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Cryo-EM Structure of the 2019-nCoV Spike in the Prefusion Conformation

By Daniel Wrapp, Nianshuang Wang, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Jory A Goldsmith, Ching-Lin Hsieh, Olubukola Abiona, Barney Graham, Jason S. McLellan

Posted 15 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.11.944462 (published DOI: 10.1126/science.abb2507)

The outbreak of a novel betacoronavirus (2019-nCov) represents a pandemic threat that has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. The CoV spike (S) glycoprotein is a key target for urgently needed vaccines, therapeutic antibodies, and diagnostics. To facilitate medical countermeasure (MCM) development we determined a 3.5 Å-resolution cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV S trimer in the prefusion conformation. The predominant state of the trimer has one of the three receptor-binding domains (RBDs) rotated up in a receptor-accessible conformation. We also show biophysical and structural evidence that the 2019-nCoV S binds ACE2 with higher affinity than SARS-CoV S. Additionally we tested several published SARS-CoV RBD-specific monoclonal antibodies and found that they do not have appreciable binding to nCoV-2019 S, suggesting antibody cross-reactivity may be limited between the two virus RBDs. The cryo-EM structure of 2019-nCoV S should enable rapid development and evaluation of MCMs to address the ongoing public health crisis.

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