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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313429


Accumulating mutations on SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein may increase the possibility of immune escape, challenging the present COVID-19 prophylaxis and clinical interventions. Here, in a panel of receptor binding domain (S-RBD) specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with high neutralizing potency against authentic SARS-CoV-2, at least 6 of them were found to efficiently block the pseudovirus of 501Y.V2, a highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant with escape mutations. The top 3 neutralizing Abs (13G9, 58G6 and 510A5) exhibited comparative ultrapotency as those being actively pursued for clinical development. Interestingly, the antigenic sites for the majority of our neutralizing Abs overlapped with a single epitope (13G9e) on S-RBD. Further, the 3-dimensional structures of 2 ultrapotent neutralizing Abs 13G9 or 58G6 in complex with SARS-CoV-2 S trimer demonstrated that both Abs bound to a steric region within S 472–490 . Moreover, a specific linear region (S 450–457 ) was identified as an additional target for 58G6. Importantly, our cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) analysis revealed a unique phenomenon that the S-RBDs interacting with the fragments of antigen binding (Fabs) of 13G9 or 58G6 encoded by the IGHV1-58 and the IGKV3-20 gene segments were universally in the ‘up’ conformation in all observed particles. The potent neutralizing Abs presented in the current study may be promising candidates to fulfill the urgent needs for the current pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, and may of fundamental value for the next-generation vaccine development.