Structure of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein

Curr Opin Virol. 2021 Oct;50:173-182. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2021.08.010. Epub 2021 Sep 8.


The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to loss of human life in millions and devastating socio-economic consequences worldwide. The disease has created urgent needs for intervention strategies to control the crisis and meeting these needs requires a deep understanding of the structure-function relationships of viral proteins and relevant host factors. The trimeric spike (S) protein of the virus decorates the viral surface and is an important target for development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Rapid progress in the structural biology of SARS-CoV-2 S protein has been made since the early stage of the pandemic, advancing our knowledge on the viral entry process considerably. In this review, we summarize our latest understanding of the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein and discuss the implications for vaccines and therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / chemistry
  • Binding Sites
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology
  • Protein Domains
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / physiology


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