Publications by authors named "Brooke Fiala"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Engineered SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain improves manufacturability in yeast and immunogenicity in mice.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 09;118(38)

Bioqual, Inc., Rockville, MD 20850.

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing cost. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2106845118DOI Listing
September 2021

Stabilization of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Receptor-Binding Domain Using Deep Mutational Scanning and Structure-Based Design.

Front Immunol 2021 29;12:710263. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.

The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40°C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.710263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8276696PMC
July 2021

Adjuvanting a subunit COVID-19 vaccine to induce protective immunity.

Nature 2021 06 19;594(7862):253-258. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA, USA.

The development of a portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the global population remains an urgent public health imperative. Here we demonstrate the capacity of a subunit vaccine, comprising the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain displayed on an I53-50 protein nanoparticle scaffold (hereafter designated RBD-NP), to stimulate robust and durable neutralizing-antibody responses and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques. We evaluated five adjuvants including Essai O/W 1849101, a squalene-in-water emulsion; AS03, an α-tocopherol-containing oil-in-water emulsion; AS37, a Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist adsorbed to alum; CpG1018-alum, a TLR9 agonist formulated in alum; and alum. RBD-NP immunization with AS03, CpG1018-alum, AS37 or alum induced substantial neutralizing-antibody and CD4 T cell responses, and conferred protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pharynges, nares and bronchoalveolar lavage. The neutralizing-antibody response to live virus was maintained up to 180 days after vaccination with RBD-NP in AS03 (RBD-NP-AS03), and correlated with protection from infection. RBD-NP immunization cross-neutralized the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant efficiently but showed a reduced response against the B.1.351 variant. RBD-NP-AS03 produced a 4.5-fold reduction in neutralization of B.1.351 whereas the group immunized with RBD-NP-AS37 produced a 16-fold reduction in neutralization of B.1.351, suggesting differences in the breadth of the neutralizing-antibody response induced by these adjuvants. Furthermore, RBD-NP-AS03 was as immunogenic as a prefusion-stabilized spike immunogen (HexaPro) with AS03 adjuvant. These data highlight the efficacy of the adjuvanted RBD-NP vaccine in promoting protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and have led to phase I/II clinical trials of this vaccine (NCT04742738 and NCT04750343).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03530-2DOI Listing
June 2021

Elicitation of broadly protective sarbecovirus immunity by receptor-binding domain nanoparticle vaccines.

bioRxiv 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Understanding the ability of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-elicited antibodies to neutralize and protect against emerging variants of concern and other sarbecoviruses is key for guiding vaccine development decisions and public health policies. We show that a clinical stage multivalent SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain nanoparticle vaccine (SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP) protects mice from SARS-CoV-2-induced disease after a single shot, indicating that the vaccine could allow dose-sparing. SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP elicits high antibody titers in two non-human primate (NHP) models against multiple distinct RBD antigenic sites known to be recognized by neutralizing antibodies. We benchmarked NHP serum neutralizing activity elicited by RBD-NP against a lead prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen using a panel of single-residue spike mutants detected in clinical isolates as well as the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern. Polyclonal antibodies elicited by both vaccines are resilient to most RBD mutations tested, but the E484K substitution has similar negative consequences for neutralization, and exhibit modest but comparable neutralization breadth against distantly related sarbecoviruses. We demonstrate that mosaic and cocktail sarbecovirus RBD-NPs elicit broad sarbecovirus neutralizing activity, including against the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant, and protect mice against severe SARS-CoV challenge even in the absence of the SARS-CoV RBD in the vaccine. This study provides proof of principle that sarbecovirus RBD-NPs induce heterotypic protection and enables advancement of broadly protective sarbecovirus vaccines to the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.15.435528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7986998PMC
March 2021

Adjuvanting a subunit SARS-CoV-2 nanoparticle vaccine to induce protective immunity in non-human primates.

