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1.
J Mol Struct ; 1230: 129868, 2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1734825

ABSTRACT

In view of the recent global pandemic caused by COVID-19 intense efforts have been devoted worldwide towards the development of an effective treatment for this disease. Recently, PDE4 inhibitors have been suggested to attenuate the cytokine storm in COVID-19 especially tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). In our effort we have explored the 2-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-b]quinoxalines for this purpose because of their potential inhibitory properties of PDE-4 / TNF-α. Moreover, several of these compounds appeared to be promising in silico when assessed for their binding affinities via docking into the N-terminal RNA-binding domain (NTD) of N-protein of SARS-CoV-2. A rapid and one-pot synthesis of this class of molecules was achieved via the Cu-catalyzed coupling-cyclization-desulfinylation of 3-alkynyl-2-chloroquinoxalines with t-butyl sulfinamide as the ammonia surrogate under ultrasound irradiation. Most of these compounds showed good to significant inhibition of TNF-α in vitro establishing a SAR (Structure Activity Relationship) within the series. One compound e.g. 3i was identified as a promising hit for which the desirable ADME and acceptable toxicity profile was predicted in silico.

2.
J Virol ; 94(12)2020 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1723543

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that recently emerged in China is thought to have a bat origin, as its closest known relative (BatCoV RaTG13) was described previously in horseshoe bats. We analyzed the selective events that accompanied the divergence of SARS-CoV-2 from BatCoV RaTG13. To this end, we applied a population genetics-phylogenetics approach, which leverages within-population variation and divergence from an outgroup. Results indicated that most sites in the viral open reading frames (ORFs) evolved under conditions of strong to moderate purifying selection. The most highly constrained sequences corresponded to some nonstructural proteins (nsps) and to the M protein. Conversely, nsp1 and accessory ORFs, particularly ORF8, had a nonnegligible proportion of codons evolving under conditions of very weak purifying selection or close to selective neutrality. Overall, limited evidence of positive selection was detected. The 6 bona fide positively selected sites were located in the N protein, in ORF8, and in nsp1. A signal of positive selection was also detected in the receptor-binding motif (RBM) of the spike protein but most likely resulted from a recombination event that involved the BatCoV RaTG13 sequence. In line with previous data, we suggest that the common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 and BatCoV RaTG13 encoded/encodes an RBM similar to that observed in SARS-CoV-2 itself and in some pangolin viruses. It is presently unknown whether the common ancestor still exists and, if so, which animals it infects. Our data, however, indicate that divergence of SARS-CoV-2 from BatCoV RaTG13 was accompanied by limited episodes of positive selection, suggesting that the common ancestor of the two viruses was poised for human infection.IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses are dangerous zoonotic pathogens; in the last 2 decades, three coronaviruses have crossed the species barrier and caused human epidemics. One of these is the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2. We investigated how, since its divergence from a closely related bat virus, natural selection shaped the genome of SARS-CoV-2. We found that distinct coding regions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome evolved under conditions of different degrees of constraint and are consequently more or less prone to tolerate amino acid substitutions. In practical terms, the level of constraint provides indications about which proteins/protein regions are better suited as possible targets for the development of antivirals or vaccines. We also detected limited signals of positive selection in three viral ORFs. However, we warn that, in the absence of knowledge about the chain of events that determined the human spillover, these signals should not be necessarily interpreted as evidence of an adaptation to our species.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Selection, Genetic , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Betacoronavirus/classification , COVID-19 , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Models, Molecular , Open Reading Frames/genetics , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/genetics
3.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 167, 2021 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585891

ABSTRACT

The ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed a worldwide pandemic and a major global public health threat. The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with virus-induced dysfunctional inflammatory responses and cytokine storms. However, the interplay between host inflammatory responses and SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein, the major structural protein of the virion, promotes the virus-triggered activation of NF-κB signaling. After binding to viral RNA, N protein robustly undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which recruits TAK1 and IKK complex, the key kinases of NF-κB signaling, to enhance NF-κB activation. Moreover, 1,6-hexanediol, the inhibitor of LLPS, can attenuate the phase separation of N protein and restrict its regulatory functions in NF-κB activation. These results suggest that LLPS of N protein provides a platform to induce NF-κB hyper-activation, which could be a potential therapeutic target against COVID-19 severe pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , A549 Cells , Acrylates/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/pathology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Vero Cells
4.
J Clin Microbiol ; 59(7): e0051421, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486483

