74 725, 51 300-108 847), with two 45 µg doses (79 586, 55 430-114 268), only a single 45 µg dose (4795, 2858-8043). At day 57, 67 (99%) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25%) of 24 who received a single 45 µg dose and none of 22 who received placebo. Participants receiving two doses of sclamp vaccine elicited similar neutralisation titres, irrespective of dose: two 5 µg doses (GMT 228, 95% CI 146-356), two 15 µg doses (230, 170-312), and two 45 µg doses (239, 187-307). INTERPRETATION: This first-in-human trial shows that a subunit vaccine comprising mammalian cell culture-derived, MF59-adjuvanted, molecular clamp-stabilised recombinant spike protein elicits strong immune responses with a promising safety profile. However, the glycoprotein 41 peptide present in the clamp created HIV diagnostic assay interference, a possible barrier to widespread use highlighting the criticality of potential non-spike directed immunogenicity during vaccine development. Studies are ongoing with alternative molecular clamp trimerisation domains to ameliorate this response. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government, and further philanthropic sources listed in the acknowledgments.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Squalene/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Australia , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polysorbates , Vaccination/adverse effects , Young Adult
3.
Cell Rep ; 37(13): 110169, 2021 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616407

ABSTRACT

The importance of pre-existing immune responses to seasonal endemic coronaviruses (HCoVs) for the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of COVID-19 is the subject of an ongoing scientific debate. Recent studies postulate that immune responses to previous HCoV infections can either have a slightly protective or no effect on SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and, consequently, be neglected for COVID-19 risk stratification. Challenging this notion, we provide evidence that pre-existing, anti-nucleocapsid antibodies against endemic α-coronaviruses and S2 domain-specific anti-spike antibodies against ß-coronavirus HCoV-OC43 are elevated in patients with COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic donors. This finding is particularly pronounced in males and in critically ill patients. Longitudinal evaluation reveals that antibody cross-reactivity or polyclonal stimulation by SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to be confounders. Thus, specific pre-existing immunity to seasonal coronaviruses may increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and predispose individuals to an adverse COVID-19 outcome, guiding risk management and supporting the development of universal coronavirus vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/etiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/pathogenicity , Cross Reactions/immunology , Female , Germany , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Seasons , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
4.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260850, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613341

ABSTRACT

Novel strains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) harboring nucleotide changes (mutations) in the spike gene have emerged and are spreading rapidly. These mutations are associated with SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility, virulence, or resistance to some neutralizing antibodies. Thus, the accurate detection of spike mutants is crucial for controlling SARS-CoV-2 transmission and identifying neutralizing antibody-resistance caused by amino acid changes in the receptor-binding domain. Here, we developed five SARS-CoV-2 spike gene primer pairs (5-SSG primer assay; 69S, 144S, 417S, 484S, and 570S) and verified their ability to detect nine key spike mutations (ΔH69/V70, T95I, G142D, ΔY144, K417T/N, L452R, E484K/Q, N501Y, and H655Y) using a Sanger sequencing-based assay. The 5-SSG primer assay showed 100% specificity and a conservative limit of detection with a median tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) values of 1.4 × 102 TCID50/mL. The accuracy of the 5-SSG primer assay was confirmed by next generation sequencing. The results of these two approaches showed 100% consistency. Taken together, the ability of the 5-SSG primer assay to accurately detect key SARS-CoV-2 spike mutants is reliable. Thus, it is a useful tool for detecting SARS-CoV-2 spike gene mutants in a clinical setting, thereby helping to improve the management of patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, RNA/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , DNA Primers/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Limit of Detection , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
5.
BMC Mol Cell Biol ; 23(1): 2, 2022 Jan 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613226

