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1.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765950

ABSTRACT

Within-host viral diversity offers a view into the early stages of viral evolution occurring after a virus infects a host. In recent years, advances in deep sequencing have allowed for routine identification of low-frequency variants, which are important sources of viral genetic diversity and can potentially emerge as a major virus population under certain conditions. We examined within-host viral diversity in turkeys and chickens experimentally infected with closely related H7N3 avian influenza viruses (AIVs), specifically one high pathogenicity AIV (HPAIV) and two low pathogenicity AIV (LPAIVs) with different neuraminidase protein stalk lengths. Consistent with the high mutation rates of AIVs, an abundance of intra-host single nucleotide variants (iSNVs) at low frequencies of 2-10% was observed in all samples collected. Furthermore, a small number of common iSNVs were observed between turkeys and chickens, and between directly inoculated and contact-exposed birds. Notably, the LPAIVs have significantly higher iSNV diversities and frequencies of nonsynonymous changes than the HPAIV in both turkeys and chickens. These findings highlight the dynamics of AIV populations within hosts and the potential impact of genetic changes, including mutations in the hemagglutinin gene that confers the high pathogenicity pathotype, on AIV virus populations and evolution.


Subject(s)
Influenza in Birds , Poultry Diseases , Animals , Chickens , Genetic Variation , Influenza A Virus, H7N3 Subtype/genetics , Turkeys , Virulence/genetics
2.
Front Biosci (Landmark Ed) ; 27(2): 65, 2022 02 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1716428

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrom coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease-19 (Covid-19) which has been designated a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Since that time, the virus has mutated and an assortment of variants have been successful at establishing themselves in the human population. This review article describes the SARS CoV-2 genome, hot spot mutations, variants, and then focuses on the Delta variant, finishing up with an update on the Omicron variant. The genome encompasses 11 open reading frames, one of which encodes the spike or S protein that has been the target for vaccines and some of the drugs because of its role in attachment to the human host cell, as well as antibodies. Mutations in the S protein that are common among several of the variants include D614G that increases transmissibility and viral load and is often associated with P323L on the RNA dependent RNA polymerase. N501Y is a mutation in the receptor binding domain of the S protein that increases binding to the ACE-2 receptor on the human host cells by 10 fold. The discussed variants carry combinations of these and other mutations and are classified by the World Health Organization as variants of concern, variants of interest, and variants under monitoring. All variants are characterized by increased transmissibility (relative to the original SARS CoV-2), which is the reason for their ability to establish themselves. Several but not all variants are more resistant to antiviral drugs and less susceptible to antibodies/vaccines. The Delta variant that dominated the world until November 2021 causes an increased risk for hospitalization and death, but is still very susceptible to the current vaccines. The most recent variant, Omicron, is characterized by increased transmissibility and decreased antibody susceptibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Drug Resistance , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virulence/genetics
3.
J Virol ; 96(3): e0184221, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691423

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a beta coronavirus that emerged in 2012, causing severe pneumonia and renal failure. MERS-CoV encodes five accessory proteins. Some of them have been shown to interfere with host antiviral immune response. However, the roles of protein 8b in innate immunity and viral virulence was rarely studied. Here, we introduced individual MERS-CoV accessory protein genes into the genome of an attenuated murine coronavirus (Mouse hepatitis virus, MHV), respectively, and found accessory protein 8b could enhance viral replication in vivo and in vitro and increase the lethality of infected mice. RNA-seq analysis revealed that protein 8b could significantly inhibit type I interferon production (IFN-I) and innate immune response in mice infected with MHV expressing protein 8b. We also found that MERS-CoV protein 8b could initiate from multiple internal methionine sites and at least three protein variants were identified. Residues 1-23 of protein 8b was demonstrated to be responsible for increased virulence in vivo. In addition, the inhibitory effect on IFN-I of protein 8b might not contribute to its virulence enhancement as aa1-23 deletion did not affect IFN-I production in vitro and in vivo. Next, we also found that protein 8b was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/Golgi membrane in infected cells, which was disrupted by C-terminal region aa 88-112 deletion. This study will provide new insight into the pathogenesis of MERS-CoV infection. IMPORTANCE Multiple coronaviruses (CoV) cause severe respiratory infections and become global public health threats such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. Each coronavirus contains different numbers of accessory proteins which show high variability among different CoVs. Accessory proteins are demonstrated to play essential roles in pathogenesis of CoVs. MERS-CoV contains 5 accessory proteins (protein 3, 4a, 4b, 5, 8b), and deletion of all four accessory proteins (protein 3, 4a, 4b, 5), significantly affects MERS-CoV replication and pathogenesis. However, whether ORF8b also regulates MERS-CoV infection is unknown. Here, we constructed mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) recombinant virus expressing MERS-CoV protein 8b and demonstrated protein 8b could significantly enhance the virulence of MHV, which is mediated by N-terminal domain of protein 8b. This study will shed light on the understanding of pathogenesis of MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Mice , Mortality , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Tropism , Virulence/genetics , Virulence Factors/genetics
4.
Microb Pathog ; 164: 105400, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631550

