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 Spike Protein

The Spike protein is located on the surface of the virus and is in charge of mediating its entry into host cells. In humans, it interacts with ACE2, a receptor found on the surface of target cells (lung, upper-epithelial, intestine). 

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Hover your mouse over the yellow buttons to discover the cool features of this protein! 

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RBD Domain

The Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) is the section of the S protein that recognizes ACE2. It changes its shape to be able to stabilize the connection between the two proteins. 

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Glycans

Spike proteins are highly “decorated” with glycans. These small molecules prevent recognition by host proteases and modulate antibody recognition.

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Did you know?

The Spike or S protein is a main target of multiple vaccines, as blocking it might make the virus incapable of invading a host cell. 

Scroll down to see Spike in action!

The Spike-ACE2 Interaction

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Place your mouse over the orange interaction to see its features! 

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Spike-ACE2

The Spike protein is located at the surface of the virus, while the ACE2 receptor is located on the surface of the human cell.

ACE2 receptors

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When the virus comes close to a cell, both proteins interact, and a complex is formed.

Spike changes the conformation of the RBD domain to make the complex stable and begin the infection process.