SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses bind to phosphorylated glycans from the human lung

Citation:

Byrd-Leotis L, Lasanajak Y, Bowen T, Baker K, Song X, Suthar MS, Cummings RD, Steinhauer DA. SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses bind to phosphorylated glycans from the human lung. Virology. 2021;562 :142-148.

Date Published:

2021 10

Abstract:

SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and potentially SARS-CoV-2 emerged as novel human coronaviruses following cross-species transmission from animal hosts. Although the receptor binding characteristics of human coronaviruses are well documented, the role of carbohydrate binding in addition to recognition of proteinaceous receptors has not been fully explored. Using natural glycan microarray technology, we identified N-glycans in the human lung that are recognized by various human and animal coronaviruses. All viruses tested, including SARS-CoV-2, bound strongly to a range of phosphorylated, high mannose N-glycans and to a very specific set of sialylated structures. Examination of two linked strains, human CoV OC43 and bovine CoV Mebus, reveals shared binding to the sialic acid form Neu5Gc (not found in humans), supporting the evidence for cross-species transmission of the bovine strain. Our findings, revealing robust recognition of lung glycans, suggest that these receptors could play a role in the initial stages of coronavirus attachment and entry.