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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 935573, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022715

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), represents a significant global human health threat. The most effective way to end the pandemic is through timely vaccination. In this study, the receptor-binding domains (RBDs) of Spike protein of the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), and B.1.617.1 (Kappa), were successfully displayed on the surface of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain for development as a vaccine candidate. To rapidly express the recombinant protein and avoid the need for expensive galactose as an inducer, the gal80 gene of S. cerevisiae was knocked out, and the conventional 72-h culture period was thus successfully shortened to 24 h. Mice vaccinated against variant B.1.617.1 showed robust humoral and cellular immune responses. Moreover, the antiserum in the B.1.671.1 group had neutralizing activity against wild-type RBD and high binding titers against RBD mutants of variants B.1.351 and B.1.1.7. Double deglycosylation at N331Q and N343Q resulted in marked reduction of the affinity of RBD binding to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and escaped antibody neutralization. This study demonstrates that yeast surface display technology can provide an alternative approach to rapid large-scale preparation of promising SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates at low cost.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Saccharomyces cerevisiae , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis
2.
Cell Struct Funct ; 47(1): 43-53, 2022 Jun 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910415

ABSTRACT

The ongoing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has threatened human health and the global economy. Development of additional vaccines and therapeutics is urgently required, but such development with live virus must be conducted with biosafety level 3 confinement. Pseudotyped viruses have been widely adopted for studies of virus entry and pharmaceutical development to overcome this restriction. Here we describe a modified protocol to generate vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) pseudotyped with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in high yield. We found that a large proportion of pseudovirions produced with the conventional transient expression system lacked coronavirus spike protein at their surface as a result of inhibition of parental VSV infection by overexpression of this protein. Establishment of stable cell lines with an optimal expression level of coronavirus spike protein allowed the efficient production of progeny pseudoviruses decorated with spike protein. This improved VSV pseudovirus production method should facilitate studies of coronavirus entry and development of antiviral agents.Key words: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2, pseudovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), spike protein.


Subject(s)
Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/metabolism
3.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(14): 3786-3794, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417292

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, poses a serious global threat. It was first reported in 2019 in China and has now dramatically spread across the world. It is crucial to develop therapeutics to mitigate severe disease and viral spread. The receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in the spike protein of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have shown anti-viral activity in previous reports suggesting that this domain has high potential for development as therapeutics. To evaluate the potential antiviral activity of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD proteins, we determined the RBD residues of SARS-CoV-2 using a homology search with RBD of SARS-CoV. For efficient expression and purification, the signal peptide of spike protein was identified and used to generate constructs expressing recombinant RBD proteins. Highly purified RBD protein fused with the Fc domain of human IgG showed potent anti-viral efficacy, which was better than that of a protein fused with a histidine tag. Intranasally pre-administrated RBD protein also inhibited the attachment of SARS-COV-2 to mouse lungs. These findings indicate that RBD protein could be used for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/therapeutic use , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Protein Domains , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology , Vero Cells
4.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2305: 129-140, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1355903

ABSTRACT

The expression of mammalian recombinant proteins in insect cell lines using transient-plasmid-based gene expression enables the production of high-quality protein samples. Here, the procedure for virus-free transient gene expression (TGE) in High Five insect cells is described in detail. The parameters that determine the efficiency and reproducibility of the method are presented in a robust protocol for easy implementation and set-up of the method. The applicability of the TGE method in High Five cells for proteomic, structural, and functional analysis of the expressed proteins is shown.


Subject(s)
Biotechnology/methods , Cloning, Molecular , Insecta/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Transfection/methods , Animals , Bioreactors , Cell Culture Techniques/methods , Cell Line , Gene Expression , Glycosylation , Humans , Insecta/cytology , Mammals/genetics , Mammals/metabolism , Plasmids , Proteomics , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Biotechnol Bioeng ; 118(10): 4129-4137, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1310445

ABSTRACT

Serology testing for COVID-19 is important in evaluating active immune response against SARS-CoV-2, studying the antibody kinetics, and monitoring reinfections with genetic variants and new virus strains, in particular, the duration of antibodies in virus-exposed individuals and vaccine-mediated immunity. In this study, recombinant S protein of SARS-CoV-2 was expressed in Rachiplusia nu, an important agronomic plague. One gram of insect larvae produces an amount of S protein sufficient for 150 determinations in the ELISA method herein developed. We established a rapid production process for SARS-CoV-2 S protein that showed immunoreactivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and was used as a single antigen for developing the ELISA method with high sensitivity (96.2%) and specificity (98.8%). Our findings provide an efficient and cost-effective platform for large-scale S protein production, and the scale-up is linear, thus avoiding the use of complex equipment like bioreactors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Animals , Larva/metabolism , Larva/virology , Nucleopolyhedroviruses , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera
6.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 558: 79-85, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193239

