Structural basis of a shared antibody response to SARS-CoV-2

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Science  13 Jul 2020:
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd2321


Molecular understanding of neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 could accelerate vaccine design and drug discovery. We analyzed 294 anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and found that IGHV3-53 is the most frequently used IGHV gene for targeting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. Co-crystal structures of two IGHV3-53 neutralizing antibodies with RBD, with or without Fab CR3022, at 2.33 to 3.20 Å resolution revealed that the germline-encoded residues dominate recognition of the ACE2 binding site. This binding mode limits the IGHV3-53 antibodies to short CDR H3 loops, but accommodates light-chain diversity. These IGHV3-53 antibodies show minimal affinity maturation and high potency, which is promising for vaccine design. Knowledge of these structural motifs and binding mode should facilitate design of antigens that elicit this type of neutralizing response.

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