Structural basis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection.Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2021 Jan; 16(1):74-81.CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
The spike glycoprotein plays a critical role in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection by recognizing the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and mediating fusion of the viral envelope with the cell membrane. It is also the major target for neutralizing antibodies and vaccines. This review summarizes recent studies on the structure and function of spike glycoprotein, which revealed the structural basis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, similar to those of SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, spontaneously samples different prefusion states with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) adopting 'up' or 'down' conformations, and the RBD 'down' to 'up' conformational change is required for ACE2 binding. Receptor binding and spike glycoprotein priming by host proteases such as furin and transmembrane protease serine 2 induce pre to postfusion conformational changes of the spike trimer that enable membrane fusion. Interactions between SARS-CoV-2 RBD and ACE2 were elucidated at atomic resolution using high-resolution crystal structures. These structures, together with adapted and remodeled SARS-CoV-2 strains, further revealed critical residues of the spike glycoprotein for SARS-CoV-2 infection and cross-species transmission.
Recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein provide important structural knowledge for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and cross-species transmission.