Immunogenicity and structures of a rationally designed prefusion MERS-CoV spike antigen [Microbiology]
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a lineage C betacoronavirus that since its emergence in 2012 has caused outbreaks in human populations with case-fatality rates of ∼36%. As in other coronaviruses, the spike (S) glycoprotein of MERS-CoV mediates receptor recognition and membrane fusion and is the primary target of the humoral immune response during infection. Here we use structure-based design to develop a generalizable strategy for retaining coronavirus S proteins in the antigenically optimal prefusion conformation and demonstrate that our engineered immunogen is able to elicit high neutralizing antibody titers against MERS-CoV. We also determined high-resolution structures of the trimeric MERS-CoV S ectodomain in complex with G4, a stem-directed neutralizing antibody. The structures reveal that G4 recognizes a glycosylated loop that is variable among coronaviruses and they define four conformational states of the trimer wherein each receptor-binding domain is either tightly packed at the membrane-distal apex or rotated into a receptor-accessible conformation. Our studies suggest a potential mechanism for fusion initiation through sequential receptor-binding events and provide a foundation for the structure-based design of coronavirus vaccines.
Publisher URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Pnas-RssFeedOfEarlyEditionArticles/~3/BAVS3b31bWs/1707304114.short
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