Deep Mutational Scanning of Viral Glycoproteins and Their Host Receptors

Krishna K. Narayanan, Erik Procko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Deep mutational scanning or deep mutagenesis is a powerful tool for understanding the sequence diversity available to viruses for adaptation in a laboratory setting. It generally involves tracking an in vitro selection of protein sequence variants with deep sequencing to map mutational effects based on changes in sequence abundance. Coupled with any of a number of selection strategies, deep mutagenesis can explore the mutational diversity available to viral glycoproteins, which mediate critical roles in cell entry and are exposed to the humoral arm of the host immune response. Mutational landscapes of viral glycoproteins for host cell attachment and membrane fusion reveal extensive epistasis and potential escape mutations to neutralizing antibodies or other therapeutics, as well as aiding in the design of optimized immunogens for eliciting broadly protective immunity. While less explored, deep mutational scans of host receptors further assist in understanding virus-host protein interactions. Critical residues on the host receptors for engaging with viral spikes are readily identified and may help with structural modeling. Furthermore, mutations may be found for engineering soluble decoy receptors as neutralizing agents that specifically bind viral targets with tight affinity and limited potential for viral escape. By untangling the complexities of how sequence contributes to viral glycoprotein and host receptor interactions, deep mutational scanning is impacting ideas and strategies at multiple levels for combatting circulating and emergent virus strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number636660
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
StatePublished - Apr 9 2021


  • deep mutational scan
  • entry receptor
  • mutational landscape
  • selection
  • viral escape
  • viral fusion protein
  • virus spike

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Deep Mutational Scanning of Viral Glycoproteins and Their Host Receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this