September 21, 2021

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SARS-CoV-2 3D analysis reveals clues to virus tactics

Madrid, 15 Sept. (Europa Press) –

The most comprehensive analysis of the three-dimensional structure of SARS-CoV-2 to date has revealed new insights into how the virus affects and reflects on human cells, according to the authors of the journal Biological Systems.

Led by Sean O’Donoghue, professor at CSIRO’s Carvan Institute for Medical Research and Data 61, the researchers collected more than 2,000 different structures from 27 corona virus proteins. Analysis has identified human proteins that “mimic” and “sequestrate” viral proteins, tactics that allow the virus to duplicate without avoiding cellular defenses.

These configuration models are freely accessible from the Aquarius-Govit resource, a website designed by the team to help the research community “get closer” to the new targets of the virus for future treatment or vaccination and, above all, explore new variants of the virus.

“Our source contains information about the structure of SARS-CoV-2, which is not available anywhere else. It has given us unprecedented insights into the function of the virus,” said Professor O’Donoghue, the first author. Our analysis revealed the main mechanisms used by the corona virus; These guidelines will guide the development of new therapies and vaccines. “

To better understand biological processes, researchers determine the three-dimensional shape of individual proteins, the building blocks that make up cells or viruses.

“The three-dimensional structures of proteins provide nuclear determination information about the SARS-CoV-2 compound, which is important for developing vaccines or therapies that target different parts of the virus,” he added. Proteins have also been identified. However, so far there is no easy way to collect and analyze all the data. “

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The team’s analysis revealed three corona virus proteins – NSP3, NSP13 and NSP16 – that the researchers “mimicked” human proteins, allowing them to better hide the virus from the human immune system and contribute to different outcomes.

Modeling revealed five corona virus proteins – NSP1, NSP3, spike glycoprotein, envelope protein and ORF9b protein – that help researchers “disrupt” or disrupt processes in human cells and take control of the virus. Other cells.

“In addition, we found that eight corona virus proteins coexist; analysis of how they coalesce has provided new insights into how the virus responds to its gene,” says Professor O’Donoghue. However, we consider that 14 more proteins play an important role in infection after taking them into account, but there is no structural evidence of interaction with other human or viral proteins. “

“To give researchers access to this data, we have developed a new visualization system called the Structural Coverage Map,” he continues. “The map illustrates what we know about SARS-CoV-2 and what remains of it; it helps scientists find and use 3D models to investigate specific research questions.”

It demonstrates that “the group’s analysis reveals the possibility of further investigation.” Much of current corona virus research has focused on the spike glycoprotein that is currently the primary target of vaccines. This protein will be an important target, but it is important to broaden our focus to other possible targets and to better understand the entire life cycle of the virus, “said Professor O’Donoghue.

He says the Aquarius-Govit resource makes it easier for researchers to explore differences between new variants of the corona virus and, above all, to find the best way to attack them through vaccines and treatments.

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“New variants like the delta strain are more likely to change and evolve,” says O’Donoghue. “Our evidence will help researchers understand how new viral strains differ from each other. We hope this will help address them as new strains emerge.”