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1.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2099: 107-116, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1292549

ABSTRACT

The microneutralization (MN) assay is a standard and important technique in virology, immunology, and epidemiology. It is a highly specific and sensitive assay for evaluating virus-specific neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) in human and animal sera. It provides the most precise answer to whether or not an individual or animal has antibodies that can neutralize or inhibit the infectivity of a specific virus strain. However, using live virus-based MN assay might require working under high containment facilities especially when dealing with high-risk pathogens such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV). In this chapter, we describe the isolation, amplification, and titration of MERS-CoV, as well as detailed MN assay to measure nAb levels in sera from different mammalian species.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , Humans , Mammals , Neutralization Tests , Vero Cells
2.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2099: 21-37, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1292545

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus spike envelope glycoprotein is an essential viral component that mediates virus entry events. Biochemical assessment of the spike protein is critical for understanding structure-function relationships and the roles of the protein in the viral life cycle. Coronavirus spike proteins are typically proteolytically processed and activated by host cell enzymes such as trypsin-like proteases, cathepsins, or proprotein-convertases. Analysis of coronavirus spike proteins by western blot allows the visualization and assessment of proteolytic processing by endogenous or exogenous proteases. Here, we present a method based on western blot analysis to investigate spike protein proteolytic cleavage by transient transfection of HEK-293 T cells allowing expression of the spike protein of the highly pathogenic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the presence or absence of a cellular trypsin-like transmembrane serine protease, matriptase. Such analysis enables the characterization of cleavage patterns produced by a host protease on a coronavirus spike glycoprotein.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Blotting, Western , Cell Line , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Proteolysis , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization
3.
ACS Nano ; 2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269369

ABSTRACT

With an incubation time of about 5 days, early diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that killed more than 3 million people in its first 1.5 years. Here, we report on the modification of the dopant density and the phononic energy of antibody-coupled graphene when it interfaces with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This graphene chemeo-phononic system was able to detect SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at the limit of detection of ∼3.75 and ∼1 fg/mL in artificial saliva and phosphate-buffered saline, respectively. It also exhibited selectivity over proteins in saliva and MERS-CoV spike protein. Since the change in graphene phononics is monitored instead of the phononic signature of the analyte, this optical platform can be replicated for other COVID variants and specific-binding-based biodetection applications.

4.
Nat Biomed Eng ; 5(7): 666-677, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241951

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the need for rapid and sensitive protein detection and quantification in simple and robust formats for widespread point-of-care applications. Here, we report on nanobody-functionalized organic electrochemical transistors with a modular architecture for the rapid quantification of single-molecule-to-nanomolar levels of specific antigens in complex bodily fluids. The sensors combine a solution-processable conjugated polymer in the transistor channel and high-density and orientation-controlled bioconjugation of nanobody-SpyCatcher fusion proteins on disposable gate electrodes. The devices provide results after 10 min of exposure to 5 µl of unprocessed samples, maintain high specificity and single-molecule sensitivity in human saliva and serum, and can be reprogrammed to detect any protein antigen if a corresponding specific nanobody is available. We used the sensors to detect green fluorescent protein, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) spike proteins, and for the COVID-19 screening of unprocessed clinical nasopharyngeal swab and saliva samples with a wide range of viral loads.


Subject(s)
Biosensing Techniques/methods , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Nanotechnology/methods , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(4): e1009500, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197396

