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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(1)2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626013

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has resulted in tremendous loss worldwide. Although viral spike (S) protein binding of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been established, the functional consequences of the initial receptor binding and the stepwise fusion process are not clear. By utilizing a cell-cell fusion system, in complement with a pseudoviral infection model, we found that the spike engagement of ACE2 primed the generation of S2' fragments in target cells, a key proteolytic event coupled with spike-mediated membrane fusion. Mutagenesis of an S2' cleavage site at the arginine (R) 815, but not an S2 cleavage site at arginine 685, was sufficient to prevent subsequent syncytia formation and infection in a variety of cell lines and primary cells isolated from human ACE2 knock-in mice. The requirement for S2' cleavage at the R815 site was also broadly shared by other SARS-CoV-2 spike variants, such as the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants of concern. Thus, our study highlights an essential role for host receptor engagement and the key residue of spike for proteolytic activation, and uncovers a targetable mechanism for host cell infection by SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Mice , Protein Binding , Proteolysis , Virus Internalization
2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 222, 2022 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621242

ABSTRACT

As the global burden of SARS-CoV-2 infections escalates, so does the evolution of viral variants with increased transmissibility and pathology. In addition to this entrenched diversity, RNA viruses can also display genetic diversity within single infected hosts with co-existing viral variants evolving differently in distinct cell types. The BriSΔ variant, originally identified as a viral subpopulation from SARS-CoV-2 isolate hCoV-19/England/02/2020, comprises in the spike an eight amino-acid deletion encompassing a furin recognition motif and S1/S2 cleavage site. We elucidate the structure, function and molecular dynamics of this spike providing mechanistic insight into how the deletion correlates to viral cell tropism, ACE2 receptor binding and infectivity of this SARS-CoV-2 variant. Our results reveal long-range allosteric communication between functional domains that differ in the wild-type and the deletion variant and support a view of SARS-CoV-2 probing multiple evolutionary trajectories in distinct cell types within the same infected host.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Evolution, Molecular , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Linoleic Acid/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Tropism , Virus Internalization
3.
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
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.
Appl Biochem Biotechnol ; 194(1): 291-301, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605778

ABSTRACT

Corona virus pandemic outbreak also known as COVID-19 has created an imbalance in this world. Scientists have adopted the use of natural or alternative medicines which are consumed mostly as dietary supplements to boost the immune system as herbal remedies. India is famous for traditional medicinal formulations which includes 'Trikadu'-a combination of three acrids, namely Zingiber officinale, Piper nigrum and Piper longum which have antioxidant properties that boost our immune system hence acting as a strong preventive measure. In this study, AutoDock 4.0 was used to study interaction between the phytocompounds of Trikadu with RNA-dependent polymerase protein and enveloped protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Analysis of the results showed that coumarin, coumaperine and bisdemethoxycurcumin showed strong bonding interactions with both the proteins. We can conclude that Trikadu has the potential molecules; hence, it can be incorporated in the diet to boost the immune system as a preventive measure against the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Phytotherapy , Plant Preparations/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Antioxidants/isolation & purification , Antioxidants/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Computer Simulation , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/drug effects , Dietary Supplements , Ginger/chemistry , Humans , Immune System/drug effects , India , Ligands , Medicine, Traditional , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phytochemicals/chemistry , Phytochemicals/therapeutic use , Piper/chemistry , Piper nigrum/chemistry , Plant Preparations/isolation & purification , Plants, Medicinal/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/drug effects
6.
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
7.
J Chem Inf Model ; 62(1): 129-141, 2022 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593565

ABSTRACT

Binding of the SARS-CoV-2 S-glycoprotein to cell receptors is vital for the entry of the virus into cells and subsequent infection. ACE2 is the main cell receptor for SARS-CoV-2, which can attach to the C-terminal receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 S-glycoprotein. The GRP78 receptor plays an anchoring role, which attaches to the RBD and increases the chance of other RBDs binding to ACE2. Although high levels of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) are produced during viral infections, it is not clear how they affect the RBD structure and its binding to ACE2 and GRP78. In this research, we apply molecular dynamics simulations to study the effect of oxidation of the highly reactive cysteine (Cys) amino acids of the RBD on its binding to ACE2 and GRP78. The interaction energy of both ACE2 and GRP78 with the whole RBD, as well as with the RBD main regions, is compared in both the native and oxidized RBDs. Our results show that the interaction energy between the oxidized RBD and ACE2 is strengthened by 155 kJ/mol, increasing the binding of the RBD to ACE2 after oxidation. In addition, the interaction energy between the RBD and GRP78 is slightly increased by 8 kJ/mol after oxidation, but this difference is not significant. Overall, these findings highlight the role of RONS in the binding of the SARS-CoV-2 S-glycoprotein to host cell receptors and suggest an alternative mechanism by which RONS could modulate the entrance of viral particles into the cells.


