The D614G mutation in the SARS-CoV2 Spike protein increases infectivity in an ACE2 receptor dependent manner

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Junko OgawaGerald M Pao


The SARS-CoV2 coronavirus responsible for the current COVID19 pandemic has been reported to have a relatively low mutation rate. Nevertheless, a few prevalent variants have arisen that give the appearance of undergoing positive selection as they are becoming increasingly widespread over time. Most prominent among these is the D614G amino acid substitution in the SARS-CoV2 Spike protein, which mediates viral entry. The D614G substitution, however, is in linkage disequilibrium with the ORF1b P314L mutation where both mutations almost invariably co-occur, making functional inferences problematic. In addition, the possibility of repeated new introductions of the mutant strain does not allow one to distinguish between a founder effect and an intrinsic genetic property of the virus. Here, we synthesized and expressed the WT and D614G variant SARS-Cov2 Spike protein, and report that using a SARS-CoV2 Spike protein pseudotyped lentiviral vector we observe that the D614G variant Spike has >1/2 log10 increased infectivity in human cells expressing the human ACE2 protein as the viral receptor. The increased binding/fusion activity of the D614G Spike protein was corroborated in a cell fusion assay using Spike and ACE2 proteins expressed in...Continue Reading

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