Prediction of infectivity-enhancing mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus S (spike) protein

The RBD (receptor binding domain) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus S (spike) protein mediates viral cell attachment and serves as a promising target for therapeutics development. Mutations on the S-RBD may alter its affinity to the cell receptor and affect the potency of vaccines and antibodies.

In this project, we used an in silico approach (ROSETTA) to predict how mutations on RBD affect its binding affinity to hACE2 (human angiotensin-converting enzyme2). The effect of all single point mutations on the interface was predicted. SPR assay results show that 6 out of 9 selected mutations can strengthen binding affinity.