Structural features of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spike protein: Targets for vaccination

Life Sci. 2020 Sep 15;257:118056. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118056. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Abstract

Various human pathogenic viruses employ envelope glycoproteins for host cell receptor recognition and binding, membrane fusion and viral entry. The spike (S) glycoprotein of betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a homotrimeric class I fusion protein that exists in a metastable conformation for cleavage by host cell proteases furin and TMPRSS2, thereby undergoing substantial structural rearrangement for ACE2 host cell receptor binding and subsequent viral entry by membrane fusion. The S protein is densely decorated with N-linked glycans protruding from the trimer surface that affect S protein folding, processing by host cell proteases and the elicitation of humoral immune response. Deep insight into the sophisticated structure of SARS-CoV-2 S protein may provide a blueprint for vaccination strategies, as reviewed herein.

Keywords: ACE2; Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2; Immune response; Protein structure; Receptor binding domain; Spike protein; Vaccination; Viral fusion protein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / metabolism
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Virus Internalization

Substances

  • Receptors, Virus
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2