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Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.03.04.433768

Multimeric nanobodies from camelid engineered mice and llamas potently neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants

04 Mar 2021-bioRxiv (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)-
Abstract: Since the start of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused more than 2 million deaths worldwide. Multiple vaccines have been deployed to date, but the continual evolution of the viral receptor-binding domain (RBD) has recently challenged their efficacy. In particular, SARS-CoV-2 variants originating in the U.K. (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351) and New York (B.1.526) have reduced neutralization activity from convalescent sera and compromised the efficacy of antibody cocktails that received emergency use authorization. Whereas vaccines can be updated periodically to account for emerging variants, complementary strategies are urgently needed to avert viral escape. One potential alternative is the use of camelid VHHs (also known as nanobodies), which due to their small size can recognize protein crevices that are inaccessible to conventional antibodies. Here, we isolate anti-RBD nanobodies from llamas and "nanomice" we engineered to produce VHHs cloned from alpacas, dromedaries and camels. Through binding assays and cryo-electron microscopy, we identified two sets of highly neutralizing nanobodies. The first group expresses VHHs that circumvent RBD antigenic drift by recognizing a region outside the ACE2-binding site that is conserved in coronaviruses but is not typically targeted by monoclonal antibodies. The second group is almost exclusively focused to the RBD-ACE2 interface and fails to neutralize pseudoviruses carrying the E484K or N501Y substitutions. Notably however, they do neutralize the RBD variants when expressed as homotrimers, rivaling the most potent antibodies produced to date against SARS-CoV-2. These findings demonstrate that multivalent nanobodies overcome SARS-CoV-2 variant mutations through two separate mechanisms: enhanced avidity for the ACE2 binding domain, and recognition of conserved epitopes largely inaccessible to human antibodies. Therefore, while new SARS-CoV-2 mutants will continue to emerge, nanobodies represent promising tools to prevent COVID-19 mortality when vaccines are compromised.

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9 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41586-021-03696-9
14 Jun 2021-Nature
Abstract: More than one year after its inception, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains difficult to control despite the availability of several working vaccines. Progress in controlling the pandemic is slowed by the emergence of variants that appear to be more transmissible and more resistant to antibodies1,2. Here we report on a cohort of 63 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 assessed at 1.3, 6.2 and 12 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, 41% of whom also received mRNA vaccines3,4. In the absence of vaccination, antibody reactivity to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, neutralizing activity and the number of RBD-specific memory B cells remain relatively stable between 6 and 12 months after infection. Vaccination increases all components of the humoral response and, as expected, results in serum neutralizing activities against variants of concern similar to or greater than the neutralizing activity against the original Wuhan Hu-1 strain achieved by vaccination of naive individuals2,5–8. The mechanism underlying these broad-based responses involves ongoing antibody somatic mutation, memory B cell clonal turnover and development of monoclonal antibodies that are exceptionally resistant to SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutations, including those found in the variants of concern4,9. In addition, B cell clones expressing broad and potent antibodies are selectively retained in the repertoire over time and expand markedly after vaccination. The data suggest that immunity in convalescent individuals will be very long lasting and that convalescent individuals who receive available mRNA vaccines will produce antibodies and memory B cells that should be protective against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 continue to evolve 6 to 12 months after infection in patients who have recovered from COVID-19, increasing in potency and breadth with time.

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Topics: Memory B cell (54%), Vaccination (53%), Antibody (52%) ... read more

117 Citations


Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.05.07.443175
02 Jun 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Over one year after its inception, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains difficult to control despite the availability of several excellent vaccines. Progress in controlling the pandemic is slowed by the emergence of variants that appear to be more transmissible and more resistant to antibodies 1,2 . Here we report on a cohort of 63 COVID-19-convalescent individuals assessed at 1.3, 6.2 and 12 months after infection, 41% of whom also received mRNA vaccines 3,4 . In the absence of vaccination antibody reactivity to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, neutralizing activity and the number of RBD-specific memory B cells remain relatively stable from 6 to 12 months. Vaccination increases all components of the humoral response, and as expected, results in serum neutralizing activities against variants of concern that are comparable to or greater than neutralizing activity against the original Wuhan Hu-1 achieved by vaccination of naive individuals 2,5-8 . The mechanism underlying these broad-based responses involves ongoing antibody somatic mutation, memory B cell clonal turnover, and development of monoclonal antibodies that are exceptionally resistant to SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutations, including those found in variants of concern 4,9 . In addition, B cell clones expressing broad and potent antibodies are selectively retained in the repertoire over time and expand dramatically after vaccination. The data suggest that immunity in convalescent individuals will be very long lasting and that convalescent individuals who receive available mRNA vaccines will produce antibodies and memory B cells that should be protective against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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Topics: Memory B cell (54%), Vaccination (53%), Antibody (52%) ... read more