ABSTRACT

Accurate SARS-CoV-2 serological assays are critical for COVID-19 serosurveillance. However, previous studies have indicated possible cross-reactivity of these assays, including in areas where malaria is endemic. We tested 213 well-characterized prepandemic samples from Nigeria using two SARS-CoV-2 serological assays, Abbott Architect IgG and Euroimmun NCP IgG assay, both targeting SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. To assess antibody binding strength, an avidity assay was performed on these samples and on plasma from SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive persons. Thirteen (6.1%) of 212 samples run on the Abbott assay and 38 (17.8%) of 213 run on the Euroimmun assay were positive. Anti-Plasmodium IgG levels were significantly higher among false positives for both Abbott and Euroimmun; no association was found with active Plasmodium falciparum infection. An avidity assay using various concentrations of urea wash in the Euroimmun assay reduced loosely bound IgG: of 37 positive/borderline prepandemic samples, 46%, 86%, 89%, and 97% became negative using 2 M, 4 M, 5 M, and 8 M urea washes, respectively. The wash slightly reduced avidity of antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 patients within 28 days of PCR confirmation; thereafter, avidity increased for all urea concentrations except 8 M. This validation found moderate to substantial cross-reactivity on two SARS-CoV-2 serological assays using samples from a setting where malaria is endemic. A simple urea wash appeared to alleviate issues of cross-reactivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Malaria , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Malaria/diagnosis , Nigeria , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
5.
Glycobiology ; 31(9): 1080-1092, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434394

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), started in 2019 in China and quickly spread into a global pandemic. Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) is highly conserved and is the most abundant protein in coronaviruses and is thus a potential target for both vaccine and point-of-care diagnostics. N Protein has been suggested in the literature as having posttranslational modifications (PTMs), and accurately defining these PTMs is critical for its potential use in medicine. Reports of phosphorylation of N protein have failed to provide detailed site-specific information. We have performed comprehensive glycomics, glycoproteomics and proteomics experiments on two different N protein preparations. Both were expressed in HEK293 cells; one was in-house expressed and purified without a signal peptide (SP) sequence, and the other was commercially produced with a SP channeling it through the secretory pathway. Our results show completely different PTMs on the two N protein preparations. The commercial product contained extensive N- and O-linked glycosylation as well as O-phosphorylation on site Thr393. Conversely, the native N Protein model had O-phosphorylation at Ser176 and no glycosylation, highlighting the importance of knowing the provenance of any commercial protein to be used for scientific or clinical studies. Recent studies have indicated that N protein can serve as an important diagnostic marker for COVID-19 and as a major immunogen by priming protective immune responses. Thus, detailed structural characterization of N protein may provide useful insights for understanding the roles of PTMs on viral pathogenesis, vaccine design and development of point-of-care diagnostics.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Protein Processing, Post-Translational/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs , Amino Acid Sequence , Binding Sites , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Phosphorylation , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry
6.
J Med Virol ; 93(10): 5873-5879, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432420

ABSTRACT

Population-based immunoglobulin G (IgG) seroprevalence studies in asymptomatic individuals in Latin America are scarce. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and geographic distribution of IgG antibodies induced by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in asymptomatic adults, 5-8 months after the first case was reported in a northeastern state of Mexico. This was a population-based cross-sectional study carried out in Nuevo Leon during August-November 2020. Individuals ≥18 years with no previous diagnosis or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 were consecutively screened in one of the busiest subway stations. Also, a search for eligible individuals was done from house-to-house, after selecting densely populated geographic sectors of each of the municipalities of the metropolitan area (n = 4495). The IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein were analyzed. The IgG antibody positivity rate was 27.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 25.8, 28.4); there were no differences by sex or age (p > 0.05). Analysis by month showed a gradual increase from 11.9% (August) to 31.9% (November); Week 39 had the highest positivity rate (42.2%, 95% CI: 34.2, 50.7). Most people did not have evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Preventive measures and promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine should be strengthened.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Mexico/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1936, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387331