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 pandemic is a RNA virus prone to mutations. Formation of a stable binding interface between the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) of host is pivotal for viral entry. RBD has been shown to mutate frequently during pandemic. Although, a few mutations in RBD exhibit enhanced transmission rates leading to rise of new variants of concern, most RBD mutations show sustained ACE2 binding and virus infectivity. Yet, how all these mutations make the binding interface constantly favourable for virus remain enigmatic. This study aims to delineate molecular rearrangements in the binding interface of SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutants. RESULTS: Here, we have generated a mutational and structural landscape of SARS-CoV-2 RBD in first six months of the pandemic. We analyzed 31,403 SARS-CoV-2 genomes randomly across the globe, and identified 444 non-synonymous mutations in RBD that cause 49 distinct amino acid substitutions in contact and non-contact amino acid residues. Molecular phylogenetic analysis suggested independent emergence of RBD mutants. Structural mapping of these mutations on the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan reference strain RBD and structural comparison with RBDs from bat-CoV, SARS-CoV, and pangolin-CoV, all bound to human or mouse ACE2, revealed several changes in the interfacial interactions in all three binding clusters. Interestingly, interactions mediated via N487 residue in cluster-I and Y449, G496, T500, G502 residues in cluster-III remained largely unchanged in all RBD mutants. Further analysis showed that these interactions are evolutionarily conserved in sarbecoviruses which use ACE2 for entry. Importantly, despite extensive changes in the interface, RBD-ACE2 stability and binding affinities were maintained in all the analyzed mutants. Taken together, these findings reveal how SARS-CoV-2 uses its RBD residues to constantly remodel the binding interface. CONCLUSION: Our study broadly signifies understanding virus-host binding interfaces and their alterations during pandemic. Our findings propose a possible interface remodelling mechanism used by SARS-CoV-2 to escape deleterious mutations. Future investigations will focus on functional validation of in-silico findings and on investigating interface remodelling mechanisms across sarbecoviruses. Thus, in long run, this study may provide novel clues to therapeutically target RBD-ACE2 interface for pan-sarbecovirus infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Mice , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
7.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2805-2813, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605105

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV) 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019, encodes several proteins whose roles are poorly understood. We tested their ability either to directly form plasma membrane ion channels or to change functions of two mammalian plasma membrane ion channels, the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and the α3ß4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. In mRNA-injected Xenopus oocytes, none of nine SARS-CoV-2 proteins or two SARS-CoV-1 proteins produced conductances, nor did co-injection of several combinations. Immunoblots for ORF8, spike (S), and envelope (E) proteins revealed that the proteins are expressed at appropriate molecular weights. In experiments on coexpression with ENaC, three tested SARS proteins (SARS-CoV-1 E, SARS-CoV-2 E, and SARS-CoV-2 S) markedly decrease ENaC currents. SARS-CoV-1 S protein decreases ENaC currents modestly. Coexpressing the E proteins but not the S proteins with α3ß4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors significantly reduces acetylcholine-induced currents. ENaC inhibition does not occur if the SARS-CoV protein mRNAs are injected 24 h after the ENaC mRNAs, suggesting that SARS-CoV proteins affect early step(s) in functional expression of channel proteins. Consistent with the hypothesis that the SARS-CoV-2 S protein-induced ENaC inhibition involves competition for available protease, mutating the furin cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 S protein partially relieves inhibition of ENaC currents. Extending previous suggestions that SARS proteins affect ENaC currents via protein kinase C (PKC) activation, PKC activation via phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate decreases ENaC and α3ß4 activity. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate application reduced membrane capacitance ∼5%, presumably via increased endocytosis, but this decrease is much smaller than the SARS proteins' effects on conductances. Also, incubating oocytes in Gö-6976, a PKCα and PKCß inhibitor, did not alter E or S protein-induced channel inhibition. We conclude that SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 proteins alter the function of human plasma membrane channels, via incompletely understood mechanisms. These interactions may play a role in the coronavirus 2019 pathophysiology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epithelial Sodium Channels , Animals , Epithelial Sodium Channels/genetics , Humans , Oocytes , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Xenopus laevis
8.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2914-2926, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605082