ABSTRACT

The high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 is related to abundant replication in the upper airways, which is not observed for the other highly pathogenic coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. We here reveal features of the coronavirus spike (S) protein, which optimize the virus towards the human respiratory tract. First, the S proteins exhibit an intrinsic temperature preference, corresponding with the temperature of the upper or lower airways. Pseudoviruses bearing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (SARS-2-S) were more infectious when produced at 33°C instead of 37°C, a property shared with the S protein of HCoV-229E, a common cold coronavirus. In contrast, the S proteins of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV favored 37°C, in accordance with virus preference for the lower airways. Next, SARS-2-S-driven entry was efficiently activated by not only TMPRSS2, but also the TMPRSS13 protease, thus broadening the cell tropism of SARS-CoV-2. Both proteases proved relevant in the context of authentic virus replication. TMPRSS13 appeared an effective spike activator for the virulent coronaviruses but not the low pathogenic HCoV-229E virus. Activation of SARS-2-S by these surface proteases requires processing of the S1/S2 cleavage loop, in which both the furin recognition motif and extended loop length proved critical. Conversely, entry of loop deletion mutants is significantly increased in cathepsin-rich cells. Finally, we demonstrate that the D614G mutation increases SARS-CoV-2 stability, particularly at 37°C, and, enhances its use of the cathepsin L pathway. This indicates a link between S protein stability and usage of this alternative route for virus entry. Since these spike properties may promote virus spread, they potentially explain why the spike-G614 variant has replaced the early D614 variant to become globally predominant. Collectively, our findings reveal adaptive mechanisms whereby the coronavirus spike protein is adjusted to match the temperature and protease conditions of the airways, to enhance virus transmission and pathology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Respiratory System/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus 229E, Human/metabolism , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Temperature , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication/physiology
6.
Theranostics ; 11(8): 3853-3867, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119623

ABSTRACT

Background: The molecular interactions between viral proteins form the basis of virus production and can be used to develop strategies against virus infection. The interactions of the envelope proteins and the viral RNA-binding nucleocapsid (N) protein are essential for the assembly of coronaviruses including the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Methods: Using co-immunoprecipitation, immunostaining, and proteomics analysis, we identified a protein interacting with the spike (S) protein in the cells infected with MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. To confirm the interaction, synthetic peptides corresponding to the C-terminal domain of the S protein (Spike CD) were produced and their effect on the interaction was investigated in vitro. In vivo effect of the Spike CD peptides after cell penetration was further investigated using viral plaque formation assay. Phylogeographic analyses were conducted to deduce homology of Spike CDs and N proteins. Results: We identified a direct interaction between the S protein and the N protein of MERS-CoV that takes place during virus assembly in infected cells. Spike CD peptides of MERS-CoV inhibited the interaction between the S and N proteins in vitro. Furthermore, cell penetration by the synthetic Spike CD peptides inhibited viral plaque formation in MERS-CoV-infected cells. Phylogeographic analyses of Spike CDs and N proteins showed high homology among betacoronavirus lineage C strains. To determine if Spike CD peptides can inhibit the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), we used the same strategy and found that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike CD peptide inhibited virus replication in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Conclusions: We suggest that the interaction between the S protein and the N protein can be targeted to design new therapeutics against emerging coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Replication , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phylogeography , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Vero Cells
7.
Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) ; 69(1): 5, 2021 Mar 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1118194

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses share conservative spike protein (S) on their enveloped membrane surface, where S1 subunit recognizes and binds the cellular receptor, and the S2 subunit mediates membrane fusion. This similarity raises the question: does coronaviral infection by one create protection to others? Convalescent SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) sera were tested for cross reactivity with peptides from Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which shares 74% homology. Our results showed significant cross-reactivity with a peptide of the heptad repeat 2 (HR2) domain of the MERS-CoV spike protein. Sera samples of 47 validated seropositive convalescent COVID-19 patients and 40 sera samples of control patients, collected in pre-COVID time were used to establish cross-bind reactivity with the MERS-CoV peptide. Significantly stronger binding (p < 0.0001) was observed for IgG antibodies in convalescent COVID-19 patients compared to the control group. In ELISA, MERS-CoV peptide helps to discriminate post-COVID-19 populations and non-infected ones by the presence of antibodies in blood samples. This suggests that polyclonal antibodies established during SARS-CoV-2 infection can recognize and probably decrease severity of MERS-CoV and other coronaviral infections. The high homology of the spike protein domain also suggests that the opposite effect can be true: coronaviral infections produce cross-reactive antibodies effective against SARS-CoV-2. The collected data prove that despite the core HR2 region is hidden in the native viral conformation, its exposure during cell entry makes it highly immunogenic. Since inhibitory peptides to this region were previously described, this opens new possibilities in fighting coronaviral infections and developing vaccines effective even after possible viral mutations.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Convalescence , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Cross Reactions , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , SARS Virus/immunology
8.
mBio ; 12(2)2021 03 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1115091