Subject(s)
Cysteine/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19 , Humans , Reactive Nitrogen Species , Reactive Oxygen Species , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS Biol ; 19(12): e3001510, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592147

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects a broader range of mammalian species than previously predicted, binding a diversity of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) orthologs despite extensive sequence divergence. Within this sequence degeneracy, we identify a rare sequence combination capable of conferring SARS-CoV-2 resistance. We demonstrate that this sequence was likely unattainable during human evolution due to deleterious effects on ACE2 carboxypeptidase activity, which has vasodilatory and cardioprotective functions in vivo. Across the 25 ACE2 sites implicated in viral binding, we identify 6 amino acid substitutions unique to mouse-one of the only known mammalian species resistant to SARS-CoV-2. Substituting human variants at these positions is sufficient to confer binding of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein to mouse ACE2, facilitating cellular infection. Conversely, substituting mouse variants into either human or dog ACE2 abolishes viral binding, diminishing cellular infection. However, these same substitutions decrease human ACE2 activity by 50% and are predicted as pathogenic, consistent with the extreme rarity of human polymorphisms at these sites. This trade-off can be avoided, however, depending on genetic background; if substituted simultaneously, these same mutations have no deleterious effect on dog ACE2 nor that of the rodent ancestor estimated to exist 70 million years ago. This genetic contingency (epistasis) may have therefore opened the road to resistance for some species, while making humans susceptible to viruses that use these ACE2 surfaces for binding, as does SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Disease Resistance/genetics , Epistasis, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Amino Acids , Angiotensin II/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Binding Sites , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/genetics , Dogs , Evolution, Molecular , Gene Frequency , Humans , Hydrolysis , Mice , Mutation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment
9.
Elife ; 102021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592091

ABSTRACT

Infection and viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 crucially depends on the binding of its Spike protein to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) presented on host cells. Glycosylation of both proteins is critical for this interaction. Recombinant soluble human ACE2 can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and is currently undergoing clinical tests for the treatment of COVID-19. We used 3D structural models and molecular dynamics simulations to define the ACE2 N-glycans that critically influence Spike-ACE2 complex formation. Engineering of ACE2 N-glycosylation by site-directed mutagenesis or glycosidase treatment resulted in enhanced binding affinities and improved virus neutralization without notable deleterious effects on the structural stability and catalytic activity of the protein. Importantly, simultaneous removal of all accessible N-glycans from recombinant soluble human ACE2 yields a superior SARS-CoV-2 decoy receptor with promise as effective treatment for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Glycosylation , Humans , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Engineering , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization
10.
J Virol ; 94(13)2020 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583223

ABSTRACT

Fusion with, and subsequent entry into, the host cell is one of the critical steps in the life cycle of enveloped viruses. For Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the spike (S) protein is the main determinant of viral entry. Proteolytic cleavage of the S protein exposes its fusion peptide (FP), which initiates the process of membrane fusion. Previous studies on the related severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) FP have shown that calcium ions (Ca2+) play an important role in fusogenic activity via a Ca2+ binding pocket with conserved glutamic acid (E) and aspartic acid (D) residues. SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV FPs share a high sequence homology, and here, we investigated whether Ca2+ is required for MERS-CoV fusion by screening a mutant array in which E and D residues in the MERS-CoV FP were substituted with neutrally charged alanines (A). Upon verifying mutant cell surface expression and proteolytic cleavage, we tested their ability to mediate pseudoparticle (PP) infection of host cells in modulating Ca2+ environments. Our results demonstrate that intracellular Ca2+ enhances MERS-CoV wild-type (WT) PP infection by approximately 2-fold and that E891 is a crucial residue for Ca2+ interaction. Subsequent electron spin resonance (ESR) experiments revealed that this enhancement could be attributed to Ca2+ increasing MERS-CoV FP fusion-relevant membrane ordering. Intriguingly, isothermal calorimetry showed an approximate 1:1 MERS-CoV FP to Ca2+ ratio, as opposed to an 1:2 SARS-CoV FP to Ca2+ ratio, suggesting significant differences in FP Ca2+ interactions of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV FP despite their high sequence similarity.IMPORTANCE Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a major emerging infectious disease with zoonotic potential and has reservoirs in dromedary camels and bats. Since its first outbreak in 2012, the virus has repeatedly transmitted from camels to humans, with 2,468 confirmed cases causing 851 deaths. To date, there are no efficacious drugs and vaccines against MERS-CoV, increasing its potential to cause a public health emergency. In order to develop novel drugs and vaccines, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable the virus to infect host cells. Our data have found that calcium is an important regulator of viral fusion by interacting with negatively charged residues in the MERS-CoV FP region. This information can guide therapeutic solutions to block this calcium interaction and also repurpose already approved drugs for this use for a fast response to MERS-CoV outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Calcium/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Ions/metabolism , Membrane Fusion , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Internalization , Amino Acid Sequence , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Binding , Proteolysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Virulence , Virus Assembly
11.
Front Immunol ; 12: 795741, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581316