17 Citations


Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.05.07.443175
09 May 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Over one year after its inception, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains difficult to control despite the availability of several excellent vaccines. Progress in controlling the pandemic is slowed by the emergence of variants that appear to be more transmissible and more resistant to antibodies1,2. Here we report on a cohort of 63 COVID-19-convalescent individuals assessed at 1.3, 6.2 and 12 months after infection, 41% of whom also received mRNA vaccines3,4. In the absence of vaccination antibody reactivity to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, neutralizing activity and the number of RBD-specific memory B cells remain relatively stable from 6 to 12 months. Vaccination increases all components of the humoral response, and as expected, results in serum neutralizing activities against variants of concern that are comparable to or greater than neutralizing activity against the original Wuhan Hu-1 achieved by vaccination of naive individuals2,5-8. The mechanism underlying these broad-based responses involves ongoing antibody somatic mutation, memory B cell clonal turnover, and development of monoclonal antibodies that are exceptionally resistant to SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutations, including those found in variants of concern4,9. In addition, B cell clones expressing broad and potent antibodies are selectively retained in the repertoire over time and expand dramatically after vaccination. The data suggest that immunity in convalescent individuals will be very long lasting and that convalescent individuals who receive available mRNA vaccines will produce antibodies and memory B cells that should be protective against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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Topics: Memory B cell (54%), Vaccination (54%), Antibody (52%) ... read more

15 Citations


Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.04.08.438911
Fred D. Mast1, Peter C. Fridy2, Natalia E. Ketaren2, Jiayi Wang2  +29 moreInstitutions (7)
10 Apr 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Despite the great promise of vaccines, the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and future serious outbreaks are highly likely, so that multi-pronged containment strategies will be required for many years. Nanobodies are the smallest naturally occurring single domain antigen binding proteins identified to date, possessing numerous properties advantageous to their production and use. We present a large repertoire of high affinity nanobodies against SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein with excellent kinetic and viral neutralization properties, which can be strongly enhanced with oligomerization. This repertoire samples the epitope landscape of the Spike ectodomain inside and outside the receptor binding domain, recognizing a multitude of distinct epitopes and revealing multiple neutralization targets of pseudoviruses and authentic SARS-CoV-2, including in primary human airway epithelial cells. Combinatorial nanobody mixtures show highly synergistic activities, and are resistant to mutational escape and emerging viral variants of concern. These nanobodies establish an exceptional resource for superior COVID-19 prophylactics and therapeutics.

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7 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.PHARMTHERA.2021.107931
Marcel Renn1, Eva Bartok1, Thomas Zillinger2, Gunther Hartmann1  +1 moreInstitutions (3)
Abstract: Infections of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 continue to spread around the globe, causing Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19. Infected people are at risk of developing acute interstitial pneumonia, which can result in lethal complications, particularly in patients with pre-existing co-morbidities. Novel prophylactic and therapeutic interventions are urgently needed to limit the infection-associated health risk for the population and to contain the pandemic. Animal models are indispensable to assessing the efficacy and safety of potential new antivirals, vaccines, and other innovative therapies, such as nucleic acid agonists of innate immune sensing receptors. In this review, we provide an overview of the commonly used animal models to study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, including a summary of their susceptibility to infection, the spectrum of symptoms elicited, and the potential for drug development in each model. We hope that this review will help researchers to decide on the right model organism to quickly address their specific scientific questions.

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Topics: Population (52%)

2 Citations


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40 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41586-020-2180-5
Jun Lan1, Jiwan Ge1, Jinfang Yu1, Sisi Shan1  +7 moreInstitutions (2)
30 Mar 2020-Nature
Abstract: A new and highly pathogenic coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2, SARS-CoV-2) caused an outbreak in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China, starting from December 2019 that quickly spread nationwide and to other countries around the world1–3. Here, to better understand the initial step of infection at an atomic level, we determined the crystal structure of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 bound to the cell receptor ACE2. The overall ACE2-binding mode of the SARS-CoV-2 RBD is nearly identical to that of the SARS-CoV RBD, which also uses ACE2 as the cell receptor4. Structural analysis identified residues in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD that are essential for ACE2 binding, the majority of which either are highly conserved or share similar side chain properties with those in the SARS-CoV RBD. Such similarity in structure and sequence strongly indicate convergent evolution between the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV RBDs for improved binding to ACE2, although SARS-CoV-2 does not cluster within SARS and SARS-related coronaviruses1–3,5. The epitopes of two SARS-CoV antibodies that target the RBD are also analysed for binding to the SARS-CoV-2 RBD, providing insights into the future identification of cross-reactive antibodies. High-resolution crystal structures of the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in complex with ACE2 provide insights into the binding mode of these coronaviruses and highlight essential ACE2-interacting residues.