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the prime target for vaccine development. The spike protein mediates both binding to host cells and membrane fusion and is also so far the only known viral target of neutralizing antibodies. Coronavirus spike proteins are large trimers that are relatively unstable, a feature that might be enhanced by the presence of a polybasic cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 spike. Exchange of K986 and V987 for prolines has been shown to stabilize the trimers of SARS-CoV-1 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike proteins. Here, we test multiple versions of a soluble spike protein for their immunogenicity and protective effect against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in a mouse model that transiently expresses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 via adenovirus transduction. Variants tested include spike proteins with a deleted polybasic cleavage site, proline mutations, or a combination thereof, besides the wild-type protein. While all versions of the protein were able to induce neutralizing antibodies, only the antigen with both a deleted cleavage site and the K986P and V987P (PP) mutations completely protected from challenge in this mouse model.IMPORTANCE A vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed. A better understanding of antigen design and attributes that vaccine candidates need to have to induce protective immunity is of high importance. The data presented here validate the choice of antigens that contain the PP mutations and suggest that deletion of the polybasic cleavage site may lead to a further-optimized design.


Subject(s)
Proline/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Mice , Mutation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
9.
Adv Ther (Weinh) ; : 2000224, 2021 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1095226

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 caused the emerging epidemic of coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). To date, there are more than 82.9 million confirmed cases worldwide, there is no clinically effective drug against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The conserved properties of the membrane fusion domain of the spike (S) protein across SARS-CoV-2 make it a promising target to develop pan-CoV therapeutics. Herein, two clinically approved drugs, Itraconazole (ITZ) and Estradiol benzoate (EB), are found to inhibit viral entry by targeting the six-helix (6-HB) fusion core of SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Further studies shed light on the mechanism that ITZ and EB can interact with the heptad repeat 1 (HR1) region of the spike protein, to present anti-SARS-CoV-2 infections in vitro, indicating they are novel potential therapeutic remedies for COVID-19 treatment. Furthermore, ITZ shows broad-spectrum activity targeting 6-HB in the S2 subunit of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV S protein, inspiring that ITZ have the potential for development as a pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor.

10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(4)2021 Feb 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085072

ABSTRACT

Since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, in 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic outbreak resulting in a tremendous global threat due to its unprecedented rapid spread and an absence of a prophylactic vaccine or therapeutic drugs treating the virus. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is a key player in the viral entry into cells through its interaction with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor protein, and the RBD has therefore been crucial as a drug target. In this study, we used phage display to develop human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralize SARS-CoV-2. A human synthetic Fab phage display library was panned against the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (SARS-2 RBD), yielding ten unique Fabs with moderate apparent affinities (EC50 = 19-663 nM) for the SARS-2 RBD. All of the Fabs showed no cross-reactivity to the MERS-CoV spike protein, while three Fabs cross-reacted with the SARS-CoV spike protein. Five Fabs showed neutralizing activities in in vitro assays based on the Fabs' activities antagonizing the interaction between the SARS-2 RBD and ACE2. Reformatting the five Fabs into immunoglobulin Gs (IgGs) greatly increased their apparent affinities (KD = 0.08-1.0 nM), presumably due to the effects of avidity, without compromising their non-aggregating properties and thermal stability. Furthermore, two of the mAbs (D12 and C2) significantly showed neutralizing activities on pseudo-typed and authentic SARS-CoV-2. Given their desirable properties and neutralizing activities, we anticipate that these human anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs would be suitable reagents to be further developed as antibody therapeutics to treat COVID-19, as well as for diagnostics and research tools.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Binding Sites , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Peptide Library , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
11.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 8(4)2020 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024661

