Nucleic acid delivery of immune-focused SARS-CoV-2 nanoparticles drives rapid and potent immunogenicity capable of single-dose protection

Cell Rep. 2022 Feb 1;38(5):110318. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110318. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines may target epitopes that reduce durability or increase the potential for escape from vaccine-induced immunity. Using synthetic vaccinology, we have developed rationally immune-focused SARS-CoV-2 Spike-based vaccines. Glycans can be employed to alter antibody responses to infection and vaccines. Utilizing computational modeling and in vitro screening, we have incorporated glycans into the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and assessed antigenic profiles. We demonstrate that glycan-coated RBD immunogens elicit stronger neutralizing antibodies and have engineered seven multivalent configurations. Advanced DNA delivery of engineered nanoparticle vaccines rapidly elicits potent neutralizing antibodies in guinea pigs, hamsters, and multiple mouse models, including human ACE2 and human antibody repertoire transgenics. RBD nanoparticles induce high levels of cross-neutralizing antibodies against variants of concern with durable titers beyond 6 months. Single, low-dose immunization protects against a lethal SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Single-dose coronavirus vaccines via DNA-launched nanoparticles provide a platform for rapid clinical translation of potent and durable coronavirus vaccines.

Keywords: RBD; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 Challenge; computational design; glycans; immune-focusing; nanoparticle; spike; structure-based design; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Binding Sites
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / chemistry
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / genetics
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Epitopes
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Vaccines / chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Vaccines / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Vaccines / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / chemistry
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology
  • Vaccine Potency


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Epitopes
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Vaccines
  • Polysaccharides
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2