ABSTRACT

Infection of human cells by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) relies on its binding to a specific receptor and subsequent fusion of the viral and host cell membranes. The fusion peptide (FP), a short peptide segment in the spike protein, plays a central role in the initial penetration of the virus into the host cell membrane, followed by the fusion of the two membranes. Here, we use an array of molecular dynamics simulations that take advantage of the highly mobile membrane mimetic model to investigate the interaction of the SARS-CoV2 FP with a lipid bilayer representing mammalian cellular membranes at an atomic level and to characterize the membrane-bound form of the peptide. Six independent systems were generated by changing the initial positioning and orientation of the FP with respect to the membrane, and each system was simulated in five independent replicas, each for 300 ns. In 73% of the simulations, the FP reaches a stable, membrane-bound configuration, in which the peptide deeply penetrated into the membrane. Clustering of the results reveals three major membrane-binding modes (binding modes 1-3), in which binding mode 1 populates over half of the data points. Taking into account the sequence conservation among the viral FPs and the results of mutagenesis studies establishing the role of specific residues in the helical portion of the FP in membrane association, the significant depth of penetration of the whole peptide, and the dense population of the respective cluster, we propose that the most deeply inserted membrane-bound form (binding mode 1) represents more closely the biologically relevant form. Analysis of FP-lipid interactions shows the involvement of specific residues, previously described as the "fusion-active core residues," in membrane binding. Taken together, the results shed light on a key step involved in SARS-CoV2 infection, with potential implications in designing novel inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Cell Membrane , Humans , Membrane Fusion , Peptides , RNA, Viral , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Virus Internalization
9.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2785-2792, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1603521

ABSTRACT

The entry of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus in human cells is mediated by the binding of its surface spike protein to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. A 23-residue long helical segment (SBP1) at the binding interface of human ACE2 interacts with viral spike protein and therefore has generated considerable interest as a recognition element for virus detection. Unfortunately, emerging reports indicate that the affinity of SBP1 to the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein is much lower than that of the ACE2 receptor itself. Here, we examine the biophysical properties of SBP1 to reveal factors leading to its low affinity for the spike protein. Whereas SBP1 shows good solubility (solubility > 0.8 mM), circular dichroism spectroscopy shows that it is mostly disordered with some antiparallel ß-sheet content and no helicity. The helicity is substantial (>20%) only upon adding high concentrations (≥20% v/v) of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, a helix promoter. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and single-molecule photobleaching studies show that the peptide oligomerizes at concentrations >50 nM. We hypothesized that mutating the hydrophobic residues (F28, F32, and F40) of SBP1, which do not directly interact with the spike protein, to alanine would reduce peptide oligomerization without affecting its spike binding affinity. Whereas the mutant peptide (SBP1mod) shows substantially reduced oligomerization propensity, it does not show improved helicity. Our study shows that the failure of efforts, so far, to produce a short SBP1 mimic with a high affinity for the spike protein is not only due to the lack of helicity but is also due to the heretofore unrecognized problem of oligomerization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
10.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2848-2858, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607443

ABSTRACT

Large-scale conformational transitions in the spike protein S2 domain are required during host-cell infection of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. Although conventional molecular dynamics simulations have been extensively used to study therapeutic targets of SARS-CoV-2, it is still challenging to gain molecular insight into the key conformational changes because of the size of the spike protein and the long timescale required to capture these transitions. In this work, we have developed an efficient simulation protocol that leverages many short simulations, a dynamic selection algorithm, and Markov state models to interrogate the structural changes of the S2 domain. We discovered that the conformational flexibility of the dynamic region upstream of the fusion peptide in S2 is coupled to the proteolytic cleavage state of the spike protein. These results suggest that opening of the fusion peptide likely occurs on a submicrosecond timescale after cleavage at the S2' site. Building on the structural and dynamical information gained to date about S2 domain dynamics, we provide proof of principle that a small molecule bound to a seam neighboring the fusion peptide can slow the opening of the fusion peptide, leading to a new inhibition strategy for experiments to confirm. In aggregate, these results will aid the development of drug cocktails to inhibit infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Humans , Peptides , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization
11.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2793-2804, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607417