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe acute respiratory symptoms. Due to the lack of medical countermeasures, effective and safe vaccines against MERS-CoV infection are urgently required. Although different types of candidate vaccines have been developed, their immunogenicity is limited, and the dose and administration route need optimization to achieve optimal protection. We here investigated the potential use of human ß-defensin 2 (HBD 2) as an adjuvant to enhance the protection provided by MERS-CoV vaccination. We found that immunization of human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (hDPP4)-transgenic (hDPP4-Tg) mice with spike protein receptor-binding domain (S RBD) conjugated with HBD 2 (S RBD-HBD 2) induced potent antigen (Ag)-specific adaptive immune responses and protected against MERS-CoV infection. In addition, immunization with S RBD-HBD 2 alleviated progressive pulmonary fibrosis in the lungs of MERS-CoV-infected hDPP4-Tg mice and suppressed endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling activation upon viral infection. Compared to intramuscular administration, intranasal administration of S RBD-HBD 2 induced more potent mucosal IgA responses and was more effective for protecting against intranasal MERS-CoV infection. In conclusion, our findings suggest that HBD 2 potentiates Ag-specific immune responses against viral Ag and can be used as an adjuvant enhancing the immunogenicity of subunit vaccine candidates against MERS-CoV.

12.
J King Saud Univ Sci ; 33(2): 101335, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023655

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses M proteins are well-represented in the major protein component of the viral envelope. During the viral assembly, they play an important role by association with all other viral structural proteins. Despite their crucial functions, very little information regarding the structures and functions of M proteins is available. Here we utilize bioinformatic tools from available sequences and 3D structures of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV2, and MERS-CoV M proteins in order to predict potential B-cell epitopes and assessing antibody binding affinity. Such study aims to aid finding more effective vaccines and recognize neutralizing antibodies. we found some rather exciting differences between SARS-COV-2, SARS-Cov and MERS-CoV M proteins. Two SARS-CoV-2 peptides with significant antigen presentation scores for human cell surface proteins have been identified. The results reveal that N-terminal domains of M proteins of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV2 are translocated (outside) whereas it is inside (cytoplasmic side) in MERS-CoV.

13.
Cas Lek Cesk ; 159(5): 175-180, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-964082

ABSTRACT

One of the available treatment alternatives for COVID-19 is the administration of convalescent plasma (CP), blood plasma obtained from people who have undergone the disease. Administration of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in plasma is a method of passive specific immunization with an expected therapeutic response. CP can also be used for production a specific immunoglobulin. Experience from previous epidemic infections, caused by the coronaviruses SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, shows that CP contains neutralizing antibodies against the virus, which are probably the main source of its therapeutic potential. However, other immune mechanisms cannot be ruled out, such as antibody-induced cellular cytotoxicity and/or phagocytosis. The use of CP for the treatment of COVID-19 spread during the first half of year 2020 in many countries worldwide and relatively common is also in the Czech Republic, where, at the end of August 2020, about 100 patients were treated with CP. The production and use of CP is governed by the national multidisciplinary guidelines from April 2020 and the recommended therapeutic dose are 2 TU RP (400-450 mL), resp. 4-6 mL/kg. CP is indicated mainly in severe cases of COVID-19, which require oxygen support, ideally within 2-3 days after diagnosis, but our and foreign experience shows a beneficial effect of CP even in moderately severe cases that do not need oxygen treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Czech Republic , Hospitals , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Pandemics , Plasma , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Molecules ; 25(22)2020 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934509

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/isolation & purification , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Baculoviridae/genetics , Baculoviridae/metabolism , Cloning, Molecular , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/biosynthesis , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/chemistry , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Gene Expression , Humans , Kinetics , Models, Molecular , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Secondary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera , Surface Plasmon Resonance
15.
J Mol Liq ; 324: 114706, 2021 Feb 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912505

