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1.
Vox Sang ; 116(10): 1076-1083, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515248

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Convalescent plasma (CP) has been embraced as a safe therapeutic option for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), while other treatments are developed. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is not transmissible by transfusion, but bloodborne pathogens remain a risk in regions with high endemic prevalence of disease. Pathogen reduction can mitigate this risk; thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of riboflavin and ultraviolet light (R + UV) pathogen reduction technology on the functional properties of COVID-19 CP (CCP). MATERIALS AND METHODS: COVID-19 convalescent plasma units (n = 6) from recovered COVID-19 research donors were treated with R + UV. Pre- and post-treatment samples were tested for coagulation factor and immunoglobulin retention. Antibody binding to spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD), S1 and S2 epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 was assessed by ELISA. Neutralizing antibody (nAb) function was assessed by pseudovirus reporter viral particle neutralization (RVPN) assay and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). RESULTS: Mean retention of coagulation factors was ≥70%, while retention of immunoglobulins was 100%. Starting nAb titres were low, but PRNT50 titres did not differ between pre- and post-treatment samples. No statistically significant differences were detected in levels of IgG (P ≥ 0·3665) and IgM (P ≥ 0·1208) antibodies to RBD, S1 and S2 proteins before and after treatment. CONCLUSION: R + UV PRT effects on coagulation factors were similar to previous reports, but no significant effects were observed on immunoglobulin concentration and antibody function. SARS-CoV-2 nAb function in CCP is conserved following R + UV PRT treatment.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Riboflavin , SARS-CoV-2 , Technology , Ultraviolet Rays
2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(7): e2444-e2449, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455256

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and dengue fever are difficult to distinguish given shared clinical and laboratory features. Failing to consider COVID-19 due to false-positive dengue serology can have serious implications. We aimed to assess this possible cross-reactivity. METHODS: We analyzed clinical data and serum samples from 55 individuals with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. To assess dengue serology status, we used dengue-specific antibodies by means of lateral-flow rapid test, as well as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Additionally, we tested SARS-CoV-2 serology status in patients with dengue and performed in-silico protein structural analysis to identify epitope similarities. RESULTS: Using the dengue lateral-flow rapid test we detected 12 positive cases out of the 55 (21.8%) COVID-19 patients versus zero positive cases in a control group of 70 healthy individuals (P = 2.5E-5). This includes 9 cases of positive immunoglobulin M (IgM), 2 cases of positive immunoglobulin G (IgG), and 1 case of positive IgM as well as IgG antibodies. ELISA testing for dengue was positive in 2 additional subjects using envelope protein directed antibodies. Out of 95 samples obtained from patients diagnosed with dengue before September 2019, SARS-CoV-2 serology targeting the S protein was positive/equivocal in 21 (22%) (16 IgA, 5 IgG) versus 4 positives/equivocal in 102 controls (4%) (P = 1.6E-4). Subsequent in-silico analysis revealed possible similarities between SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in the HR2 domain of the spike protein and the dengue envelope protein. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support possible cross-reactivity between dengue virus and SARS-CoV-2, which can lead to false-positive dengue serology among COVID-19 patients and vice versa. This can have serious consequences for both patient care and public health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dengue Virus , Antibodies, Viral , Cross Reactions , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
3.
J Infect Dis ; 224(6): 956-966, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429243

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major public health challenge globally. The identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived T-cell epitopes is of critical importance for peptide vaccines or diagnostic tools of COVID-19. METHODS: In this study, several SARS-CoV-2-derived human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-I binding peptides were predicted by NetMHCpan-4.1 and selected by Popcover to achieve pancoverage of the Chinese population. The top 5 ranked peptides derived from each protein of SARS-CoV-2 were then evaluated using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from unexposed individuals (negative for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G). RESULTS: Seven epitopes derived from 4 SARS-CoV-2 proteins were identified. It is interesting to note that most (5 of 7) of the SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides with predicted affinities for HLA-I molecules were identified as HLA-II-restricted epitopes and induced CD4+ T cell-dependent responses. These results complete missing pieces of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and suggest that pre-existing T cells targeting all SARS-CoV-2-encoded proteins can be discovered in unexposed populations. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, in the current study, we present an alternative and effective strategy for the identification of T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 in healthy subjects, which may indicate an important role in the development of peptide vaccines for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cell Line , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Front Immunol ; 12: 660019, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389181

