The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has necessitated the rapid development of antibody-based therapies and vaccines as countermeasures. Here, we use cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) to characterize two protective anti-SARS-CoV-2 murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in complex with the spike protein, revealing similarities between epitopes targeted by human and murine B cells. The more neutralizing mAb, 2B04, binds the receptor-binding motif (RBM) of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and competes with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). By contrast, 2H04 binds adjacent to the RBM and does not compete for ACE2 binding. Naturally occurring sequence variants of SARS-CoV-2 and corresponding neutralization escape variants selected in vitro map to our structurally defined epitopes, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 might evade therapeutic antibodies with a limited set of mutations, underscoring the importance of combination mAb therapeutics. Finally, we show that 2B04 neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 infection by preventing ACE2 engagement, whereas 2H04 reduces host cell attachment without directly disrupting ACE2-RBM interactions, providing distinct inhibitory mechanisms used by RBD-specific mAbs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109881
JournalCell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 26 2021


  • ACE2
  • COVID-19
  • RBD
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody neutralization
  • biolayer interferometry
  • cryo-EM
  • spike
  • variants of concern


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