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein is an abundant RNA-binding protein critical for viral genome packaging, yet the molecular details that underlie this process are poorly understood. Here we combine single-molecule spectroscopy with all-atom simulations to uncover the molecular details that contribute to N protein function. N protein contains three dynamic disordered regions that house putative transiently-helical binding motifs. The two folded domains interact minimally such that full-length N protein is a flexible and multivalent RNA-binding protein. N protein also undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation when mixed with RNA, and polymer theory predicts that the same multivalent interactions that drive phase separation also engender RNA compaction. We offer a simple symmetry-breaking model that provides a plausible route through which single-genome condensation preferentially occurs over phase separation, suggesting that phase separation offers a convenient macroscopic readout of a key nanoscopic interaction.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , Dimerization , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 502, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387327

ABSTRACT

The multifunctional nucleocapsid (N) protein in SARS-CoV-2 binds the ~30 kb viral RNA genome to aid its packaging into the 80-90 nm membrane-enveloped virion. The N protein is composed of N-terminal RNA-binding and C-terminal dimerization domains that are flanked by three intrinsically disordered regions. Here we demonstrate that the N protein's central disordered domain drives phase separation with RNA, and that phosphorylation of an adjacent serine/arginine rich region modulates the physical properties of the resulting condensates. In cells, N forms condensates that recruit the stress granule protein G3BP1, highlighting a potential role for N in G3BP1 sequestration and stress granule inhibition. The SARS-CoV-2 membrane (M) protein independently induces N protein phase separation, and three-component mixtures of N + M + RNA form condensates with mutually exclusive compartments containing N + M or N + RNA, including annular structures in which the M protein coats the outside of an N + RNA condensate. These findings support a model in which phase separation of the SARS-CoV-2 N protein contributes both to suppression of the G3BP1-dependent host immune response and to packaging genomic RNA during virion assembly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Helicases/genetics , DNA Helicases/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/genetics , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , RNA Helicases/genetics , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/genetics , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics
10.
STAR Protoc ; 2(3): 100635, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386746

ABSTRACT

Understanding T-cell responses requires identifying viral peptides presented by human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). X-ray crystallography can be used to visualize their presentation. This protocol describes the expression, purification, and crystallization of HLA-A∗02:01, one of the most frequent HLA in the global population in complex with peptides derived from the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. This protocol can be applied to different HLA class I molecules bound to other peptides. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Szeto et al. (2021).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , HLA-A2 Antigen/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/metabolism , Humans , Peptide Fragments/isolation & purification , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/isolation & purification , Phosphoproteins/metabolism
11.
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.

12.
Viruses ; 13(1)2020 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is highly pathogenic in humans and poses a great threat to public health worldwide. Clinical data shows a disturbed type I interferon (IFN) response during the virus infection. In this study, we discovered that the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2 plays an important role in the inhibition of interferon beta (IFN-ß) production. N protein repressed IFN-ß production induced by poly(I:C) or upon Sendai virus (SeV) infection. We noted that N protein also suppressed IFN-ß production, induced by several signaling molecules downstream of the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) pathway, which is the crucial pattern recognition receptor (PRR) responsible for identifying RNA viruses. Moreover, our data demonstrated that N protein interacted with the RIG-I protein through the DExD/H domain, which has ATPase activity and plays an important role in the binding of immunostimulatory RNAs. These results suggested that SARS-CoV-2 N protein suppresses the IFN-ß response through targeting the initial step, potentially the cellular PRR-RNA-recognition step in the innate immune pathway. Therefore, we propose that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein represses IFN-ß production by interfering with RIG-I.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , Interferon-beta/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , A549 Cells , Animals , DEAD Box Protein 58/genetics , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Receptors, Immunologic , Signal Transduction
13.
FASEB J ; 34(8): 9832-9842, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388029

ABSTRACT

To date, the recently discovered SARS-CoV-2 virus has afflicted >6.9 million people worldwide and disrupted the global economy. Development of effective vaccines or treatments for SARS-CoV-2 infection will be aided by a molecular-level understanding of SARS-CoV-2 proteins and their interactions with host cell proteins. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein is highly homologous to the N protein of SARS-CoV, which is essential for viral RNA replication and packaging into new virions. Emerging models indicate that nucleocapsid proteins of other viruses can form biomolecular condensates to spatiotemporally regulate N protein localization and function. Our bioinformatic analyses, in combination with pre-existing experimental evidence, suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 N protein is capable of forming or regulating biomolecular condensates in vivo by interaction with RNA and key host cell proteins. We discuss multiple models, whereby the N protein of SARS-CoV-2 may harness this activity to regulate viral life cycle and host cell response to viral infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Binding Sites , Computational Biology , Cytoplasmic Granules/chemistry , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Kinases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Assembly , Virus Replication
14.
Mol Cell ; 80(6): 1078-1091.e6, 2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386333

