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1.
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
2.
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
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
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
7.
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
9.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 777212, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598164

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants may cause resistance at the immunity level against current vaccines. Some emergent new variants have increased transmissibility, infectivity, hospitalization, and mortality. Since the administration of the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to a human in March 2020, there is an ongoing global race against SARS-CoV-2 to control the current pandemic situation. Spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 is the main target for current vaccine development, which can neutralize the infection. Companies and academic institutions have developed vaccines based on the S glycoprotein, as well as its antigenic domains and epitopes, which have been proven effective in generating neutralizing antibodies. The effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and other therapeutics developments are limited by the new emergent variants at the global level. We have discussed the emergent variants of SARS-CoV-2 on the efficacy of developed vaccines. Presently, most of the vaccines have been tremendously effective in severe diseases. However, there are still noteworthy challenges in certifying impartial vaccines; the stories of re-infections are generating more stressful conditions, and this needs further clinical evaluation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
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
12.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 420, 2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585885

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is identified as a zoonotic disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, which also can cross-transmit to many animals but not mice. Genetic modifications of SARS-CoV-2 or mice enable the mice susceptible to viral infection. Although neither is the natural situation, they are currently utilized to establish mouse infection models. Here we report a direct contact transmission of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351 in wild-type mice. The SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) replicated efficiently and induced significant pathological changes in lungs and tracheas, accompanied by elevated proinflammatory cytokines in the lungs and sera. Mechanistically, the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) spike protein turned to a high binding affinity to mouse angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (mACE2), allowing the mice highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) infection. Our work suggests that SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) expands the host range and therefore increases its transmission route without adapted mutation. As the wild house mice live with human populations quite closely, this possible transmission route could be potentially risky. In addition, because SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351) is one of the major epidemic strains and the mACE2 in laboratory-used mice is naturally expressed and regulated, the SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.351)/mice could be a much convenient animal model system to study COVID-19 pathogenesis and evaluate antiviral inhibitors and vaccines.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Expression , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Receptors, Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Replication
13.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 428, 2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585884

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced hyper-inflammation links to the acute lung injury and COVID-19 severity. Identifying the primary mediators that initiate the uncontrolled hypercytokinemia is essential for treatments. Mast cells (MCs) are strategically located at the mucosa and beneficially or detrimentally regulate immune inflammations. In this study, we showed that SARS-CoV-2-triggered MC degranulation initiated alveolar epithelial inflammation and lung injury. SARS-CoV-2 challenge induced MC degranulation in ACE-2 humanized mice and rhesus macaques, and a rapid MC degranulation could be recapitulated with Spike-RBD binding to ACE2 in cells; MC degranulation altered various signaling pathways in alveolar epithelial cells, particularly, the induction of pro-inflammatory factors and consequential disruption of tight junctions. Importantly, the administration of clinical MC stabilizers for blocking degranulation dampened SARS-CoV-2-induced production of pro-inflammatory factors and prevented lung injury. These findings uncover a novel mechanism for SARS-CoV-2 initiating lung inflammation, and suggest an off-label use of MC stabilizer as immunomodulators for COVID-19 treatments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Degranulation , Lung Injury/metabolism , Mast Cells/metabolism , Pulmonary Alveoli/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Cell Line, Tumor , Female , Humans , Lung Injury/genetics , Lung Injury/virology , Macaca mulatta , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Transgenic , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1389, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585764

ABSTRACT

In light of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants potentially undermining humoral immunity, it is important to understand the fine specificity of the antiviral antibodies. We screened 20 COVID-19 patients for antibodies against 9 different SARS-CoV-2 proteins observing responses against the spike (S) proteins, the receptor-binding domain (RBD), and the nucleocapsid (N) protein which were of the IgG1 and IgG3 subtypes. Importantly, mutations which typically occur in the B.1.351 "South African" variant, significantly reduced the binding of anti-RBD antibodies. Nine of 20 patients were critically ill and were considered high-risk (HR). These patients showed significantly higher levels of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), and lower levels of CD4+ T cells expressing LAG-3 compared to standard-risk (SR) patients. HR patients evidenced significantly higher anti-S1/RBD IgG antibody levels and an increased neutralizing activity. Importantly, a large proportion of S protein-specific antibodies were glycosylation-dependent and we identified a number of immunodominant linear epitopes within the S1 and N proteins. Findings derived from this study will not only help us to identify the most relevant component of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 humoral immune response but will also enable us to design more meaningful immunomonitoring methods for anti-COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism
15.
BMC Res Notes ; 14(1): 466, 2021 Dec 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582018

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: SARS-CoV-2, severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2, is an RNA virus that emerged from China sweeping the globe in the form of a pandemic that became an international public health concern. This pilot study aimed to describe the genetic variation and molecular epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Palestine in fall 2020. RESULTS: To achieve these aims, whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, phylogenetic analysis, haplotype networking and genetic diversity analysis were performed. These analyses revealed a unique spike mutation H245N that has never been reported before. The phylogenetic analysis depicted that three clusters existed in Palestinian SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, in which cluster-I comprised the majority of clusters by 90%. Congruently, the haplotype network analysis depicted the same three clusters with a total of 39 haplotypes. The genetic diversity analysis showed that Cluster-I is highly diverse as confirmed by statistically significant mutation rate indices, Tajima's D and Fu-Li's-F tests (- 2.11 and 2.74, respectively), highest number of mutations (Eta = 120), highest number of haplotypes (h = 17), and highest average number of nucleotide differences between any two sequences (S = 118). The study confirmed the high genetic diversity among the Palestinian of SARS-CoV-2 which possessed high number of mutations including one which was reported for the first time.


