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Viral Architecture of SARS-CoV-2 with Post-Fusion Spike Revealed by Cryo-EM

By Chuang Liu, Yang Yang, Yuanzhu Gao, Chenguang Shen, Bin Ju, Congcong Liu, Xian Tang, Jinli Wei, Xiaomin Ma, Weilong Liu, Shuman Xu, Yingxia Liu, Jing Yuan, Jing Wu, Zheng Liu, Zheng Zhang, Peiyi Wang, Lei Liu

Posted 05 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.02.972927

Since December 2019, the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread from Wuhan, China to the world, it has caused more than 87,000 diagnosed cases and more than 3,000 deaths globally. To fight against COVID-19, we carried out research for the near native SARS-CoV-2 and report here our preliminary results obtained. The pathogen of the COVID-19, the native SARS-CoV-2, was isolated, amplified and purified in a BSL-3 laboratory. The whole viral architecture of SARS-CoV-2 was examined by transmission electron microscopy (both negative staining and cryo-EM). We observed that the virion particles are roughly spherical or moderately pleiomorphic. Spikes have nail-like shape towards outside with a long body embedded in the envelope. The morphology of virion observed in our result indicates that the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 is in post-fusion state, with S1 disassociated. This state revealed by cryo-EM first time could provide an important information for the identification and relevant clinical research of this new coronavirus.

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