Characterization of a neutralizing antibody that recognizes a loop region adjacent to the receptor-binding interface of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain.

Publication date: Feb 28, 2024

Although the global crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is over, the global epidemic of the disease continues. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of COVID-19, initiates infection via the binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of its spike protein to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) receptor, and this interaction has been the primary target for the development of COVID-19 therapeutics. Here, we identified neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 by screening mouse monoclonal antibodies and characterized an antibody, CSW1-1805, that targets a narrow region at the RBD ridge of the spike protein. CSW1-1805 neutralized several variants in vitro and completely protected mice from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Cryo-EM and biochemical analyses revealed that this antibody recognizes the loop region adjacent to the ACE2-binding interface with the RBD in both a receptor-inaccessible “down” state and a receptor-accessible “up” state and could stabilize the RBD conformation in the up-state. CSW1-1805 also showed different binding orientations and complementarity determining region properties compared to other RBD ridge-targeting antibodies with similar binding epitopes. It is important to continuously characterize neutralizing antibodies to address new variants that continue to emerge. Our characterization of this antibody that recognizes the RBD ridge of the spike protein will aid in the development of future neutralizing antibodies. IMPORTANCESARS-CoV-2 cell entry is initiated by the interaction of the viral spike protein with the host cell receptor. Therefore, mechanistic findings regarding receptor recognition by the spike protein help uncover the molecular mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection and guide neutralizing antibody development. Here, we characterized a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody that recognizes an epitope, a loop region adjacent to the receptor-binding interface, that may be involved in the conformational transition of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein from a receptor-inaccessible “down” state into a receptor-accessible “up” state, and also stabilizes the RBD in the up-state. Our mechanistic findings provide new insights into SARS-CoV-2 receptor recognition and guidance for neutralizing antibody development.

Concepts Keywords
Antibodies conformational transition
Coronavirus monoclonal antibody
Guide neutralizing epitope
Pandemic receptor-binding domain
spike protein


Type Source Name
disease MESH coronavirus disease 2019
disease MESH infection
drug DRUGBANK Angiotensin II
disease IDO cell
disease MESH severe acute respiratory syndrome

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