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Immunobiology. 2007;212(3):201-11. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

The SARS coronavirus spike glycoprotein is selectively recognized by lung surfactant protein D and activates macrophages.

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Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infects host cells with its surface glycosylated spike-protein (S-protein). Here we expressed the SARS-CoV S-protein to investigate its interactions with innate immune mechanisms in the lung. The purified S-protein was detected as a 210 kDa glycosylated protein. It was not secreted in the presence of tunicamycin and was detected as a 130 kDa protein in the cell lysate. The purified S-protein bound to Vero but not 293T cells and was itself recognized by lung surfactant protein D (SP-D), a collectin found in the lung alveoli. The binding required Ca(2+) and was inhibited by maltose. The serum collectin, mannan-binding lectin (MBL), exhibited no detectable binding to the purified S-protein. S-protein binds and activates macrophages but not dendritic cells (DCs). It suggests that SARS-CoV interacts with innate immune mechanisms in the lung through its S-protein and regulates pulmonary inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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