ABSTRACT

During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected almost 108 individuals. Quite a number of vaccines against COVID-19 were therefore developed, and a few recently received authorization for emergency use. Overall, these vaccines target specific viral proteins by antibodies whose synthesis is directly elicited or indirectly triggered by nucleic acids coding for the desired targets. Among these targets, the receptor binding domain (RBD) of COVID-19 spike protein (SP) does frequently occur in the repertoire of candidate vaccines. However, the immunogenicity of RBD per se is limited by its low molecular mass, and by a structural rearrangement of full-length SP accompanied by the detachment of RBD. Here we show that the RBD of COVID-19 SP can be conveniently produced in Escherichia coli when fused to a fragment of CRM197, a variant of diphtheria toxin currently used for a number of conjugated vaccines. In particular, we show that the CRM197-RBD chimera solubilized from inclusion bodies can be refolded and purified to a state featuring the 5 native disulphide bonds of the parental proteins, the competence in binding angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and a satisfactory stability at room temperature. Accordingly, our observations provide compulsory information for the development of a candidate vaccine directed against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/biosynthesis , Bacterial Proteins/isolation & purification , Base Sequence , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Inclusion Bodies/chemistry , Inclusion Bodies/metabolism , Mass Spectrometry , Models, Molecular , Protein Refolding , Protein Stability , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Temperature , Time Factors
7.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 538: 80-87, 2021 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125492

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-19), represents a far more serious threat to public health than SARS and MERS coronaviruses, due to its ability to spread more efficiently than its predecessors. Currently, there is no worldwide-approved effective treatment for COVID-19, urging the scientific community to intense efforts to accelerate the discovery and development of prophylactic and therapeutic solutions against SARS-CoV-2 infection. In particular, effective antiviral drugs are urgently needed. With few exceptions, therapeutic approaches to combat viral infections have traditionally focused on targeting unique viral components or enzymes; however, it has now become evident that this strategy often fails due to the rapid emergence of drug-resistant viruses. Targeting host factors that are essential for the virus life cycle, but are dispensable for the host, has recently received increasing attention. The spike glycoprotein, a component of the viral envelope that decorates the virion surface as a distinctive crown ("corona") and is essential for SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells, represents a key target for developing therapeutics capable of blocking virus invasion. This review highlights aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 spike biogenesis that may be amenable to host-directed antiviral targeting.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Protein Folding , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
8.
Biotechnol Bioeng ; 118(6): 2202-2219, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1098874

ABSTRACT

Serological assays are valuable tools to study SARS-CoV-2 spread and, importantly, to identify individuals that were already infected and would be potentially immune to a virus reinfection. SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and its receptor binding domain (RBD) are the antigens with higher potential to develop SARS-CoV-2 serological assays. Moreover, structural studies of these antigens are key to understand the molecular basis for Spike interaction with angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor, hopefully enabling the development of COVID-19 therapeutics. Thus, it is urgent that significant amounts of this protein became available at the highest quality. In this study, we produced Spike and RBD in two human derived cell hosts: HEK293-E6 and Expi293F™. We evaluated the impact of different and scalable bioprocessing approaches on Spike and RBD production yields and, more importantly, on these antigens' quality attributes. Using negative and positive sera collected from human donors, we show an excellent performance of the produced antigens, assessed in serologic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests, as denoted by the high specificity and sensitivity of the test. We show robust Spike productions with final yields of approx. 2 mg/L of culture that were maintained independently of the production scale or cell culture strategy. To the best of our knowledge, the final yield of 90 mg/L of culture obtained for RBD production, was the highest reported to date. An in-depth characterization of SARS-CoV-2 Spike and RBD proteins was performed, namely the antigen's oligomeric state, glycosylation profiles, and thermal stability during storage. The correlation of these quality attributes with ELISA performance show equivalent reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 positive serum, for all Spike and RBD produced, and for all storage conditions tested. Overall, we provide straightforward protocols to produce high-quality SARS-CoV-2 Spike and RBD antigens, that can be easily adapted to both academic and industrial settings; and integrate, for the first time, studies on the impact of bioprocess with an in-depth characterization of these proteins, correlating antigen's glycosylation and biophysical attributes to performance of COVID-19 serologic tests.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/biosynthesis , Glycosylation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Cold Temperature , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/standards , Freezing , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Protein Conformation , Protein Stability , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Serologic Tests/standards , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/standards
9.
Virus Res ; 295: 198305, 2021 04 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065651

