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1.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(23): 8543-8546, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387162

ABSTRACT

The S protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a type I membrane protein that mediates membrane fusion and viral entry. A vast amount of structural information is available for the ectodomain of S, a primary target by the host immune system, but much less is known regarding its transmembrane domain (TMD) and its membrane-proximal regions. Here, we determined the NMR structure of the S protein TMD in bicelles that closely mimic a lipid bilayer. The TMD structure is a transmembrane α-helix (TMH) trimer that assembles spontaneously in a membrane. The trimer structure shows an extensive hydrophobic core along the 3-fold axis that resembles that of a trimeric leucine/isoleucine zipper, but with tetrad, not heptad, repeats. The trimeric core is strong in bicelles, resisting hydrogen-deuterium exchange for weeks. Although highly stable, structural guided mutagenesis identified single mutations that can completely dissociate the TMD trimer. Multiple studies have shown that the membrane anchors of viral fusion proteins can form highly specific oligomers, but the exact function of these oligomers remains unclear. Our findings should guide future experiments to address the above question for SARS coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Protein Multimerization , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
2.
J Nat Med ; 75(4): 1080-1085, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375679

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contains a cleavage motif R-X-X-R for furin-like enzymes at the boundary of the S1/S2 subunits. The cleavage of the site by cellular proteases is essential for S protein activation and virus entry. We screened the inhibitory effects of crude drugs on in vitro furin-like enzymatic activities using a fluorogenic substrate with whole-cell lysates. Of the 124 crude drugs listed in the Japanese Pharmacopeia, aqueous ethanolic extract of Cnidii Monnieris Fructus, which is the dried fruit of Cnidium monnieri Cussion, significantly inhibited the furin-like enzymatic activities. We further fractionated the plant extract and isolated the two active compounds with the inhibitory activity, namely, imperatorin and osthole, whose IC50 values were 1.45 mM and 9.45 µM, respectively. Our results indicated that Cnidii Monnieris Fructus might exert inhibitory effects on furin-like enzymatic activities, and that imperatorin and osthole of the crude drug could be potential inhibitors of the motif cleavage.


Subject(s)
Cnidium/chemistry , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Assays , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Furin/metabolism , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , A549 Cells , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
3.
Pharmacol Res ; 157: 104859, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318929

ABSTRACT

Outbreak and pandemic of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in 2019/2020 will challenge global health for the future. Because a vaccine against the virus will not be available in the near future, we herein try to offer a pharmacological strategy to combat the virus. There exists a number of candidate drugs that may inhibit infection with and replication of SARS-CoV-2. Such drugs comprise inhibitors of TMPRSS2 serine protease and inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Blockade of ACE2, the host cell receptor for the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibition of TMPRSS2, which is required for S protein priming may prevent cell entry of SARS-CoV-2. Further, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and off-label antiviral drugs, such as the nucleotide analogue remdesivir, HIV protease inhibitors lopinavir and ritonavir, broad-spectrum antiviral drugs arbidol and favipiravir as well as antiviral phytochemicals available to date may limit spread of SARS-CoV-2 and morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Serine Endopeptidases/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology
4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(27)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276013

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a key role in viral infectivity. It is also the major antigen stimulating the host's protective immune response, specifically, the production of neutralizing antibodies. Recently, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 possessing multiple mutations in the S protein, designated P.1, emerged in Brazil. Here, we characterized a P.1 variant isolated in Japan by using Syrian hamsters, a well-established small animal model for the study of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19). In hamsters, the variant showed replicative abilities and pathogenicity similar to those of early and contemporary strains (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 bearing aspartic acid [D] or glycine [G] at position 614 of the S protein). Sera and/or plasma from convalescent patients and BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccinees showed comparable neutralization titers across the P.1 variant, S-614D, and S-614G strains. In contrast, the S-614D and S-614G strains were less well recognized than the P.1 variant by serum from a P.1-infected patient. Prior infection with S-614D or S-614G strains efficiently prevented the replication of the P.1 variant in the lower respiratory tract of hamsters upon reinfection. In addition, passive transfer of neutralizing antibodies to hamsters infected with the P.1 variant or the S-614G strain led to reduced virus replication in the lower respiratory tract. However, the effect was less pronounced against the P.1 variant than the S-614G strain. These findings suggest that the P.1 variant may be somewhat antigenically different from the early and contemporary strains of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Lung/pathology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , X-Ray Microtomography
5.
Biologics ; 15: 143-152, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262565

