Construction of polyomavirus-derived pseudotype virus-like particles displaying a functionally active neutralizing antibody against hepatitis B virus surface antigen.
ABSTRACT: Virus-like particles (VLPs) can be efficiently produced by heterologous expression of viral structural proteins in yeast. Due to their repetitive structure, VLPs are extensively used for protein engineering and generation of chimeric VLPs with inserted foreign epitopes. Hamster polyomavirus VP1 represents a promising epitope carrier. However, insertion of large sized protein sequences may interfere with its self-assembly competence. The co-expression of polyomavirus capsid protein VP1 with minor capsid protein VP2 or its fusion protein may result in pseudotype VLPs where an intact VP1 protein mediates VLP formation. In the current study, the capacity of VP1 protein to self-assemble to VLPs and interact with the modified VP2 protein has been exploited to generate pseudotype VLPs displaying large-sized antibody molecules.Polyomavirus-derived pseudotype VLPs harbouring a surface-exposed functionally active neutralizing antibody specific to hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg) have been generated. The pseudotype VLPs consisting of an intact hamster polyomavirus (HaPyV) major capsid protein VP1 and minor capsid protein VP2 fused with the anti-HBsAg molecule were efficiently produced in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and purified by density-gradient centrifugation. Formation of VLPs was confirmed by electron microscopy. Two types of pseudotype VLPs were generated harbouring either the single-chain fragment variable (scFv) or Fc-engineered scFv on the VLP surface. The antigen-binding activity of the purified pseudotype VLPs was evaluated by ELISA and virus-neutralization assay on HBV-susceptible primary hepatocytes from Tupaia belangeri. Both types of the pseudotype VLPs were functionally active and showed a potent HBV-neutralizing activity comparable to that of the parental monoclonal antibody. The VP2-fused scFv molecules were incorporated into the VLPs with higher efficiency as compared to the VP2-fused Fc-scFv. However, the pseudotype VLPs with displayed VP2-fused Fc-scFv molecule showed higher antigen-binding activity and HBV-neutralizing capacity that might be explained by a better accessibility of the Fc-engineered scFv of the VLP surface.Polyomavirus-derived pseudotype VLPs harbouring multiple functionally active antibody molecules with virus-neutralizing capability may represent a novel platform for developing therapeutic tools with a potential application for post-exposure or therapeutic treatment of viral infections.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recombinant antibodies can be produced in different formats and different expression systems. Single chain variable fragments (scFvs) represent an attractive alternative to full-length antibodies and they can be easily produced in bacteria or yeast. However, the scFvs exhibit monovalent antigen-binding properties and short serum half-lives. The stability and avidity of the scFvs can be improved by their multimerization or fusion with IgG Fc domain. The aim of the current study was to investigate the possibilities to produce in yeast high-affinity scFv-Fc proteins neutralizing the cytolytic activity of vaginolysin (VLY), the main virulence factor of Gardnerella vaginalis. RESULTS: The scFv protein derived from hybridoma cell line producing high-affinity neutralizing antibodies against VLY was fused with human IgG1 Fc domain. Four different variants of anti-VLY scFv-Fc fusion proteins were constructed and produced in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The non-tagged scFv-Fc and hexahistidine-tagged scFv-Fc proteins were found predominantly as insoluble aggregates and therefore were not suitable for further purification and activity testing. The addition of yeast ?-factor signal sequence did not support secretion of anti-VLY scFv-Fc but increased the amount of its intracellular soluble form. However, the purified protein showed a weak VLY-neutralizing capability. In contrast, the fusion of anti-VLY scFv-Fc molecules with hamster polyomavirus-derived VP2 protein and its co-expression with VP1 protein resulted in an effective production of pseudotype virus-like particles (VLPs) that exhibited strong VLY-binding activity. Recombinant scFv-Fc molecules displayed on the surface of VLPs neutralized VLY-mediated lysis of human erythrocytes and HeLa cells with high potency comparable to that of full-length antibody. CONCLUSIONS: Recombinant scFv-Fc proteins were expressed in yeast with low efficiency. New approach to display the scFv-Fc molecules on the surface of pseudotype VLPs was successful and allowed generation of multivalent scFv-Fc proteins with high VLY-neutralizing potency. Our study demonstrated for the first time that large recombinant antibody molecule fused with hamster polyomavirus VP2 protein and co-expressed with VP1 protein in the form of pseudotype VLPs was properly folded and exhibited strong antigen-binding activity. The current study broadens the potential of recombinant VLPs as a highly efficient carrier for functionally active complex proteins.