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging health concern due to its high mortality rate of 35%. At present, no vaccine is available to protect against MERS-CoV infections. Therefore, an in silico search for potential antigenic epitopes in the non-redundant proteome of MERS-CoV was performed herein. First, a subtractive proteome-based approach was employed to look for the surface exposed and host non-homologous proteins. Following, immunoinformatics analysis was performed to predict antigenic B and T cell epitopes that were used in the design of a multi-epitopes peptide. Molecular docking study was carried out to predict vaccine construct affinity of binding to Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and understand its binding conformation to extract ideas about its processing by the host immune system. We identified membrane protein, envelope small membrane protein, non-structural protein ORF3, non-structural protein ORF5, and spike glycoprotein as potential candidates for subunit vaccine designing. The designed multi-epitope peptide then linked to ß-defensin adjuvant is showing high antigenicity. Further, the sequence of the designed vaccine construct is optimized for maximum expression in the Escherichia coli expression system. A rich pattern of hydrogen and hydrophobic interactions of the construct was observed with the TLR3 allowing stable binding of the construct at the docked site as predicted by the molecular dynamics simulation and MM-PBSA binding energies. We expect that the panel of subunit vaccine candidates and the designed vaccine construct could be highly effective in immunizing populations from infections caused by MERS-CoV and could possible applied on the current pandemic COVID-19.

16.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 8(4)2020 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-902683

ABSTRACT

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified in 2012 and causes severe and often fatal acute respiratory illness in humans. No approved prophylactic and therapeutic interventions are currently available. In this study, we have developed egg yolk antibodies (immunoglobulin Y (IgY)) specific for MERS-CoV spike protein (S1) in order to evaluate their neutralizing efficiency against MERS-CoV infection. S1-specific immunoglobulins were produced by injecting chickens with purified recombinant S1 protein of MERS-CoV at a high titer (5.7 mg/mL egg yolk) at week 7 post immunization. Western blotting and immune-dot blot assays demonstrated that the IgY antibody specifically bound to the MERS-CoV S1 protein. Anti-S1 antibodies were also able to recognize MERS-COV inside cells, as demonstrated by an immunofluorescence assay. Plaque reduction and microneutralization assays showed the neutralization of MERS-COV in Vero cells by anti-S1 IgY antibodies and non-significantly reduced virus titers in the lungs of MERS-CoV-infected mice during early infection, with a nonsignificant decrease in weight loss. However, a statistically significant (p = 0.0196) quantitative reduction in viral antigen expression and marked reduction in inflammation were observed in lung tissue. Collectively, our data suggest that the anti-MERS-CoV S1 IgY could serve as a potential candidate for the passive treatment of MERS-CoV infection.

17.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 5(1): 237, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-867546

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging virus that is highly pathogenic and has caused the recent worldwide pandemic officially named coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Currently, considerable efforts have been put into developing effective and safe drugs and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Vaccines, such as inactivated vaccines, nucleic acid-based vaccines, and vector vaccines, have already entered clinical trials. In this review, we provide an overview of the experimental and clinical data obtained from recent SARS-CoV-2 vaccines trials, and highlight certain potential safety issues that require consideration when developing vaccines. Furthermore, we summarize several strategies utilized in the development of vaccines against other infectious viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), with the aim of aiding in the design of effective therapeutic approaches against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Viral Vaccines/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Trials as Topic , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunization Schedule , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Patient Safety , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/prevention & control , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccines, Attenuated , Vaccines, DNA , Vaccines, Subunit , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage
18.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 16944, 2020 10 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-842355

ABSTRACT

The Spike protein of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 contains an insertion 680SPRRAR↓SV687 forming a cleavage motif RxxR for furin-like enzymes at the boundary of S1/S2 subunits. Cleavage at S1/S2 is important for efficient viral entry into target cells. The insertion is absent in other CoV-s of the same clade, including SARS-CoV1 that caused the 2003 outbreak. However, an analogous cleavage motif was present at S1/S2 of the Spike protein of the more distant Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus MERS-CoV. We show that a crucial third arginine at the left middle position, comprising a motif RRxR is required for furin recognition in vitro, while the general motif RxxR in common with MERS-CoV is not sufficient for cleavage. Further, we describe a surprising finding that the two serines at the edges of the insert SPRRAR↓SV can be efficiently phosphorylated by proline-directed and basophilic protein kinases. Both phosphorylations switch off furin's ability to cleave the site. Although phospho-regulation of secreted proteins is still poorly understood, further studies, supported by a recent report of ten in vivo phosphorylated sites in the Spike protein of SARS-CoV2, could potentially uncover important novel regulatory mechanisms for SARS-CoV2.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , SARS Virus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Furin/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization
19.
J Virol ; 94(14)2020 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-840682