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a recent pandemic that has led to more than 3 million deaths worldwide. Most individuals are asymptomatic or display mild symptoms, which raises an inherent question as to how does the immune response differs from patients manifesting severe disease? During the initial phase of infection, dysregulated effector immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, monocytes, megakaryocytes, basophils, eosinophils, erythroid progenitor cells, and Th17 cells can alter the trajectory of an infected patient to severe disease. On the other hand, properly functioning CD4+, CD8+ cells, NK cells, and DCs reduce the disease severity. Detailed understanding of the immune response of convalescent individuals transitioning from the effector phase to the immunogenic memory phase can provide vital clues to understanding essential variables to assess vaccine-induced protection. Although neutralizing antibodies can wane over time, long-lasting B and T memory cells can persist in recovered individuals. The natural immunological memory captures the diverse repertoire of SARS-CoV-2 epitopes after natural infection whereas, currently approved vaccines are based on a single epitope, spike protein. It is essential to understand the nature of the immune response to natural infection to better identify 'correlates of protection' against this disease. This article discusses recent findings regarding immune response against natural infection to SARS-CoV-2 and the nature of immunogenic memory. More precise knowledge of the acute phase of immune response and its transition to immunological memory will contribute to the future design of vaccines and the identification of variables essential to maintain immune protection across diverse populations.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Disease Resistance , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunologic Memory
5.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 225, 2021 02 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387490

ABSTRACT

Serodiagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is impeded by immunological cross-reactivity among the human coronaviruses (HCoVs): SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, OC43, 229E, HKU1, and NL63. Here we report the identification of humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 peptides that may enable discrimination between exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and other HCoVs. We used a high-density peptide microarray and plasma samples collected at two time points from 50 subjects with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by qPCR, samples collected in 2004-2005 from 11 subjects with IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-1, 11 subjects with IgG antibodies to other seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoV), and 10 healthy human subjects. Through statistical modeling with linear regression and multidimensional scaling we identified specific peptides that were reassembled to identify 29 linear SARS-CoV-2 epitopes that were immunoreactive with plasma from individuals who had asymptomatic, mild or severe SARS-CoV-2 infections. Larger studies will be required to determine whether these peptides may be useful in serodiagnostics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Peptide Mapping , Peptides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , COVID-19/blood , Chiroptera , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Peptides/chemistry , Proteome/metabolism
6.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 18(8): 1847-1860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387308

ABSTRACT

CD4+ T cells orchestrate adaptive immune responses via binding of antigens to their receptors through specific peptide/MHC-II complexes. To study these responses, it is essential to identify protein-derived MHC-II peptide ligands that constitute epitopes for T cell recognition. However, generating cells expressing single MHC-II alleles and isolating these proteins for use in peptide elution or binding studies is time consuming. Here, we express human MHC alleles (HLA-DR4 and HLA-DQ6) as native, noncovalent αß dimers on yeast cells for direct flow cytometry-based screening of peptide ligands from selected antigens. We demonstrate rapid, accurate identification of DQ6 ligands from pre-pro-hypocretin, a narcolepsy-related immunogenic target. We also identify 20 DR4-binding SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides homologous to SARS-CoV-1 epitopes, and one spike peptide overlapping with the reported SARS-CoV-2 epitope recognized by CD4+ T cells from unexposed individuals carrying DR4 subtypes. Our method is optimized for immediate application upon the emergence of novel pathogens.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , HLA-DQ Antigens/metabolism , HLA-DR4 Antigen/metabolism , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Two-Hybrid System Techniques , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Flow Cytometry , HLA-DQ Antigens/genetics , HLA-DQ Antigens/immunology , HLA-DR4 Antigen/genetics , HLA-DR4 Antigen/immunology , Ligands , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics , Saccharomyces cerevisiae/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
7.
iScience ; 24(2): 102096, 2021 Feb 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385756

ABSTRACT

CD8+ T cells are crucial for anti-viral immunity; however, understanding T cell responses requires the identification of epitopes presented by human leukocyte antigens (HLA). To date, few SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes have been described. Internal viral proteins are typically more conserved than surface proteins and are often the target of CD8+ T cells. Therefore, we have characterized eight peptides derived from the internal SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein predicted to bind HLA-A∗02:01, the most common HLA molecule in the global population. We determined not all peptides could form a complex with HLA-A∗02:01, and the six crystal structures determined revealed that some peptides adopted a mobile conformation. We therefore provide a molecular understanding of SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T cell epitopes. Furthermore, we show that there is limited pre-existing CD8+ T cell response toward these epitopes in unexposed individuals. Together, these data show that SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid might not contain potent epitopes restricted to HLA-A∗02:01.

