Technological watch

Total Chemical Synthesis of the SARS?CoV?2 Spike Receptor?Binding Domain

SARS?CoV?2 and its global spread have created an unprecedented public health crisis. The spike protein of SARS?CoV?2 has gained significant attention due to its crucial role in viral entry into host cells and its potential as both a prophylactic and a target for therapeutic interventions. Herein, we report the first successful total synthesis of the SARS?CoV?2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD), highlighting the key challenges and the strategies employed to overcome them. Appropriate utilization of advanced solid phase peptide synthesis and cutting?edge native chemical ligation methods have facilitated the synthesis of the protein molecule. We discuss problems encountered during the chemical synthesis and approaches taken to optimize the yield and the purity of the synthetic protein molecule. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the chemically synthesized spike RBD efficiently binds to the known mini?protein binder LCB1. The successful chemical synthesis of the spike RBD presented here can be utilized to gain valuable insights into SARS?CoV?2 spike RBD biology, advancing our understanding and aiding the development of intervention strategies to combat future coronavirus outbreaks. The modular synthetic approach described in this study can be effectively implemented in the synthesis of other mutated variants or enantiomer of spike RBD for mirror?image drug discovery.

Publication date: 10/10/2023



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.