SARS-CoV-2 emergent variants are characterized by increased viral fitness and each shows multiple mutations predominantly localized to the spike (S) protein. Here, amide hydrogen/ deuterium exchange mass spectrometry has been applied to track changes in S dynamics from multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our results highlight large differences across variants at two loci with impacts on S dynamics and stability. A significant enhancement in stabilization first occurred with the emergence of D614G S followed by smaller, progressive stabilization in subsequent variants. Stabilization preceded altered dynamics in the N-terminal domain, wherein Omicron BA.1 S showed the largest magnitude increases relative to other preceding variants. Changes in stabilization and dynamics resulting from S mutations detail the evolutionary trajectory of S in emerging variants. These carry major implications for SARS-CoV-2 viral fitness and offer new insights into variant-specific therapeutic development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Neuroscience
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology