Engineered Trimeric ACE2 Binds and Locks “Three-up” Spike Protein to Potently Inhibit SARS-CoVs and Mutants
Posted 01 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.31.274704 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41422-020-00438-w)
Posted 01 Sep 2020
SARS-CoV-2 enters cells via ACE-2, which binds the spike protein with moderate affinity. Despite a constant background mutational rate, the virus must retain binding with ACE2 for infectivity, providing a conserved constraint for SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. To prevent mutational escape of SARS-CoV-2 and to prepare for future related coronavirus outbreaks, we engineered a de novo trimeric ACE2 (T-ACE2) protein scaffold that binds the trimeric spike protein with extremely high affinity (KD < 1 pM), while retaining ACE2 native sequence. T-ACE2 potently inhibits all tested pseudotyped viruses including SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, eight naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 mutants, two SARSr-CoVs as well as authentic SARS-CoV-2. The cryo-EM structure reveals that T-ACE2 can induce the transit of spike protein to “three-up” RBD conformation upon binding. T-ACE2 thus represents a promising class of broadly neutralizing proteins against SARS-CoVs and mutants. ### Competing Interest Statement BD, LG, WB are the inventors on a provisional patent filing by the Westlake University. The other authors declare no competing interests.
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