8.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 8(3)2020 Jul 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389560

ABSTRACT

The efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid-based vaccines may be limited by proteolysis of the translated product due to anomalous protein folding. This may be the case for vaccines employing linear SARS-CoV-2 B-cell epitopes identified in previous studies since most of them participate in secondary structure formation. In contrast, we have employed a consensus of predictors for epitopic zones plus a structural filter for identifying 20 unstructured B-cell epitope-containing loops (uBCELs) in S, M, and N proteins. Phylogenetic comparison suggests epitope switching with respect to SARS-CoV in some of the identified uBCELs. Such events may be associated with the reported lack of serum cross-protection between the 2003 and 2019 pandemic strains. Incipient variability within a sample of 1639 SARS-CoV-2 isolates was also detected for 10 uBCELs which could cause vaccine failure. Intermediate stages of the putative epitope switch events were observed in bat coronaviruses in which additive mutational processes possibly facilitating evasion of the bat immune system appear to have taken place prior to transfer to humans. While there was some overlap between uBCELs and previously validated SARS-CoV B-cell epitopes, multiple uBCELs had not been identified in prior studies. Overall, these uBCELs may facilitate the development of biomedical products for SARS-CoV-2.

9.
Med Hypotheses ; 145: 110342, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386307

ABSTRACT

This study aimed at identifying human neural proteins that can be attacked by cross-reacting SARS-COV-2 antibodies causing Guillain-Barré syndrome. These markers can be used for the diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). To achieve this goal, proteins implicated in the development of GBS were retrieved from literature. These human proteins were compared to SARS-COV-2 surface proteins to identify homologous sequences using Blastp. Then, MHC-I and MHC-II epitopes were determined in the homologous sequences and used for further analysis. Similar human and SARS-COV-2 epitopes were docked to the corresponding MHC molecule to compare the binding pattern of human and SARS-COV-2 proteins to the MHC molecule. Neural cell adhesion molecule is the only neural protein that showed homologous sequence to SARS-COV-2 envelope protein. The homologous sequence was part of HLA-A68 and HLA-DQA/HLA-DQB epitopes had a similar binding pattern to SARS-COV-2 envelope protein. Based on these results, the study suggests that NCAM may play a significant role in the immunopathogenesis of GBS. NCAM antibodies can be used as a marker for Guillain-Barré syndrome. However, more experimental studies are needed to prove these results.


Subject(s)
CD56 Antigen/chemistry , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acid Motifs , COVID-19/immunology , Computational Biology , Computer Simulation , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes/chemistry , HLA-A Antigens/chemistry , HLA-DQ alpha-Chains/chemistry , HLA-DQ beta-Chains/chemistry , Humans , Major Histocompatibility Complex , Models, Theoretical , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Binding
10.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 1309-1323, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1352112

ABSTRACT

The recurrent and recent global outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has turned into a global concern which has infected more than 42 million people all over the globe, and this number is increasing in hours. Unfortunately, no vaccine or specific treatment is available, which makes it more deadly. A vaccine-informatics approach has shown significant breakthrough in peptide-based epitope mapping and opens the new horizon in vaccine development. In this study, we have identified a total of 15 antigenic peptides [including thymus cells (T-cells) and bone marrow or bursa-derived cells] in the surface glycoprotein (SG) of SARS-CoV-2 which is nontoxic and nonallergenic in nature, nonallergenic, highly antigenic and non-mutated in other SARS-CoV-2 virus strains. The population coverage analysis has found that cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4+) T-cell peptides showed higher cumulative population coverage over cluster of differentiation 8 (CD8+) peptides in the 16 different geographical regions of the world. We identified 12 peptides ((LTDEMIAQY, WTAGAAAYY, WMESEFRVY, IRASANLAA, FGAISSVLN, VKQLSSNFG, FAMQMAYRF, FGAGAALQI, YGFQPTNGVGYQ, LPDPSKPSKR, QTQTNSPRRARS and VITPGTNTSN) that are $80\hbox{--} 90\%$ identical with experimentally determined epitopes of SARS-CoV, and this will likely be beneficial for a quick progression of the vaccine design. Moreover, docking analysis suggested that the identified peptides are tightly bound in the groove of human leukocyte antigen molecules which can induce the T-cell response. Overall, this study allows us to determine potent peptide antigen targets in the SG on intuitive grounds, which opens up a new horizon in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) research. However, this study needs experimental validation by in vitro and in vivo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/immunology , Computational Biology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , HLA Antigens/chemistry , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry
11.
J Clin Pathol ; 74(8): 528-532, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318062

