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Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.03.03.433558

Engineered SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain improves immunogenicity in mice and elicits protective immunity in hamsters

04 Mar 2021-bioRxiv (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)-
Abstract: Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 1 Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. 2 Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing costs. 3 These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. 4-6 Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. 7,8 Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.

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Topics: Immunogenicity (51%)

12 results found

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.05.20.444848
Marisa McGrath1, Robert Haupt1, Hyuk-Soo Seo2, Kijun Song2  +18 moreInstitutions (5)
20 May 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Global deployment of vaccines that can provide protection across several age groups is still urgently needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic especially for low- and middle-income countries. While vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 based on mRNA and adenoviral-vector technologies have been rapidly developed, additional practical and scalable SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are needed to meet global demand. In this context, protein subunit vaccines formulated with appropriate adjuvants represent a promising approach to address this urgent need. Receptor-binding domain (RBD) is a key target of neutralizing antibodies (Abs) but is poorly immunogenic. We therefore compared pattern recognition receptor (PRR) agonists, including those activating STING, TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9, alone or formulated with aluminum hydroxide (AH), and benchmarked them to AS01B and AS03-like emulsion-based adjuvants for their potential to enhance RBD immunogenicity in young and aged mice. We found that the AH and CpG adjuvant formulation (AH:CpG) demonstrated the highest enhancement of anti-RBD neutralizing Ab titers in both age groups (∼80-fold over AH), and protected aged mice from the SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Notably, AH:CpG-adjuvanted RBD vaccine elicited neutralizing Abs against both wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and B.1.351 variant at serum concentrations comparable to those induced by the authorized mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine. AH:CpG induced similar cytokine and chemokine gene enrichment patterns in the draining lymph nodes of both young adult and aged mice and synergistically enhanced cytokine and chemokine production in human young adult and elderly mononuclear cells. These data support further development of AH:CpG-adjuvanted RBD as an affordable vaccine that may be effective across multiple age groups. One Sentence Summary Alum and CpG enhance SARS-CoV-2 RBD protective immunity, variant neutralization in aged mice and Th1-polarizing cytokine production by human elder leukocytes.

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Topics: CpG Oligodeoxynucleotide (55%), TLR9 (54%)

5 Citations

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.04.15.440035
15 Apr 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Prevention of COVID-19 on a global scale will require the continued development of high-volume, low-cost platforms for the manufacturing of vaccines to supply on-going demand. Vaccine candidates based on recombinant protein subunits remain important because they can be manufactured at low costs in existing large-scale production facilities that use microbial hosts like Komagataella phaffii ( Pichia pastoris ). Here, we report an improved and scalable manufacturing approach for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD); this protein is a key antigen for several reported vaccine candidates. We genetically engineered a manufacturing strain of K. phaffii to obviate the requirement for methanol-induction of the recombinant gene. Methanol-free production improved the secreted titer of the RBD protein by >5x by alleviating protein folding stress. Removal of methanol from the production process enabled scale up to a 1,200 L pre-existing production facility. This engineered strain is now used to produce an RBD-based vaccine antigen that is currently in clinical trials and could be used to produce other variants of RBD as needed for future vaccines.

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Topics: Pichia pastoris (51%)

4 Citations

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.03.26.437274
Yi-Nan Zhang1, Jennifer Paynter1, Cindy Sou1, Tatiana Fourfouris1  +6 moreInstitutions (2)
27 Mar 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are essential for combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Neutralizing antibody responses to the original Wuhan-Hu-1 strain that were generated during infection and vaccination showed lower effectiveness against variants of concern. Here, we demonstrated that mouse plasma induced by protein nanoparticles that present rationally designed S2GΔHR2 spikes can neutralize the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants with comparable titers. The mechanism of nanoparticle vaccine-induced immunity was examined in mice for an I3-01v9 60-mer that presents 20 stabilized spikes. Compared with the soluble spike, this nanoparticle showed 6-fold longer retention, 4-fold greater presentation on follicular dendritic cell dendrites, and 5-fold higher germinal center reactions in lymph node follicles. Intact nanoparticles in lymph node tissues were visualized by transmission electron microscopy. In conclusion, spike-presenting protein nanoparticles that induce robust long-lived germinal centers may provide a vaccine solution for emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. ONE-SENTENCE SUMMARY With prolonged lymph node retention and robust germinal centers, nanoparticles elicit neutralizing antibodies to diverse SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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4 Citations

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.07.13.452251
14 Jul 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been distributed at massive scale in developed countries, and have been effective at preventing COVID-19. Access to vaccines is limited, however, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to insufficient supply, high costs, and cold storage requirements. New vaccines that can be produced in existing manufacturing facilities in LMICs, can be manufactured at low cost, and use widely available, proven, safe adjuvants like alum, would improve global immunity against SARS-CoV-2. One such protein subunit vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. and is currently in clinical testing. Two protein components, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particles (VLPs), are each produced in yeast, which would enable a low-cost, high-volume manufacturing process. Here, we describe the design and preclinical testing of the RBD-VLP vaccine in cynomolgus macaques. We observed titers of neutralizing antibodies (>10 4 ) above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in non-human primates. Interestingly, addition of a second adjuvant (CpG1018) appeared to improve the cellular response while reducing the humoral response. We challenged animals with SARS-CoV-2, and observed a ~3.4 and ~2.9 log 10 reduction in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, compared to sham controls. These results inform the design and formulation of current clinical COVID-19 vaccine candidates like the one described here, and future designs of RBD-based vaccines against variants of SARS-CoV-2 or other betacoronaviruses.