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is severely challenging the healthcare systems and economies of the world, which urgently demand vaccine and therapy development to combat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Hence, advancing our understanding of the comprehensive entry mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2, especially the host factors that facilitate viral infection, is crucial for the discovery of effective vaccines and antiviral drugs. SARS-CoV-2 has previously been documented to reach cells by binding with ACE2 and CD147 receptors in host cells that interact with the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2. A novel entry factor, called neuropilin 1(NRP1), has recently been discovered as a co-receptor facilitating the entry of SARS-CoV-2. NRP1 is a single-pass transmembrane glycoprotein widely distributed throughout the tissues of the body and acts as a multifunctional co-receptor to bind with different ligand proteins and play diverse physiological roles as well as pathological and therapeutic roles in different clinical conditions/diseases, including COVID-19. The current review, therefore, briefly provides the overview of SARS-CoV-2 entry mechanisms, the structure of NRP1, and their roles in health and various diseases, as well as extensively discusses the current understanding of the potential implication of NRP1 in SARS-CoV-2 entry and COVID-19 treatment.

6.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 183: 2248-2261, 2021 Jul 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260750

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in a devastating pandemic with global concern. However, to date, there are no regimens to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 virus. There is an urgent need to identify novel leads with anti-viral properties that impede viral pathogenesis in the host system. Esculentoside A (EsA), a saponin isolated from the root of Phytolacca esculenta, is known to exhibit diverse pharmacological properties, especially anti-inflammatory activity. To our knowledge, SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to enter host cells. This is mediated through the proteins of SARS-CoV-2, especially the spike glycoprotein receptor binding domain. Thus, our primary goal is to prevent virus replication and binding to the host, which allows us to explore the efficiency of EsA on key surface drug target proteins using the computational biology paradigm approach. Here, the anti-coronavirus activity of EsA in vitro and its potential mode of inhibitory action on the S-protein of SARS-CoV-2 were investigated. We found that EsA inhibited the HCoV-OC43 coronavirus during the attachment and penetration stage. Molecular docking results showed that EsA had a strong binding affinity with the spike glycoprotein from SARS-CoV-2. The results of the molecular dynamics simulation revealed that EsA had higher stable binding with the spike protein. These results demonstrated that Esculentoside A can act as a spike protein blocker to inhibit SARS-CoV-2. Considering the poor bioavailability and low toxicity of EsA, it is suitable as novel lead for the inhibitor against binding interactions of SARS-CoV-2 of S-protein and ACE2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Oleanolic Acid/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2 , Saponins , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Line, Tumor , Coronavirus OC43, Human/chemistry , Coronavirus OC43, Human/metabolism , Humans , Oleanolic Acid/chemistry , Oleanolic Acid/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Saponins/chemistry , Saponins/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(23): 8543-8546, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258540

ABSTRACT

The S protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a type I membrane protein that mediates membrane fusion and viral entry. A vast amount of structural information is available for the ectodomain of S, a primary target by the host immune system, but much less is known regarding its transmembrane domain (TMD) and its membrane-proximal regions. Here, we determined the NMR structure of the S protein TMD in bicelles that closely mimic a lipid bilayer. The TMD structure is a transmembrane α-helix (TMH) trimer that assembles spontaneously in a membrane. The trimer structure shows an extensive hydrophobic core along the 3-fold axis that resembles that of a trimeric leucine/isoleucine zipper, but with tetrad, not heptad, repeats. The trimeric core is strong in bicelles, resisting hydrogen-deuterium exchange for weeks. Although highly stable, structural guided mutagenesis identified single mutations that can completely dissociate the TMD trimer. Multiple studies have shown that the membrane anchors of viral fusion proteins can form highly specific oligomers, but the exact function of these oligomers remains unclear. Our findings should guide future experiments to address the above question for SARS coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Protein Multimerization , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
J Clin Invest ; 131(10)2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255762