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Brazil is nowadays one of the epicentres of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic and new therapies are needed to face it. In the context of specific immune response against the virus, a correlation between Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I (MHC-I) and the severity of the disease in patients with COVID-19 has been suggested. Aiming at better understanding the biology of the infection and the immune response against the virus in the Brazilian population, we analysed SARS-CoV-2 protein S peptides in order to identify epitopes able to elicit an immune response mediated by the most frequent MHC-I alleles using in silico methods. METHODS: Our analyses consisted in searching for the most frequent Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-A, HLA-B and HLA-C alleles in the Brazilian population, excluding the genetic isolates; then, we performed: molecular modelling for unsolved structures, MHC-I binding affinity and antigenicity prediction, peptide docking and molecular dynamics of the best fitted MHC-I/protein S complexes. RESULTS: We identified 24 immunogenic epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 protein S that could interact with 17 different MHC-I alleles (namely, HLA-A*01:01; HLA-A*02:01; HLA-A*11:01; HLA-A*24:02; HLA-A*68:01; HLA-A*23:01; HLA-A*26:01; HLA-A*30:02; HLA-A*31:01; HLA-B*07:02; HLA-B*51:01; HLA-B*35:01; HLA-B*44:02; HLA-B*35:03; HLA-C*05:01; HLA-C*07:01 and HLA-C*15:02) in the Brazilian population. CONCLUSIONS: Being aware of the intrinsic limitations of in silico analysis (mainly the differences between the real and the Protein Data Bank (PDB) structure; and accuracy of the methods for simulate proteasome cleavage), we identified 24 epitopes able to interact with 17 MHC-I more frequent alleles in the Brazilian population that could be useful for the development of strategic methods for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Epitope Mapping , Epitopes , HLA Antigens/immunology , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Brazil , Gene Frequency , HLA Antigens/genetics , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
12.
J Biol Regul Homeost Agents ; 35(2): 423-427, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298274

ABSTRACT

Acute severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) which is associated with inflammation, thrombosis edema, hemorrhage, intra-alveolar fibrin deposition, and vascular and pulmonary damage. In COVID-19, the coronavirus activates macrophages by inducing the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-18 and TNF] that can damage endothelial cells, activate platelets and neutrophils to produce thromboxane A2 (TxA2), and mediate thrombus generation. In severe cases, all these phenomena can lead to patient death. The binding of SARS-CoV-2 to the Toll Like Receptor (TLR) results in the release of pro-IL-1ß that is cleaved by caspase-1, followed by the production of active mature IL-1ß which is the most important cytokine in causing fever and inflammation. Its activation in COVID-19 can cause a "cytokine storm" with serious biological and clinical consequences. Blockade of IL-1 with inhibitory and anti-inflammatory cytokines represents a new therapeutic strategy also for COVID-19. Recently, very rare allergic reactions to vaccines have been reported, with phenomena of pulmonary thrombosis. These side effects have raised substantial concern in the population. Highly allergic subjects should therefore be vaccinated under strict medical supervision. COVID-19 has accelerated vaccine therapy but also the use of drugs and monoclonal antibodies (mABs) which have been used in COVID-19 therapy. They are primarily adopted to treat high-risk mild-to-moderate non-hospitalized patients, and it has been noted that the administration of two mABs gave better results. mABs, other than polyclonal plasma antibodies from infected subjects with SARS-CoV-2, are produced in the laboratory and are intended to fight SARS-CoV-2. They bind specifically to the antigenic determinant of the spike protein, inhibiting the pathogenicity of the virus. The most suitable individuals for mAB therapy are people at particular risk, such as the elderly and those with serious chronic diseases including diabetics, hypertension and obesity, including subjects suffering from cardiovascular diseases. These antibodies have a well-predetermined target, they bind mainly to the protein S (formed by the S1A, B, C and D subtypes), located on the viral surface, and to the S2 protein that acts as a fuser between the virus and the cell membrane. Since mABs are derived from a single splenic immune cell, they are identical and form a cell clone which can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 by binding to the epitope of the virus. However, this COVID-19 therapy may cause several side effects such as mild pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, thrombotic-type episodes, arterial hypertension, changes in heart activity, slowed bone marrow activity, impaired renal function, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, allergic reaction, fever, and possible subsequent infection may occur at the site of injection. In conclusion, the studies promoting mAB therapy in COVID-19 are very promising but the results are not yet definitive and more investigations are needed to certify both their good neutralizing effects of SARS-CoV-2, and to eliminate, or at least mitigate, the harmful side effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Endothelial Cells , Humans
13.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(6): 100312, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275763