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has infected millions of people, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and made a worldwide health emergency. Understanding the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mechanism of infection is crucial in the development of potential therapeutics and vaccines. The infection process is triggered by direct binding of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) to the host-cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Many efforts have been made to design or repurpose therapeutics to deactivate the RBD or ACE2 and prevent the initial binding. In addition to direct inhibition strategies, small chemical compounds might be able to interfere and destabilize the metastable, prefusion complex of ACE2-RBD. This approach can be employed to prevent the further progress of virus infection at its early stages. In this study, molecular docking was employed to analyze the binding of two chemical compounds, SSAA09E2 and Nilotinib, with the druggable pocket of the ACE2-RBD complex. The structural changes as a result of the interference with the ACE2-RBD complex were analyzed by molecular dynamics simulations. Results show that both Nilotinib and SSAA09E2 can induce significant conformational changes in the ACE2-RBD complex, intervene with the hydrogen bonds, and influence the flexibility of proteins. Moreover, essential dynamics analysis suggests that the presence of small molecules can trigger large-scale conformational changes that may destabilize the ACE2-RBD complex.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
12.
J Biomed Sci ; 29(1): 1, 2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605455

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an exceptional public health crisis that demands the timely creation of new therapeutics and viral detection. Owing to their high specificity and reliability, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have emerged as powerful tools to treat and detect numerous diseases. Hence, many researchers have begun to urgently develop Ab-based kits for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Ab drugs for use as COVID-19 therapeutic agents. The detailed structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is known, and since this protein is key for viral infection, its receptor-binding domain (RBD) has become a major target for therapeutic Ab development. Because SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus with a high mutation rate, especially under the selective pressure of aggressively deployed prophylactic vaccines and neutralizing Abs, the use of Ab cocktails is expected to be an important strategy for effective COVID-19 treatment. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 infection may stimulate an overactive immune response, resulting in a cytokine storm that drives severe disease progression. Abs to combat cytokine storms have also been under intense development as treatments for COVID-19. In addition to their use as drugs, Abs are currently being utilized in SARS-CoV-2 detection tests, including antigen and immunoglobulin tests. Such Ab-based detection tests are crucial surveillance tools that can be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Herein, we highlight some key points regarding mAb-based detection tests and treatments for the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Pandemics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
14.
J Nanobiotechnology ; 20(1): 6, 2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608546

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been widely used in local surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) immunoassays for biomolecule sensing, which is primarily based on two conventional methods: absorption spectra analysis and colorimetry. The low figure of merit (FoM) of the LSPR and high-concentration AuNP requirement restrict their limit of detection (LOD), which is approximately ng to µg mL-1 in antibody detection if there is no other signal or analyte amplification. Improvements in sensitivity have been slow in recent for a long time, and pushing the boundary of the current LOD is a great challenge of current LSPR immunoassays in biosensing. RESULTS: In this work, we developed spectral image contrast-based flow digital nanoplasmon-metry (Flow DiNM) to push the LOD boundary. Comparing the scattering image brightness of AuNPs in two neighboring wavelength bands near the LSPR peak, the peak shift signal is strongly amplified and quickly detected. Introducing digital analysis, the Flow DiNM provides an ultrahigh signal-to-noise ratio and has a lower sample volume requirement. Compared to the conventional analog LSPR immunoassay, Flow DiNM for anti-BSA detection in pure samples has an LOD as low as 1 pg mL-1 within only a 15-min detection time and 500 µL sample volume. Antibody assays against spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 in artificial saliva that contained various proteins were also conducted to validate the detection of Flow DiNM in complicated samples. Flow DiNM shows significant discrimination in detection with an LOD of 10 pg mL-1 and a broad dynamic detection range of five orders of magnitude. CONCLUSION: Together with the quick readout time and simple operation, this work clearly demonstrated the high sensitivity and selectivity of the developed Flow DiNM in rapid antibody detection. Spectral image contrast and digital analysis further provide a new generation of LSPR immunoassay with AuNPs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surface Plasmon Resonance/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/instrumentation , Equipment Design , Gold/chemistry , Humans , Immunoassay/instrumentation , Immunoassay/methods , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Saliva/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Surface Plasmon Resonance/instrumentation
15.
J Extracell Vesicles ; 11(1): e12179, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605805