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDRecent studies have reported T cell immunity to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in unexposed donors, possibly due to crossrecognition by T cells specific for common cold coronaviruses (CCCs). True T cell crossreactivity, defined as the recognition by a single TCR of more than one distinct peptide-MHC ligand, has never been shown in the context of SARS-CoV-2.METHODSWe used the viral functional expansion of specific T cells (ViraFEST) platform to identify T cell responses crossreactive for the spike (S) glycoproteins of SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs at the T cell receptor (TCR) clonotype level in convalescent COVID-19 patients (CCPs) and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed donors. Confirmation of SARS-CoV-2/CCC crossreactivity and assessments of functional avidity were performed using a TCR cloning and transfection system.RESULTSMemory CD4+ T cell clonotypes that crossrecognized the S proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and at least one other CCC were detected in 65% of CCPs and unexposed donors. Several of these TCRs were shared among multiple donors. Crossreactive T cells demonstrated significantly impaired SARS-CoV-2-specific proliferation in vitro relative to monospecific CD4+ T cells, which was consistent with lower functional avidity of their TCRs for SARS-CoV-2 relative to CCC.CONCLUSIONSOur data confirm, for what we believe is the first time, the existence of unique memory CD4+ T cell clonotypes crossrecognizing SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs. The lower avidity of crossreactive TCRs for SARS-CoV-2 may be the result of antigenic imprinting, such that preexisting CCC-specific memory T cells have reduced expansive capacity upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to determine how these crossreactive T cell responses affect clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.FUNDINGNIH funding (U54CA260492, P30CA006973, P41EB028239, R01AI153349, R01AI145435-A1, R21AI149760, and U19A1088791) was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, The Johns Hopkins University Provost, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding for this study.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Male , Middle Aged
9.
Front Cardiovasc Med ; 8: 670659, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247851

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has taken more than 2 million lives on a global scale. Over 10 million people were confirmed with COVID-19 infection. The well-known spot of primary infection includes the lungs and the respiratory system. Recently it has been reported that the cardiovascular system and coagulation mechanisms were the second major targets of biological system affected due to the viral replication. The replication mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 involves the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2- (ACE2) surface receptors of endothelial cells belonging to various organs which act as the binding site for the viral spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2. The COVID-19 virus has been recently listed as a primary risk factor for the following cardiovascular conditions such as pericarditis, myocarditis, arrhythmias, myocardial injury, cardiac arrest, heart failure and coagulation abnormalities in the patients confirmed with COVID-19 viral infection. Direct and indirect type of tissue damage were the two major categories detected with cardiovascular abnormalities. Direct myocardial cell injury and indirect damage to the myocardial cell due to inflammation were clinically reported. Few drugs were clinically administered to regulate the vital biological mechanism along with symptomatic treatment and supportive therapy.

10.
J Clin Invest ; 131(10)2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238630

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDRecent studies have reported T cell immunity to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in unexposed donors, possibly due to crossrecognition by T cells specific for common cold coronaviruses (CCCs). True T cell crossreactivity, defined as the recognition by a single TCR of more than one distinct peptide-MHC ligand, has never been shown in the context of SARS-CoV-2.METHODSWe used the viral functional expansion of specific T cells (ViraFEST) platform to identify T cell responses crossreactive for the spike (S) glycoproteins of SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs at the T cell receptor (TCR) clonotype level in convalescent COVID-19 patients (CCPs) and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed donors. Confirmation of SARS-CoV-2/CCC crossreactivity and assessments of functional avidity were performed using a TCR cloning and transfection system.RESULTSMemory CD4+ T cell clonotypes that crossrecognized the S proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and at least one other CCC were detected in 65% of CCPs and unexposed donors. Several of these TCRs were shared among multiple donors. Crossreactive T cells demonstrated significantly impaired SARS-CoV-2-specific proliferation in vitro relative to monospecific CD4+ T cells, which was consistent with lower functional avidity of their TCRs for SARS-CoV-2 relative to CCC.CONCLUSIONSOur data confirm, for what we believe is the first time, the existence of unique memory CD4+ T cell clonotypes crossrecognizing SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs. The lower avidity of crossreactive TCRs for SARS-CoV-2 may be the result of antigenic imprinting, such that preexisting CCC-specific memory T cells have reduced expansive capacity upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to determine how these crossreactive T cell responses affect clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.FUNDINGNIH funding (U54CA260492, P30CA006973, P41EB028239, R01AI153349, R01AI145435-A1, R21AI149760, and U19A1088791) was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, The Johns Hopkins University Provost, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding for this study.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Male , Middle Aged
11.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 10716, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238014

