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1.
Comput Biol Med ; 146: 105574, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1814282

ABSTRACT

With the emergence of Delta and Omicron variants, many other important variants of SARS-CoV-2, which cause Coronavirus disease-2019, including A.30, are reported to increase the concern created by the global pandemic. The A.30 variant, reported in Tanzania and other countries, harbors spike gene mutations that help this strain to bind more robustly and to escape neutralizing antibodies. The present study uses molecular modelling and simulation-based approaches to investigate the key features of this strain that result in greater infectivity. The protein-protein docking results for the spike protein demonstrated that additional interactions, particularly two salt-bridges formed by the mutated residue Lys484, increase binding affinity, while the loss of key residues at the N terminal domain (NTD) result in a change to binding conformation with monoclonal antibodies, thus escaping their neutralizing effects. Moreover, we deeply studied the atomic features of these binding complexes through molecular simulation, which revealed differential dynamics when compared to wild type. Analysis of the binding free energy using MM/GBSA revealed that the total binding free energy (TBE) for the wild type receptor-binding domain (RBD) complex was -58.25 kcal/mol in contrast to the A.30 RBD complex, which reported -65.59 kcal/mol. The higher TBE for the A.30 RBD complex signifies a more robust interaction between A.30 variant RBD with ACE2 than the wild type, allowing the variant to bind and spread more promptly. The BFE for the wild type NTD complex was calculated to be -65.76 kcal/mol, while the A.30 NTD complex was estimated to be -49.35 kcal/mol. This shows the impact of the reported substitutions and deletions in the NTD of A.30 variant, which consequently reduce the binding of mAb, allowing it to evade the immune response of the host. The reported results will aid the development of cross-protective drugs against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
RSC advances ; 11(48):30132-30147, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1812811

ABSTRACT

Continuing reports of new SARS-CoV-2 variants have caused worldwide concern and created a challenging situation for clinicians. The recently reported variant B.1.618, which possesses the E484K mutation specific to the receptor-binding domain (RBD), as well as two deletions of Tyr145 and His146 at the N-terminal binding domain (NTD) of the spike protein, must be studied in depth to devise new therapeutic options. Structural variants reported in the RBD and NTD may play essential roles in the increased pathogenicity of this SARS-CoV-2 new variant. We explored the binding differences and structural-dynamic features of the B.1.618 variant using structural and biomolecular simulation approaches. Our results revealed that the E484K mutation in the RBD slightly altered the binding affinity through affecting the hydrogen bonding network. We also observed that the flexibility of three important loops in the RBD required for binding was increased, which may improve the conformational optimization and consequently binding of the new variant. Furthermore, we found that deletions of Tyr145 and His146 at the NTD reduced the binding affinity of the monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4A8, and that the hydrogen bonding network was significantly affected consequently. This data show that the new B.1.618 variant is an antibody-escaping variant with slightly altered ACE2–RBD affinity. Moreover, we provide insights into the binding and structural-dynamics changes resulting from novel mutations in the RBD and NTD. Our results suggest the need for further in vitro and in vivo studies that will facilitate the development of possible therapies for new variants such as B.1.618. This study explored the binding patterns of the wild type and B.1.618 variant using which revealed that the B.1.618 variant possess a stronger binding affinity for the host ACE2 and escape the neutralizing antibodies.

3.
RSC advances ; 12(12):7318-7327, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1787253

ABSTRACT

A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 known as the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) reported in South Africa with 30 mutations in the whole spike protein, among which 15 mutations are in the receptor-binding domain, is continuously spreading exponentially around the world. The omicron variant is reported to be highly contagious with antibody-escaping activity. The emergence of antibody-escaping variants is alarming, and thus the quick discovery of small molecule inhibitors is needed. Hence, the current study uses computational drug screening and molecular dynamics simulation approaches (replicated) to identify novel drugs that can inhibit the binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) with hACE2. Screening of the North African, East African and North-East African medicinal compound databases by employing a multi-step screening approach revealed four compounds, namely (−)-pipoxide (C1), 2-(p-hydroxybenzyl) benzofuran-6-ol (C2), 1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-2-{4-[(E)-3-hydroxy-1-propenyl]-2-methoxyphenoxy}-1,3-propanediol (C3), and Rhein (C4), with excellent anti-viral properties against the RBD of the omicron variant. Investigation of the dynamics demonstrates stable behavior, good residue flexibility profiles, and structural compactness. Validation of the top hits using computational bioactivity analysis, binding free energy calculations and dissociation constant (KD) analysis also indicated the anti-viral properties of these compounds. In conclusion, this study will help in the design and discovery of novel drug therapeutics, which may be used against the emerging omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 known as the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) reported in South Africa with 30 mutations in the whole spike protein, among which 15 mutations are in the receptor-binding domain, is continuously spreading exponentially around the world.

