Structural analysis of full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from an advanced vaccine candidate

August 26, 2021

Publication type

Journal Article



Volume and Number

Nov 27;370(6520):1089-1094. doi: 10.1126/science.abe1502. Epub 2020 Oct 20

Bangaru S, Ozorowski G, Turner HL, Antanasijevic A, Huang D, Wang X, Torres JL, Diedrich JK, Tian JH, Portnoff AD, Patel N, Massare MJ, Yates JR III, Nemazee D, Paulson JC, Glenn G, Smith G, Ward AB.

Summary: Vaccine efforts against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic are focused on SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, the primary target for neutralizing antibodies. Here, we performed cryo-EM and site-specific glycan analysis of one of the leading subunit vaccine candidates from Novavax based on a full-length spike protein formulated in polysorbate 80 (PS 80) detergent. Our studies reveal a stable prefusion conformation of the spike immunogen with slight differences in the S1 subunit compared to published spike ectodomain structures. Interestingly, we also observed novel interactions between the spike trimers allowing formation of higher order spike complexes. This study confirms the structural integrity of the full-length spike protein immunogen and provides a basis for interpreting immune responses to this multivalent nanoparticle immunogen.