ABSTRACT

Knowledge of the epitopes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) targeted by T cells in recovered (convalescent) individuals is important for understanding T cell immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This information can aid development and assessment of COVID-19 vaccines and inform novel diagnostic technologies. Here, we provide a unified description and meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes compiled from 18 studies of cohorts of individuals recovered from COVID-19 (852 individuals in total). Our analysis demonstrates the broad diversity of T cell epitopes that have been recorded for SARS-CoV-2. A large majority are seemingly unaffected by current variants of concern. We identify a set of 20 immunoprevalent epitopes that induced T cell responses in multiple cohorts and in a large fraction of tested individuals. The landscape of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes we describe can help guide immunological studies, including those related to vaccines and diagnostics. A web-based platform has been developed to help complement these efforts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , HLA Antigens/genetics , Humans , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism
14.
Acta Trop ; 221: 106013, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1272275

ABSTRACT

AIM: This study is looking for a common pathogenicity between SARS-CoV-2 and Plasmodium species, in individuals with certain HLA serotypes. METHODS: 1. Tblastx searches of SARS-CoV-2 are performed by limiting searches to five Plasmodium species that infect humans. 2. Aligned sequences in the respective organisms' proteomes are searched with blastp. 3. Binding predictions of the identified SARS-CoV-2 peptide to HLA supertype representatives are performed. 4. Blastp searches of predicted epitopes that bind strongly to the identified HLA allele are performed by limiting searches to H. sapiens and Plasmodium species, separately. 5. Peptides with minimum 60% identity to the predicted epitopes are found in results. 6. Peptides among those, which bind strongly to the same HLA allele, are predicted. 7. Step-4 is repeated by limiting searches to H. sapiens, followed by the remaining steps until step-7, for peptides sourced by Plasmodium species after step-6. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 peptide with single letter amino acid code CFLGYFCTCYFGLFC has the highest identity to P. vivax. Its YFCTCYFGLF part is predicted to bind strongly to HLA-A*24:02. Peptides in the human proteome both homologous to YFCTCYFGLF and with a strong binding affinity to HLA-A*24:02 are YYCARRFGLF, YYCHCPFGVF, and YYCQQYFFLF. Such peptides in the Plasmodium species' proteomes are FFYTFYFELF, YFVACLFILF, and YFPTITFHLF. The first one belonging to P. falciparum has a homologous peptide (YFYLFSLELF) in the human proteome, which also has a strong binding affinity to the same HLA allele. CONCLUSION: Immune responses to the identified-peptides with similar sequences and strong binding affinities to HLA-A*24:02 can be related to autoimmune response risk in individuals with HLA-A*24:02 serotypes, upon getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 or P. falciparum.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HLA-A24 Antigen , Malaria, Vivax , Peptides , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Peptides/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
15.
ACS Nano ; 2021 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270651

