BOA emerges as a potent weapon in opposition to all SARS-CoV-2 variants

In a current article revealed in Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, researchers consider the efficiency of antiviral lectins in opposition to extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) and SARS-CoV, thus illustrating its potential as a pan-coronavirus (CoV) inhibitor.

Study: Targeting spike glycans to inhibit SARS-CoV2 viral entry. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock.comExamine: Focusing on spike glycans to inhibit SARS-CoV2 viral entry. Picture Credit score: Kateryna Kon /


Given their potential to bind to carbohydrate moieties, lectins play essential roles in a number of organic processes, together with host-pathogen interactions. In reality, a number of research have reported that antiviral lectins potently inhibit a number of viruses, together with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Ebola virus, and CoVs.

The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is closely glycosylated, which protects the virus from the host immune system. S glycans can vary from excessive mannose to advanced glycans, thus resulting in heterogeneity in any respect glycosylation websites. 

Most glycans conceal the protein floor they bind to; nevertheless, some possess further structural roles. Biophysical and structural research have confirmed a key position for the N165 and N234 glycans at 22 completely different asparagine (Asn) residues in positioning the binding of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding area (RBD) to the host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. 

Focusing on glycans on the SARS-CoV-2 S protein might result in the event of SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors, notably in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, that are extra proof against the inhibitory exercise of monoclonal antibodies.

In regards to the research

Within the current research, researchers consider three antiviral lectins, together with griffithsin (GRFT), Oscillatoria agardhii agglutinin (OAA), and Burkholderia oklahomensis agglutinin (BOA), for his or her potential to inhibit Vero E6 cells contaminated with the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 pressure.

The effectiveness of BOA was additionally evaluated in opposition to the SARS-CoV-2, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron BA.1 VOCs, as this lectin exhibited the best anti-SARS-CoV-2 exercise. The in vitro binding of OAA and BOA to the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein was additionally evaluated utilizing measurement exclusion chromatography (SEC).

Dynamic mild scattering (DLS) was used to characterize the OAA- and BOA-induced aggregation of S. Pseudoviruses expressing SARS-COV-2 S protein variants N234A and N165A (management) have been additionally developed to discover the mechanism of motion of BOA-induced SARS-CoV-2 entry.

Examine findings

GRFT exhibited no exercise in all three virus-neutralization programs, whereas BOA and OAA exhibited potent inhibitory exercise. In plaque assays, BOA blocked the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 variant with a half maximal efficient focus (EC50) worth of 9 nanomolar nM.

Thus, GRFT is structurally distinct from OAA and BOA and binds to completely different substructures of excessive mannose glycans. Structurally, BOA and OAA fluctuate within the variety of glycan-binding websites and beta-barrel domains; nevertheless, each exhibit the identical glycan specificities, which permits for related mechanisms of inhibition between these lectins.

Since BOA has 4 glycan binding websites, which is twice that of OAA, it was a stronger inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2. In reality, eradicating three of the 4 sugar-binding websites on BOA eradicated its antiviral exercise.

In biophysical assays, the researchers combined equimolar quantities of lectin and S proteins. In 5:1 or 10:1 molar extra of OAA or BOA, further elution peaks for S protein have been noticed, thus suggesting that this viral protein fashioned massive molecular mass complexes with OAA and BOA. The interactions between soluble aggregates fashioned by BOA and SARS-CoV-2 S conferred antiviral exercise upon BOA. 

In vitro, a monovalent BOA variant certain to the SARS-CoV-2 S protein however didn’t type soluble aggregates, which prevented any antiviral exercise. Thus, the potent inhibitory exercise of BOA in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 will be attributed to its multivalent interactions, which cut back to monovalent contacts to finally inhibit the SARS-CoV-2.

Psuedovirus experiments recommended that N234 or its glycan was important for SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells. Equally, one earlier research reported that the 234 glycan was important for the functioning of the SARS-CoV-2 S perform.


SARS-CoV-2 variants exhibit minimal adjustments with respect to glycosylation, which allowed for BOA to constantly and potently inhibit all examined viral variants. The same efficiency of BOA in opposition to SARS-CoV, which initially emerged in 2003, demonstrates that the exercise of this lectin relies on S protein glycans moderately than its particular sequence. These findings help growing future therapeutic methods utilizing multivalent glycan binders as pan-CoV inhibitors.

Journal reference:

  • Guseman, A. J., Rennick, L. J., Nambulli, S., et al. (2023). Focusing on spike glycans to inhibit SARS-CoV2 viral entry. Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences 120(38). doi:10.1073/pnas.2301518120

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