High throughput and comprehensive approach to develop multiepitope vaccine against minacious COVID-19.
ABSTRACT: The ongoing enigmatic COVID-19 outbreak, first reported from Wuhan, China, on last day of the year 2019, which has spread to 213 countries, territories/areas till 28th April 2020, threatens hundreds of thousands human souls. This devastating viral infection has stimulated the urgent development of viable vaccine against COVID-19 across the research institutes around the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also confirmed that the recent pandemic is causing Public Health Emergency of International apprehension. Moreover, the earlier two pathogenic SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV and many others yet to be identified pose a universal menace. Here, in this piece of work, we have utilized an in silico structural biology and advanced immunoinformatic strategies to devise a multi-epitope subunit vaccine against ongoing COVID-19 infection. The engineered vaccine sequence is adjuvanted with ß-3 defensin and comprised of B-cell epitopes, HTL epitopes and CTL epitopes. This is very likely that the vaccine will be able to elicit the strong immune response. Further, specific binding of the engineered vaccine and immune cell receptor TLR3 was estimated by molecular interaction studies. Strong interaction in the binding groove as well as good docking scores affirmed the stringency of engineered vaccine. The interaction is stable with minimal deviation in root-mean square deviation and root-mean-square fluctuation was confirmed by the molecular dynamics simulation experiment. The immune-simulation by C-ImmSim server, which mimics the natural immune environment, yielded more potent immune response data of B-cells, Th cells, Tc cells and IgG for vaccine. The encouraging data obtained from the various in-silico works indicated this vaccine as an effective therapeutic against COVID-19.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) linked with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cause severe illness and life-threatening pneumonia in humans. The current COVID-19 pandemic demands an effective vaccine to acquire protection against the infection. Therefore, the present study was aimed to design a multiepitope-based subunit vaccine (MESV) against COVID-19. METHODS:Structural proteins (Surface glycoprotein, Envelope protein, and Membrane glycoprotein) of SARS-CoV-2 are responsible for its prime functions. Sequences of proteins were downloaded from GenBank and several immunoinformatics coupled with computational approaches were employed to forecast B- and T- cell epitopes from the SARS-CoV-2 highly antigenic structural proteins to design an effective MESV. RESULTS:Predicted epitopes suggested high antigenicity, conserveness, substantial interactions with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) binding alleles, and collective global population coverage of 88.40%. Taken together, 276 amino acids long MESV was designed by connecting 3 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), 6 helper T lymphocyte (HTL) and 4 B-cell epitopes with suitable adjuvant and linkers. The MESV construct was non-allergenic, stable, and highly antigenic. Molecular docking showed a stable and high binding affinity of MESV with human pathogenic toll-like receptors-3 (TLR3). Furthermore, in silico immune simulation revealed significant immunogenic response of MESV. Finally, MEV codons were optimized for its in silico cloning into the Escherichia coli K-12 system, to ensure its increased expression. CONCLUSION:The MESV developed in this study is capable of generating immune response against COVID-19. Therefore, if designed MESV further investigated experimentally, it would be an effective vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 to control and prevent COVID-19.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) is a significant threat to global health security. Till date, no completely effective drug or vaccine is available to cure COVID-19. Therefore, an effective vaccine against SARS-COV-2 is crucially needed. This study was conducted to design an effective multiepitope based vaccine (MEV) against SARS-COV-2. Seven highly antigenic proteins of SARS-COV-2 were selected as targets and different epitopes (B-cell and T-cell) were predicted. Highly antigenic and overlapping epitopes were shortlisted. Selected epitopes indicated significant interactions with the HLA-binding alleles and 99.93% coverage of the world's population. Hence, 505 amino acids long MEV was designed by connecting 16 MHC class I and eleven MHC class II epitopes with suitable linkers and adjuvant. MEV construct was non-allergenic, antigenic, stable and flexible. Furthermore, molecular docking followed by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation analyses, demonstrated a stable and strong binding affinity of MEV with human pathogenic toll-like receptors (TLR), TLR3 and TLR8. Finally, MEV codons were optimized for its in silico cloning into Escherichia coli K-12 system, to ensure its increased expression. Designed MEV in present study could be a potential candidate for further vaccine production process against COVID-19. However, to ensure its safety and immunogenic profile, the proposed MEV needs to be experimentally validated.
