Miller A, Leach A, Thomas J, McAndrew C, Bentley E, Mattiuzzo G, John L, Mirazimi A, Harris G, Gamage N, Carr S, Ali H, Van Montfort R, Rabbitts T
Sci Rep 11 (1) 10617 [2021-05-19; online 2021-05-19]
Approaches are needed for therapy of the severe acute respiratory syndrome from SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19). Interfering with the interaction of viral antigens with the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor is a promising strategy by blocking the infection of the coronaviruses into human cells. We have implemented a novel protein engineering technology to produce a super-potent tetravalent form of ACE2, coupled to the human immunoglobulin γ1 Fc region, using a self-assembling, tetramerization domain from p53 protein. This high molecular weight Quad protein (ACE2-Fc-TD) retains binding to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding spike protein and can form a complex with the spike protein plus anti-viral antibodies. The ACE2-Fc-TD acts as a powerful decoy protein that out-performs soluble monomeric and dimeric ACE2 proteins and blocks both SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus and SARS-CoV-2 virus infection with greatly enhanced efficacy. The ACE2 tetrameric protein complex promise to be important for development as decoy therapeutic proteins against COVID-19. In contrast to monoclonal antibodies, ACE2 decoy is unlikely to be affected by mutations in SARS-CoV-2 that are beginning to appear in variant forms. In addition, ACE2 multimeric proteins will be available as therapeutic proteins should new coronaviruses appear in the future because these are likely to interact with ACE2 receptor.