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1.
J Proteome Res ; 19(12): 4844-4856, 2020 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387125

ABSTRACT

Despite considerable research progress on SARS-CoV-2, the direct zoonotic origin (intermediate host) of the virus remains ambiguous. The most definitive approach to identify the intermediate host would be the detection of SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses in wild animals. However, due to the high number of animal species, it is not feasible to screen all the species in the laboratory. Given that binding to ACE2 proteins is the first step for the coronaviruses to invade host cells, we propose a computational pipeline to identify potential intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 by modeling the binding affinity between the Spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) and host ACE2. Using this pipeline, we systematically examined 285 ACE2 variants from mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and found that the binding energies calculated for the modeled Spike-RBD/ACE2 complex structures correlated closely with the effectiveness of animal infection as determined by multiple experimental data sets. Built on the optimized binding affinity cutoff, we suggest a set of 96 mammals, including 48 experimentally investigated ones, which are permissive to SARS-CoV-2, with candidates from primates, rodents, and carnivores at the highest risk of infection. Overall, this work not only suggests a limited range of potential intermediate SARS-CoV-2 hosts for further experimental investigation, but also, more importantly, it proposes a new structure-based approach to general zoonotic origin and susceptibility analyses that are critical for human infectious disease control and wildlife protection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Mammals/genetics , Mammals/virology , Pandemics , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/virology
2.
PLoS Biol ; 19(3): e3001115, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133664

ABSTRACT

Virus host shifts are generally associated with novel adaptations to exploit the cells of the new host species optimally. Surprisingly, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has apparently required little to no significant adaptation to humans since the start of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to October 2020. Here we assess the types of natural selection taking place in Sarbecoviruses in horseshoe bats versus the early SARS-CoV-2 evolution in humans. While there is moderate evidence of diversifying positive selection in SARS-CoV-2 in humans, it is limited to the early phase of the pandemic, and purifying selection is much weaker in SARS-CoV-2 than in related bat Sarbecoviruses. In contrast, our analysis detects evidence for significant positive episodic diversifying selection acting at the base of the bat virus lineage SARS-CoV-2 emerged from, accompanied by an adaptive depletion in CpG composition presumed to be linked to the action of antiviral mechanisms in these ancestral bat hosts. The closest bat virus to SARS-CoV-2, RmYN02 (sharing an ancestor about 1976), is a recombinant with a structure that includes differential CpG content in Spike; clear evidence of coinfection and evolution in bats without involvement of other species. While an undiscovered "facilitating" intermediate species cannot be discounted, collectively, our results support the progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 being capable of efficient human-human transmission as a consequence of its adaptive evolutionary history in bats, not humans, which created a relatively generalist virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Chiroptera/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/virology , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Host Specificity , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Selection, Genetic , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/transmission
3.
J Evol Biol ; 34(6): 924-936, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1130344

ABSTRACT

Natural selection operating on the genomes of viral pathogens in different host species strongly contributes to adaptation facilitating host colonization. Here, we analyse, quantify and compare viral adaptation in genomic sequence data derived from seven zoonotic events in the Coronaviridae family among primary, intermediate and human hosts. Rates of nonsynonymous (dN ) and synonymous (dS ) changes on specific amino acid positions were quantified for each open reading frame (ORF). Purifying selection accounted for 77% of all sites under selection. Diversifying selection was most frequently observed in viruses infecting the primary hosts of each virus and predominantly occurred in the orf1ab genomic region. Within all four intermediate hosts, diversifying selection on the spike gene was observed either solitarily or in combination with orf1ab and other genes. Consistent with previous evidence, pervasive diversifying selection on coronavirus spike genes corroborates the role this protein plays in host cellular entry, adaptation to new hosts and evasion of host cellular immune responses. Structural modelling of spike proteins identified a significantly higher proportion of sites for SARS-CoV-2 under positive selection in close proximity to sites of glycosylation relative to the other coronaviruses. Among human coronaviruses, there was a significant inverse correlation between the number of sites under positive selection and the estimated years since the virus was introduced into the human population. Abundant diversifying selection observed in SARS-CoV-2 suggests the virus remains in the adaptive phase of the host switch, typical of recent host switches. A mechanistic understanding of where, when and how genomic adaptation occurs in coronaviruses following a host shift is crucial for vaccine design, public health responses and predicting future pandemics.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Biological/genetics , Coronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Selection, Genetic , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Animals , Genome, Viral , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans
4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(12)2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117490

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is a major global health threat. Epidemiological studies suggest that bats (Rhinolophus affinis) are the natural zoonotic reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. However, the host range of SARS-CoV-2 and intermediate hosts that facilitate its transmission to humans remain unknown. The interaction of coronavirus with its host receptor is a key genetic determinant of host range and cross-species transmission. SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the receptor to enter host cells in a species-dependent manner. In this study, we characterized the ability of ACE2 from diverse species to support viral entry. By analyzing the conservation of five residues in two virus-binding hotspots of ACE2 (hotspot 31Lys and hotspot 353Lys), we predicted 80 ACE2 proteins from mammals that could potentially mediate SARS-CoV-2 entry. We chose 48 ACE2 orthologs among them for functional analysis, and showed that 44 of these orthologs-including domestic animals, pets, livestock, and animals commonly found in zoos and aquaria-could bind the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and support viral entry. In contrast, New World monkey ACE2 orthologs could not bind the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and support viral entry. We further identified the genetic determinant of New World monkey ACE2 that restricts viral entry using genetic and functional analyses. These findings highlight a potentially broad host tropism of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest that SARS-CoV-2 might be distributed much more widely than previously recognized, underscoring the necessity to monitor susceptible hosts to prevent future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/veterinary , Receptors, Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Host Specificity , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Tropism , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/prevention & control , Viral Zoonoses/virology , Virus Attachment , Virus Internalization
5.
Immunol Cell Biol ; 99(2): 177-191, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894767

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a zoonosis like most of the great plagues sculpting human history, from smallpox to pandemic influenza and human immunodeficiency virus. When viruses jump into a new species the outcome of infection ranges from asymptomatic to lethal, historically ascribed to "genetic resistance to viral disease." People have exploited these differences for good and bad, for developing vaccines from cowpox and horsepox virus, controlling rabbit plagues with myxoma virus and introducing smallpox during colonization of America and Australia. Differences in resistance to viral disease are at the core of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) crisis, yet our understanding of the mechanisms in any interspecies leap falls short of the mark. Here I review how the two key parameters of viral disease are countered by fundamentally different genetic mechanisms for resistance: (1) virus transmission, countered primarily by activation of innate and adaptive immune responses; and (2) pathology, countered primarily by tolerance checkpoints to limit innate and adaptive immune responses. I discuss tolerance thresholds and the role of CD8 T cells to limit pathological immune responses, the problems posed by tolerant superspreaders and the signature coronavirus evasion strategy of eliciting only short-lived neutralizing antibody responses. Pinpointing and targeting the mechanisms responsible for varying pathology and short-lived antibody were beyond reach in previous zoonoses, but this time we are armed with genomic technologies and more knowledge of immune checkpoint genes. These known unknowns must now be tackled to solve the current COVID-19 crisis and the inevitable zoonoses to follow.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Immune Tolerance/immunology , Immunity, Innate/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Diseases/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/genetics , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/physiology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Tolerance/genetics , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/immunology , Virus Diseases/genetics
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