SARS-CoV-2 spike protein aggregation is triggered by bacterial lipopolysaccharide

Jitka Petrlova, Firdaus Samsudin, Peter J. Bond, Artur Schmidtchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is crucial for virus invasion in COVID-19. Here, we showed that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) can trigger S protein aggregation at high doses of LPS and S protein. We demonstrated the formation of S protein aggregates by microscopy analyses, aggregation and gel shift assays. LPS at high levels boosts the formation of S protein aggregates as detected by amytracker and thioflavin T dyes that specifically bind to aggregating proteins. We validated the role of LPS by blocking the formation of aggregates by the endotoxin-scavenging thrombin-derived peptide TCP-25. Aggregation-prone sequences in S protein are predicted to be nearby LPS binding sites, while molecular simulations showed stable formation of S protein–LPS higher-order oligomers. Collectively, our results provide evidence of LPS-induced S protein aggregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2566-2575
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine

Free keywords

  • COVID-19
  • endotoxins
  • inflammation
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • protein-aggregation
  • spike protein


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