Pseudotyping of VSV with Ebola virus glycoprotein is superior to HIV-1 for the assessment of neutralising antibodies

February 15, 2022 0 Comments

Ebola virus (EBOV) is an enveloped, single-stranded RNA virus that can cause Ebola virus disease (EVD). It is thought that EVD survivors are protected against subsequent infection with EBOV and that neutralising antibodies to the viral surface glycoprotein (GP) are potential correlates of protection. Serological studies are vital to assess neutralising antibodies targeted to EBOV GP; however, handling of EBOV is limited to containment level 4 laboratories. Pseudotyped viruses can be used as alternatives to live viruses, which require high levels of bio-containment, in serological and viral entry assays. However, neutralisation capacity can differ among pseudotyped virus platforms. We evaluated the suitability of EBOV GP pseudotyped human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to measure the neutralising ability of plasma from EVD survivors, when compared to results from a live EBOV neutralisation assay. The sensitivity, specificity and correlation with live EBOV neutralisation were greater for the VSV-based pseudotyped virus system, which is particularly important when evaluating EBOV vaccine responses and immuno-therapeutics. Therefore, the EBOV GP pseudotyped VSV neutralisation assay reported here could be used to provide a better understanding of the putative correlates of protection against EBOV.

Neutralizing Antibody and Soluble ACE2 Inhibition of a Replication-Competent VSV-SARS-CoV-2 and a Clinical Isolate of SARS-CoV-2

Antibody-based interventions against SARS-CoV-2 could limit morbidity, mortality, and possibly transmission. An anticipated correlate of such countermeasures is the level of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which engages with host ACE2 receptor for entry. Using an infectious molecular clone of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing 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. Comparing the neutralizing activities of various antibodies and ACE2-Fc soluble decoy protein in both assays revealed a high degree of concordance. These assays will help define correlates of protection for antibody-based countermeasures and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, replication-competent VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 provides a tool for testing inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 mediated entry under reduced biosafety containment.

Neutralizing Antibody and Soluble ACE2 Inhibition of a Replication-Competent VSV-SARS-CoV-2 and a Clinical Isolate of SARS-CoV-2

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.
Funding: This study was supported by NIH contracts and grants (75N93019C00062, HHSN272201700060C and R01 AI127828, R37 AI059371 and U01 AI151810) and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (HR001117S0019) and gifts from Washington University in Saint Louis. J.B.C. is supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. Conflict of Interest: 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. Ethical Approval: This study was approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board.

VSV-Displayed HIV-1 Envelope Identifies Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Class-Switched to IgG and IgA.

The HIV-1 envelope (Env) undergoes conformational changes during infection. Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are typically isolated by using soluble Env trimers, which do not capture all Env states. To address these limitations, we devised a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based probe to display membrane-embedded Env trimers and isolated five bNAbs from two chronically infected donors, M4008 and M1214. Donor B cell receptor (BCR) repertoires identified two bNAb lineages, M4008_N1 and M1214_N1, that class-switched to immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA.
Variants of these bNAbs reconstituted as IgA demonstrated broadly neutralizing activity, and the IgA fraction of M1214 plasma conferred neutralization. M4008_N1 epitope mapping revealed a glycan-independent V3 epitope conferring tier 2 virus neutralization. A 4.86-Å-resolution cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of M1214_N1 complexed with CH505 SOSIP revealed another elongated epitope, the V2V5 corridor, extending from V2 to V5. Overall, the VSVENV probe identified bNAb lineages with neutralizing IgG and IgA members targeting distinct sites of HIV-1 Env vulnerability.

Magnetic targeting of oncolytic VSV-based therapies improves infection of tumor cells in the presence of virus-specific neutralizing antibodies in vitro

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are a class of biotherapeutics that are currently being explored for the treatment of cancer. While showing promise in several pre-clinical and clinical studies, systemic delivery of these anti-cancer agents is hampered by inefficient tumor targeting and a host immune system that is highly evolved to detect and neutralize pathogens. To shield the virus from immune recognition and destruction, the use of cells as delivery vehicles has been explored for the systemic delivery of OVs. Though several types of cell carriers are able to protect OVs during intravenous delivery, many still lack the ability to specifically home to or accumulate within the tumor microenvironment.

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  • Overall, OV-based therapeutics could benefit from tumor targeting strategies to maximize tumor-specific delivery and minimize infection of off-target tissues.
  • In the current study, we examine magnetic targeting as a strategy to improve OV infection of tumor cells in vitro.
  • We found that magnetic targeting of magnetically-labeled VSV particles or VSV-infected cell carriers resulted in increased infection and killing of tumor cells.
  • Furthermore, this enhanced infection of target tumor cells was observed even in the presence of virus-specific neutralizing antibodies.
  • Overall, our findings suggest that magnetic targeting strategies can improve the infection of tumor cells and may be a viable strategy to improve the tumor-targeted delivery of oncolytic VSV-based therapeutics.

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