Project description:Background:The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to the ongoing 2019-2020 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA coronavirus. Effective countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2 infection require the design and development of specific and effective vaccine candidates. Objective:To address the urgent need for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, in the present study, we designed and validated one cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and one helper T lymphocyte (HTL) multi-epitope vaccine (MEV) against SARS-CoV-2 using various in silico methods. Methods:Both designed MEVs are composed of CTL and HTL epitopes screened from 11 Open Reading Frame (ORF), structural and nonstructural proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Both MEVs also carry potential B-cell linear and discontinuous epitopes as well as interferon gamma-inducing epitopes. To enhance the immune response of our vaccine design, truncated (residues 10-153) Onchocerca volvulus activation-associated secreted protein-1 was used as an adjuvant at the N termini of both MEVs. The tertiary models for both the designed MEVs were generated, refined, and further analyzed for stable molecular interaction with toll-like receptor 3. Codon-biased complementary DNA (cDNA) was generated for both MEVs and analyzed in silico for high level expression in a mammalian (human) host cell line. Results:In the present study, we screened and shortlisted 38 CTL, 33 HTL, and 12 B cell epitopes from the 11 ORF protein sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Moreover, the molecular interactions of the screened epitopes with their respective human leukocyte antigen allele binders and the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) complex were positively validated. The shortlisted screened epitopes were utilized to design two novel MEVs against SARS-CoV-2. Further molecular models of both MEVs were prepared, and their stable molecular interactions with toll-like receptor 3 were positively validated. The codon-optimized cDNAs of both MEVs were also positively analyzed for high levels of overexpression in a human cell line. Conclusions:The present study is highly significant in terms of the molecular design of prospective CTL and HTL vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection with potential to elicit cellular and humoral immune responses. The epitopes of the designed MEVs are predicted to cover the large human population worldwide (96.10%). Hence, both designed MEVs could be tried in vivo as potential vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:The global health crisis caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causal agent of COVID-19, has resulted in a negative impact on human health and on social and economic activities worldwide. Researchers around the globe need to design and develop successful therapeutics as well as vaccines against the novel COVID-19 disease. In the present study, we conducted comprehensive computer-assisted analysis on the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 in order to design a safe and potent multiepitope vaccine. <i>In silico</i> epitope prioritization shortlisted six HLA I epitopes and six B-cell-derived HLA II epitopes. These high-ranked epitopes were all connected to each other via flexible GPGPG linkers, and at the N-terminus side, the sequence of Cholera Toxin <i>?</i> subunit was attached via an EAAAK linker. Structural modeling of the vaccine was performed, and molecular docking analysis strongly suggested a positive association of a multiepitope vaccine with Toll-like Receptor 3. The structural investigations of the vaccine-TLR3 complex revealed the formation of fifteen interchain hydrogen bonds, thus validating its integrity and stability. Moreover, it was found that this interaction was thermodynamically feasible. In conclusion, our data supports the proposition that a multiepitope vaccine will provide protective immunity against COVID-19. However, further in vivo and in vitro experiments are needed to validate the immunogenicity and safety of the candidate vaccine.
Project description:The outbreak of 2019-novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes severe respiratory infection (COVID-19) has spread in China, and the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. However, no approved drug or vaccines are available, and treatment is mainly supportive and through a few repurposed drugs. The urgency of the situation requires the development of SARS-CoV-2-based vaccines. Immunoinformatic and molecular modelling are time-efficient methods that are generally used to accelerate the discovery and design of the candidate peptides for vaccine development. In recent years, the use of multiepitope vaccines has proved to be a promising immunization strategy against viruses and pathogens, thus inducing more comprehensive protective immunity. The current study demonstrated a comprehensive in silico strategy to design stable multiepitope vaccine construct (MVC) from B-cell and T-cell epitopes of essential SARS-CoV-2 proteins with the help of adjuvants and linkers. The integrated molecular dynamics simulations analysis revealed the stability of MVC and its interaction with human Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which trigger an innate and adaptive immune response. Later, the in silico cloning in a known pET28a vector system also estimated the possibility of MVC expression in Escherichia coli. Despite that this study lacks validation of this vaccine construct in terms of its efficacy, the current integrated strategy encompasses the initial multiple epitope vaccine design concepts. After validation, this MVC can be present as a better prophylactic solution against COVID-19.
