Microbiology & Immunology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 2826
Application of an evidence-based, out-patient treatment strategy for COVID-19: Multidisciplinary medical practice principles to prevent severe disease.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-07-15)
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated individuals, families, and institutions throughout the world. Despite the breakneck speed of vaccine development, the human population remains at risk of further devastation. The decision to not become vaccinated, the protracted rollout of available vaccine, vaccine failure, mutational forms of the SARS virus, which may exhibit mounting resistance to our molecular strike at only one form of the viral family, and the rapid ability of the virus(es) to hitch a ride on our global transportation systems, means that we are will likely continue to confront an invisible, yet devastating foe. The enemy targets one of our human physiology's most important and vulnerable life-preserving body tissues, our broncho-alveolar gas exchange apparatus. Notwithstanding the fear and the fury of this microbe's potential to raise existential questions across the entire spectrum of human endeavor, the application of an early treatment intervention initiative may represent a crucial tool in our defensive strategy. This strategy is driven by evidence-based medical practice principles, those not likely to become antiquated, given the molecular diversity and mutational evolution of this very clever "world traveler".
Structural basis of differential neutralization of DENV-1 genotypes by an antibody that recognizes a cryptic epitope.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2012)
We previously developed a panel of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against Dengue virus (DENV)-1, of which few exhibited inhibitory activity against all DENV-1 genotypes. This finding is consistent with reports observing variable neutralization of different DENV strains and genotypes using serum from individuals that experienced natural infection or immunization. Herein, we describe the crystal structures of DENV1-E111 bound to a novel CC' loop epitope on domain III (DIII) of the E protein from two different DENV-1 genotypes. Docking of our structure onto the available cryo-electron microscopy models of DENV virions revealed that the DENV1-E111 epitope was inaccessible, suggesting that this antibody recognizes an uncharacterized virus conformation. While the affinity of binding between DENV1-E111 and DIII varied by genotype, we observed limited correlation with inhibitory activity. Instead, our results support the conclusion that potent neutralization depends on genotype-dependent exposure of the CC' loop epitope. These findings establish new structural complexity of the DENV virion, which may be relevant for the choice of DENV strain for induction or analysis of neutralizing antibodies in the context of vaccine development.
Development of a highly protective combination monoclonal antibody therapy against Chikungunya virus.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2013)
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus that causes global epidemics of a debilitating polyarthritis in humans. As there is a pressing need for the development of therapeutic agents, we screened 230 new mouse anti-CHIKV monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for their ability to inhibit infection of all three CHIKV genotypes. Four of 36 neutralizing MAbs (CHK-102, CHK-152, CHK-166, and CHK-263) provided complete protection against lethality as prophylaxis in highly susceptible immunocompromised mice lacking the type I IFN receptor (Ifnar(-/-) ) and mapped to distinct epitopes on the E1 and E2 structural proteins. CHK-152, the most protective MAb, was humanized, shown to block viral fusion, and require Fc effector function for optimal activity in vivo. In post-exposure therapeutic trials, administration of a single dose of a combination of two neutralizing MAbs (CHK-102+CHK-152 or CHK-166+CHK-152) limited the development of resistance and protected immunocompromised mice against disease when given 24 to 36 hours before CHIKV-induced death. Selected pairs of highly neutralizing MAbs may be a promising treatment option for CHIKV in humans.
Potent dengue virus neutralization by a therapeutic antibody with low monovalent affinity requires bivalent engagement.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2014-04)
We recently described our most potently neutralizing monoclonal antibody, E106, which protected against lethal Dengue virus type 1 (DENV-1) infection in mice. To further understand its functional properties, we determined the crystal structure of E106 Fab in complex with domain III (DIII) of DENV-1 envelope (E) protein to 2.45 Å resolution. Analysis of the complex revealed a small antibody-antigen interface with the epitope on DIII composed of nine residues along the lateral ridge and A-strand regions. Despite strong virus neutralizing activity of E106 IgG at picomolar concentrations, E106 Fab exhibited a ∼20,000-fold decrease in virus neutralization and bound isolated DIII, E, or viral particles with only a micromolar monovalent affinity. In comparison, E106 IgG bound DENV-1 virions with nanomolar avidity. The E106 epitope appears readily accessible on virions, as neutralization was largely temperature-independent. Collectively, our data suggest that E106 neutralizes DENV-1 infection through bivalent engagement of adjacent DIII subunits on a single virion. The isolation of anti-flavivirus antibodies that require bivalent binding to inhibit infection efficiently may be a rare event due to the unique icosahedral arrangement of envelope proteins on the virion surface.
Isolation and Full-Genome Characterization of Nipah Viruses from Bats, Bangladesh
(CENTERS DISEASE CONTROL, 2019-01-01)
Despite molecular and serologic evidence of Nipah virus in bats from various locations, attempts to isolate live virus have been largely unsuccessful. We report isolation and full-genome characterization of 10 Nipah virus isolates from Pteropus medius bats sampled in Bangladesh during 2013 and 2014.
