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Curr Res Struct Biol ; 3: 290-300, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509714


The recent release of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data from several countries has provided clues into the potential antigenic drift of the coronavirus population. In particular, the genomic instability observed in the spike protein necessitates immediate action and further exploration in the context of viral-host interactions. By temporally tracking 527,988 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we identified invariant and hypervariable regions within the spike protein. We evaluated combination of mutations from SARS-CoV-2 lineages and found that maximum number of lineage-defining mutations were present in the N-terminal domain (NTD). Based on mutant 3D-structural models of known Variants of Concern (VOCs), we found that structural properties such as accessibility, secondary structural type, and intra-protein interactions at local mutation sites are greatly altered. Further, we observed significant differences between intra-protein networks of wild-type and Delta mutant, with the latter showing dense intra-protein contacts. Extensive molecular dynamics simulations of D614G mutant spike structure with hACE2 further revealed dynamic features with 47.7% of mutations mapping on flexible regions of spike protein. Thus, we propose that significant changes within spike protein structure have occurred that may impact SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, and repositioning of vaccine candidates is required to contain the spread of COVID-19 pathogen.

Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 184, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808195


Background: India first detected SARS-CoV-2, causal agent of COVID-19 in late January 2020, imported from Wuhan, China. From March 2020 onwards, the importation of cases from countries in the rest of the world followed by seeding of local transmission triggered further outbreaks in India. Methods: We used ARTIC protocol-based tiling amplicon sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 (n=104) from different states of India using a combination of MinION and MinIT sequencing from Oxford Nanopore Technology to understand how introduction and local transmission occurred. Results: The analyses revealed multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including the A2a cluster from Europe and the USA, A3 cluster from Middle East and A4 cluster (haplotype redefined) from Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). The local transmission and persistence of genomes A4, A2a and A3 was also observed in the studied locations. The most prevalent genomes with patterns of variance (confined in a cluster) remain unclassified, and are here proposed as A4-clade based on its divergence within the A cluster. Conclusions: The viral haplotypes may link their persistence to geo-climatic conditions and host response. Multipronged strategies including molecular surveillance based on real-time viral genomic data is of paramount importance for a timely management of the pandemic.