ABSTRACT

Rapid and inexpensive immunodiagnostic assays to monitor severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroconversion are essential for conducting large-scale COVID-19 epidemiological surveillance and profiling humoral responses against SARS-CoV-2 infections or immunizations. Herein, a colorimetic serological assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 IgGs in patients' plasma was developed using short antigenic epitopes conjugated to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). Four immunodominant linear B-cell epitopes, located on the spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2, were characterized for their IgG binding affinity and used as highly specific biological motifs on the nanoparticle to recognize target antibodies. Specific bivalent binding between SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and epitope-functionalized AuNPs trigger nanoparticle aggregation, which manifests as a distinct optical transition in the AuNPs' plasmon characteristics within 30 min of antibody introduction. Co-immobilization of two epitopes improved the assay sensitivity relative to single-epitope AuNPs with a limit of detection of 3.2 nM, commensurate with IgG levels in convalescent COVID-19-infected patients. A passivation strategy was further pursued to preserve the sensing response in human plasma medium. When tested against 35 clinical plasma samples of varying illness severity, the optimized nanosensor assay can successfully identify SARS-CoV-2 infection with 100% specificity and 83% sensitivity. As the epitopes are conserved within the circulating COVID-19 variants, the proposed platform holds great potential to serve as a cost-effective and highly specific alternative to classical immunoassays employing recombinant viral proteins. These epitope-enabled nanosensors further expand the serodiagnostic toolbox for COVID-19 epidemiological study, humoral response monitoring, or vaccine efficiency assessment.

16.
J Biomed Sci ; 28(1): 43, 2021 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261273

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) first appeared in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China. Since its emergence, the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, has been rapidly transmitted around the globe, overwhelming the medical care systems in many countries and leading to more than 3.3 million deaths. Identification of immunological epitopes on the virus would be highly useful for the development of diagnostic tools and vaccines that will be critical to limiting further spread of COVID-19. METHODS: To find disease-specific B-cell epitopes that correspond to or mimic natural epitopes, we used phage display technology to determine the targets of specific antibodies present in the sera of immune-responsive COVID-19 patients. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were further applied to assess competitive antibody binding and serological detection. VaxiJen, BepiPred-2.0 and DiscoTope 2.0 were utilized for B-cell epitope prediction. PyMOL was used for protein structural analysis. RESULTS: 36 enriched peptides were identified by biopanning with antibodies from two COVID-19 patients; the peptides 4 motifs with consensus residues corresponding to two potential B-cell epitopes on SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins. The putative epitopes and hit peptides were then synthesized for validation by competitive antibody binding and serological detection. CONCLUSIONS: The identified B-cell epitopes on SARS-CoV-2 may aid investigations into COVID-19 pathogenesis and facilitate the development of epitope-based serological diagnostics and vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Peptide Library , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology
17.
Immunol Cell Biol ; 99(9): 990-1000, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258941

ABSTRACT

In-depth understanding of human T-cell-mediated immunity in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is needed if we are to optimize vaccine strategies and immunotherapies. Identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) T-cell epitopes and generation of peptide-human leukocyte antigen (peptide-HLA) tetramers facilitate direct ex vivo analyses of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and their T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires. We utilized a combination of peptide prediction and in vitro peptide stimulation to validate novel SARS-CoV-2 epitopes restricted by HLA-A*24:02, one of the most prominent HLA class I alleles, especially in Indigenous and Asian populations. Of the peptides screened, three spike-derived peptides generated CD8+ IFNγ+ responses above background, S1208-1216 (QYIKWPWYI), S448-456 (NYNYLYRLF) and S193-201 (VFKNIDGYF), with S1208 generating immunodominant CD8+ IFNγ+ responses. Using peptide-HLA-I tetramers, we performed direct ex vivo tetramer enrichment for HLA-A*24:02-restricted CD8+ T cells in COVID-19 patients and prepandemic controls. The precursor frequencies for HLA-A*24:02-restricted epitopes were within the range previously observed for other SARS-CoV-2 epitopes for both COVID-19 patients and prepandemic individuals. Naïve A24/SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells increased nearly 7.5-fold above the average precursor frequency during COVID-19, gaining effector and memory phenotypes. Ex vivo single-cell analyses of TCRαß repertoires found that the A24/S448 + CD8+ T-cell TCRαß repertoire was driven by a common TCRß chain motif, whereas the A24/S1208 + CD8+ TCRαß repertoire was diverse across COVID-19 patients. Our study provides an in depth characterization and important insights into SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses associated with a prominent HLA-A*24:02 allomorph. This contributes to our knowledge on adaptive immune responses during primary COVID-19 and could be exploited in vaccine or immunotherapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , HLA-A24 Antigen , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(5)2021 May 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1234845