Viruses in bats and potential spillover to animals and humans
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2019-02-01)
In the last two decades, several high impact zoonotic disease outbreaks have been linked to bat-borne viruses. These include SARS coronavirus, Hendra virus and Nipah virus. In addition, it has been suspected that ebolaviruses and MERS coronavirus are also linked to bats. It is being increasingly accepted that bats are potential reservoirs of a large number of known and unknown viruses, many of which could spillover into animal and human populations. However, our knowledge into basic bat biology and immunology is very limited and we have little understanding of major factors contributing to the risk of bat virus spillover events. Here we provide a brief review of the latest findings in bat viruses and their potential risk of cross-species transmission.
Connecting clusters of COVID-19: an epidemiological and serological investigation
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2020-07-01)
BACKGROUND: Elucidation of the chain of disease transmission and identification of the source of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections are crucial for effective disease containment. We describe an epidemiological investigation that, with use of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serological assays, established links between three clusters of COVID-19. METHODS: In Singapore, active case-finding and contact tracing were undertaken for all COVID-19 cases. Diagnosis for acute disease was confirmed with RT-PCR testing. When epidemiological information suggested that people might have been nodes of disease transmission but had recovered from illness, SARS-CoV-2 IgG serology testing was used to establish past infection. FINDINGS: Three clusters of COVID-19, comprising 28 locally transmitted cases, were identified in Singapore; these clusters were from two churches (Church A and Church B) and a family gathering. The clusters in Church A and Church B were linked by an individual from Church A (A2), who transmitted SARS-CoV-2 infection to the primary case from Church B (F1) at a family gathering they both attended on Jan 25, 2020. All cases were confirmed by RT-PCR testing because they had active disease, except for A2, who at the time of testing had recovered from their illness and tested negative. This individual was eventually diagnosed with past infection by serological testing. ELISA assays showed an optical density of more than 1·4 for SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein and receptor binding domain antigens in titres up to 1/400, and viral neutralisation was noted in titres up to 1/320. INTERPRETATION: Development and application of a serological assay has helped to establish connections between COVID-19 clusters in Singapore. Serological testing can have a crucial role in identifying convalescent cases or people with milder disease who might have been missed by other surveillance methods. FUNDING: National Research Foundation (Singapore), National Natural Science Foundation (China), and National Medical Research Council (Singapore).
Dampened NLRP3-mediated inflammation in bats and implications for a special viral reservoir host
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-05-01)
Bats are special in their ability to host emerging viruses. As the only flying mammal, bats endure high metabolic rates yet exhibit elongated lifespans. It is currently unclear whether these unique features are interlinked. The important inflammasome sensor, NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3), has been linked to both viral-induced and age-related inflammation. Here, we report significantly dampened activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in bat primary immune cells compared to human or mouse counterparts. Lower induction of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) speck formation and secretion of interleukin-1β in response to both 'sterile' stimuli and infection with multiple zoonotic viruses including influenza A virus (-single-stranded (ss) RNA), Melaka virus (PRV3M, double-stranded RNA) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (+ssRNA) was observed. Importantly, this reduction of inflammation had no impact on the overall viral loads. We identified dampened transcriptional priming, a novel splice variant and an altered leucine-rich repeat domain of bat NLRP3 as the cause. Our results elucidate an important mechanism through which bats dampen inflammation with implications for longevity and unique viral reservoir status.
Viral dynamics and immune correlates of COVID-19 disease severity.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-08-28)
BACKGROUND: Key knowledge gaps remain in the understanding of viral dynamics and immune response of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We evaluated these characteristics and established their association with clinical severity in a prospective observational cohort study of 100 patients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (mean age 46 years, 56% male, 38% with comorbidities). Respiratory samples (n=74) were collected for viral culture, serum samples for measurement of IgM/IgG levels (n=30), and plasma samples for levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines (n=81). Disease severity was correlated with results from viral culture, serologic testing, and immune markers. RESULTS: 57 (57%) patients developed viral pneumonia, of whom 20 (20%) required supplemental oxygen including 12 (12%) invasive mechanical ventilation. Viral culture from respiratory samples was positive for 19 of 74 patients (26%). No virus was isolated when the PCR cycle threshold (Ct) value was >30 or >14 days after symptom onset. Seroconversion occurred at a median of 12.5 days (IQR 9-18) for IgM and 15.0 days (IQR 12-20) for IgG; 54/62 patients (87.1%) sampled at day 14 or later seroconverted. Severe infections were associated with earlier seroconversion and higher peak IgM and IgG levels. Levels of IP-10, HGF, IL-6, MCP-1, MIP-1α, IL-12p70, IL-18, VEGF-A, PDGF-BB and IL-1RA significantly correlated with disease severity. CONCLUSION: We found virus viability was associated with lower PCR Ct value in early illness. A stronger antibody response was associated with disease severity. The overactive proinflammatory immune signatures offers targets for host-directed immunotherapy which should be evaluated in randomised controlled trials.