ABSTRACT

We report that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) with viral RNA. N-protein condenses with specific RNA genomic elements under physiological buffer conditions and condensation is enhanced at human body temperatures (33°C and 37°C) and reduced at room temperature (22°C). RNA sequence and structure in specific genomic regions regulate N-protein condensation while other genomic regions promote condensate dissolution, potentially preventing aggregation of the large genome. At low concentrations, N-protein preferentially crosslinks to specific regions characterized by single-stranded RNA flanked by structured elements and these features specify the location, number, and strength of N-protein binding sites (valency). Liquid-like N-protein condensates form in mammalian cells in a concentration-dependent manner and can be altered by small molecules. Condensation of N-protein is RNA sequence and structure specific, sensitive to human body temperature, and manipulatable with small molecules, and therefore presents a screenable process for identifying antiviral compounds effective against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Genome, Viral , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
15.
Mol Cell ; 80(6): 1092-1103.e4, 2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386332

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid (N) protein of coronaviruses serves two major functions: compaction of the RNA genome in the virion and regulation of viral gene transcription. It is not clear how the N protein mediates such distinct functions. The N protein contains two RNA-binding domains surrounded by regions of intrinsic disorder. Phosphorylation of the central disordered region promotes the protein's transcriptional function, but the underlying mechanism is not known. Here, we show that the N protein of SARS-CoV-2, together with viral RNA, forms biomolecular condensates. Unmodified N protein forms partially ordered gel-like condensates and discrete 15-nm particles based on multivalent RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions. Phosphorylation reduces these interactions, generating a more liquid-like droplet. We propose that distinct oligomeric states support the two functions of the N protein: unmodified protein forms a structured oligomer that is suited for nucleocapsid assembly, and phosphorylated protein forms a liquid-like compartment for viral genome processing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Multimerization , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
16.
Sensors (Basel) ; 20(11)2020 May 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374488

ABSTRACT

One of the key challenges of the recent COVID-19 pandemic is the ability to accurately estimate the number of infected individuals, particularly asymptomatic and/or early-stage patients. We herewith report the proof-of-concept development of a biosensor able to detect the SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein expressed on the surface of the virus. The biosensor is based on membrane-engineered mammalian cells bearing the human chimeric spike S1 antibody. We demonstrate that the attachment of the protein to the membrane-bound antibodies resulted in a selective and considerable change in the cellular bioelectric properties measured by means of a Bioelectric Recognition Assay. The novel biosensor provided results in an ultra-rapid manner (3 min), with a detection limit of 1 fg/mL and a semi-linear range of response between 10 fg and 1 µg/mL. In addition, no cross-reactivity was observed against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Furthermore, the biosensor was configured as a ready-to-use platform, including a portable read-out device operated via smartphone/tablet. In this way, we demonstrate that the novel biosensor can be potentially applied for the mass screening of SARS-CoV-2 surface antigens without prior sample processing, therefore offering a possible solution for the timely monitoring and eventual control of the global coronavirus pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Biosensing Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Limit of Detection , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Smartphone , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
17.
Nature ; 584(7821): 457-462, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373437

ABSTRACT

Memory T cells induced by previous pathogens can shape susceptibility to, and the clinical severity of, subsequent infections1. Little is known about the presence in humans of pre-existing memory T cells that have the potential to recognize severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we studied T cell responses against the structural (nucleocapsid (N) protein) and non-structural (NSP7 and NSP13 of ORF1) regions of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals convalescing from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (n = 36). In all of these individuals, we found CD4 and CD8 T cells that recognized multiple regions of the N protein. Next, we showed that patients (n = 23) who recovered from SARS (the disease associated with SARS-CoV infection) possess long-lasting memory T cells that are reactive to the N protein of SARS-CoV 17 years after the outbreak of SARS in 2003; these T cells displayed robust cross-reactivity to the N protein of SARS-CoV-2. We also detected SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in individuals with no history of SARS, COVID-19 or contact with individuals who had SARS and/or COVID-19 (n = 37). SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in uninfected donors exhibited a different pattern of immunodominance, and frequently targeted NSP7 and NSP13 as well as the N protein. Epitope characterization of NSP7-specific T cells showed the recognition of protein fragments that are conserved among animal betacoronaviruses but have low homology to 'common cold' human-associated coronaviruses. Thus, infection with betacoronaviruses induces multi-specific and long-lasting T cell immunity against the structural N protein. Understanding how pre-existing N- and ORF1-specific T cells that are present in the general population affect the susceptibility to and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is important for the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Cross Reactions/immunology , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
18.
iScience ; 24(6): 102681, 2021 Jun 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330908

