Insight into vaccine development for Alpha-coronaviruses based on structural and immunological analyses of spike proteins.

Abstract:

:Coronaviruses that infect humans belong to the Alpha-coronavirus (including HCoV-229E) and Beta-coronavirus (including SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) genera. In particular, SARS-CoV-2 is currently a major threat to public health worldwide. The spike (S) homotrimers bind to their receptors via the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which is a major target to block viral entry. In this study, we selected Alpha-coronavirus (HCoV-229E) and Beta-coronavirus (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) as models. Their RBDs exist two different conformational states (lying or standing) in the prefusion S-trimer structure. Then, the differences in the immune responses to RBDs from these coronaviruses were analyzed structurally and immunologically. Our results showed that more RBD-specific antibodies (antibody titers: 1.28×105; 2.75×105) were induced by the S-trimer with the RBD in the "standing" state (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) than the S-trimer with the RBD in the "lying" state (HCoV-229E, antibody titers: <500), and more S-trimer-specific antibodies were induced by the RBD in the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (antibody titers: 6.72×105; 5×105) than HCoV-229E (antibody titers:1.125×103). Besides, we found that the ability of the HCoV-229E RBD to induce neutralizing antibodies was lower than S-trimer, and the intact and stable S1 subunit was essential for producing efficient neutralizing antibodies against HCoV-229E. Importantly, our results reveal different vaccine strategies for coronaviruses, and S-trimer is better than RBD as a target for vaccine development in Alpha-coronavirus Our findings will provide important implications for future development of coronavirus vaccines.Importance Outbreak of coronaviruses, especially SARS-CoV-2, poses a serious threat to global public health. Development of vaccines to prevent the coronaviruses that can infect humans has always been a top priority. Coronavirus spike (S) protein is considered as a major target for vaccine development. Currently, structural studies have shown that Alpha-coronavirus (HCoV-229E) and Beta-coronavirus (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) RBDs are in "lying" and "standing" states in the prefusion S-trimer structure. Here, we evaluated the ability of S-trimer and RBD to induce neutralizing antibodies among these coronaviruses. Our results showed that the S-trimer and RBD are both candidates for subunit vaccines in Beta-coronavirus (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) with a RBD "standing" state. However, for Alpha-coronavirus (HCoV-229E) with a RBD "lying" state, the S-trimer may be more suitable for subunit vaccines than the RBD. Our results will provide novel ideas for the development of vaccines targeting S protein in the future.

journal_name

J Virol

journal_title

Journal of virology

authors

Shi Y,Shi J,Sun L,Tan Y,Wang G,Guo F,Hu G,Fu Y,Fu ZF,Xiao S,Peng G

doi

10.1128/JVI.02284-20

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2021-01-07 00:00:00

eissn

0022-538X

issn

1098-5514

pii

JVI.02284-20

pub_type

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