SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein variant D614G increases infectivity and retains sensitivity to antibodies that target the receptor binding domain

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Leonid YurkovetskiyJeremy Luban


Virus genome sequence variants that appear over the course of an outbreak can be exploited to map the trajectory of the virus from one susceptible host to another. While such variants are usually of no functional significance, in some cases they may allow the virus to transmit faster, change disease severity, or confer resistance to antiviral therapies. Since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 as the cause of COVID-19, the virus has spread around the globe, and thousands of SARS-CoV-2 genomes have been sequenced. The rate of sequence variation among SARS-CoV-2 isolates is modest for an RNA virus but the enormous number of human-to-human transmission events has provided abundant opportunity for selection of sequence variants. Among these, the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein variant, D614G, was not present in the presumptive common ancestor of this zoonotic virus, but was first detected in late January in Germany and China. The D614G variant steadily increased in frequency and now constitutes >97% of isolates world-wide, raising the question whether D614G confers a replication advantage to SARS-CoV-2. Structural models predict that D614G would disrupt contacts between the S1 and S2 domains of the Spike protein and cause significant shifts in c...Continue Reading

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