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus has posed a serious threat to the world since its discovery in Wuhan in 2019. Beta, gamma, delta, and the final omicron variants have emerged as a result of several mutations in the virion structure. The Australian Omicron S protein variant contains 37 mutations out of a total of 67 mutations. According to preliminary data from South Africa, Omicron variant infection is not associated with any particular symptoms. The purpose of this research was to determine how changes in the structure of the S protein alter the protein's interaction with the ACE2 receptor. The Omicron variant stimulates the immune response more than the wild strain.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Australia , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immunity , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2 , Virulence/genetics
5.
Nature ; 602(7896): 307-313, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of concern (VOCs) are driving the COVID-19 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessments of replication and transmission of major VOCs and progenitors are needed to understand the mechanisms of replication and transmission of VOCs3. Here we show that the spike protein (S) from Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs had a greater affinity towards the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor than that of the progenitor variant S(D614G) in vitro. Progenitor variant virus expressing S(D614G) (wt-S614G) and the Alpha variant showed similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas the Beta variant was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over wt-S614G in ferrets and two mouse models-the substitutions in S were major drivers of the fitness advantage. In hamsters, which support high viral replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G showed similar fitness. By contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and in mice expressing human ACE2. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models to characterize fitness of VOCs and demonstrates that Alpha is adapted for replication in the upper respiratory tract and shows enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta does not overcome Alpha or wt-S614G in naive animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence/genetics
6.
Cells ; 11(1)2021 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580991

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads mainly through close contact of infected persons, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis and transmission remain unknown. Here, we propose a statistical physics model to coalesce all molecular entities into a cohesive network in which the roadmap of how each entity mediates the disease can be characterized. We argue that the process of how a transmitter transforms the virus into a recipient constitutes a triad unit that propagates COVID-19 along reticulate paths. Intrinsically, person-to-person transmissibility may be mediated by how genes interact transversely across transmitter, recipient, and viral genomes. We integrate quantitative genetic theory into hypergraph theory to code the main effects of the three genomes as nodes, pairwise cross-genome epistasis as edges, and high-order cross-genome epistasis as hyperedges in a series of mobile hypergraphs. Charting a genome-wide atlas of horizontally epistatic hypergraphs can facilitate the systematic characterization of the community genetic mechanisms underlying COVID-19 spread. This atlas can typically help design effective containment and mitigation strategies and screen and triage those more susceptible persons and those asymptomatic carriers who are incubation virus transmitters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Gene Expression Regulation , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Algorithms , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Epistasis, Genetic , Genome-Wide Association Study/methods , Humans , Models, Genetic , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virulence/genetics
7.
J Med Virol ; 93(12): 6525-6534, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1544299

ABSTRACT

By analyzing newly collected SARS-CoV-2 genomes and comparing them with our previous study about SARS-CoV-2 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) before June 2020, we found that the SNV clustering had changed remarkably since June 2020. Apart from that the group of SNVs became dominant, which is represented by two nonsynonymous mutations A23403G (S:D614G) and C14408T (ORF1ab:P4715L), a few emerging groups of SNVs were recognized with sharply increased monthly incidence ratios of up to 70% in November 2020. Further investigation revealed sets of SNVs specific to patients' ages and/or gender, or strongly associated with mortality. Our logistic regression model explored features contributing to mortality status, including three critical SNVs, G25088T(S:V1176F), T27484C (ORF7a:L31L), and T25A (upstream of ORF1ab), ages above 40 years old, and the male gender. The protein structure analysis indicated that the emerging subgroups of nonsynonymous SNVs and the mortality-related ones were located on the protein surface area. The clashes in protein structure introduced by these mutations might in turn affect the viral pathogenesis through the alteration of protein conformation, leading to a difference in transmission and virulence. Particularly, we explored the fact that nonsynonymous SNVs tended to occur in intrinsic disordered regions of Spike and ORF1ab to significantly increase hydrophobicity, suggesting a potential role in the change of protein folding related to immune evasion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Genome, Viral/genetics , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Polyproteins/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Virulence/genetics , Young Adult
8.
J Virol ; 96(3): e0184221, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532965

