A trimeric human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent.

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
Tianshu XiaoBing Chen


Effective intervention strategies are urgently needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a membrane-bound carboxypeptidase that forms a dimer and serves as the cellular receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). ACE2 is also a key negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system that modulates vascular functions. We report here the properties of a trimeric ACE2 ectodomain variant, engineered using a structure-based approach. The trimeric ACE2 variant has a binding affinity of ~60 pM for the spike protein of SARS‑CoV‑2 (compared with 77 nM for monomeric ACE2 and 12-22 nM for dimeric ACE2 constructs), and its peptidase activity and the ability to block activation of angiotensin II receptor type 1 in the renin-angiotensin system are preserved. Moreover, the engineered ACE2 potently inhibits SARS‑CoV‑2 infection in cell culture. These results suggest that engineered, trimeric ACE2 may be a promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent for treating COVID-19.


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Methods Mentioned

gel filtration
surface plasmon resonance

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Software Mentioned

GraphPad Prism
Octet Data Analysis HT

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