4.
Molecules ; 27(7)2022 Apr 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776294

ABSTRACT

The continued emergence of human coronaviruses (hCoVs) in the last few decades has posed an alarming situation and requires advanced cross-protective strategies against these pandemic viruses. Among these, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been highly associated with lethality in humans. Despite the challenges posed by these viruses, it is imperative to develop effective antiviral therapeutics and vaccines for these human-infecting viruses. The proteomic similarity between the receptor-binding domains (RBDs) among the three viral species offers a potential target for advanced cross-protective vaccine designs. In this study, putative immunogenic epitopes including Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs), Helper T Lymphocytes (HTLs), and Beta-cells (B-cells) were predicted for each RBD-containing region of the three highly pathogenic hCoVs. This was followed by the structural organization of peptide- and mRNA-based prophylactic vaccine designs. The validated 3D structures of these epitope-based vaccine designs were subjected to molecular docking with human TLR4. Furthermore, the CTL and HTL epitopes were processed for binding with respective human Lymphocytes Antigens (HLAs). In silico cloning designs were obtained for the prophylactic vaccine designs and may be useful in further experimental designs. Additionally, the epitope-based vaccine designs were evaluated for immunogenic activity through immune simulation. Further studies may clarify the safety and efficacy of these prophylactic vaccine designs through experimental testing against these human-pathogenic coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Proteomics , RNA, Messenger , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry , Vaccinology
5.
Comput Biol Med ; 145: 105462, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768008

ABSTRACT

The emergence of variants and the reports of co-infection caused by Candida auris in COVID-19 patients adds a further complication to the global pandemic situation. To date, no effective therapy is available for C. auris infections. Thus, characterization of therapeutic targets and designing effective vaccine candidates using subtractive proteomics and immune-informatics approaches is useful tool in controlling the emerging infections associated with SARS-CoV-2. In the current study, subtractive proteomics-assisted annotation of the vaccine targets was performed, which revealed seven vaccine targets. An immunoinformatic-driven approach was then employed to map protein-specific and proteome-wide immunogenic peptides (CTL, B cell, and HTL) for the design of multi-epitope vaccine candidates (MEVCs). The results demonstrated that the vaccine candidates possess strong antigenic features (>0.4 threshold score) and are classified as non-allergenic. Validation of the designed MEVCs through molecular docking, in-silico cloning, and immune simulation further demonstrated the efficacy of the vaccines by producing immune factor titers (ranging from 2500 to 16000 au/mL) i.e., IgM, IgG, IL-6, and Interferon-α. In conclusion, the current study provides a strong impetus in designing anti-fungal strategies against Candida auris.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Proteomics , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Humans , Immunity , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Subunit
6.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314041

ABSTRACT

Background: The prolific spread of COVID-19 caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from its epicenter in Wuhan, China, to every nook and cranny of the world after December 2019, jeopardize the prevailing health system in the world and has raised serious concerns about human safety. To date efforts are continuing to design small molecule inhibitor, vaccines and many other therapeutic options are practiced but their final therapeutic potential is still to be tested. Using the old drug or vaccine or peptides could aid this process to avoid such long experimental procedure. Results: : Hence, here we have repurposed a small peptide (ATLQAIAS) from the previous study which reported the inhibitory effects of this peptide. We used in silico mutagenesis approach to design more peptides from the native wild peptide, which revealed that substitutions (T2W, T2Y, L3R and A5W) could increase the binding affinity of the peptide towards the 3CLpro. Furthermore, using MD simulation and free energy calculation confirmed its dynamics stability and stronger binding affinities. Per-residues energy decomposition analysis revealed that the specified substitution significantly increased the binding affinity at residue level. Conclusion: Our wide-ranging analyses of binding affinities disclosed that our designed peptide owns the potential to hinder the SARS-CoV-2 and will reduce the progression of SARs-CoV-2-borne pneumonia. Our analysis strongly suggests the experimental and clinical validation of these peptides to curtail the recent corona outbreak.

