Extremely low exposure of a community to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus: false seropositivity due to use of bacterially derived antigens.
ABSTRACT: Estimates of seropositivity to a new infectious agent in a community are useful to public health. For severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the figures are conflicting. Herein, we screened 12,000 people in a community stricken by SARS 10 months previously and found 53 individuals (0.44%) who had immunoglobulin G antibodies to the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) nucleocapsid (N) produced in bacteria. However, only seven of these (group 1) had sera which also reacted with the native N antigen expressed in SARS-CoV-infected Vero cells, N-transfected 293T cells, and tissues of infected SARS patients. Of these, six individuals had had SARS previously. The remaining person, as well as the 46 other individuals (group 2), were healthy and had no history of SARS. Group 1 antibodies recognized epitopes located slightly differently in N from those of group 2 antibodies, and a mouse hybridoma antibody resembling the former type was generated. Unusually, group 2 antibodies appeared to recognize cross-reactive bacterial epitopes that presumably were posttranslationally modified in eukaryotes and hence were probably not induced by SARS-CoV or related coronaviruses but rather by bacteria. The N antigen is thus highly unique. The extremely low rate (0.008%) of asymptomatic SARS infection found attests to the high virulence of the SARS-CoV virus.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) remains a significant public health concern after the epidemic in 2003. Human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that neutralize SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) could provide protection for exposed individuals. METHODS:Transgenic mice with human immunoglobulin genes were immunized with the recombinant major surface (S) glycoprotein ectodomain of SARS-CoV. Epitopes of 2 neutralizing MAbs derived from these mice were mapped and evaluated in a murine model of SARS-CoV infection. RESULTS:Both MAbs bound to S glycoprotein expressed on transfected cells but differed in their ability to block binding of S glycoprotein to Vero E6 cells. Immunoprecipitation analysis revealed 2 antibody-binding epitopes: one MAb (201) bound within the receptor-binding domain at aa 490-510, and the other MAb (68) bound externally to the domain at aa 130-150. Mice that received 40 mg/kg of either MAb prior to challenge with SARS-CoV were completely protected from virus replication in the lungs, and doses as low as 1.6 mg/kg offered significant protection. CONCLUSIONS:Two neutralizing epitopes were defined for MAbs to SARS-CoV S glycoprotein. Antibodies to both epitopes protected mice against SARS-CoV challenge. Clinical trials are planned to test MAb 201, a fully human MAb specific for the epitope within the receptor-binding region.
Project description:Neutralizing antibodies elicited by prior infection or vaccination are likely to be key for future protection of individuals and populations against SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, passively administered antibodies are among the most promising therapeutic and prophylactic anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. However, the degree to which SARS-CoV-2 will adapt to evade neutralizing antibodies is unclear. Using a recombinant chimeric VSV/SARS-CoV-2 reporter virus, we show that functional SARS-CoV-2 S protein variants with mutations in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain that confer resistance to monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma can be readily selected. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 S variants that resist commonly elicited neutralizing antibodies are now present at low frequencies in circulating SARS-CoV-2 populations. Finally, the emergence of antibody-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants that might limit the therapeutic usefulness of monoclonal antibodies can be mitigated by the use of antibody combinations that target distinct neutralizing epitopes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an infectious disease which was caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS has caused an outbreak in the world during 2003 and 2004, with 8098 individuals being infected and a death toll of 774 in 28 regions around the world. Specific humoral responses to viral infection remain unclear. OBJECTIVE: To analyse the antigenicity of the SARS-CoV genome and identify potential antigenic epitopes in the structural proteins. METHODS: Potential antigenic epitopes were identified in the structural proteins (nucleocapsid, membrane, spike, and small envelope proteins) and hypothetical proteins (SARS3a, 3b, 6, 7a, and 9b) that are specific for SARS-CoV. A peptide chip platform was created and the profiles of antibodies to these epitopes were investigated in 59 different SARS patients' sera obtained 6-103 days after the onset of the illness. Serial sera from five additional patients were also studied. RESULTS: Epitopes at the N-terminus of the membrane protein and the C-terminus of nucleocapsid protein elicited strong antibody responses. Epitopes on the spike protein were only moderately immunogenic but the effects were persistent. Antibodies were also detected for some putative proteins, noticeably the C-termini of SARS3a and SARS6. CONCLUSIONS: Important epitopes of the SARS-CoV genome that may serve as potential markers for the viral infection are identified. These specific antigenic sites may also be important for vaccine development against this new fatal infectious disease.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic prompted an unprecedented effort to develop effective countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2. While efficacious vaccines and certain therapeutic monoclonal antibodies are available, here, we report the development, cryo-EM structures and functional analyses of distinct potent monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and its variant B.1.351. We established a platform for rapid identification of highly potent and specific SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies by high-throughput B cell receptor single cell sequencing of spike receptor binding domain immunized animals. We identified two highly potent and specific SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing mAb clones that have single-digit nanomolar affinity and low-picomolar avidity. We also generated a bispecific antibody of these two lead clones. The lead monospecific and bispecific antibodies showed strong neutralization ability against prototypical SARS-CoV-2 and the highly contagious South African variant B.1.351 that post a further risk of reducing the efficacy of currently available therapeutic antibodies and vaccines. The lead mAbs showed potent in vivo efficacy against authentic SARS-CoV-2 in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings. We solved five cryo-EM structures at ~3 resolution of these neutralizing antibodies in complex with the ectodomain of the prefusion spike trimer, and revealed the molecular epitopes, binding patterns and conformations between the antibodies and spike RBD, which are distinct from existing antibodies. Our recently developed antibodies expand the repertoire of the toolbox of COVID-19 countermeasures against the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and its emerging variants. Overall design: 10x 5' single-cell VDJ sequencing of CD138+ B cells from mice (C57BL/6 and BALBc) immunized with SARS-CoV-2 RBD. From C57BL/6 mice: 1 sample from spleen+LN, 1 sample from bone marrow. From Balbc mice: 2 samples (pooled spleen+LN+bone marrow).
