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Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388434


The coronaviral spike is the dominant viral antigen and the target of neutralizing antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike binds biliverdin and bilirubin, the tetrapyrrole products of heme metabolism, with nanomolar affinity. Using cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography, we mapped the tetrapyrrole interaction pocket to a deep cleft on the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). At physiological concentrations, biliverdin significantly dampened the reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike with immune sera and inhibited a subset of neutralizing antibodies. Access to the tetrapyrrole-sensitive epitope is gated by a flexible loop on the distal face of the NTD. Accompanied by profound conformational changes in the NTD, antibody binding requires relocation of the gating loop, which folds into the cleft vacated by the metabolite. Our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD harbors a dominant epitope, access to which can be controlled by an allosteric mechanism that is regulated through recruitment of a metabolite.

COVID-19/immunology , Heme/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Bilirubin/metabolism , Biliverdine/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
Cytometry A ; 99(1): 90-99, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086336


In March 2020, with lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic underway, the Francis Crick Institute (the Crick) regeared its research laboratories into clinical testing facilities. Two pipelines were established, one for polymerase chain reaction and the other for Serology. This article discusses the Cricks Flow Cytometry Science Technology Platform (Flow STP) role in setting up the Serology pipeline. Pipeline here referring to the overarching processes in place to facilitate the receipt of human sera through to a SARs-CoV-2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay result. We examine the challenges that had to be overcome by a research laboratory to incorporate clinical diagnostics and the processes by which this was achieved. It describes the governance required to run the service, the design of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and pipeline, the setting up of the assay, the validation required to show the robustness of the pipeline and reporting the results of the assay. Finally, as the lockdown started to ease in June 2020, it examines how this new service affects the daily running of the Flow STP. © 2020 The Authors. Cytometry Part A published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.

Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19/diagnosis , Flow Cytometry/standards , Laboratories/standards , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/standards , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/trends , Flow Cytometry/trends , Humans , Laboratories/trends , Reproducibility of Results