ABSTRACT

In this study, we showed that a codon optimized version of the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 can migrate to the cell membrane. However, efficient production of Moloney murine leukemia (MLV) infectious viral particles was only achieved with stable expression of a shorter S version in C-terminal (ΔS) in MLV Gag-pol expressing cells. As compared to transient transfections, this platform generated viruses with a 1000-fold higher titer. ΔS was 15-times more efficiently incorporated into VLPs as compared to S, and that was not due to steric interference between the cytoplasmic tail and the MLV capsid, as similar differences were also observed with extracellular vesicles. The amount of ΔS incorporated into VLPs released from producer cells was high and estimated at 1.25 µg/mL S2 equivalent (S is comprised of S1 and S2). The resulting VLPs could potentially be used alone or as a boost of other immunization strategies for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Virion/genetics , Cell Line , Humans , Moloney murine leukemia virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Virion/immunology
10.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 21779, 2020 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-970872

ABSTRACT

The yeast Pichia pastoris is a cost-effective and easily scalable system for recombinant protein production. In this work we compared the conformation of the receptor binding domain (RBD) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Spike protein expressed in P. pastoris and in the well established HEK-293T mammalian cell system. RBD obtained from both yeast and mammalian cells was properly folded, as indicated by UV-absorption, circular dichroism and tryptophan fluorescence. They also had similar stability, as indicated by temperature-induced unfolding (observed Tm were 50 °C and 52 °C for RBD produced in P. pastoris and HEK-293T cells, respectively). Moreover, the stability of both variants was similarly reduced when the ionic strength was increased, in agreement with a computational analysis predicting that a set of ionic interactions may stabilize RBD structure. Further characterization by high-performance liquid chromatography, size-exclusion chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed a higher heterogeneity of RBD expressed in P. pastoris relative to that produced in HEK-293T cells, which disappeared after enzymatic removal of glycans. The production of RBD in P. pastoris was scaled-up in a bioreactor, with yields above 45 mg/L of 90% pure protein, thus potentially allowing large scale immunizations to produce neutralizing antibodies, as well as the large scale production of serological tests for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Humans , Protein Domains , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saccharomycetales/chemistry , Saccharomycetales/genetics , Saccharomycetales/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Molecules ; 25(22)2020 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934509

ABSTRACT

Proteases catalyse irreversible posttranslational modifications that often alter a biological function of the substrate. The protease dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) is a pharmacological target in type 2 diabetes therapy primarily because it inactivates glucagon-like protein-1. DPP4 also has roles in steatosis, insulin resistance, cancers and inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. In addition, DPP4 binds to the spike protein of the MERS virus, causing it to be the human cell surface receptor for that virus. DPP4 has been identified as a potential binding target of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, so this question requires experimental investigation. Understanding protein structure and function requires reliable protocols for production and purification. We developed such strategies for baculovirus generated soluble recombinant human DPP4 (residues 29-766) produced in insect cells. Purification used differential ammonium sulphate precipitation, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, dye affinity chromatography in series with immobilised metal affinity chromatography, and ion-exchange chromatography. The binding affinities of DPP4 to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD) were measured using surface plasmon resonance and ELISA. This optimised DPP4 purification procedure yielded 1 to 1.8 mg of pure fully active soluble DPP4 protein per litre of insect cell culture with specific activity >30 U/mg, indicative of high purity. No specific binding between DPP4 and CoV-2 spike protein was detected by surface plasmon resonance or ELISA. In summary, a procedure for high purity high yield soluble human DPP4 was achieved and used to show that, unlike MERS, SARS-CoV-2 does not bind human DPP4.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/isolation & purification , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Baculoviridae/genetics , Baculoviridae/metabolism , Cloning, Molecular , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/biosynthesis , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/chemistry , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Gene Expression , Humans , Kinetics , Models, Molecular , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Secondary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera , Surface Plasmon Resonance
12.
Biotechnol Bioeng ; 118(2): 1013-1021, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893204