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease called COVID-19, which has caused the worst pandemic of the century. Both, to know the immunological status of general population and to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccination process that is taking place around the world, serological tests represent a key tool. Classic serological tests, based on colorimetric techniques, such as ELISA or CLIA, continue to be the most widely used option. However, a real improvement in results is still needed. We developed a highly sensitive and specific FCM assay that allows the detection of IgG and IgA antibodies, directed against the native and functional S-protein of SARS-CoV-2 exposed on the membrane of a transfected cell line, up to 8 months after infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Flow Cytometry , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Male , Middle Aged
12.
J Mol Med (Berl) ; 99(8): 1023-1031, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1237475

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 causes the respiratory syndrome COVID-19 and is responsible for the current pandemic. The S protein of SARS-CoV-2-mediating virus binding to target cells and subsequent viral uptake is extensively glycosylated. Here we focus on how glycosylation of both SARS-CoV-2 and target cells crucially impacts SARS-CoV-2 infection at different levels: (1) virus binding and entry to host cells, with glycosaminoglycans of host cells acting as a necessary co-factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection by interacting with the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, (2) innate and adaptive immune response where glycosylation plays both a protective role and contributes to immune evasion by masking of viral polypeptide epitopes and may add to the cytokine cascade via non-fucosylated IgG, and (3) therapy and vaccination where a monoclonal antibody-neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 was shown to interact also with a distinct glycan epitope on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These evidences highlight the importance of ensuring that glycans are considered when tackling this disease, particularly in the development of vaccines, therapeutic strategies and serological testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , Animals , Blood Group Antigens/immunology , Blood Group Antigens/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Exocytosis , Glycosylation , Humans , Immunity, Innate , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication
13.
J Virol ; 2021 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1232341

ABSTRACT

Within a year after its emergence, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 100 million people worldwide with a death toll over 2 million. Vaccination remains the best hope to ultimately put this pandemic to an end. Here, using Trimer-Tag technology, we produced both wild-type (WT) and furin site mutant (MT) S-Trimers for COVID-19 vaccine studies. Cryo-EM structures of the WT and MT S-Trimers, determined at 3.2 Å and 2.6 Å respectively, revealed that both antigens adopt a tightly closed conformation and their structures are essentially identical to that of the previously solved full-length WT S protein in detergent. The tightly closed conformation is stabilized by fatty acid and polysorbate 80 binding at the receptor binding domains (RBDs) and the N terminal domains (NTDs) respectively. Additionally, we identified an important pH switch in the WT S-Trimer that shows dramatic conformational change and accounts for its increased stability at lower pH. These results validate Trimer-Tag as a platform technology in production of metastable WT S-Trimer as a candidate for COVID-19 subunit vaccine.IMPORTANCEEffective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is critical to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, using Trimer-Tag technology, we are able to produce stable and large quantities of WT S-Trimer, a subunit vaccine candidate for COVID-19 with high safety and efficacy from animal and Phase 1 clinical trial studies. Cryo-EM structures of the S-Trimer subunit vaccine candidate show that it predominately adopts tightly closed pre-fusion state, and resembles that of the native and full-length spike in detergent, confirming its structural integrity. WT S-Trimer is currently being evaluated in global Phase 2/3 clinical trial. Combining with published structures of the S protein, we also propose a model to dissect the conformation change of the spike protein before receptor binding.

14.
Curr Med Chem ; 2021 May 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229117

ABSTRACT

Outbreaks due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) initiated in Wuhan city, China, in December 2019 which continued to spread internationally, posing a pandemic threat as declared by WHO and as of March 10, 2021, confirmed cases reached 118 million along with 2.6 million deaths worldwide. In the absence of specific antiviral medication, symptomatic treatment and physical isolation remain the options to control the contagion. The recent clinical trials on antiviral drugs highlighted some promising compounds such as umifenovir (haemagglutinin-mediated fusion inhibitor), remdesivir (RdRp nucleoside inhibitor), and favipiravir (RdRp Inhibitor). WHO launched a multinational clinical trial on several promising analogs as a potential treatment to combat SARS infection. This situation urges a holistic approach to invent safe and specific drugs as a prophylactic and therapeutic cure for SARS-related-viral diseases, including COVID-19. It is significant to note that researchers worldwide have been doing their best to handle the crisis and have produced an extensive and promising literature body. It opens a scope and allows understanding the viral entry at the molecular level. A structure-based approach can reveal the molecular-level understanding of viral entry interaction. The ligand profiling and non-covalent interactions among participating amino-acid residues are critical information to delineate a structural interpretation. The structural investigation of SARS virus entry into host cells will reveal the possible strategy for designing drugs like entry inhibitors. The structure-based approach demonstrates details at the 3D molecular level. It shows specificity about SARS-CoV-2 spike interaction, which uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor for entry, and the human protease completes the process of viral fusion and infection. The 3D structural studies reveal the existence of two units, namely S1 and S2. S1 is called a receptor-binding domain (RBD) and responsible for interacting with the host (ACE2), and the S2 unit participates in the fusion of viral and cellular membranes. TMPRSS2 mediates the cleavage at S1/S2 subunit interface in S-protein of SARS CoV-2, leading to viral fusion. Conformational difference associated with S1 binding alters ACE2 interaction and inhibits viral fusion. Overall, the detailed 3D structural studies help understand the 3D structural basis of interaction between viruses with host factors and available scope for the new drug discovery process targeting SARS-related virus entry into the host cell.

