UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Glycan reactive anti‑HIV‑1 antibodies bind the SARS‑CoV‑2 spike protein but do not block viral entry Mannar, Dhiraj; Leopold, Karoline; Subramaniam, Sriram


The SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein is a focal point for vaccine immunogen and therapeutic antibody design, and also serves as a critical antigen in the evaluation of immune responses to COVID-19. A common feature amongst enveloped viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and HIV-1 is the propensity for displaying host-derived glycans on entry spike proteins. Similarly displayed glycosylation motifs can serve as the basis for glyco-epitope mediated cross-reactivity by antibodies, which can have important implications on virus neutralization, antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection, and the interpretation of antibody titers in serological assays. From a panel of nine anti-HIV-1 gp120 reactive antibodies, we selected two (PGT126 and PGT128) that displayed high levels of cross-reactivity with the SARS-CoV-2 spike. We report that these antibodies are incapable of neutralizing pseudoviruses expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and are unlikely to mediate ADE via FcγRII receptor engagement. Nevertheless, ELISA and other immunoreactivity experiments demonstrate these antibodies are capable of binding the SARS-CoV-2 spike in a glycan-dependent manner. These results contribute to the growing literature surrounding SARS-CoV-2 S cross-reactivity, as we demonstrate the ability for cross-reactive antibodies to interfere in immunoassays.

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Attribution 4.0 International