Project description:Recently, we detected novel vervet monkey polyomavirus 1 (VmPyV) in a vervet monkey. Among amino acid sequences of major capsid protein VP1s of other polyomaviruses, VmPyV VP1 is the longest with additional amino acid residues in the C-terminal region. To examine the role of VmPyV VP1 in virion formation, we generated virus-like particles (VLPs) of VmPyV VP1, because VLP is a useful tool for the investigation of the morphological characters of polyomavirus virions. After the full-length VmPyV VP1 was subcloned into a mammalian expression plasmid, the plasmid was transfected into human embryonic kidney 293T (HEK293T) cells. Thereafter, VmPyV VLPs were purified from the cell lysates of the transfected cells via sucrose gradient sedimentation. Electron microscopic analyses revealed that VmPyV VP1 forms VLPs with a diameter of approximately 50 nm that are exclusively localized in cell nuclei. Furthermore, we generated VLPs consisting of the deletion mutant VmPyV VP1 (?C VP1) lacking the C-terminal 116 amino acid residues and compared its VLP formation efficiency and morphology to those of VLPs from wild-type VmPyV VP1 (WT VP1). WT and ?C VP1 VLPs were similar in size, but the number of ?C VP1 VLPs was much lower than that of WT VP1 VLPs in VP1-expressing HEK293T cells. These results suggest that the length of VP1 is unrelated to virion morphology; however, the C-terminal region of VmPyV VP1 affects the efficiency of its VLP formation.
Project description:Virions of polyomaviruses consist of the major structural protein VP1, the minor structural proteins VP2 and VP3, and the viral genome associated with histones. An additional structural protein, VP4, is present in avian polyomavirus (APV) particles. As it had been reported that expression of APV VP1 in insect cells did not result in the formation of virus-like particles (VLP), the prerequisites for particle formation were analyzed. To this end, recombinant influenza viruses were created to (co)express the structural proteins of APV in chicken embryo cells, permissive for APV replication. VP1 expressed individually or coexpressed with VP4 did not result in VLP formation; both proteins (co)localized in the cytoplasm. Transport of VP1, or the VP1-VP4 complex, into the nucleus was facilitated by the coexpression of VP3 and resulted in the formation of VLP. Accordingly, a mutant APV VP1 carrying the N-terminal nuclear localization signal of simian virus 40 VP1 was transported to the nucleus and assembled into VLP. These results support a model of APV capsid assembly in which complexes of the structural proteins VP1, VP3 (or VP2), and VP4, formed within the cytoplasm, are transported to the nucleus using the nuclear localization signal of VP3 (or VP2); there, capsid formation is induced by the nuclear environment.
Project description:Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is a nonenveloped virus with an icosahedral capsid composed of two proteins, VP2 and VP3, that derive from the processing of the polyprotein NH(2)-pVP2-VP4-VP3-COOH. The virion contains VP1, the viral polymerase, which is both free and covalently linked to the two double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genomic segments. In this study, the virus assembly process was studied further with the baculovirus expression system. While expression of the wild-type polyprotein was not found to be self-sufficient to give rise to virus-like particles (VLPs), deletion or replacement of the five C-terminal residues of VP3 was observed to promote capsid assembly. Indeed, the single deletion of the C-terminal glutamic acid was sufficient to induce VLP formation. Moreover, fusion of various peptides or small proteins (a green fluorescent protein or a truncated form of ovalbumin) at the C terminus of VP3 also promoted capsid assembly, suggesting that assembly required screening of the negative charges at the C terminus of VP3. The fused polypeptides mimicked the effect of VP1, which interacts with VP3 to promote VLP assembly. The C-terminal segment of VP3 was found to contain two functional domains. While the very last five residues of VP3 mainly controlled both assembly and capsid architecture, the five preceding residues constituted the VP1 (and possibly the pVP2/VP2) binding domain. Finally, we showed that capsid formation is associated with VP2 maturation, demonstrating that the protease VP4 is involved in the virus assembly process.