Project description:SARS-CoV-2-caused COVID-19 cases are growing globally, calling for developing effective therapeutics to control the current pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV recognize angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor via the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Here, we identified six SARS-CoV RBD-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (nAbs) that cross-reacted with SARS-CoV-2 RBD, two of which, 18F3 and 7B11, neutralized SARS-CoV-2 infection. 18F3 recognized conserved epitopes on SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 RBDs, whereas 7B11 recognized epitopes on SARS-CoV RBD not fully conserved in SARS-CoV-2 RBD. The 18F3-recognizing epitopes on RBD did not overlap with the ACE2-binding sites, whereas those recognized by 7B11 were close to the ACE2-binding sites, explaining why 7B11 could, but 18F3 could not, block SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 RBD binding to ACE2 receptor. Our study provides an alternative approach to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection using anti-SARS-CoV nAbs.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can cause serious illness in older adults and people with chronic underlying medical conditions; however, children and young people are often asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. We evaluated the presence of specific antibodies (Abs) response against Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) S protein epitopes (NL63-RBM1, NL63-RBM2_1, NL63-RBM2_2, NL63-RBM3, NL63-SPIKE<sub>541-554</sub>, and NL63-DISC-like) and SARS-CoV-2 epitopes (COV2-SPIKE<sub>421-434</sub> and COV2-SPIKE<sub>742-759</sub>) in plasma samples of pre-pandemic, mid-pandemic, and COVID-19 cohorts by indirect ELISA. Moreover, a competitive assay was performed to check for cross reactivity response between COV2-SPIKE<sub>421-434</sub> and NL63-RBM3 among patients with a definitive diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. Immune reaction against all SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-NL63 epitopes showed a significantly higher response in pre-pandemic patients compared to mid-pandemic patients. The results indicate that probably antibodies against HCoV-NL63 may be able to cross react with SARS-CoV-2 epitopes and the higher incidence in pre-pandemic was probably due to the timing of collection when a high incidence of HCoV-NL63 is reported. In addition, the competitive assay showed cross-reactivity between antibodies directed against COV2-SPIKE<sub>421-434</sub> and NL63-RBM3 peptides. Pre-existing HCoV-NL63 antibody response cross reacting with SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in both pre- and mid-pandemic individual, suggesting that previous exposure to HCoV-NL63 epitopes may produce antibodies which could confer a protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and probably reduce the severity of the disease.
Project description:To elucidate the T cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2, we stimulated human PBMCs from healthy donors and convalescent COVID-19 patients with various SARS-CoV-2 antigens, sorted the activated T cells and performed sc-RNA and -TCR sequencing. We obtained thousands of T cell clonotypes that responded to SARS-CoV-2 antigens, and identified the epitopes and restricting HLAs of several clonotypes that were significantly expanded in the COVID-19 patients. Overall design: Determination of the TCR and mRNA expression of human T cells stimulated with SARS-CoV-2 antigens.
Project description: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 neutralizing titers ranging from undetectable in 33% to below 1:1000 in 79%, while only 1% showed titers >1:5000. Antibody cloning revealed expanded clones of RBD-specific memory B cells expressing closely related antibodies in different individuals. Despite low plasma titers, antibodies to three distinct epitopes on RBD neutralized at half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) as low as single digit ng/mL. 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.
Project description:Neutralizing antibody responses to coronaviruses focus on the trimeric spike, with most against the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Here we characterized polyclonal IgGs and Fabs from COVID-19 convalescent individuals for recognition of coronavirus spikes. Plasma IgGs differed in their degree of focus on RBD epitopes, recognition of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and mild coronaviruses, and how avidity effects contributed to increased binding/neutralization of IgGs over Fabs. Electron microscopy reconstructions of polyclonal plasma Fab-spike complexes showed recognition of both S1A and RBD epitopes. A 3.4Å cryo-EM structure of a neutralizing monoclonal Fab-S complex revealed an epitope that blocks ACE2 receptor-binding on "up" RBDs. Modeling suggested that IgGs targeting these sites have different potentials for inter-spike crosslinking on viruses and would not be greatly affected by identified SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations. These studies structurally define a recurrent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody class derived from VH3-53/VH3-66 and similarity to a SARS-CoV VH3-30 antibody, providing criteria for evaluating vaccine-elicited antibodies.
Project description:Antibody responses develop following SARS-CoV-2 infection, but little is known about their epitope specificities, clonality, binding affinities, epitopes, and neutralizing activity. We isolated B cells specific for the SARS-CoV-2 envelope glycoprotein spike (S) from a COVID-19-infected subject 21 days after the onset of clinical disease. 45 S-specific monoclonal antibodies were generated. They had undergone minimal somatic mutation with limited clonal expansion, and three bound the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Two antibodies neutralized SARS-CoV-2. The most potent antibody bound the RBD and prevented binding to the ACE2 receptor, while the other bound outside the RBD. Thus, most anti-S antibodies that were generated in this patient during the first weeks of COVID-19 infection were non-neutralizing and target epitopes outside the RBD. Antibodies that disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 S-ACE2 interaction can potently neutralize the virus without undergoing extensive maturation. Such antibodies have potential preventive and/or therapeutic potential and can serve as templates for vaccine design.