15.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 189, 2021 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1226420

ABSTRACT

Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it has become a global pandemic. The spike (S) protein of etiologic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) specifically recognizes human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) as its receptor, which is recently identified as an interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene. Here, we find that hACE2 exists on the surface of exosomes released by different cell types, and the expression of exosomal hACE2 is increased by IFNα/ß treatment. In particular, exosomal hACE2 can specifically block the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, subsequently inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and ex vivo. Our findings have indicated that IFN is able to upregulate a viral receptor on the exosomes which competitively block the virus entry, exhibiting a potential antiviral strategy.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Exosomes/metabolism , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Exosomes/genetics , Exosomes/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Vero Cells
16.
J Immunol ; 206(11): 2527-2535, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227097

ABSTRACT

The T cell response is an important detection index in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine development. The present study was undertaken to determine the T cell epitopes in the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 that dominate the T cell responses in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. PBMCs from rhesus macaques vaccinated with a DNA vaccine encoding the full-length S protein were isolated, and an ELISPOT assay was used to identify the recognized T cell epitopes among a total of 158 18-mer and 10-aa-overlapping peptides spanning the full-length S protein. Six multipeptide-based epitopes located in the S1 region, with four of the six located in the receptor-binding domain, were defined as the most frequently recognized epitopes in macaques. The conservation of the epitopes across species was also verified, and peptide mixtures for T cell response detection were established. Six newly defined T cell epitopes were found in the current study, which may provide a novel potential target for T cell response detection and the diagnosis and vaccine design of SARS-CoV-2 based on multipeptide subunit-based epitopes.


Subject(s)
Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Macaca mulatta
17.
mBio ; 12(3)2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225698

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) polypeptide of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) consists of the S1 and S2 subunits and is processed by cellular proteases at the S1/S2 boundary that contains a furin cleavage site (FCS), 682RRAR↓S686 Various deletions surrounding the FCS have been identified in patients. When SARS-CoV-2 propagated in Vero cells, it acquired deletions surrounding the FCS. We studied the viral transcriptome in Vero cell-derived SARS-CoV-2-infected primary human airway epithelia (HAE) cultured at an air-liquid interface (ALI) with an emphasis on the viral genome stability of the FCS. While we found overall the viral transcriptome is similar to that generated from infected Vero cells, we identified a high percentage of mutated viral genome and transcripts in HAE-ALI. Two highly frequent deletions were found at the FCS region: a 12 amino acid deletion (678TNSPRRAR↓SVAS689) that contains the underlined FCS and a 5 amino acid deletion (675QTQTN679) that is two amino acids upstream of the FCS. Further studies on the dynamics of the FCS deletions in apically released virions from 11 infected HAE-ALI cultures of both healthy and lung disease donors revealed that the selective pressure for the FCS maintains the FCS stably in 9 HAE-ALI cultures but with 2 exceptions, in which the FCS deletions are retained at a high rate of >40% after infection of ≥13 days. Our study presents evidence for the role of unique properties of human airway epithelia in the dynamics of the FCS region during infection of human airways, which is likely donor dependent.IMPORTANCE Polarized human airway epithelia at an air-liquid interface (HAE-ALI) are an in vitro model that supports efficient infection of SARS-CoV-2. The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 contains a furin cleavage site (FCS) at the boundary of the S1 and S2 domains which distinguishes it from SARS-CoV. However, FCS deletion mutants have been identified in patients and in vitro cell cultures, and how the airway epithelial cells maintain the unique FCS remains unknown. We found that HAE-ALI cultures were capable of suppressing two prevalent FCS deletion mutants (Δ678TNSPRRAR↓SVAS689 and Δ675QTQTN679) that were selected during propagation in Vero cells. While such suppression was observed in 9 out of 11 of the tested HAE-ALI cultures derived from independent donors, 2 exceptions that retained a high rate of FCS deletions were also found. Our results present evidence of the donor-dependent properties of human airway epithelia in the evolution of the FCS during infection.


