Profile Url: haiyan-zhao
Researcher at Washington University
With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with increased transmissibility and potential resistance, antibodies and vaccines with broadly inhibitory activity are needed. Here we developed a panel of neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs that bind the receptor binding domain of the spike protein at distinct epitopes and block virus attachment to cells and its receptor, human angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (hACE2). While several potently neutralizing mAbs protected K18-hACE2 transgenic mice against infection caused by historical SARS-CoV-2 strains, others induced escape variants in vivo and lost activity against emerging strains. We identified one mAb, SARS2-38, that potently neutralizes all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern tested and protects mice against challenge by multiple SARS-CoV-2 strains. Structural analysis showed that SARS2-38 engages a conserved epitope proximal to the receptor binding motif. Thus, treatment with or induction of inhibitory antibodies that bind conserved spike epitopes may limit the loss of potency of therapies or vaccines against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that shows broad antiviral activities against a wide range of enveloped viruses. Here, using an ISG screen against VSV-SARS-CoV and VSV-SARS-CoV-2 chimeric viruses, we identified CH25H and its enzymatic product 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) as potent inhibitors of virus replication. Mechanistically, internalized 25HC accumulates in the late endosomes and blocks cholesterol export, thereby restricting SARS-CoV-2 spike protein catalyzed membrane fusion. Our results highlight a unique antiviral mechanism of 25HC and provide the molecular basis for its possible therapeutic development. ### Competing Interest Statement M.S.D. is a consultant for Inbios, Eli Lilly, Vir Biotechnology, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, and Emergent BioSolutions and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Moderna. The Diamond laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine has received sponsored research agreements from Moderna. Invention disclosure filed with Washington University in St. Louis for the recombinant VSV-SARS-CoV-2 used herein.
Cell Host & Microbe, 2020-07-03
Antibody-based interventions against SARS-CoV-2 could limit morbidity, mortality, and possibly disrupt epidemic transmission. An anticipated correlate of such countermeasures is the level of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, yet there is no consensus as to which assay should be used for such measurements. Using an infectious molecular clone of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) that expresses eGFP as a marker of infection, we replaced the glycoprotein gene (G) with the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2) and developed a high-throughput imaging-based neutralization assay at biosafety level 2. We also developed a focus reduction neutralization test with a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2 at biosafety level 3. We compared the neutralizing activities of monoclonal and polyclonal antibody preparations, as well as ACE2-Fc soluble decoy protein in both assays and find an exceptionally high degree of concordance. The two assays will help define correlates of protection for antibody-based countermeasures including therapeutic antibodies, immune γ-globulin or plasma preparations, and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Replication-competent VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 provides a rapid assay for testing inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 mediated entry that can be performed in 7.5 hours under reduced biosafety containment. ### Competing Interest Statement M.S.D. is a consultant for Inbios, Vir Biotechnology, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Moderna. D.C. and H.W.V. are employees of Vir Biotechnology Inc. and may hold shares in Vir Biotechnology Inc. S.P.J.W. and P.W.R. have filed a disclosure with Washington University for the recombinant VSV.
Although neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein are a goal of COVID-19 vaccines and have received emergency use authorization as therapeutics, viral escape mutants could compromise their efficacy. To define the immune-selected mutational landscape in S protein, we used a VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2-S chimeric virus and 19 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) to generate 50 different escape mutants. The variants were mapped onto the RBD structure and evaluated for cross-resistance to mAbs and convalescent human sera. Each mAb had a unique resistance profile, although many shared residues within an epitope. Some variants (e.g., S477N) were resistant to neutralization by multiple mAbs, whereas others (e.g., E484K) escaped neutralization by convalescent sera, suggesting some humans induce a narrow repertoire of neutralizing antibodies. Comparing the antibody-mediated mutational landscape in S with sequence variation in circulating SARS-CoV-2, we define substitutions that may attenuate neutralizing immune responses in some humans.