Project description:Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is the first polyomavirus clearly associated with a human cancer, i.e. the Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Polyomaviruses are small naked DNA viruses that induce a robust polyclonal antibody response against the major capsid protein (VP1). However, the polyomavirus VP1 capsid protein epitopes have not been identified to date. The aim of this study was to identify the neutralizing epitopes of the MCPyV capsid. For this goal, four VP1 mutants were generated by insertional mutagenesis in the BC, DE, EF and HI loops between amino acids 88-89, 150-151, 189-190, and 296-297, respectively. The reactivity of these mutants and wild-type VLPs was then investigated with anti-VP1 monoclonal antibodies and anti-MCPyV positive human sera. The findings together suggest that immunodominant conformational neutralizing epitopes are present at the surface of the MCPyV VLPs and are clustered within BC and EF loops.
Project description:Eleven new human polyomaviruses (HPyVs) have been identified in the last decade. Serological studies show that these novel HPyVs sub-clinically infect humans at an early age. The routes of infection, entry pathways, and cell tropism of new HPyVs remain unknown. VP1 proteins of polyomaviruses can assembly into virus-like particles (VLPs). As cell culturing systems for HPyV are currently not available, VP1-derived VLPs may be useful tools in basic research and biotechnological applications.Recombinant VP1-derived VLPs from 11 newly identified HPyVs were efficiently expressed in yeast. VP1 proteins derived from Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus (TSPyV), and New Jersey polyomavirus (NJPyV) self-assembled into homogeneous similarly-sized VLPs. Karolinska Institutet polyomavirus (KIPyV), HPyV7, HPyV9, HPyV10, and St. Louis polyomavirus (STLPyV) VP1 proteins formed VLPs that varied in size with diameters ranging from 20 to 60 nm. Smaller-sized VLPs (25-35 nm in diameter) predominated in preparations from Washington University polyomavirus (WUPyV) and HPyV6. Attempts to express recombinant HPyV12 VP1-derived VLPs in yeast indicate that translation of VP1 might start at the second of two potential translation initiation sites in the VP1-encoding open reading frame (ORF). This translation resulted in a 364-amino acid-long VP1 protein, which efficiently self-assembled into typical PyV VLPs. MCPyV-, KIPyV-, TSPyV-, HPyV9-, HPyV10-, and HPyV12-derived VLPs showed hemagglutination (HA) assay activity in guinea pig erythrocytes, whereas WUPyV-, HPyV6-, HPyV7-, STLPyV- and NJPyV-derived VP1 VLPs did not.The yeast expression system was successfully utilized for high-throughput production of recombinant VP1-derived VLPs from 11 newly identified HPyVs. HPyV12 VP1-derived VLPs were generated from the second of two potential translation initiation sites in the VP1-encoding ORF. Recombinant VLPs produced in yeast originated from different HPyVs demonstrated distinct HA activities and may be useful in virus diagnostics, capsid structure studies, or investigation of entry pathways and cell tropism of HPyVs until cell culture systems for new HPyVs are developed.
Project description:Recently, molecular screening for pathogenic agents has identified a partial genome of a novel parvovirus, called human bocavirus (HBoV). The presence of this newly described parvovirus correlated with upper and lower respiratory tract infections in children. Lower respiratory tract infections are a leading cause of hospital admission in children, and the etiological agent has not been identified in up to 39% of these cases. Using baculovirus expression vectors (BEVs) and an insect cell system, we produced virus-like particles (VLPs) of HBoV. The engineered BEVs express the HBoV capsid proteins stoichiometrically from a single open reading frame. Three capsid proteins assemble into the VLP rather than two proteins predicted from the HBoV genome sequence. The denatured capsid proteins VP1, VP2, and VP3 resolve on silver-stained sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels as three bands with apparent molecular masses of 72 kDa, 68 kDa, and 62 kDa, respectively. VP2 apparently initiates at a GCT codon (alanine) 273 nucleotides downstream from the VP1 start site and 114 nucleotides upstream from the VP3 initiation site. We characterized the stable capsids using physical, biochemical, and serological techniques. We found that the density of the VLP is 1.32 g/cm(3) and is consistent with an icosahedral symmetry with approximately a 25-nm diameter. Rabbit antiserum against the capsid of HBoV, which did not cross-react with adeno-associated virus type 2, was used to develop enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for anti-HBoV antibodies in human serum. Using ELISA, we tested 404 human serum samples and established a range of antibody titers in a large U.S. adult population sample.