Subject(s)
Bronchi/virology , Furin/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Transcriptome , Animals , Bronchi/cytology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , RNA-Seq , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Sequence Deletion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
18.
Adv Exp Med Biol ; 1318: 355-368, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222724

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic associated with high incidence, transmissibility, and mortality, this chapter focuses on three phases of the disease: initial exposure, initiation of the immune response to the agent, and finally, an inflammatory/autoimmune-like presentation with pulmonary, neurological, and renal failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation which occurs in a small proportion of the patients. The elegant demonstration of the site of interaction between the spike (S) protein of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of COVID-19, and the ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) 2 receptor of cells distributed throughout the body has enabled research efforts to develop pharmacological and immune countermeasures to the viral phase of the disease. This chapter rapidly reviews the molecular and structural organization of SARS-CoV-2 and its interaction with ACE2. It is followed by a discussion over the role of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in recognition of the virus. The importance of rapid compartmentation of the viral genome into the target cells as opposed to the binding constant of the virus for the ACE receptor is discussed. Host factors affecting the immune response to the virus are examined, and the subsequent inflammatory dysregulation enabling the cytokine storm leading to system organ failure is described. Finally, the similarities of the clinical effects of the murine hepatitis virus-JHM (a coronavirus) on multi-organ systems (liver, brain, clotting cascade) as described by Perlman and colleagues permit insights regarding the role of the interaction between the host and the virus in developing the clinical presentation of the inflammatory/autoimmune disorders that occur in multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and more interestingly, during the third phase of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Animals , Humans , Lung , Mice , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
19.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(4): e1009064, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197395

ABSTRACT

Vaccines of outstanding efficiency, safety, and public acceptance are needed to halt the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Concerns include potential side effects caused by the antigen itself and safety of viral DNA and RNA delivery vectors. The large SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is the main target of current COVID-19 vaccine candidates but can induce non-neutralizing antibodies, which might cause vaccination-induced complications or enhancement of COVID-19 disease. Besides, encoding of a functional S in replication-competent virus vector vaccines may result in the emergence of viruses with altered or expanded tropism. Here, we have developed a safe single round rhabdovirus replicon vaccine platform for enhanced presentation of the S receptor-binding domain (RBD). Structure-guided design was employed to build a chimeric minispike comprising the globular RBD linked to a transmembrane stem-anchor sequence derived from rabies virus (RABV) glycoprotein (G). Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and RABV replicons encoding the minispike not only allowed expression of the antigen at the cell surface but also incorporation into the envelope of secreted non-infectious particles, thus combining classic vector-driven antigen expression and particulate virus-like particle (VLP) presentation. A single dose of a prototype replicon vaccine complemented with VSV G, VSVΔG-minispike-eGFP (G), stimulated high titers of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in mice, equivalent to those found in COVID-19 patients, and protected transgenic K18-hACE2 mice from COVID-19-like disease. Homologous boost immunization further enhanced virus neutralizing activity. The results demonstrate that non-spreading rhabdovirus RNA replicons expressing minispike proteins represent effective and safe alternatives to vaccination approaches using replication-competent viruses and/or the entire S antigen.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL
20.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(5)2021 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196980

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 has developed into a dramatic pandemic with tremendous global impact. The receptor-binding motif (RBM) region of the causative virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), binds to host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors for infection. As ACE2 receptors are highly conserved within vertebrate species, SARS-CoV-2 can infect significant animal species as well as human populations. An analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genotypes isolated from human and significant animal species was conducted to compare and identify mutation and adaptation patterns across different animal species. The phylogenetic data revealed seven distinct phylogenetic clades with no significant relationship between the clades and geographical locations. A high rate of variation within SARS-CoV-2 mink isolates implies that mink populations were infected before human populations. Positions of most single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 genotypes from the different hosts are mostly accumulated in the RBM region and highlight the pronounced accumulation of variants with mutations in the RBM region in comparison with other variants. These SNPs play a crucial role in viral transmission and pathogenicity and are keys in identifying other animal species as potential intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2. The possible roles in the emergence of new viral strains and the possible implications of these changes, in compromising vaccine effectiveness, deserve urgent considerations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/classification , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/classification
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