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Topics: Protein domain (51%)

2,729 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1146/ANNUREV-BIOCHEM-063011-092449
Serge Muyldermans1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Sera of camelids contain both conventional heterotetrameric antibodies and unique functional heavy (H)-chain antibodies (HCAbs). The H chain of these homodimeric antibodies consists of one antigen-binding domain, the VHH, and two constant domains. HCAbs fail to incorporate light (L) chains owing to the deletion of the first constant domain and a reshaped surface at the VHH side, which normally associates with L chains in conventional antibodies. The genetic elements composing HCAbs have been identified, but the in vivo generation of these antibodies from their dedicated genes into antigen-specific and affinity-matured bona fide antibodies remains largely underinvestigated. However, the facile identification of antigen-specific VHHs and their beneficial biochemical and economic properties (size, affinity, specificity, stability, production cost) supported by multiple crystal structures have encouraged antibody engineering of these single-domain antibodies for use as a research tool and in biotechnology and medicine.

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1,163 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41586-020-2456-9
18 Jun 2020-Nature
Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 infected millions of people and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives Virus entry into cells depends on the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S) Although there is no vaccine, it is likely that antibodies will be essential for protection However, little is known about the human antibody response to SARS-CoV-21-5 Here we report on 149 COVID-19 convalescent individuals Plasmas collected an average of 39 days after the onset of symptoms had variable half-maximal pseudovirus neutralizing titres: less than 1:50 in 33% and below 1:1,000 in 79%, while only 1% showed titres above 1:5,000 Antibody sequencing revealed expanded clones of RBD-specific memory B cells expressing closely related antibodies in different individuals Despite low plasma titres, antibodies to three distinct epitopes on RBD neutralized at half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50 values) as low as single digit nanograms per millitre Thus, most convalescent plasmas obtained from individuals who recover from COVID-19 do not contain high levels of neutralizing activity Nevertheless, rare but recurring RBD-specific antibodies with potent antiviral activity were found in all individuals tested, suggesting that a vaccine designed to elicit such antibodies could be broadly effective

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Topics: Epitope (51%), Antibody (51%)

1,092 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCIENCE.ABC6952
Chi Xiangyang1, Renhong Yan2, Jun Zhang1, Zhang Guanying1  +20 moreInstitutions (3)
22 Jun 2020-Science
Abstract: Developing therapeutics against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) could be guided by the distribution of epitopes, not only on the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Spike (S) protein but also across the full Spike (S) protein We isolated and characterized monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from 10 convalescent COVID-19 patients Three mAbs showed neutralizing activities against authentic SARS-CoV-2 One mAb, named 4A8, exhibits high neutralization potency against both authentic and pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 but does not bind the RBD We defined the epitope of 4A8 as the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S protein by determining with cryo-eletron microscopy its structure in complex with the S protein to an overall resolution of 31 angstroms and local resolution of 33 angstroms for the 4A8-NTD interface This points to the NTD as a promising target for therapeutic mAbs against COVID-19

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Topics: Epitope (54%), Protein domain (52%), Coronavirus (50%)

756 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCIENCE.ABC5902
07 Aug 2020-Science
Abstract: The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had a large impact on global health, travel, and economy. Therefore, preventative and therapeutic measures are urgently needed. Here, we isolated monoclonal antibodies from three convalescent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients using a SARS-CoV-2 stabilized prefusion spike protein. These antibodies had low levels of somatic hypermutation and showed a strong enrichment in VH1-69, VH3-30-3, and VH1-24 gene usage. A subset of the antibodies was able to potently inhibit authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection at a concentration as low as 0.007 micrograms per milliliter. Competition and electron microscopy studies illustrate that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein contains multiple distinct antigenic sites, including several receptor-binding domain (RBD) epitopes as well as non-RBD epitopes. In addition to providing guidance for vaccine design, the antibodies described here are promising candidates for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

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Topics: Coronavirus (56%), Epitope (55%), Monoclonal antibody (55%)

701 Citations


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