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a beta coronavirus that emerged in 2012, causing severe pneumonia and renal failure. MERS-CoV encodes five accessory proteins. Some of them have been shown to interfere with host antiviral immune response. However, the roles of protein 8b in innate immunity and viral virulence was rarely studied. Here, we introduced individual MERS-CoV accessory protein genes into the genome of an attenuated murine coronavirus (Mouse hepatitis virus, MHV), respectively, and found accessory protein 8b could enhance viral replication in vivo and in vitro and increase the lethality of infected mice. RNA-seq analysis revealed that protein 8b could significantly inhibit type I interferon production (IFN-I) and innate immune response in mice infected with MHV expressing protein 8b. We also found that MERS-CoV protein 8b could initiate from multiple internal methionine sites and at least three protein variants were identified. Residues 1-23 of protein 8b was demonstrated to be responsible for increased virulence in vivo. In addition, the inhibitory effect on IFN-I of protein 8b might not contribute to its virulence enhancement as aa1-23 deletion did not affect IFN-I production in vitro and in vivo. Next, we also found that protein 8b was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/Golgi membrane in infected cells, which was disrupted by C-terminal region aa 88-112 deletion. This study will provide new insight into the pathogenesis of MERS-CoV infection. IMPORTANCE Multiple coronaviruses (CoV) cause severe respiratory infections and become global public health threats such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. Each coronavirus contains different numbers of accessory proteins which show high variability among different CoVs. Accessory proteins are demonstrated to play essential roles in pathogenesis of CoVs. MERS-CoV contains 5 accessory proteins (protein 3, 4a, 4b, 5, 8b), and deletion of all four accessory proteins (protein 3, 4a, 4b, 5), significantly affects MERS-CoV replication and pathogenesis. However, whether ORF8b also regulates MERS-CoV infection is unknown. Here, we constructed mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) recombinant virus expressing MERS-CoV protein 8b and demonstrated protein 8b could significantly enhance the virulence of MHV, which is mediated by N-terminal domain of protein 8b. This study will shed light on the understanding of pathogenesis of MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Mice , Mortality , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Tropism , Virulence/genetics , Virulence Factors/genetics
9.
Nature ; 602(7896): 300-306, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532072

ABSTRACT

During the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a variety of mutations have accumulated in the viral genome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and, at the time of writing, four variants of concern are considered to be potentially hazardous to human society1. The recently emerged B.1.617.2/Delta variant of concern is closely associated with the COVID-19 surge that occurred in India in the spring of 2021 (ref. 2). However, the virological properties of B.1.617.2/Delta remain unclear. Here we show that the B.1.617.2/Delta variant is highly fusogenic and notably more pathogenic than prototypic SARS-CoV-2 in infected hamsters. The P681R mutation in the spike protein, which is highly conserved in this lineage, facilitates cleavage of the spike protein and enhances viral fusogenicity. Moreover, we demonstrate that the P681R-bearing virus exhibits higher pathogenicity compared with its parental virus. Our data suggest that the P681R mutation is a hallmark of the virological phenotype of the B.1.617.2/Delta variant and is associated with enhanced pathogenicity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cricetinae , Giant Cells/metabolism , Giant Cells/virology , Male , Mesocricetus , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Virulence/genetics , Virus Replication
10.
Virus Res ; 307: 198618, 2022 01 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504602

ABSTRACT

The second wave of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS-CoV-2) is rapidly spreading over the world. Mechanisms behind the flee from current antivirals are still unclear due to the continuous occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants. Brazil is the world's second-most COVID-19 affected country. In the present study, we identified the genomic and proteomic variants of Brazilian SARS-CoV-2 isolates. We identified 16 different genotypic variants were found among the 27 isolates. The genotypes of three isolates such as Bra/1236/2021 (G15), Bra/MASP2C844R2/2020 (G11), and Bra/RJ-DCVN5/2020 (G9) have a unique mutant in NSP4 (S184N), 2'O-Mutase (R216N), membrane protein (A2V) and Envelope protein (V5A). A mutation in RdRp of SARS-CoV-2, particularly the change of Pro-to Leu-at 323 resulted in the stabilization of the structure in BRA/CD1739-P4/2020. NSP4, NSP5 protein mutants are more virulent in genotype 15 and 16. A fast protein folding rate changes the structural stability and leads to escape for current antivirals. Thus, our findings help researchers to develop the best potent antivirals based on the new mutant of Brazilian isolates.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Protein Folding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Brazil , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Genetic Variation/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virulence/genetics
11.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(43)2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481965

