The virus spike protein decorates the outer surface of SARS-COV-2 virion and it is the target for the immune system and the antigen for all for vaccines reporting protection in phase 3 trials.  

The illustration shows the conformational changes of the highly dynamic spike protein of the virus:

๐ŸŸฃ “Prefusion conformation”: the spike protein binds to the cellular receptor ACE2 and attaches to the cell membrane.

๐ŸŸฃ “Prehairpin and transient conformation”: cellular proteases cleave the spike protein inducing dramatical conformational changes on its structure.

๐ŸŸฃ “Postfusion state”: fusion with the cellular membrane and release of the viral genome.

Thank you to ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธย Gloria Fuentes, who left her postdoc to try out scientific illustration and has now founded her own company, ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌThe Visual Thinker.ย 
You can read more about Gloria here.

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