Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

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COVID-19: Structural characterization of the evolution pathways of SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein

Thursday, October 22, 2020
Principal Investigator: 
Natalie Strynadka
Lead Institution: 
University of British Columbia
Project ID: 

The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic represents a global public health crisis unseen in recent memory. The virion surface glycoprotein known as spike is a trimeric extension that mediates both the initial interaction and the subsequent fusion with host cells. As an extracellular target and a key mediator of infection this protein represents an intense focal point in vaccine and therapeutic research platforms as well as one of the primary antigenic sites of the virus during infection. The immune system's evolutionary pressure may result in variants that can escape naturally acquired or vaccine-induced immunity and indeed variants at key antibody binding sites have begun to emerge. In the proposed work predicted variants of spike will be structurally characterized and these structures will help inform vaccine and therapeutic efforts going forward.