The Spike Protein

What is the spike protein.

The spike of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (shown below) is one particularly appealing target for designing therapeutics to combat the COVID-19 disease. It is actually comprised of three identical proteins arranged in a circle. Many copies of the spike protrude from the surface of the virus, where they wait to encounter a protein on the surface of many human cells, called ACE2. Binding of a spike to ACE2 initiates a series of events that ultimately allow the virus to enter the human cell. Therefore, therapeutics that bind the spike in a manner that blocks its interaction with ACE2 could provide a valuable means to prevent infection.

https://foldingathome.org/2020/04/03/capturing-the-covid-19-demogorgon-aka-spike-in-action/
Illustration of the Coronavirus S protein (Spike)

What does that look Like

How man vaccines are targetting the Spike protein

The table below is a snapshot in time , it has been copied from https://covid-19tracker.milkeninstitute.org

You can search the table for either “S Protein” or Spike”. The table should return

  • 18 Vaccines targetting the “spike”
  • 10 Vaccines targetting “s proteins”

How did Folding @ Home help ?

The Folding @ Home users used their computing power to simulate the opening of the Spike Proteins “mouth”.

The three colors are the three proteins that come together to form the spike. Each is made of a linear chain of chemicals called amino acids. The ribbons trace out each chain. The transparent surface is the surface of the COVID-19 Demogorgon. The three proteins that make up the Demogorgon must spread apart to reveal the ACE2 binding site, which initiates infection by attaching to a protein called ACE2 on the surface of human cells. This movie captures part of that opening motion.

https://foldingathome.org/2020/04/03/capturing-the-covid-19-demogorgon-aka-spike-in-action/