Tuesday, August 18, 2020

In situ structural analysis of SARS-CoV-2 spike reveals flexibility mediated by three hinges

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is required for cell entry and is the major focus for vaccine development. Here, we combine cryo electron tomography, subtomogram averaging and molecular dynamics simulations to structurally analyze S in situ. Compared to recombinant S, the viral S was more heavily glycosylated and occurred mostly in the closed pre-fusion conformation. We show that the stalk domain of S contains three hinges, giving the head unexpected orientational freedom. We propose that the hinges allow S to scan the host cell surface, shielded from antibodies by an extensive glycan coat. The structure of native S contributes to our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of safe vaccines.

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COVID-19 patient discusses road to recovery - WTOC

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