An engineered receptor-binding domain improves the immunogenicity of multivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. D. QuinlanMichael Farzan

Abstract

The SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein mediates viral entry into cells expressing the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The S protein engages ACE2 through its receptor-binding domain (RBD), an independently folded 197-amino acid fragment of the 1273-amino acid S-protein protomer. The RBD is the primary SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing epitope and a critical target of any SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Here we show that this RBD conjugated to each of two carrier proteins elicited more potent neutralizing responses in immunized rodents than did a similarly conjugated proline-stabilized S-protein ectodomain. Nonetheless, the native RBD expresses inefficiently, limiting its usefulness as a vaccine antigen. However, we show that an RBD engineered with four novel glycosylation sites (gRBD) expresses markedly more efficiently, and generates a more potent neutralizing responses as a DNA vaccine antigen, than the wild-type RBD or the full-length S protein, especially when fused to multivalent carriers such as an H. pylori ferritin 24-mer. Further, gRBD is more immunogenic than the wild-type RBD when administered as a subunit protein vaccine. Our data suggest that multivalent gRBD antigens can reduce costs and doses, and improve the imm...Continue Reading

Datasets Mentioned

BETA
AHZ55917.1
KU955593.1

Methods Mentioned

BETA
flow cytometry
glycosylation
transfection
Assay
electrophoresis

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