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA replicons are promising platforms for vaccine generation. Their defects in one or more essential functions for viral replication, particle assembly, or dissemination make them highly safe as vaccines. We previously showed that the deletion of the envelope (E) gene from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) produces a replication-competent propagation-defective RNA replicon (MERS-CoV-ΔE). Evaluation of this replicon in mice expressing human dipeptidyl peptidase 4, the virus receptor, showed that the single deletion of the E gene generated an attenuated mutant. The combined deletion of the E gene with accessory open reading frames (ORFs) 3, 4a, 4b, and 5 resulted in a highly attenuated propagation-defective RNA replicon (MERS-CoV-Δ[3,4a,4b,5,E]). This RNA replicon induced sterilizing immunity in mice after challenge with a lethal dose of a virulent MERS-CoV, as no histopathological damage or infectious virus was detected in the lungs of challenged mice. The four mutants lacking the E gene were genetically stable, did not recombine with the E gene provided in trans during their passage in cell culture, and showed a propagation-defective phenotype in vivo. In addition, immunization with MERS-CoV-Δ[3,4a,4b,5,E] induced significant levels of neutralizing antibodies, indicating that MERS-CoV RNA replicons are highly safe and promising vaccine candidates.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , RNA, Viral/administration & dosage , Replicon , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Defective Viruses/genetics , Defective Viruses/immunology , Female , Gene Deletion , Genes, env , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , Vaccines, DNA , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Viral Vaccines/genetics , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
12.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0131221, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443363

ABSTRACT

The large (L) polymerase proteins of most nonsegmented, negative-stranded (NNS) RNA viruses have conserved methyltransferase motifs, (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E, which are important for the stabilization and translation of mRNA. However, the function of the (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs in the NNS RNA virus Newcastle disease virus (NDV) remains unclear. We observed G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs in all NDV genotypes. By using the infection cloning system of NDV rSG10 strain, recombinant NDVs with a single amino acid mutated to alanine in one motif (G-G-D or K-D-K-E) were rescued. The intracerebral pathogenicity index and mean death time assay results revealed that the G-G-D motif and K-D-K-E motif attenuate the virulence of NDV to various degrees. The replication, transcription, and translation levels of the K-D-K-E motif-mutant strains were significantly higher than those of wild-type virus owing to their altered regulation of the affinity between nucleocapsid protein and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E. When the infection dose was changed from a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10 to an MOI of 0.01, the cell-to-cell spread abilities of G-G-D- and K-D-K-E-mutant strains were reduced, according to plaque assay and dynamic indirect immunofluorescence assay results. Finally, we found that NDV strains with G-G-D or K-D-K-E motif mutations had less pathogenicity in 3-week-old specific-pathogen-free chickens than wild-type NDV. Therefore, these methyltransferase motifs can affect virulence by regulating the translation and cell-to-cell spread abilities of NDV. This work provides a feasible approach for generating vaccine candidates for viruses with methyltransferase motifs. IMPORTANCE Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an important pathogen that is widespread globally. Research on its pathogenic mechanism is an important means of improving prevention and control efforts. Our study found that a deficiency in its methyltransferase motifs (G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs) can attenuate NDV and revealed the molecular mechanism by which these motifs affect pathogenicity, which provides a new direction for the development of NDV vaccines. In addition to the (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs of many nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA viruses, similar motifs have been found in dengue virus, Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This suggests that such motifs may be present in more viruses. Our finding also provides a molecular basis for the discovery and functional study of (G)-G-G-D and K-D-K-E motifs of other viruses.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Motifs/genetics , Methyltransferases/genetics , Newcastle Disease/transmission , Newcastle disease virus/growth & development , Newcastle disease virus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Animals , Cell Line , Chickens , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Genome, Viral/genetics , Newcastle disease virus/pathogenicity , Poultry Diseases/transmission , Poultry Diseases/virology , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics
13.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2790, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387341

