Coronavirus spike protein binds to receptors on cell surfaces, and is a target for vaccine development.
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Exploring the Structure
Antibodies bound to the spike receptor-binding domain
Our immune system fights back when coronaviruses infect us. The spike is the major target for this protection, since it is exposed on the surface of the virus. These three structures (PDB entries 3bgf, 2ghw and 6w41 show that antibodies (shown in green) can recognize spike proteins in many ways. Two of these antibodies block the receptor-binding portion of the domain (shown here in brighter colors), but the other antibody targets a cryptic site at the base of the domain, that is only exposed when the antibody binds to it. To explore these structures in more detail, click on the image for an interactive JSmol.
June 2020, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2020_6