Esposito G, Hunashal Y, Percipalle M, Venit T, Dieng MM, Fogolari F, Hassanzadeh G, Piano F, Gunsalus KC, Idaghdour Y, Percipalle P
Adv Biol (Weinh) - (-) e2101113 [2021-10-27; online 2021-10-27]
Following the entry into the host cell, SARS-CoV-2 replication is mediated by the replication transcription complex (RTC) assembled through a number of nonstructural proteins (Nsps). A monomeric form of Nsp9 is particularly important for RTC assembly and function. In the present study, 136 unique nanobodies targeting Nsp9 are generated. Several nanobodies belonging to different B-cell lineages are expressed, purified, and characterized. Results from immunoassays applied to purified Nsp9 and neat saliva from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients show that these nanobodies effectively and specifically recognize both recombinant and endogenous Nsp9. Nuclear magnetic resonance analyses supported by molecular dynamics reveal a composite Nsp9 oligomerization pattern and demonstrate that both nanobodies stabilize the tetrameric form of wild-type Nsp9 also identifying the epitopes on the tetrameric assembly. These results can have important implications in the potential use of these nanobodies to combat viral replication.