Subject(s)
Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Arabs , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Middle East , Mutation , Phylogeny , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing
16.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010092, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581718

ABSTRACT

The development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections remains an urgent priority worldwide. We have used a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based prime-boost immunization strategy to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We have constructed VSV genomes carrying exogenous genes resulting in the production of avirulent rVSV carrying the full-length spike protein (SF), the S1 subunit, or the receptor-binding domain (RBD) plus envelope (E) protein of SARS-CoV-2. Adding the honeybee melittin signal peptide (msp) to the N-terminus enhanced the protein expression, and adding the VSV G protein transmembrane domain and the cytoplasmic tail (Gtc) enhanced protein incorporation into pseudotype VSV. All rVSVs expressed three different forms of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, but chimeras with VSV-Gtc demonstrated the highest rVSV-associated expression. In immunized mice, rVSV with chimeric S protein-Gtc derivatives induced the highest level of potent neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses, and rVSV harboring the full-length msp-SF-Gtc proved to be the superior immunogen. More importantly, rVSV-msp-SF-Gtc vaccinated animals were completely protected from a subsequent SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Overall, we have developed an efficient strategy to induce a protective response in SARS-CoV-2 challenged immunized mice. Vaccination with our rVSV-based vector may be an effective solution in the global fight against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology
17.
Front Immunol ; 12: 751778, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581343

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged and spread worldwide. The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant was first reported in India in October 2020 and was classified as a "variant of concern (VOC)" by the WHO on 11 May, 2021. Compared to the wild-type strain, several studies have shown that the Delta variant is more transmissible and has higher viral loads in infected samples. COVID-19 patients infected with the Delta variant have a higher risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and mortality. The Delta variant is becoming the dominant strain in many countries around the world. This review summarizes and analyses the biological characteristics of key amino acid mutations, the epidemic characteristics, and the immune escape of the Delta variant. We hope to provide scientific reference for the monitoring and prevention measures of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant and the development strategy of a second-generation vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Epidemics , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mass Vaccination
18.
Front Immunol ; 12: 765211, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581337

ABSTRACT

Saturation suppressor mutagenesis was used to generate thermostable mutants of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD). A triple mutant with an increase in thermal melting temperature of ~7°C with respect to the wild-type B.1 RBD and was expressed in high yield in both mammalian cells and the microbial host, Pichia pastoris, was downselected for immunogenicity studies. An additional derivative with three additional mutations from the B.1.351 (beta) isolate was also introduced into this background. Lyophilized proteins were resistant to high-temperature exposure and could be stored for over a month at 37°C. In mice and hamsters, squalene-in-water emulsion (SWE) adjuvanted formulations of the B.1-stabilized RBD were considerably more immunogenic than RBD lacking the stabilizing mutations and elicited antibodies that neutralized all four current variants of concern with similar neutralization titers. However, sera from mice immunized with the stabilized B.1.351 derivative showed significantly decreased neutralization titers exclusively against the B.1.617.2 (delta) VOC. A cocktail comprising stabilized B.1 and B.1.351 RBDs elicited antibodies with qualitatively improved neutralization titers and breadth relative to those immunized solely with either immunogen. Immunized hamsters were protected from high-dose viral challenge. Such vaccine formulations can be rapidly and cheaply produced, lack extraneous tags or additional components, and can be stored at room temperature. They are a useful modality to combat COVID-19, especially in remote and low-resource settings.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Cricetinae , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
19.
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
20.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580423

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causal agent of the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in late 2019. The outbreak of variants with mutations in the region encoding the spike protein S1 sub-unit that can make them more resistant to neutralizing or monoclonal antibodies is the main point of the current monitoring. This study examines the feasibility of predicting the variant lineage and monitoring the appearance of reported mutations by sequencing only the region encoding the S1 domain by Pacific Bioscience Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing (PacBio SMRT). Using the PacBio SMRT system, we successfully sequenced 186 of the 200 samples previously sequenced with the Illumina COVIDSeq (whole genome) system. PacBio SMRT detected mutations in the S1 domain that were missed by the COVIDseq system in 27/186 samples (14.5%), due to amplification failure. These missing positions included mutations that are decisive for lineage assignation, such as G142D (n = 11), N501Y (n = 6), or E484K (n = 2). The lineage of 172/186 (92.5%) samples was accurately determined by analyzing the region encoding the S1 domain with a pipeline that uses key positions in S1. Thus, the PacBio SMRT protocol is appropriate for determining virus lineages and detecting key mutations.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Genotype , Humans , Mutation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Sequence Analysis, DNA/methods
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