ABSTRACT

Glycan-masking the vaccine antigen by mutating the undesired antigenic sites with an additional N-linked glycosylation motif can refocus B-cell responses to desired epitopes, without affecting the antigen's overall-folded structure. This study examined the impact of glycan-masking mutants of the N-terminal domain (NTD) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, and found that the antigenic design of the S protein increases the neutralizing antibody titers against the Wuhan-Hu-1 ancestral strain and the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2). Our results demonstrated that the use of glycan-masking Ad-S-R158N/Y160T in the NTD elicited a 2.8-fold, 6.5-fold, and 4.6-fold increase in the IC-50 NT titer against the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, respectively. Glycan-masking of Ad-S-D428N in the RBD resulted in a 3.0-fold and 2.0-fold increase in the IC-50 neutralization titer against the Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) variants, respectively. The use of glycan-masking in Ad-S-R158N/Y160T and Ad-S-D428N antigen design may help develop universal COVID-19 vaccines against current and future emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes/immunology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adenoviridae/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Genetic Engineering , Genetic Vectors/genetics , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Neutralization Tests , Polysaccharides , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship
12.
Molecules ; 27(1)2022 Jan 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580563

ABSTRACT

Before entering the cell, the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) binds to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor. Hence, this RBD is a critical target for the development of antiviral agents. Recent studies have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in the RBD have spread globally. The purpose of this in silico study was to determine the potential of a fruit bromelain-derived peptide. DYGAVNEVK. to inhibit the entry of various SARS-CoV-2 variants into human cells by targeting the hACE binding site within the RBD. Molecular docking analysis revealed that DYGAVNEVK interacts with several critical RBD binding residues responsible for the adhesion of the RBD to hACE2. Moreover, 100 ns MD simulations revealed stable interactions between DYGAVNEVK and RBD variants derived from the trajectory of root-mean-square deviation (RMSD), radius of gyration (Rg), and root-mean-square fluctuation (RMSF) analysis, as well as free binding energy calculations. Overall, our computational results indicate that DYGAVNEVK warrants further investigation as a candidate for preventing SARS-CoV-2 due to its interaction with the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bromelains , Computer Simulation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bromelains/chemistry , Bromelains/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
13.
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
14.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7345, 2021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585860

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Kappa and Beta variants with enhanced transmissibility and resistance to neutralizing antibodies has created new challenges for the control of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the structural nature of Kappa and Beta spike (S) proteins and their association with ACE2 is of significant importance. Here we present two cryo-EM structures for each of the Kappa and Beta spikes in the open and open-prone transition states. Compared with wild-type (WT) or G614 spikes, the two variant spikes appear more untwisted/open especially for Beta, and display a considerable population shift towards the open state as well as more pronounced conformational dynamics. Moreover, we capture four conformational states of the S-trimer/ACE2 complex for each of the two variants, revealing an enlarged conformational landscape for the Kappa and Beta S-ACE2 complexes and pronounced population shift towards the three RBDs up conformation. These results implicate that the mutations in Kappa and Beta may modify the kinetics of receptor binding and viral fusion to improve virus fitness. Combined with biochemical analysis, our structural study shows that the two variants are enabled to efficiently interact with ACE2 receptor despite their sensitive ACE2 binding surface is modified to escape recognition by some potent neutralizing MAbs. Our findings shed new light on the pathogenicity and immune evasion mechanism of the Beta and Kappa variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Cryoelectron Microscopy , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Humans , Kinetics , Molecular Conformation , Mutation , Protein Binding
15.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24336, 2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585788

ABSTRACT

ACE2 is a membrane protein that regulates the cardiovascular system. Additionally, ACE2 acts as a receptor for host cell infection by human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that emerged as the cause of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and has brought unprecedented burden to economy and health. ACE2 binds the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 with high affinity and shows little variation in amino acid sequence meaning natural resistance is rare. The discovery of a novel short ACE2 isoform (deltaACE2) provides evidence for inter-individual differences in SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and severity, and likelihood of developing subsequent 'Long COVID'. Critically, deltaACE2 loses SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding sites in the extracellular domain, and is predicted to confer reduced susceptibility to viral infection. We aimed to assess the differential expression of full-length ACE2 versus deltaACE2 in a panel of human tissues (kidney, heart, lung, and liver) that are implicated in COVID-19, and confirm ACE2 protein in these tissues. Using dual antibody staining, we show that deltaACE2 localises, and is enriched, in lung airway epithelia and bile duct epithelia in the liver. Finally, we also confirm that a fluorescently tagged SARS-CoV-2 spike protein monomer shows low binding at lung and bile duct epithelia where dACE2 is enriched.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Bile Ducts/metabolism , Bile Ducts/virology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton , Protein Binding , Protein Isoforms/chemistry , Protein Isoforms/genetics , Protein Isoforms/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization
16.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(12): e1009664, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571973

