Publication date: Nov 28, 2023
Most neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) target the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) protein. Here, we characterize a panel of mAbs targeting the N-terminal domain (NTD) or other non-RBD epitopes of S. A subset of NTD mAbs inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry at a post-attachment step and avidly binds the surface of infected cells. One neutralizing NTD mAb, SARS2-57, protects K18-hACE2 mice against SARS-CoV-2 infection in an Fc-dependent manner. Structural analysis demonstrates that SARS2-57 engages an antigenic supersite that is remodeled by deletions common to emerging variants. In neutralization escape studies with SARS2-57, this NTD site accumulates mutations, including a similar deletion, but the addition of an anti-RBD mAb prevents such escape. Thus, our study highlights a common strategy of immune evasion by SARS-CoV-2 variants and how targeting spatially distinct epitopes, including those in the NTD, may limit such escape.
|variants of concern