spike protein

noun
variants: or less commonly spike glycoprotein
plural spike proteins also spike glycoproteins

Definition of spike protein

: a glycoprotein that protrudes from the envelope of some viruses (such as a coronavirus) and facilitates entry of the virion into a host cell by binding to a receptor on the surface of a host cell followed by fusion of the viral and host cell membranes Like a key in a lock, these spike proteins fuse to receptors on the surface of cells, allowing the virus's genetic code to invade the host cell, take over its machinery and replicate.— Bruce Lieberman Their results, published in Science, confirm that the spike protein on the virus that causes COVID-19 is quite similar to that of its close relative, the SARS virus.— Francis Collins Using a powerful imaging technique … , researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Weill Cornell Medical College and Yale University School of Medicine observed the motions of key proteins on the surface of HIV called spike proteins.— Emily Mullin

called also S protein

First Known Use of spike protein

1969, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spike protein

Time Traveler for spike protein

Time Traveler

The first known use of spike protein was in 1969

See more words from the same year

Statistics for spike protein

Cite this Entry

“Spike protein.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spike%20protein. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spike protein

spike protein

noun
variants: also spike glycoprotein

Medical Definition of spike protein

: a glycoprotein that protrudes from the envelope of some viruses (as a coronavirus) and facilitates entry of the virion into a host cell by binding to a receptor on the surface of a host cell followed by fusion of the viral and host cell membranes

called also S protein

Comments on spike protein

What made you want to look up spike protein? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!