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Topics: Adjuvant (54%), Cold storage (53%)

4 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3389/FIMMU.2021.710263
Abstract: The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40°C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.

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Topics: Linoleic acid binding (51%)

1 Citations


63 results found

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1186/S13059-014-0550-8
05 Dec 2014-Genome Biology
Abstract: In comparative high-throughput sequencing assays, a fundamental task is the analysis of count data, such as read counts per gene in RNA-seq, for evidence of systematic changes across experimental conditions. Small replicate numbers, discreteness, large dynamic range and the presence of outliers require a suitable statistical approach. We present DESeq2, a method for differential analysis of count data, using shrinkage estimation for dispersions and fold changes to improve stability and interpretability of estimates. This enables a more quantitative analysis focused on the strength rather than the mere presence of differential expression. The DESeq2 package is available at .

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Topics: MRNA Sequencing (54%), Integrator complex (51%), Count data (50%) ... show more

29,675 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1073/PNAS.0506580102
Abstract: Although genomewide RNA expression analysis has become a routine tool in biomedical research, extracting biological insight from such information remains a major challenge. Here, we describe a powerful analytical method called Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) for interpreting gene expression data. The method derives its power by focusing on gene sets, that is, groups of genes that share common biological function, chromosomal location, or regulation. We demonstrate how GSEA yields insights into several cancer-related data sets, including leukemia and lung cancer. Notably, where single-gene analysis finds little similarity between two independent studies of patient survival in lung cancer, GSEA reveals many biological pathways in common. The GSEA method is embodied in a freely available software package, together with an initial database of 1,325 biologically defined gene sets.

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26,320 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/BIOINFORMATICS/BTP616
01 Jan 2010-Bioinformatics
Abstract: Summary: It is expected that emerging digital gene expression (DGE) technologies will overtake microarray technologies in the near future for many functional genomics applications. One of the fundamental data analysis tasks, especially for gene expression studies, involves determining whether there is evidence that counts for a transcript or exon are significantly different across experimental conditions. edgeR is a Bioconductor software package for examining differential expression of replicated count data. An overdispersed Poisson model is used to account for both biological and technical variability. Empirical Bayes methods are used to moderate the degree of overdispersion across transcripts, improving the reliability of inference. The methodology can be used even with the most minimal levels of replication, provided at least one phenotype or experimental condition is replicated. The software may have other applications beyond sequencing data, such as proteome peptide count data. Availability: The package is freely available under the LGPL licence from the Bioconductor web site (

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Topics: Bioconductor (64%)

21,575 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1101/GR.849004
01 Jun 2004-Genome Research
Abstract: WebLogo generates sequence logos, graphical representations of the patterns within a multiple sequence alignment. Sequence logos provide a richer and more precise description of sequence similarity than consensus sequences and can rapidly reveal significant features of the alignment otherwise difficult to perceive. Each logo consists of stacks of letters, one stack for each position in the sequence. The overall height of each stack indicates the sequence conservation at that position (measured in bits), whereas the height of symbols within the stack reflects the relative frequency of the corresponding amino or nucleic acid at that position. WebLogo has been enhanced recently with additional features and options, to provide a convenient and highly configurable sequence logo generator. A command line interface and the complete, open WebLogo source code are available for local installation and customization.

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Topics: Sequence logo (71%), Multiple sequence alignment (56%), Sequence (medicine) (54%) ... show more

9,230 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.CELL.2020.02.058
16 Apr 2020-Cell
Abstract: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in >90,000 infections and >3,000 deaths. Coronavirus spike (S) glycoproteins promote entry into cells and are the main target of antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 S uses ACE2 to enter cells and that the receptor-binding domains of SARS-CoV-2 S and SARS-CoV S bind with similar affinities to human ACE2, correlating with the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 among humans. We found that the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein harbors a furin cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which is processed during biogenesis and sets this virus apart from SARS-CoV and SARS-related CoVs. We determined cryo-EM structures of the SARS-CoV-2 S ectodomain trimer, providing a blueprint for the design of vaccines and inhibitors of viral entry. Finally, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV S murine polyclonal antibodies potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 S mediated entry into cells, indicating that cross-neutralizing antibodies targeting conserved S epitopes can be elicited upon vaccination.

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Topics: Ectodomain (56%), Viral entry (55%), Epitope (53%) ... show more

4,968 Citations

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