bioRxiv 2021 Feb 11. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

The development of a portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to vaccinate the global population remains an urgent public health imperative. Here, we demonstrate the capacity of a subunit vaccine under clinical development, comprising the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor-binding domain displayed on a two-component protein nanoparticle (RBD-NP), to stimulate robust and durable neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates. We evaluated five different adjuvants combined with RBD-NP including Essai O/W 1849101, a squalene-in-water emulsion; AS03, an alpha-tocopherol-containing squalene-based oil-in-water emulsion used in pandemic influenza vaccines; AS37, a TLR-7 agonist adsorbed to Alum; CpG 1018-Alum (CpG-Alum), a TLR-9 agonist formulated in Alum; or Alum, the most widely used adjuvant. All five adjuvants induced substantial nAb and CD4 T cell responses after two consecutive immunizations. Durable nAb responses were evaluated for RBD-NP/AS03 immunization and the live-virus nAb response was durably maintained up to 154 days post-vaccination. AS03, CpG-Alum, AS37 and Alum groups conferred significant protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pharynges, nares and in the bronchoalveolar lavage. The nAb titers were highly correlated with protection against infection. Furthermore, RBD-NP when used in conjunction with AS03 was as potent as the prefusion stabilized Spike immunogen, HexaPro. Taken together, these data highlight the efficacy of the RBD-NP formulated with clinically relevant adjuvants in promoting robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.10.430696DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885918PMC
February 2021

Dynamics of Neutralizing Antibody Titers in the Months After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection.

J Infect Dis 2021 02;223(2):197-205

Division of Basic Sciences and Computational Biology Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Most individuals infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) develop neutralizing antibodies that target the viral spike protein. In this study, we quantified how levels of these antibodies change in the months after SARS-CoV-2 infection by examining longitudinal samples collected approximately 30-152 days after symptom onset from a prospective cohort of 32 recovered individuals with asymptomatic, mild, or moderate-severe disease. Neutralizing antibody titers declined an average of about 4-fold from 1 to 4 months after symptom onset. This decline in neutralizing antibody titers was accompanied by a decline in total antibodies capable of binding the viral spike protein or its receptor-binding domain. Importantly, our data are consistent with the expected early immune response to viral infection, where an initial peak in antibody levels is followed by a decline to a lower plateau. Additional studies of long-lived B cells and antibody titers over longer time frames are necessary to determine the durability of immunity to SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa618DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7543487PMC
February 2021

Functional SARS-CoV-2-Specific Immune Memory Persists after Mild COVID-19.

Cell 2021 01 23;184(1):169-183.e17. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Electronic address:

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is causing a global pandemic, and cases continue to rise. Most infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that could contribute to immunity. We performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mild COVID-19 to determine whether they develop and sustain multifaceted SARS-CoV-2-specific immunological memory. Recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies, neutralizing plasma, and memory B and memory T cells that persisted for at least 3 months. Our data further reveal that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG memory B cells increased over time. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral function: memory T cells secreted cytokines and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, whereas memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks of antiviral immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682481PMC
January 2021

Elicitation of Potent Neutralizing Antibody Responses by Designed Protein Nanoparticle Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.

Cell 2020 11 31;183(5):1367-1382.e17. Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers 10-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized spike despite a 5-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the RBD nanoparticles target multiple distinct epitopes, suggesting they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the assembled nanoparticles suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the SARS-CoV-2-RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7604136PMC
November 2020

Functional SARS-CoV-2-specific immune memory persists after mild COVID-19.

Res Sq 2020 Aug 13. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.

The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently causing a global pandemic and cases continue to rise. The majority of infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that might contribute to herd immunity. Thus, we performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mildly symptomatic COVID-19 to determine if they develop and sustain immunological memory against the virus. We found that recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody and neutralizing plasma, as well as virus-specific memory B and T cells that not only persisted, but in some cases increased numerically over three months following symptom onset. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral immunity: memory T cells secreted IFN-γ and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, while memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as antibodies. These findings demonstrate that mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks associated with antiviral protective immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-57112/v1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430600PMC
August 2020

Functional SARS-CoV-2-specific immune memory persists after mild COVID-19.

medRxiv 2020 Aug 15. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently causing a global pandemic and cases continue to rise. The majority of infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that might contribute to herd immunity. Thus, we performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mildly symptomatic COVID-19 to determine if they develop and sustain immunological memory against the virus. We found that recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody and neutralizing plasma, as well as virus-specific memory B and T cells that not only persisted, but in some cases increased numerically over three months following symptom onset. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral immunity: memory T cells secreted IFN-γ and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, while memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as antibodies. These findings demonstrate that mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks associated with antiviral protective immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.11.20171843DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430599PMC
August 2020