ABSTRACT

We describe scalable and cost-efficient production of full length, His-tagged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike glycoprotein trimer by Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells that can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in patient sera at high specificity and sensitivity. Transient production of spike in both human embryonic kidney (HEK) and CHO cells mediated by polyethyleneimine was increased significantly (up to 10.9-fold) by a reduction in culture temperature to 32°C to permit extended duration cultures. Based on these data GS-CHO pools stably producing spike trimer under the control of a strong synthetic promoter were cultured in hypothermic conditions with combinations of bioactive small molecules to increase yield of purified spike product 4.9-fold to 53 mg/L. Purification of recombinant spike by Ni-chelate affinity chromatography initially yielded a variety of co-eluting protein impurities identified as host cell derived by mass spectrometry, which were separated from spike trimer using a modified imidazole gradient elution. Purified CHO spike trimer antigen was used in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay format to detect immunoglobulin G antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in sera from patient cohorts previously tested for viral infection by polymerase chain reaction, including those who had displayed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms. The antibody assay, validated to ISO 15189 Medical Laboratories standards, exhibited a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 92.3%. Our data show that CHO cells are a suitable host for the production of larger quantities of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 trimer which can be used as antigen for mass serological testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Animals , CHO Cells , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Cricetulus , Humans , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Serologic Tests/methods
13.
Pain ; 161(11): 2494-2501, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-878868

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has created a global crisis. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is characterized by pneumonia, respiratory distress, and hypercoagulation and can be fatal. An early sign of infection is loss of smell, taste, and chemesthesis-loss of chemical sensation. Other neurological effects of the disease have been described, but not explained. It is now apparent that many of these neurological effects (for instance joint pain and headache) can persist for at least months after infection, suggesting a sensory neuronal involvement in persistent disease. We show that human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 at the RNA and protein level. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus-associated factors and receptors are broadly expressed in human DRG at the lumbar and thoracic level as assessed by bulk RNA sequencing. ACE2 mRNA is expressed by a subset of nociceptors that express MRGPRD mRNA, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may gain access to the nervous system through entry into neurons that form free nerve endings at the outermost layers of skin and luminal organs. Therefore, DRG sensory neurons are a potential target for SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the peripheral nervous system, and viral infection of human nociceptors may cause some of the persistent neurological effects seen in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Nervous System Diseases/metabolism , Nociceptors/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Ganglia, Spinal/virology , Gene Expression , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/genetics , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
Biochem Pharmacol ; 182: 114227, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-778475

ABSTRACT

AR12 is a derivative of celecoxib which no-longer acts against COX2 but instead inhibits the ATPase activity of multiple chaperone proteins, in particular GRP78. GRP78 acts as a sensor of endoplasmic reticulum stress and is an essential chaperone required for the life cycle of all mammalian viruses. We and others previously demonstrated in vitro and in vivo that AR12 increases autophagosome formation and autophagic flux, enhances virus protein degradation, preventing virus reproduction, and prolonging the survival of infected animals. In this report, we determined whether AR12 could act against SARS-CoV-2. In a dose-dependent fashion AR12 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expression in transfected or infected cells. AR12 suppressed the production of infectious virions via autophagosome formation, which was also associated with degradation of GRP78. After AR12 exposure, the colocalization of GRP78 with spike protein was reduced. Knock down of eIF2α prevented AR12-induced spike degradation and knock down of Beclin1 or ATG5 caused the spike protein to localize in LAMP2+ vesicles without apparent degradation. HCT116 cells expressing ATG16L1 T300, found in the majority of persons of non-European descent, particularly from Africa, expressed greater amounts of GRP78 and SARS-CoV-2 receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 compared to ATG16L1 A300, predominantly found in Europeans, suggestive that ATG16L1 T300 expression may be associated with a greater ability to be infected and to reproduce SARS-CoV-2. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that AR12 represents a clinically relevant anti-viral drug for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Heat-Shock Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Pyrazoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Vero Cells
16.
Viruses ; 12(9)2020 09 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-769396