Project description:Avian polyomavirus (APV) causes a fatal, multi-organ disease among several bird species. Using cryogenic electron microscopy and other biochemical techniques, we investigated the structure of APV and compared it to that of mammalian polyomaviruses, particularly JC polyomavirus and simian virus 40. The structure of the pentameric major capsid protein (VP1) is mostly conserved; however, APV VP1 has a unique, truncated C-terminus that eliminates an intercapsomere-connecting ?-hairpin observed in other polyomaviruses. We postulate that the terminal ?-hairpin locks other polyomavirus capsids in a stable conformation and that absence of the hairpin leads to the observed capsid size variation in APV. Plug-like density features were observed at the base of the VP1 pentamers, consistent with the known location of minor capsid proteins VP2 and VP3. However, the plug density is more prominent in APV and may include VP4, a minor capsid protein unique to bird polyomaviruses.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) are the two major causative agents for hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). Previously, we demonstrated that a virus-like particle (VLP) for EV71 produced from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a potential vaccine candidate against EV71 infection, and an EV71/CVA16 chimeric VLP can elicit protective immune responses against both virus infections. Here, we presented the crystal structures of both VLPs, showing that both the linear and conformational neutralization epitopes identified in EV71 are mostly preserved on both VLPs. The replacement of only 4 residues in the VP1 GH loop converted strongly negatively charged surface patches formed by portions of the SP70 epitope in EV71 VLP into a relatively neutral surface in the chimeric VLP, which likely accounted for the additional neutralization capability of the chimeric VLP against CVA16 infection. Such local variations in the amino acid sequences and the surface charge potential are also present in different types of polioviruses. In comparison to EV71 VLP, the chimeric VLP exhibits structural changes at the local site of amino acid replacement and the surface loops of all capsid proteins. This is consistent with the observation that the VP1 GH loop located near the pseudo-3-fold junction is involved in extensive interactions with other capsid regions. Furthermore, portions of VP0 and VP1 in EV71 VLP are at least transiently exposed, revealing the structural flexibility of the VLP. Together, our structural analysis provided insights into the structural basis of enterovirus neutralization and novel vaccine design against HFMD and other enterovirus-associated diseases.Our previous studies demonstrated that the enterovirus 71 (EV71) virus-like particle (VLP) produced from yeast is a vaccine candidate against EV71 infection and that a chimeric EV71/coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) VLP with the replacement of 4 amino acids in the VP1 GH loop can confer protection against both EV71 and CVA16 infections. This study reported the crystal structures of both the EV71 VLP and the chimeric EV71/CVA16 VLP and revealed that the major neutralization epitopes of EV71 are mostly preserved in both VLPs. In addition, the mutated VP1 GH loop in the chimeric VLP is well exposed on the particle surface and exhibits a surface charge potential different from that contributed by the original VP1 GH loop in EV71 VLP. Together, this study provided insights into the structural basis of enterovirus neutralization and evidence that the yeast-produced VLPs can be developed into novel vaccines against hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) and other enterovirus-associated diseases.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) are the major etiological agents of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and are often associated with neurological complications. Currently, several vaccine types are being developed for EV71 and CA16. In this study, we constructed a bivalent chimeric virus-like particle (VLP) presenting the VP1 (aa208-222) and VP2 (aa141-155) epitopes of EV71 using hepatitis B virus core protein (HBc) as a carrier, designated HBc-E1/2. Immunization with the chimeric VLPs HBc-E1/2 induced higher IgG titers and neutralization titers against EV71 and CA16 in vitro than immunization with only one epitope incorporated into HBc. Importantly, passive immunization with the recombinant HBc-E2 particles protected neonatal mice against lethal EV71 and CA16 infections. We demonstrate that anti-VP2 (aa141-155) sera bound authentic CA16 viral particles, whereas anti-VP1 (aa208-222) sera could not. Moreover, the anti-VP2 (aa141-155) antibodies inhibited the binding of human serum to virions, which demonstrated that the VP2 epitope is immunodominant between EV71 and CA16. These results illustrated that the chimeric VLP HBc-E1/2 is a promising candidate for a broad-spectrum HFMD vaccine, and also reveals mechanisms of protection by the neighboring linear epitopes of the VP1 GH and VP2 EF loops.