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Title: Distant residues modulate conformational opening in SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
Infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) involves the attachment of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of its spike proteins to the ACE2 receptors on the peripheral membrane of host cells. Binding is initiated by a down-to-up conformational change in the spike protein, the change that presents the RBD to the receptor. To date, computational and experimental studies that search for therapeutics have concentrated, for good reason, on the RBD. However, the RBD region is highly prone to mutations, and is therefore a hotspot for drug resistance. In contrast, we here focus on the correlations between the RBD and residues distant to it in the spike protein. This allows for a deeper understanding of the underlying molecular recognition events and prediction of the highest-effect key mutations in distant, allosteric sites, with implications for therapeutics. Also, these sites can appear in emerging mutants with possibly higher transmissibility and virulence, and preidentifying them can give clues for designing pan-coronavirus vaccines against future outbreaks. Our model, based on time-lagged independent component analysis (tICA) and protein graph connectivity network, is able to identify multiple residues that exhibit long-distance coupling with the RBD opening. Residues involved in the most ubiquitous D614G mutation and the more » A570D mutation of the highly contagious UK SARS-CoV-2 variant are predicted ab initio from our model. Conversely, broad-spectrum therapeutics like drugs and monoclonal antibodies can target these key distant-but-conserved regions of the spike protein. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
2028443
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10309107
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
118
Issue:
43
ISSN:
0027-8424
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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