The majority of the approved CoVid-19 vaccines are based on the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein as the main target of the humoral immune response. The glycan type and number (known as glycosylation pattern) are part of the structural and functional integrity of every glycoprotein.
An effective immune response depends, amongst other factors, on the structural similarity between the spike protein of the vaccine and the “native” virus.
The glycan analysis of the spike protein could be a method for a vaccine design and quality control strategy.
The Zitzmann lab have been working on the characterisation of the site-specific glycosylation of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins derived from the virus and spike proteins derived from a viral vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. Their findings show that there are differences in protein glycosylation and secretion patterns, which could be attributed to their distinctive cellular secretion pathways. These differences may have implications for the resulting immune response and future vaccine design.
A preprint of their research results: Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycosylation reveals shedding of a vaccine candidate, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.16.384594v1.
15th February 2021