Published on Thu Apr 01 2021

Identification of lectin receptors for conserved SARS-CoV-2 glycosylation sites

Hoffmann, D., Mereiter, S., Oh, Y. J., Monteil, V., Zhu, R., Canena, D., Hain, L., Laurent, E., Gruber, C., Novatchkova, M., Ticevic, M., Chabloz, A., Wirnsberger, G., Hagelkrueys, A., Altmann, F., Mach, L., Stadlmann, J., Oostenbrink, C., Mirazimi, A., Hinterdorfer, P., Penninger, J. M.

All 22 N-glycan sites of SARS-CoV-2 Spike remain highly conserved. Two lectins, Clec4g and CD209c, were identified to strongly bind to Spike. Both lectins can bind to a glycan within the RBD-ACE2 interface

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Abstract

New SARS-CoV-2 variants are continuously emerging with critical implications for therapies or vaccinations. All 22 N-glycan sites of SARS-CoV-2 Spike remain highly conserved among the variants B.1.1.7, 501Y.V2 and P.1, opening an avenue for robust therapeutic intervention. Here we used a comprehensive library of mammalian carbohydrate-binding proteins (lectins) to probe critical sugar residues on the full-length trimeric Spike and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. Two lectins, Clec4g and CD209c, were identified to strongly bind to Spike. Clec4g and CD209c binding to Spike was dissected and visualized in real time and at single molecule resolution using atomic force microscopy. 3D modelling showed that both lectins can bind to a glycan within the RBD-ACE2 interface and thus interferes with Spike binding to cell surfaces. Importantly, Clec4g and CD209c significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 infections. These data report the first extensive map and 3D structural modelling of lectin-Spike interactions and uncovers candidate receptors involved in Spike binding and SARS-CoV-2 infections. The capacity of CLEC4G and mCD209c lectins to block SARS-CoV-2 viral entry holds promise for pan-variant therapeutic interventions.