ABSTRACT

Nucleocapsid (N) encoded by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays key roles in the replication cycle and is a critical serological marker. Here, we characterize essential biochemical properties of N and describe the utility of these insights in serological studies. We define N domains important for oligomerization and RNA binding and show that N oligomerization provides a high-affinity RNA-binding platform. We also map the RNA-binding interface, showing protection in the N-terminal domain and linker region. In addition, phosphorylation causes reduction of RNA binding and redistribution of N from liquid droplets to loose coils, showing how N-RNA accessibility and assembly may be regulated by phosphorylation. Finally, we find that the C-terminal domain of N is the most immunogenic, based on antibody binding to patient samples. Together, we provide a biochemical description of SARS-CoV-2 N and highlight the value of using N domains as highly specific and sensitive diagnostic markers.

19.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 39(12): 4243-4255, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317834

ABSTRACT

Recent outbreak of novel Coronavirus disease () pandemic around the world is associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome. The death toll associated with the pandemic is increasing day by day. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus and its N terminal domain (NTD) of Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) binds to the viral (+) sense RNA and results in virus ribonucleoprotien complex, essential for the virus replication. The N protein is composed of a serine-rich linker region sandwiched between NTD and C terminal (CTD). These terminals play a role in viral entry and its processing post entry. The NTD of SARS-CoV-2 N protein forms orthorhombic crystals and binds to the viral genome. Therefore, there is always a quest to target RNA binding domain of nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (NTD-N-protein which in turn may help in controlling diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2 in humans. The role of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine as potential treatments for is still under debate globally because of some side effects associated with it. This study involves the In silico interactions of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine with the NTD-N-protein of SARS-CoV-2. With the help of various computational methods, we have explored the potential role of both of these antiviral drugs for the treatment of patients by comparing the efficacy of both of the drugs to bind to NTD-N-protein. In our research Hydroxychloroquine exhibited potential inhibitory effects of NTD-N-protein with binding energy -7.28 kcal/mol than Chloroquine (-6.30 kcal/mol) at SARS-CoV-2 receptor recognition of susceptible cells. The outcomes of this research strongly appeal for in vivo trials of Hydroxychloroquine for the patients infected with . Furthermore, the recommended doses of Hydroxychloroquine may reduce the chances of catching to the healthcare workers and staff who are in contact with or delivering direct care to coronavirus patients as long as they have not been diagnosed with . We further hypothesize that the comparative NTD-N-protein -drug docking interactions may help to understand the comparative efficacy of other candidate repurposing drugs until discovery of a proper vaccine.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hydroxychloroquine , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Computer Simulation , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Nucleocapsid , Nucleocapsid Proteins , RNA-Binding Motifs , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Pharmacol Res Perspect ; 9(4): e00798, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269136

ABSTRACT

Therapeutic regimens for the COVID-19 pandemics remain unmet. In this line, repurposing of existing drugs against known or predicted SARS-CoV-2 protein actions have been advanced, while natural products have also been tested. Here, we propose that p-cymene, a natural monoterpene, can act as a potential novel agent for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2-induced COVID-19 and other RNA-virus-induced diseases (influenza, rabies, Ebola). We show by extensive molecular simulations that SARS-CoV-2 C-terminal structured domain contains a nuclear localization signal (NLS), like SARS-CoV, on which p-cymene binds with low micromolar affinity, impairing nuclear translocation of this protein and inhibiting viral replication, as verified by preliminary in vitro experiments. A similar mechanism may occur in other RNA-viruses (influenza, rabies and Ebola), also verified in vitro for influenza, by interaction of p-cymene with viral nucleoproteins, and structural modification of their NLS site, weakening its interaction with importin A. This common mechanism of action renders therefore p-cymene as a possible antiviral, alone, or in combination with other agents, in a broad spectrum of RNA viruses, from SARS-CoV-2 to influenza A infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cymenes/pharmacology , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/physiology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Nucleus/metabolism , Cell Nucleus/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cymenes/chemistry , Dogs , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/drug effects , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nuclear Localization Signals , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Transport , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
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