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is of zoonotic origin and contains a PRRA polybasic cleavage motif which is considered critical for efficient infection and transmission in humans. We previously reported on a panel of attenuated SARS-CoV-2 variants with deletions at the S1/S2 junction of the spike protein. Here, we characterize pathogenicity, immunogenicity, and protective ability of a further cell-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variant, Ca-DelMut, in in vitro and in vivo systems. Ca-DelMut replicates more efficiently than wild type or parental virus in Vero E6 cells, but causes no apparent disease in hamsters, despite replicating in respiratory tissues. Unlike wild type virus, Ca-DelMut causes no obvious pathological changes and does not induce elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, but still triggers a strong neutralizing antibody and T cell response in hamsters and mice. Ca-DelMut immunized hamsters challenged with wild type SARS-CoV-2 are fully protected, with little sign of virus replication in the upper or lower respiratory tract, demonstrating sterilizing immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
15.
mBio ; 12(4): e0141521, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370889

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) possesses a discriminative polybasic cleavage motif in its spike protein that is recognized by the host furin protease. Proteolytic cleavage activates the spike protein, thereby affecting both the cellular entry pathway and cell tropism of SARS-CoV-2. Here, we investigated the impact of the furin cleavage site on viral growth and pathogenesis using a hamster animal model infected with SARS-CoV-2 variants bearing mutations at the furin cleavage site (S gene mutants). In the airway tissues of hamsters, the S gene mutants exhibited low growth properties. In contrast to parental pathogenic SARS-CoV-2, hamsters infected with the S gene mutants showed no body weight loss and only a mild inflammatory response, thereby indicating the attenuated variant nature of S gene mutants. This transient infection was sufficient for inducing protective neutralizing antibodies that cross-react with different SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Consequently, hamsters inoculated with S gene mutants showed resistance to subsequent infection with both the parental strain and the currently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants belonging to lineages B.1.1.7 and P.1. Taken together, our findings revealed that the loss of the furin cleavage site causes attenuation in the airway tissues of hamsters and highlighted the potential benefits of S gene mutants as potential immunogens. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 uses its spike protein to enter target cells. The spike protein is cleaved by a host protease, and this event facilitates viral entry and broadens cell tropism. In this study, we employed SARS-CoV-2 mutants lacking the S protein cleavage site and characterized their growth and pathogenicity using hamsters, a laboratory animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. These mutants exerted low pathogenicity but induced sufficient levels of neutralizing antibodies in hamsters, which protected hamsters from rechallenge with pathogenic clinical SARS-CoV-2 strains. These virus mutants may be used as protective immunogens against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cross Reactions/immunology , Furin/metabolism , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics
16.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 1442-1450, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343666

ABSTRACT

Since the first report of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly worldwide. Due to the limited virus strains, few key mutations that would be very important with the evolutionary trends of virus genome were observed in early studies. Here, we downloaded 1809 sequence data of SARS-CoV-2 strains from GISAID before April 2020 to identify mutations and functional alterations caused by these mutations. Totally, we identified 1017 nonsynonymous and 512 synonymous mutations with alignment to reference genome NC_045512, none of which were observed in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. On average, each of the strains could have about 1.75 new mutations each month. The current mutations may have few impacts on antibodies. Although it shows the purifying selection in whole-genome, ORF3a, ORF8 and ORF10 were under positive selection. Only 36 mutations occurred in 1% and more virus strains were further analyzed to reveal linkage disequilibrium (LD) variants and dominant mutations. As a result, we observed five dominant mutations involving three nonsynonymous mutations C28144T, C14408T and A23403G and two synonymous mutations T8782C, and C3037T. These five mutations occurred in almost all strains in April 2020. Besides, we also observed two potential dominant nonsynonymous mutations C1059T and G25563T, which occurred in most of the strains in April 2020. Further functional analysis shows that these mutations decreased protein stability largely, which could lead to a significant reduction of virus virulence. In addition, the A23403G mutation increases the spike-ACE2 interaction and finally leads to the enhancement of its infectivity. All of these proved that the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is toward the enhancement of infectivity and reduction of virulence.


Subject(s)
Biological Evolution , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Linkage Disequilibrium , Open Reading Frames , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virulence/genetics
17.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 845-854, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343663

ABSTRACT

Humans have coexisted with pathogenic microorganisms throughout its history of evolution. We have never halted the exploration of pathogenic microorganisms. With the improvement of genome-sequencing technology and the continuous reduction of sequencing costs, an increasing number of complete genome sequences of pathogenic microorganisms have become available. Genome annotation of this massive sequence information has become a daunting task in biological research. This paper summarizes the approaches to the genome annotation of pathogenic microorganisms and the available popular genome annotation tools for prokaryotes, eukaryotes and viruses. Furthermore, real-world comparisons of different annotation tools using 12 genomes from prokaryotes, eukaryotes and viruses were conducted. Current challenges and problems were also discussed.


