Published on Tue Feb 23 2021

Human basigin (CD147) does not directly interact with SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein

Ragotte, R. J., Pulido, D., Donnellan, F. R., Gorini, G., Davies, H., Brun, J., King, L. D., Skinner, K., Draper, S. J.

Basigin, or CD147, has been reported as a co-receptor used by SARS-CoV-2 to invade host cells. Basigin also has a well-established role in Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection of human erythrocytes.

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Abstract

Basigin, or CD147, has been reported as a co-receptor used by SARS-CoV-2 to invade host cells. Basigin also has a well-established role in Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection of human erythrocytes where it is bound by one of the parasites invasion ligands, reticulocyte binding protein homolog 5 (RH5). Here, we sought to validate the claim that the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein can form a complex with basigin, using RH5-basigin as a positive control. Using recombinantly expressed proteins, size exclusion chromatography and surface plasmon resonance, we show that neither RBD nor full-length spike glycoprotein bind to recombinant human basigin (either expressed in E. coli or mammalian cells). Given the immense interest in SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic targets, we would caution the inclusion of basigin in this list on the basis of its reported direct interaction with SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. ImportanceReducing the mortality and morbidity associated with COVID-19 remains a global health priority. Critical to these efforts is the identification of host factors that are essential to viral entry and replication. Basigin, or CD147, was previously identified as a possible therapeutic target based on the observation that it may act as a co-receptor for SARS-COV-2, binding to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein. Here, we show that there is no direct interaction between the RBD and basigin, casting doubt on its role as a co-receptor and plausibility as a therapeutic target.