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Change of Antigenic Determinants of SARS-CoV-2 Virus S-Protein as a Possible Cause of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement of Virus Infection and Cytokine Storm

Authors
  • Nechipurenko, Yu. D.1
  • Anashkina, A. A.1
  • Matveeva, O. V.2, 3
  • 1 Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991, Russia , Moscow (Russia)
  • 2 Sendai Viralytics LLC, Acton, MA, 01720, USA , Acton (United States)
  • 3 Biopolymer Design LLC, Acton, MA, 01721, USA , Acton (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biophysics
Publisher
Pleiades Publishing
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2020
Volume
65
Issue
4
Pages
703–709
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1134/S0006350920040119
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

AbstractA hypothesis is proposed that the cytokine storm syndrome, which complicates COVID-19 in some patients, is a consequence of antibody-dependent enhancement of virus infection, which is in turn happens due to a change in dominant antigenic determinants of SARS-CoV-2 S-protein. The antibody-dependent enhancement of virus infection is a phenomenon in which virus-specific antibodies that are not neutralizing enhance the entry of infectious virus into immune cells causing their death. Antibody-dependent enhancement has been reported for different coronaviruses. This phenomenon happens due to a decrease in the binding strength of neutralizing antibodies to the virus, which converts these antibodies into suboptimal—not neutralizing ones. According to our hypothesis, such a decrease in affinity may be associated with a change in the conformation of the viral S-protein. We believe that this conformational change is the major factor in the switching of antibodies affinity, which triggers antibody-dependent enhancement. However, other factors that contribute to antigen drift and antigenic determinant changes may also play a role.

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