ABSTRACT

The recent outbreak of a novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its rapid spread across the continents has generated an urgent need for assays to detect the neutralising activity of human sera or human monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and to evaluate the serological immunity in humans. Since the accessibility of live virus microneutralisation (MN) assays with SARS-CoV-2 is limited and requires enhanced bio-containment, the approach based on "pseudotyping" can be considered a useful complement to other serological assays. After fully characterising lentiviral pseudotypes bearing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, we employed them in pseudotype-based neutralisation assays in order to profile the neutralising activity of human serum samples from an Italian sero-epidemiological study. The results obtained with pseudotype-based neutralisation assays mirrored those obtained when the same panel of sera was tested against the wild type virus, showing an evident convergence of the pseudotype-based neutralisation and MN results. The overall results lead to the conclusion that the pseudotype-based neutralisation assay is a valid alternative to using the wild-type strain, and although this system needs to be optimised and standardised, it can not only complement the classical serological methods, but also allows serological assessments to be made when other methods cannot be employed, especially in a human pandemic context.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Lentivirus/genetics , Neutralization Tests/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Italy/epidemiology , Plasmids/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/physiology , Transfection , Vesiculovirus/genetics , Viral Load
17.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 529(2): 257-262, 2020 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-591648

ABSTRACT

In the case of a new viral disease outbreak, an immediate development of virus detection kits and vaccines is required. For COVID-19, we established a rapid production procedure for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S protein) by using the baculovirus-silkworm expression system. The baculovirus vector-derived S proteins were successfully secreted to silkworm serum, whereas those formed insoluble structure in the larval fat body and the pupal cells. The ectodomain of S protein with the native sequence was cleaved by the host furin-protease, resulting in less recombinant protein production. The S protein modified in furin protease-target site was efficiently secreted to silkworm serum and was purified as oligomers, which showed immunoreactivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 S2 antibody. By using the direct transfection of recombinant bacmid to silkworms, we achieved the efficient production of SARS-CoV-2 S protein as fetal bovine serum (FBS)-free system. The resultant purified S protein would be useful tools for the development of immunodetection kits, antigen for immunization for immunoglobulin production, and vaccines.


Subject(s)
Bombyx/cytology , Bombyx/virology , Nucleopolyhedroviruses/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Animals , Bombyx/enzymology , Cell Line , Cloning, Molecular , Furin/metabolism , Nucleopolyhedroviruses/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
18.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 1080-1091, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-429885

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a WHO priority pathogen for which vaccines are urgently needed. Using an immune-focusing approach, we created self-assembling particles multivalently displaying critical regions of the MERS-CoV spike protein ─fusion peptide, heptad repeat 2, and receptor binding domain (RBD) ─ and tested their immunogenicity and protective capacity in rabbits. Using a "plug-and-display" SpyTag/SpyCatcher system, we coupled RBD to lumazine synthase (LS) particles producing multimeric RBD-presenting particles (RBD-LS). RBD-LS vaccination induced antibody responses of high magnitude and quality (avidity, MERS-CoV neutralizing capacity, and mucosal immunity) with cross-clade neutralization. The antibody responses were associated with blocking viral replication and upper and lower respiratory tract protection against MERS-CoV infection in rabbits. This arrayed multivalent presentation of the viral RBD using the antigen-SpyTag/LS-SpyCatcher is a promising MERS-CoV vaccine candidate and this platform may be applied for the rapid development of vaccines against other emerging viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , Antigen Presentation , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity , Binding Sites , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Genetic Vectors , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Rabbits , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Virus Replication
19.
Curr Protoc Microbiol ; 57(1): e100, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-72322

ABSTRACT

In late 2019, cases of atypical pneumonia were detected in China. The etiological agent was quickly identified as a betacoronavirus (named SARS-CoV-2), which has since caused a pandemic. Several methods allowing for the specific detection of viral nucleic acids have been established, but these only allow detection of the virus during a short period of time, generally during acute infection. Serological assays are urgently needed to conduct serosurveys, to understand the antibody responses mounted in response to the virus, and to identify individuals who are potentially immune to re-infection. Here we describe a detailed protocol for expression of antigens derived from the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that can serve as a substrate for immunological assays, as well as a two-stage serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These assays can be used for research studies and for testing in clinical laboratories. © 2020 The Authors. Basic Protocol 1: Mammalian cell transfection and protein purification Basic Protocol 2: A two-stage ELISA for high-throughput screening of human serum samples for antibodies binding to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/biosynthesis , Antigens, Viral/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroconversion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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