Making sense of spike D614G in SARS-CoV-2 transmission

Sci China Life Sci. 2021 Jul;64(7):1062-1067. doi: 10.1007/s11427-020-1893-9. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has evolved to adapt to human host and transmission over the past 12 months. One prominent adaptive mutation is the asparagine-to-glycine substitution at amino acid position 614 in the viral spike protein (D614G), which has become dominant in the currently circulating virus strains. Since spike protein determines host ranges, tissue tropism, and pathogenesis through binding to the cellular receptor of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the D614G mutation is hypothesized to enhance viral fitness in human host, leading to increased transmission during the global pandemic. Here we summarize the recent progress on the role of the D614G mutation in viral replication, pathogenesis, transmission, and vaccine and therapeutic antibody development. These findings underscore the importance in closely monitoring viral evolution and defining their functions to ensure countermeasure efficacy against newly emerging variants.

Keywords: COVID-19; D614G; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / chemistry
  • Animals
  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / physiology
  • Virus Replication


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2