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Journal Articles PLoS Pathogens Year : 2022

Biosynthetic proteins targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike as anti-virals

Bernard Klonjkowski
Alain Roussel
  • Function : Author
Sophie Le Poder
Bernard Delmas


The binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) promotes virus entry into the cell. Targeting this interaction represents a promising strategy to generate antivirals. By screening a phage-display library of biosynthetic protein sequences build on a rigid alpha-helicoidal HEAT-like scaffold (named αReps), we selected candidates recognizing the spike receptor binding domain (RBD). Two of them (F9 and C2) bind the RBD with affinities in the nM range, displaying neutralisation activity in vitro and recognizing distinct sites, F9 overlapping the ACE2 binding motif. The F9-C2 fusion protein and a trivalent αRep form (C2-foldon) display 0.1 nM affinities and EC 50 of 8–18 nM for neutralization of SARS-CoV-2. In hamsters, F9-C2 instillation in the nasal cavity before or during infections effectively reduced the replication of a SARS-CoV-2 strain harbouring the D614G mutation in the nasal epithelium. Furthermore, F9-C2 and/or C2-foldon effectively neutralized SARS-CoV-2 variants (including delta and omicron variants) with EC 50 values ranging from 13 to 32 nM. With their high stability and their high potency against SARS-CoV-2 variants, αReps provide a promising tool for SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics to target the nasal cavity and mitigate virus dissemination in the proximal environment.


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hal-03918346 , version 1 (06-06-2023)



Stéphanie Thébault, Nathalie Lejal, Alexis Dogliani, Amélie Donchet, Agathe Urvoas, et al.. Biosynthetic proteins targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike as anti-virals. PLoS Pathogens, 2022, 18 (9), pp.e1010799. ⟨10.1371/journal.ppat.1010799⟩. ⟨hal-03918346⟩
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