SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, uses the viral Spike (S) protein for host cell attachment and entry. The host protease furin cleaves the full-length precursor S glycoprotein into two associated polypeptides: S1 and S2. Cleavage of S generates a polybasic Arg-Arg-Ala-Arg C-terminal sequence on S1, which conforms to a C-end rule (CendR) motif that binds to cell surface Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and Neuropilin-2 (NRP2) receptors. Here, we used X-ray crystallography and biochemical approaches to show that the S1 CendR motif directly bound NRP1. Blocking this interaction using RNAi or selective inhibitors reduced SARS-CoV-2 entry and infectivity in cell culture. NRP1 thus serves as a host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and may potentially provide a therapeutic target for COVID-19.
|Number of pages||5|
|Early online date||20 Oct 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Nov 2020|