Elicitation of potent neutralizing antibody responses by designed protein nanoparticle vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.

bioRxiv 2020 Aug 12. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is urgently needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Here, we describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers roughly ten-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized S ectodomain trimer despite a more than five-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the nanoparticle immunogens target multiple distinct epitopes on the RBD, suggesting that they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a significantly lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the protein components and assembled nanoparticles, especially compared to the SARS-CoV-2 prefusion-stabilized S trimer, suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms for inducing potent neutralizing antibody responses and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the lead RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.11.247395DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430571PMC
August 2020

Enhancing and shaping the immunogenicity of native-like HIV-1 envelope trimers with a two-component protein nanoparticle.

Nat Commun 2019 09 19;10(1):4272. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 98195, USA.

The development of native-like HIV-1 envelope (Env) trimer antigens has enabled the induction of neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses against neutralization-resistant HIV-1 strains in animal models. However, NAb responses are relatively weak and narrow in specificity. Displaying antigens in a multivalent fashion on nanoparticles (NPs) is an established strategy to increase their immunogenicity. Here we present the design and characterization of two-component protein NPs displaying 20 stabilized SOSIP trimers from various HIV-1 strains. The two-component nature permits the incorporation of exclusively well-folded, native-like Env trimers into NPs that self-assemble in vitro with high efficiency. Immunization studies show that the NPs are particularly efficacious as priming immunogens, improve the quality of the Ab response over a conventional one-component nanoparticle system, and are most effective when SOSIP trimers with an apex-proximate neutralizing epitope are displayed. Their ability to enhance and shape the immunogenicity of SOSIP trimers make these NPs a promising immunogen platform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12080-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6753213PMC
September 2019

Induction of Potent Neutralizing Antibody Responses by a Designed Protein Nanoparticle Vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

Cell 2019 03;176(6):1420-1431.e17

Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a worldwide public health concern for which no vaccine is available. Elucidation of the prefusion structure of the RSV F glycoprotein and its identification as the main target of neutralizing antibodies have provided new opportunities for development of an effective vaccine. Here, we describe the structure-based design of a self-assembling protein nanoparticle presenting a prefusion-stabilized variant of the F glycoprotein trimer (DS-Cav1) in a repetitive array on the nanoparticle exterior. The two-component nature of the nanoparticle scaffold enabled the production of highly ordered, monodisperse immunogens that display DS-Cav1 at controllable density. In mice and nonhuman primates, the full-valency nanoparticle immunogen displaying 20 DS-Cav1 trimers induced neutralizing antibody responses ∼10-fold higher than trimeric DS-Cav1. These results motivate continued development of this promising nanoparticle RSV vaccine candidate and establish computationally designed two-component nanoparticles as a robust and customizable platform for structure-based vaccine design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.01.046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6424820PMC
March 2019

Discovery and engineering of enhanced SUMO protease enzymes.

J Biol Chem 2018 08 5;293(34):13224-13233. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

From the Institute for Protein Design,

Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is commonly used as a protein fusion domain to facilitate expression and purification of recombinant proteins, and a SUMO-specific protease is then used to remove SUMO from these proteins. Although this protease is highly specific, its limited solubility and stability hamper its utility as an reagent. Here, we report improved SUMO protease enzymes obtained via two approaches. First, we developed a computational method and used it to re-engineer WT Ulp1 from to improve protein solubility. Second, we discovered an improved SUMO protease via genomic mining of the thermophilic fungus , as proteins from thermophilic organisms are commonly employed as reagent enzymes. Following expression in , we found that these re-engineered enzymes can be more thermostable and up to 12 times more soluble, all while retaining WT-or-better levels of SUMO protease activity. The computational method we developed to design solubility-enhancing substitutions is based on the RosettaScripts application for the macromolecular modeling suite Rosetta, and it is broadly applicable for the improvement of solution properties of other proteins. Moreover, we determined the X-ray crystal structure of a SUMO protease from to 1.44 Å resolution. This structure revealed that this enzyme exhibits structural and functional conservation with the SUMO protease, despite exhibiting only 28% sequence identity. In summary, by re-engineering the Ulp1 protease and discovering a SUMO protease from , we have obtained proteases that are more soluble, more thermostable, and more efficient than the current commercially available Ulp1 enzyme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA118.004146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6109922PMC
August 2018
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