Subject(s)
Genome, Bacterial , Genome, Viral , Molecular Sequence Annotation , Virulence/genetics , Eukaryota/genetics , Humans
18.
J Cell Physiol ; 236(10): 7045-7057, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1342890

ABSTRACT

The evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 new variants reported to be 70% more contagious than the earlier one is now spreading fast worldwide. There is an instant need to discover how the new variants interact with the host receptor (ACE2). Among the reported mutations in the Spike glycoprotein of the new variants, three are specific to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and required insightful scrutiny for new therapeutic options. These structural evolutions in the RBD domain may impart a critical role to the unique pathogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 new variants. Herein, using structural and biophysical approaches, we explored that the specific mutations in the UK (N501Y), South African (K417N-E484K-N501Y), Brazilian (K417T-E484K-N501Y), and hypothetical (N501Y-E484K) variants alter the binding affinity, create new inter-protein contacts and changes the internal structural dynamics thereby increases the binding and eventually the infectivity. Our investigation highlighted that the South African (K417N-E484K-N501Y), Brazilian (K417T-E484K-N501Y) variants are more lethal than the UK variant (N501Y). The behavior of the wild type and N501Y is comparable. Free energy calculations further confirmed that increased binding of the spike RBD to the ACE2 is mainly due to the electrostatic contribution. Further, we find that the unusual virulence of this virus is potentially the consequence of Darwinian selection-driven epistasis in protein evolution. The triple mutants (South African and Brazilian) may pose a serious threat to the efficacy of the already developed vaccine. Our analysis would help to understand the binding and structural dynamics of the new mutations in the RBD domain of the Spike protein and demand further investigation in in vitro and in vivo models to design potential therapeutics against the new variants.


Subject(s)
Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brazil , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Protein Binding/genetics , South Africa , United Kingdom , Virulence/genetics
19.
Immunity ; 54(8): 1853-1868.e7, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330891

ABSTRACT

Antibodies elicited by infection accumulate somatic mutations in germinal centers that can increase affinity for cognate antigens. We analyzed 6 independent groups of clonally related severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Spike receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific antibodies from 5 individuals shortly after infection and later in convalescence to determine the impact of maturation over months. In addition to increased affinity and neutralization potency, antibody evolution changed the mutational pathways for the acquisition of viral resistance and restricted neutralization escape options. For some antibodies, maturation imposed a requirement for multiple substitutions to enable escape. For certain antibodies, affinity maturation enabled the neutralization of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and heterologous sarbecoviruses. Antibody-antigen structures revealed that these properties resulted from substitutions that allowed additional variability at the interface with the RBD. These findings suggest that increasing antibody diversity through prolonged or repeated antigen exposure may improve protection against diversifying SARS-CoV-2 populations, and perhaps against other pandemic threat coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antibody Affinity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Structure-Activity Relationship , Virulence/genetics
20.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(12): 4405-4412, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1296351

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 are enveloped RNA viruses that belong to the family Coronaviridae of genus Beta coronavirus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The mutation rate is high among RNA viruses and in particular, coronavirus replication is error prone with an estimated mutation rate of 4x10-4 nucleotide substitutions per site per year. Variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported from various countries like United Kingdom, South Africa, Denmark, Brazil and India. These variants evolved due to mutations in spike gene of SARS-CoV-2. The most concerning variants are Variant of Concern (VOC) 202012/01 from United Kingdom and B.1.617 variant of India. Other variants include B.1.351 lineages, cluster 5/SARS-CoV-2 variant of Denmark, 501.V2 variant/SARS-CoV-2 variant of South Africa, lineage B.1.1.248/lineage P.1 of Brazil. Mutations in S protein may result in changes in the transmissibility and virulence of SARS-CoV-2. To date, alterations in virulence or pathogenicity have been reported among the variants from many parts of the globe. In our opinion, since the S protein is significantly altered, the suitability of existing vaccine specifically targeting the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 variants is a major concern. The mutations in SARS-CoV-2 are a continuous and evolving process that may result in the transformation of naïve SARS-CoV-2 into totally new subsets of antigenically different SARS-CoV-2 viruses over a period of time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , India/epidemiology , Protein Structure, Secondary , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Virulence/genetics
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