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Persistent transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has given rise to a COVID-19 pandemic. Several vaccines, conceived in 2020, that evoke protective spike antibody responses are being deployed in mass public health vaccination programs. Recent data suggests, however, that as sequence variation in the spike genome accumulates, some vaccines may lose efficacy. METHODS: Using a macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we tested the efficacy of a peptide-based vaccine targeting MHC class I epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. We administered biodegradable microspheres with synthetic peptides and adjuvants to rhesus macaques. Unvaccinated control and vaccinated macaques were challenged with 1 × 108 TCID50 units of SARS-CoV-2, followed by assessment of clinical symptoms and viral load, chest radiographs, and sampling of peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid for downstream analysis. RESULTS: Vaccinated animals were free of pneumonia-like infiltrates characteristic of SARS-CoV-2 infection and presented with lower viral loads relative to controls. Gene expression in cells collected from BAL samples of vaccinated macaques revealed a unique signature associated with enhanced development of adaptive immune responses relative to control macaques. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that a room temperature stable peptide vaccine based on known immunogenic HLA class I bound CTL epitopes from the nucleocapsid protein can provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in nonhuman primates.

19.
Front Immunol ; 12: 627568, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231335

ABSTRACT

The beta-coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 induces severe disease (COVID-19) mainly in elderly persons with risk factors, whereas the majority of patients experience a mild course of infection. As the circulating common cold coronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 share some homologous sequences with SARS-CoV-2, beta-coronavirus cross-reactive T-cell responses could influence the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of COVID-19. To investigate the role of beta-coronavirus cross-reactive T-cells, we analyzed the T-cell response against a 15 amino acid long peptide (SCoV-DP15: DLSPRWYFYYLGTGP) from the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein sequence with a high homology to the corresponding sequence (QLLPRWYFYYLGTGP) in OC43 and HKU1. SCoV-DP15-specific T-cells were detected in 4 out of 23 (17.4%) SARS-CoV-2-seronegative healthy donors. As HIV-1 infection is a potential risk factor for COVID-19, we also studied a cohort of HIV-1-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. 44 out of these 116 HIV-1-infected patients (37.9%) showed a specific recognition of the SCoV-DP15 peptide or of shorter peptides within SCoV-DP15 by CD4+ T-cells and/or by CD8+ T-cells. We could define several new cross-reactive HLA-I-restricted epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein such as SPRWYFYYL (HLA-B*07, HLA-B*35), DLSPRWYFYY (HLA-A*02), LSPRWYFYY (HLA-A*29), WYFYYLGTGP and WYFYYLGT. Epitope specific CD8+ T-cell lines recognized corresponding epitopes within OC43 and HKU1 to a similar degree or even at lower peptide concentrations suggesting that they were induced by infection with OC43 or HKU1. Our results confirm that SARS-CoV-2-seronegative subjects can target SARS-CoV-2 not only by beta-coronavirus cross-reactive CD4+ T-cells but also by cross-reactive CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells (CTL). The delineation of cross-reactive T-cell epitopes contributes to an efficient epitope-specific immunomonitoring of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells. Further prospective studies are needed to prove a protective role of cross-reactive T-cells and their restricting HLA alleles for control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The frequent observation of SARS-CoV-2-reactive T-cells in HIV-1-infected subjects could be a reason that treated HIV-1 infection does not seem to be a strong risk factor for the development of severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Common Cold/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Nucleoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Adult , Aged , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Common Cold/genetics , Common Cold/pathology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/pathology
20.
Cell Rep ; 35(8): 109173, 2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227991

ABSTRACT

Individuals with the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) show varying severity of the disease, ranging from asymptomatic to requiring intensive care. Although monoclonal antibodies specific to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been identified, we still lack an understanding of the overall landscape of B cell receptor (BCR) repertoires in individuals with COVID-19. We use high-throughput sequencing of bulk and plasma B cells collected at multiple time points during infection to characterize signatures of the B cell response to SARS-CoV-2 in 19 individuals. Using principled statistical approaches, we associate differential features of BCRs with different disease severity. We identify 38 significantly expanded clonal lineages shared among individuals as candidates for responses specific to SARS-CoV-2. Using single-cell sequencing, we verify the reactivity of BCRs shared among individuals to SARS-CoV-2 epitopes. Moreover, we identify the natural emergence of a BCR with cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 in some individuals. Our results provide insights important for development of rational therapies and vaccines against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , Epitopes , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Severity of Illness Index , Sf9 Cells , Single-Cell Analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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