Enhanced elicitation of potent neutralizing antibodies by the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain Fc fusion protein in mice

Xianglei Liu, Aleksandra Drelich, Wei Li, Chuan Chen, Zehua Sun, Megan Shi, Cynthia Adams, John W. Mellors, Chien Te Tseng, Dimiter S. Dimitrov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The development of an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed. We generated SARS-CoV-2 RBD-Fc fusion protein and evaluated its potency to elicit neutralizing antibody response in mice. RBD-Fc elicited a higher neutralizing antibodies titer than RBD as evaluated by a pseudovirus neutralization assay and a live virus based microneutralization assay. Furthermore, RBD-Fc immunized sera better inhibited cell–cell fusion, as evaluated by a quantitative cell–cell fusion assay. The cell–cell fusion assay results correlated well with the virus neutralization potency and could be used for high-throughput screening of large panels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and vaccines without the requirement of live virus infection in BSL3 containment. Moreover, the anti-RBD sera did not enhance the pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 infection of K562 cells. These results demonstrate that Fc fusion can significantly improve the humoral immune response to recombinant RBD immunogen, and suggest that RBD-Fc could serve as a useful component of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7205-7212
Number of pages8
JournalVaccine
Volume38
Issue number46
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 27 2020

Keywords

  • Cell–cell fusion assay
  • Receptor-binding domain (RBD)
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Subunit vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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