ABSTRACT

Autonomously replicating subgenomic Bungowannah virus (BuPV) RNAs (BuPV replicons) with deletions of the genome regions encoding the structural proteins C, ERNS, E1, and E2 were constructed on the basis of an infectious cDNA clone of BuPV. Nanoluciferase (Nluc) insertion was used to compare the replication efficiencies of all constructs after electroporation of in vitro-transcribed RNA from the different clones. Deletion of C, E1, E2, or the complete structural protein genome region (C-ERNS-E1-E2) prevented the production of infectious progeny virus, whereas deletion of ERNS still allowed the generation of infectious particles. However, those ΔERNS viral particles were defective in virus assembly and/or egress and could not be further propagated for more than three additional passages in porcine SK-6 cells. These "defective-in-third-cycle" BuPV ΔERNS mutants were subsequently used to express the classical swine fever virus envelope protein E2, the N-terminal domain of the Schmallenberg virus Gc protein, and the receptor binding domain of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike protein. The constructs could be efficiently complemented and further passaged in SK-6 cells constitutively expressing the BuPV ERNS protein. Importantly, BuPVs are able to infect a wide variety of target cell lines, allowing expression in a very wide host spectrum. Therefore, we suggest that packaged BuPV ΔERNS replicon particles have potential as broad-spectrum viral vectors.IMPORTANCE The proteins NPRO and ERNS are unique for the genus Pestivirus, but only NPRO has been demonstrated to be nonessential for in vitro growth. While this was also speculated for ERNS, it has always been previously shown that pestivirus replicons with deletions of the structural proteins ERNS, E1, or E2 did not produce any infectious progeny virus in susceptible host cells. Here, we demonstrated for the first time that BuPV ERNS is dispensable for the generation of infectious virus particles but still important for efficient passaging. The ERNS-defective BuPV particles showed clearly limited growth in cell culture but were capable of several rounds of infection, expression of foreign genes, and highly efficient trans-complementation to rescue virus replicon particles (VRPs). The noncytopathic characteristics and the absence of preexisting immunity to BuPV in human populations and livestock also provide a significant benefit for a possible use, e.g., as a vector vaccine platform.


Subject(s)
Pestivirus Infections/virology , Pestivirus/physiology , RNA, Viral , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication , Gene Deletion , Gene Expression , Genes, Reporter , Genetic Engineering , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Pestivirus Infections/immunology , Replicon , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Virion , Virus Assembly
20.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 16615, 2020 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-834915

ABSTRACT

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly virulent pathogen that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Anti-MERS-CoV antibodies play an integral role in the prevention and treatment against MERS-CoV infections. Bioactivity is a key quality attribute of therapeutic antibodies, and high accuracy and precision are required. The major methods for evaluating the antiviral effect of antiviral antibodies include neutralization assays using live viruses or pseudoviruses are highly variable. Recent studies have demonstrated that the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity of antiviral antibodies is more consistent with the virus clearance effect in vivo than neutralization activity. However, no reports evaluating the ADCC activity of anti-MERS antibodies have been published to date. Here, we describe the development of a robust and reliable cell-based reporter gene assay for the determination of ADCC activity of anti-MERS antibodies using 293T/MERS cells stably expressing the spike protein of MERS-CoV (MERS-S) as target cells and the engineered Jurkat/NFAT-luc/FcγRIIIa stably expressing FcγRIIIA and NFAT reporter gene as effector cells. According to the ICH-Q2 analytical method guidelines, we carefully optimized the experimental conditions and assessed the performance of our assay. In addition, we found that the ADCC activity of afucosylated anti-MERS antibodies is higher than their fucosylated counterparts. The establishment of this ADCC determination system provides a novel method for evaluating the bioactivity of anti-MERS antibodies and improving ADCC activity through modification of N-glycosylation of the Fc segment.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic/methods , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Genes, Reporter , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Luciferases/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , NFATC Transcription Factors/genetics , Receptors, IgG/genetics , Receptors, IgG/immunology , Response Elements , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Transfection
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