Project description:COVID-19 is a new viral emergent disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus. This virus has caused a huge problem in the world as millions of people are affected by this disease. We aimed at designing a peptide vaccine for COVID-19 particularly for the envelope protein using computational methods to predict epitopes inducing the immune system. The envelope protein sequence of SARS-CoV-2 has been retrieved from the NCBI database. The bioinformatics analysis was carried out by using the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) to predict B- and T-cell epitopes. The predicted HTL and CTL epitopes were docked with HLA alleles and binding energies were evaluated. The allergenicity of predicted epitopes was analyzed, the conservancy analysis was performed, and the population coverage was determined throughout the world. Some overlapped CTL, HTL, and B-cell epitopes were suggested to become a universal candidate for peptide-based vaccine against COVID-19. This vaccine peptide could simultaneously elicit humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. We hope to confirm our findings by adding complementary steps of both <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i> studies to support this new universal predicted candidate.
Project description:The ongoing global health crisis caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus which leads to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted not only the health of people everywhere, but the economy in nations across the world. While vaccine candidates and therapeutics are currently undergoing clinical trials, there is yet to be a proven effective treatment or cure for COVID-19. In this study, we have presented a synergistic computational platform, including molecular dynamics simulations and immunoinformatics techniques, to rationally design a multi-epitope vaccine candidate for COVID-19. This platform combines epitopes across Linear B Lymphocytes (LBL), Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL) and Helper T Lymphocytes (HTL) derived from both mutant and wild-type spike glycoproteins from SARS-CoV-2 with diverse protein conformations. In addition, this vaccine construct also takes the considerable glycan shield of the spike glycoprotein into account, which protects it from immune response. We have identified a vaccine candidate (a 35.9 kDa protein), named COVCCF, which is composed of 5 LBL, 6 HTL, and 6 CTL epitopes from the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Using multi-dose immune simulations, COVCCF induces elevated levels of immunoglobulin activity (IgM, IgG1, IgG2), and induces strong responses from B lymphocytes, CD4 T-helper lymphocytes, and CD8 T-cytotoxic lymphocytes. COVCCF induces cytokines important to innate immunity, including IFN-?, IL4, and IL10. Additionally, COVCCF has ideal pharmacokinetic properties and low immune-related toxicities. In summary, this study provides a powerful, computational vaccine design platform for rapid development of vaccine candidates (including COVCCF) for effective prevention of COVID-19.
Project description:The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) virus has highlighted the need for fast and efficacious vaccine development. Stimulation of a proper immune response that leads to protection is highly dependent on presentation of epitopes to circulating T-cells via the HLA complex. SARS-CoV-2 is a large RNA virus and testing of all of its overlapping peptides in vitro to deconvolute an immune response is not feasible. Therefore HLA-binding prediction tools are often used to narrow down the number of peptides to test. We tested NetMHC suite tools' predictions by using an in vitro peptide-MHC stability assay. We assessed 777 peptides that were predicted to be good binders across 11 MHC alleles in a complex-stability assay and tested a selection of 19 epitope-HLA-binding prediction tools against the assay. In this investigation of potential SARS-CoV-2 epitopes we found that current prediction tools vary in performance when assessing binding stability, and they are highly dependent on the MHC allele in question. Designing a COVID-19 vaccine where only a few epitope targets are included is therefore a very challenging task. Here, we present 174 SARS-CoV-2 epitopes with high prediction binding scores, validated to bind stably to 11 HLA alleles. Our findings may contribute to the design of an efficacious vaccine against COVID-19.
Project description:Ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has raised a drastic challenge to global public health security. Most of the patients with COVID-19 suffer from mild flu-like illnesses such as cold and fever; however, few percentages of the patients progress from severe illness to death, mostly in an immunocompromised individual. The causative agent of COVID-19 is an RNA virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Despite these debilitating conditions, no medication to stop the disease progression or vaccination is available till now. Therefore, we aimed to formulate a multi-epitope vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 by utilizing an immunoinformatics approach. For this purpose, we used the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein to determine the immunodominant T- and B-cell epitopes. After rigorous assessment, we designed a vaccine construct using four potential epitopes from each of the three epitope classes such as cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, helper T-lymphocyte, and linear B-lymphocyte epitopes. The designed vaccine was antigenic, immunogenic, and non-allergenic with suitable physicochemical properties and has higher solubility. More importantly, the predicted vaccine structure was similar to the native protein. Further investigations indicated a strong and stable binding interaction between the vaccine and the toll-like receptor (TLR4). Strong binding stability and structural compactness were also evident in molecular dynamics simulation. Furthermore, the computer-generated immune simulation showed that the vaccine could trigger real-life-like immune responses upon administration into humans. Finally, codon optimization based on Escherichia coli K12 resulted in optimal GC content and higher CAI value followed by incorporating it into the cloning vector pET28+(a). Overall, these results suggest that the designed peptide vaccine can serve as an excellent prophylactic candidate against SARS-CoV-2. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.
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.