Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by Destruction of the Prefusion Spike
53 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020 Sneak Peek Status: Under ReviewMore...
There are as yet no licenced therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic. The causal coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) binds host cells via a trimeric Spike whose receptor binding domain (RBD) recognizes angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), initiating conformational changes that drive membrane fusion. We find that monoclonal antibody CR3022 binds the RBD tightly, neutralising SARS-CoV-2 and report the crystal structure at 2.4 A of the Fab/RBD complex. Some crystals are suitable for screening for entry-blocking inhibitors. The highly conserved, structure-stabilising, CR3022 epitope is inaccessible in the prefusion Spike, suggesting that CR3022 binding would facilitate conversion to the fusion-incompetent post-fusion state. Cryo-EM analysis confirms that incubation of Spike with CR3022 Fab leads to destruction of the prefusion trimer. Presentation of this cryptic epitope in an RBD-based vaccine might advantageously focus immune responses. Binders at this epitope may be useful therapeutically, possibly in synergy with an antibody blocking receptor attachment.
Funding: This work was supported by a grant from the CAMS-Oxford Institute to D.I.S. E.E.F and J.Ren are supported by the Wellcome Trust (101122/Z/13/Z), Y.Z. by Cancer Research UK (C375/A17721) and D.I.S. and E.E.F. by the UK Medical Research Council (MR/N00065X/1). J.H. is supported by a grant from the EPA Cephalosporin Fund. PPUK is funded by the Rosalind Franklin Institute EPSRC Grant no. EP/S025243/1. The National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Funding Scheme supports G.R.S. together with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2-002), which also supports D.I.S. G.R.S. is also supported as a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator (grant 095541/A/11/Z). T.M. is supported by Cancer Research UK grants C20724/A14414 and C20724/A26752 to Christian Siebold. This is a contribution from the UK Instruct-ERIC Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics is supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant 090532/Z/09/Z).
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.
Keywords: Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, Antibody Structure, Spike, Receptor Binding Domain, Neutralisation, Therapeutic Antibody, Crystallography, Cryo-EM, virus structure
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