The COVID-19 pandemic underwent a rapid transition with the emergence of a SARS-CoV-2 variant that carried the amino acid substitution D614G in the Spike protein that became globally prevalent. The G-form is both more infectious in vitro and associated with increased viral loads in infected people. To gain insight into the mechanism underlying these distinctive characteristics, we employed multiple replicas of microsecond all-atom simulations to probe the molecular-level impact of this substitution on Spike closed and open states. The open state enables Spike interactions with its human cellular receptor, ACE2. Here we show that changes in the inter-protomer energetics due to the D614G substitution favor a higher population of infection-capable (open) states. The inter-protomer interactions between S1 and S2 subunits in the open state of the D-form are asymmetric. This asymmetry is resolved in the G-form due to the release of tensile hydrogen bonds resulting in an increased population of open conformations. Thus, the increased infectivity of the G-form is likely due to a higher rate of profitable binding encounters with the host receptor. It is also predicted to be more neutralization sensitive due to enhanced exposure of the receptor binding domain, a key target region for neutralizing antibodies. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 1,280 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 9,237 out of 103,802
- In biophysics: 287 out of 4,562
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 1,990 out of 103,802
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 1,475 out of 103,802
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!