ABSTRACT

The evolution of circulating viruses is shaped by their need to evade antibody response, which mainly targets the viral spike. Because of the high density of spikes on the viral surface, not all antigenic sites are targeted equally by antibodies. We offer here a geometry-based approach to predict and rank the probability of surface residues of SARS spike (S protein) and influenza H1N1 spike (hemagglutinin) to acquire antibody-escaping mutations utilizing in-silico models of viral structure. We used coarse-grained MD simulations to estimate the on-rate (targeting) of an antibody model to surface residues of the spike protein. Analyzing publicly available sequences, we found that spike surface sequence diversity of the pre-pandemic seasonal influenza H1N1 and the sarbecovirus subgenus highly correlates with our model prediction of antibody targeting. In particular, we identified an antibody-targeting gradient, which matches a mutability gradient along the main axis of the spike. This identifies the role of viral surface geometry in shaping the evolution of circulating viruses. For the 2009 H1N1 and SARS-CoV-2 pandemics, a mutability gradient along the main axis of the spike was not observed. Our model further allowed us to identify key residues of the SARS-CoV-2 spike at which antibody escape mutations have now occurred. Therefore, it can inform of the likely functional role of observed mutations and predict at which residues antibody-escaping mutation might arise.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/genetics , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus/chemistry , Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus/genetics , Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Influenza, Human/immunology , Influenza, Human/virology , Models, Immunological , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Pandemics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Envelope Proteins/chemistry
17.
J Cell Mol Med ; 26(1): 25-34, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1570773

ABSTRACT

Transmission electron microscopy has historically been indispensable for virology research, as it offers unique insight into virus function. In the past decade, as cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has matured and become more accessible, we have been able to peer into the structure of viruses at the atomic level and understand how they interact with the host cell, with drugs or with antibodies. Perhaps, there was no time in recent history where cryo-EM was more needed, as SARS-CoV-2 has spread around the globe, causing millions of deaths and almost unquantifiable economic devastation. In this concise review, we aim to mark the most important contributions of cryo-EM to understanding the structure and function of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, from surface spikes to the virus core and from virus-receptor interactions to antibody binding.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/biosynthesis , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Epitopes/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Secondary , Receptors, Virus/immunology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Serine Endopeptidases/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virion/drug effects , Virion/pathogenicity , Virion/ultrastructure
18.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572669

ABSTRACT

Genotype screening was implemented in Italy and showed a significant prevalence of new SARS-CoV-2 mutants carrying Q675H mutation, near the furin cleavage site of spike protein. Currently, this mutation, which is expressed on different SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating worldwide, has not been thoughtfully investigated. Therefore, we performed phylogenetic and biocomputational analysis to better understand SARS-CoV-2 Q675H mutants' evolutionary relationships with other circulating lineages and Q675H function in its molecular context. Our studies reveal that Q675H spike mutation is the result of parallel evolution because it arose independently in separate evolutionary clades. In silico data show that the Q675H mutation gives rise to a hydrogen-bonds network in the spike polar region. This results in an optimized directionality of arginine residues involved in interaction of spike with the furin binding pocket, thus improving proteolytic exposure of the viral protein. Furin was predicted to have a greater affinity for Q675H than Q675 substrate conformations. As a consequence, Q675H mutation could confer a fitness advantage to SARS-CoV-2 by promoting a more efficient viral entry. Interestingly, here we have shown that Q675H spike mutation is documented in all the VOCs. This finding highlights that VOCs are still evolving to enhance viral fitness and to adapt to the human host. At the same time, it may suggest Q675H spike mutation involvement in SARS-CoV-2 evolution.


Subject(s)
Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
19.
Science ; 373(6556)2021 Aug 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559379

ABSTRACT

The emergence of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) that are resistant to therapeutic antibodies highlights the need for continuing discovery of broadly reactive antibodies. We identified four receptor binding domain-targeting antibodies from three early-outbreak convalescent donors with potent neutralizing activity against 23 variants, including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.429, B.1.526, and B.1.617 VOCs. Two antibodies are ultrapotent, with subnanomolar neutralization titers [half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) 0.3 to 11.1 nanograms per milliliter; IC80 1.5 to 34.5 nanograms per milliliter). We define the structural and functional determinants of binding for all four VOC-targeting antibodies and show that combinations of two antibodies decrease the in vitro generation of escape mutants, suggesting their potential in mitigating resistance development.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Affinity , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/immunology , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Protein Domains , Receptors, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
20.
Mol Immunol ; 141: 287-296, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559780

ABSTRACT

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


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