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry is mediated by the interaction of the viral spike (S) protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the host cell surface. Although a clinical trial testing soluble ACE2 (sACE2) for COVID-19 is currently ongoing, our understanding of the delivery of sACE2 via small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) is still rudimentary. With excellent biocompatibility allowing for the effective delivery of molecular cargos, sEVs are broadly studied as nanoscale protein carriers. In order to exploit the potential of sEVs, we design truncated CD9 scaffolds to display sACE2 on the sEV surface as a decoy receptor for the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, to enhance the sACE2-S binding interaction, we employ sACE2 variants. sACE2-loaded sEVs exhibit typical sEVs characteristics and bind to the S protein. Furthermore, engineered sEVs inhibit the entry of wild-type (WT), the globally dominant D614G variant, Beta (K417N-E484K-N501Y) variant, and Delta (L452R-T478K-D614G) variant SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, and protect against authentic SARS-CoV-2 and Delta variant infection. Of note, sACE2 variants harbouring sEVs show superior antiviral efficacy than WT sACE2 loaded sEVs. Therapeutic efficacy of the engineered sEVs against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was confirmed using K18-hACE2 mice. The current findings provide opportunities for the development of new sEVs-based antiviral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Vesicles/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
16.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(24): 8019-8022, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605687

ABSTRACT

Recently a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was reported from South Africa. World Health Organization (WHO) named this mutant as a variant of concern - Omicron (B.1.1.529) on 26th November 2021. This variant exhibited more than thirty amino acid mutations in the spike protein. This mutation rate is exceeding the other variants by approximately 5-11 times in the receptor-binding motif of the spike protein. Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant might have enhanced transmissibility and immune evasion. This new variant can reinfect individuals previously infected with other SARS-CoV-2 variants. Scientists expressed their concern about the efficacy of already existing COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron (B.1.1.529) infections. Some of the crucial mutations that are detected in the receptor-binding domain of the Omicron variant have been shared by previously evolved SARS-CoV-2 variants. Based on the Omicron mutation profile in the receptor-binding domain and motif, it might have collectively enhanced or intermediary infectivity relative to its previous variants. Due to extensive mutations in the spike protein, the Omicron variant might evade the immunity in the vaccinated individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Reinfection/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mutation , Reinfection/immunology , Reinfection/transmission , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Vaccine Potency
17.
Int J Mol Med ; 49(2)2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594678

ABSTRACT

The pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID­19) is mainly dependent on the underlying mechanisms that mediate the entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS­CoV­2) into the host cells of the various human tissues/organs. Recent studies have indicated a higher order of complexity of the mechanisms of infectivity, given that there is a wide­repertoire of possible cell entry mediators that appear to co­localise in a cell­ and tissue­specific manner. The present study provides an overview of the 'canonical' SARS­CoV­2 mediators, namely angiotensin converting enzyme 2, transmembrane protease serine 2 and 4, and neuropilin­1, expanding on the involvement of novel candidates, including glucose­regulated protein 78, basigin, kidney injury molecule­1, metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2, ADAM metallopeptidase domain 17 (also termed tumour necrosis factor­α convertase) and Toll­like receptor 4. Furthermore, emerging data indicate that changes in microRNA (miRNA/miR) expression levels in patients with COVID­19 are suggestive of further complexity in the regulation of these viral mediators. An in silico analysis revealed 160 candidate miRNAs with potential strong binding capacity in the aforementioned genes. Future studies should concentrate on elucidating the association between the cellular tropism of the SARS­CoV­2 cell entry mediators and the mechanisms through which they might affect the clinical outcome. Finally, the clinical utility as a biomarker or therapeutic target of miRNAs in the context of COVID­19 warrants further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , MicroRNAs/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , /metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , MicroRNAs/genetics , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 4/genetics , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism , Viral Tropism
18.
Vaccine ; 39(40): 5963-5967, 2021 09 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Data regarding the association of antibody levels elicited after immunization with the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine with epidemiological and clinical parameters are limited. METHODS: We prospectively measured the total (TAbs-RBD) and the neutralizing antibodies (NAbs-RBD) against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a cohort of 268 Healthcare workers before immunization, 20 days after the 1st dose and 30 days after the 2nd dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine. A statistical analysis for possible association of antibodies' levels with epidemiological and clinical parameters was performed. RESULTS: The mean age (±SD) of the participants was 45.45 years (±11.93) (range: 24-70 years) and 211 (79.9%) were females. Statistically significant differences were detected regarding both TAbs-RBD and NAbs-RBD between the first and second doses of the vaccine (P < 0.001). The median (IQR) percentage (%) of NAbs-RBD after the 1st dose was 51.07% (31.60%) and after the 2nd dose 95.31% (3.70%) (P < 0.001). The correlation between the TAbs-RBD and NAbs-RBD was after the 1st dose, Spearman's, rho: 0.861 (P < 0.001) and after the 2nd dose rho: 0.989 (P < 0.001). Twenty days after the 1st dose, 56/264 (21.2%) of the participants had low levels of NAbs-RBD, while one month after the 2nd dose all of them had protective levels of NAbs-RBD. After the 2nd vaccine dose, a statistically significant negative association of TAbs-RBD was detected for age (P < 0.001), smoking (P = 0.011), and immunosuppressive medications (P < 0.001), while a positive association was detected for BMI (P = 0.004) and systemic adverse events after immunization (P = 0.001). CONCLUSION: A significant correlation of TAbs-RBD and NAbs-RBD was detected after both vaccine doses. Older age, smoking, and immunosuppressive medications negatively affected the final antibody level after SARS-CoV-2 immunization. Our findings emphasize the significance of the 2nd vaccine dose especially in the older age groups.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunization , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
19.
Biochemistry (Mosc) ; 86(7): 800-817, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594970

