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Review

Domains and Functions of Spike Protein in SARS-Cov-2 in the Context of Vaccine Design

by 1,2
1
Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Marie-Curie Private, Ottawa, ON K1N 9A7, Canada
2
Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1H 8M5, Canada
Academic Editors: Kenneth Lundstrom and Alaa. A. A. Aljabali
Viruses 2021, 13(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13010109
Received: 15 December 2020 / Revised: 10 January 2021 / Accepted: 12 January 2021 / Published: 14 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines and Therapeutics against Coronaviruses)
The spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-2-S) interacts with the human ACE2 receptor to gain entry into a cell to initiate infection. Both Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine candidates are based on stabilized mRNA encoding prefusion SARS-2-S that can be produced after the mRNA is delivered into the human cell and translated. SARS-2-S is cleaved into S1 and S2 subunits, with S1 serving the function of receptor-binding and S2 serving the function of membrane fusion. Here, I dissect in detail the various domains of SARS-2-S and their functions discovered through a variety of different experimental and theoretical approaches to build a foundation for a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of how SARS-2-S works to achieve its function of mediating cell entry and subsequent cell-to-cell transmission. The integration of structure and function of SARS-2-S in this review should enhance our understanding of the dynamic processes involving receptor binding, multiple cleavage events, membrane fusion, viral entry, as well as the emergence of new viral variants. I highlighted the relevance of structural domains and dynamics to vaccine development, and discussed reasons for the spike protein to be frequently featured in the conspiracy theory claiming that SARS-CoV-2 is artificially created. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; spike protein; S-2P; SARS-CoV-2; cleavage; vaccine; protein structure; hydrophobicity; isoelectric point COVID-19; spike protein; S-2P; SARS-CoV-2; cleavage; vaccine; protein structure; hydrophobicity; isoelectric point
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MDPI and ACS Style

Xia, X. Domains and Functions of Spike Protein in SARS-Cov-2 in the Context of Vaccine Design. Viruses 2021, 13, 109. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13010109

AMA Style

Xia X. Domains and Functions of Spike Protein in SARS-Cov-2 in the Context of Vaccine Design. Viruses. 2021; 13(1):109. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13010109

Chicago/Turabian Style

Xia, Xuhua. 2021. "Domains and Functions of Spike Protein in SARS-Cov-2 in the Context of Vaccine Design" Viruses 13, no. 1: 109. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13010109

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