The recently emerged B.1.1.529 (Omicron) SARS-CoV-2 variant has a highly divergent spike (S) glycoprotein. We compared the functional properties of B.1.1.529 BA.1 S with those of previous globally prevalent SARS-CoV-2 variants, D614G and B.1.617.2. Relative to these variants, B.1.1.529 S exhibits decreases in processing, syncytium formation, virion incorporation and ability to mediate infection of cells with high TMPRSS2 expression. B.1.1.529 and B.1.617.2 S glycoproteins bind ACE2 with higher affinity than D614G S. The unliganded B.1.1.529 S trimer is less stable at low temperatures than the other SARS-CoV-2 spikes, a property related to its more “open” spike conformation. Upon ACE2 binding, the B.1.1.529 S trimer sheds S1 at 37 degrees but not at 0 degrees C. B.1.1.529 pseudoviruses are relatively resistant to neutralization by sera from patients with COVID-19 and vaccinees. These properties of the B.1.1.529 spike glycoprotein likely influence the transmission, cytopathic effects and immune evasion of this emerging variant.

Fuente: Cell Reports
Available online 20 May 2022, 110924