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, a new human respiratory disease that has killed nearly 3 million people in a year since the start of the pandemic, is a global public health challenge. Its infectious agent, SARS-CoV-2, differs from other coronaviruses in a number of structural features that make this virus more pathogenic and transmissible. In this review, we discuss some important characteristics of the main SARS-CoV-2 surface antigen, the spike (S) protein, such as (i) ability of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) to switch between the "standing-up" position (open pre-fusion conformation) for receptor binding and the "lying-down" position (closed pre-fusion conformation) for immune system evasion; (ii) advantage of a high binding affinity of the RBD open conformation to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for efficient cell entry; and (iii) S protein preliminary activation by the intracellular furin-like proteases for facilitation of the virus spreading across different cell types. We describe interactions between the S protein and cellular receptors, co-receptors, and antagonists, as well as a hypothetical mechanism of the homotrimeric spike structure destabilization that triggers the fusion of the viral envelope with the cell membrane at physiological pH and mediates the viral nucleocapsid entry into the cytoplasm. The transition of the S protein pre-fusion conformation to the post-fusion one on the surface of virions after their treatment with some reagents, such as ß-propiolactone, is essential, especially in relation to the vaccine production. We also compare the COVID-19 pathogenesis with that of severe outbreaks of "avian" influenza caused by the A/H5 and A/H7 highly pathogenic viruses and discuss the structural similarities between the SARS-CoV-2 S protein and hemagglutinins of those highly pathogenic strains. Finally, we touch on the prospective and currently used COVID-19 antiviral and anti-pathogenetic therapeutics, as well as recently approved conventional and innovative COVID-19 vaccines and their molecular and immunological features.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Influenza A virus/chemistry , Influenza A virus/genetics , Influenza A virus/metabolism , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/genetics , Influenza, Human/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
20.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(1)2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599544

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly transmissible coronavirus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we provide evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads through cell-cell contact in cultures, mediated by the spike glycoprotein. SARS-CoV-2 spike is more efficient in facilitating cell-to-cell transmission than is SARS-CoV spike, which reflects, in part, their differential cell-cell fusion activity. Interestingly, treatment of cocultured cells with endosomal entry inhibitors impairs cell-to-cell transmission, implicating endosomal membrane fusion as an underlying mechanism. Compared with cell-free infection, cell-to-cell transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is refractory to inhibition by neutralizing antibody or convalescent sera of COVID-19 patients. While angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 enhances cell-to-cell transmission, we find that it is not absolutely required. Notably, despite differences in cell-free infectivity, the authentic variants of concern (VOCs) B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) have similar cell-to-cell transmission capability. Moreover, B.1.351 is more resistant to neutralization by vaccinee sera in cell-free infection, whereas B.1.1.7 is more resistant to inhibition by vaccinee sera in cell-to-cell transmission. Overall, our study reveals critical features of SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated cell-to-cell transmission, with important implications for a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 spread and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Fusion , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
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