7.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314037

ABSTRACT

Most recently, an outbreak of severe pneumonia caused by the infection of 2019-nCoV, a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, imposes serious threats to public health. Upon infecting host cells, coronaviruses assemble a multi-subunit RNA-synthesis complex of viral non-structural proteins (nsp) responsible for the replication and transcription of the viral genome. Therefore, the role and inhibition of nsp12 are indispensable. Since there is no crystallographic structure of RdRp is available, so, here, we present the 3-dimensional structure of the 2019-nCoV nsp12 polymerase using a computational approach. nsp12 of 2019-nCoV possesses an architecture common to all viral polymerases as well as a large N-terminal extension. This structure illuminates the assembly of the coronavirus core RNA-synthesis machinery, provides key insights into nsp12 polymerase catalysis and fidelity, and acts as a template for the design of novel antiviral therapeutics. Besides, the experimental structure could reveal the organization in a more sophisticated way. Furthermore, the ancestral state reconstruction suggests the possible evolution of nCoV in Wuhan China and its dispersal to the USA. The result of our analyses postulates the possible dispersal of nCoV from the USA and Shenzhen back to Wuhan. This disclosing of valuable knowledge regarding the 3D structure of 2019-nCoV nsp12 architecture, ancestral relation, and dispersion pattern could help to design effective therapeutic candidates against the coronaviruses and design robust preventive measurements.

8.
Mol Divers ; 2022 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1681347

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19 continues to mutate. Numerous studies have indicated that this viral mutation, particularly in the receptor-binding domain area, may increase the viral affinity for human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2), the receptor for viral entry into host cells, thereby increasing viral virulence and transmission. In this study, we investigated the binding affinity of SARS-CoV-2 variants (Delta plus, Iota, Kappa, Mu, Lambda, and C.1.2) on hACE2 using computational modeling with a protein-protein docking approach. The simulation results indicated that there were differences in the interactions between the RBD and hACE2, including hydrogen bonding, salt bridge interactions, non-bonded interactions, and binding free energy differences among these variants. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that mutations in the RBD increase the stability of the hACE2-spike protein complex relative to the wild type, following the global stability trend and increasing the binding affinity. The value of binding-free energy calculated using molecular mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA) indicated that all mutations in the spike protein increased the contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2 variants. The findings of this study provide a foundation for developing effective interventions against these variants. Computational modeling elucidates that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 variants binds considerably stronger than the wild-type to hACE2.

9.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 200: 438-448, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633972

ABSTRACT

As SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) continues to inflict chaos globally, a new variant officially known as B.1.1.529 was reported in South Africa and was found to harbor 30 mutations in the spike protein. It is too early to speculate on transmission and hospitalizations. Hence, more analyses are required, particularly to connect the genomic patterns to the phenotypic attributes to reveal the binding differences and antibody response for this variant, which can then be used for therapeutic interventions. Given the urgency of the required analysis and data on the B.1.1.529 variant, we have performed a detailed investigation to provide an understanding of the impact of these novel mutations on the structure, function, and binding of RBD to hACE2 and mAb to the NTD of the spike protein. The differences in the binding pattern between the wild type and B.1.1.529 variant complexes revealed that the key substitutions Asn417, Ser446, Arg493, and Arg498 in the B.1.1.529 RBD caused additional interactions with hACE2 and the loss of key residues in the B.1.1.529 NTD resulted in decreased interactions with three CDR regions (1-3) in the mAb. Further investigation revealed that B.1.1.529 displayed a stable dynamic that follows a global stability trend. In addition, the dissociation constant (KD), hydrogen bonding analysis, and binding free energy calculations further validated the findings. Hydrogen bonding analysis demonstrated that significant hydrogen bonding reprogramming took place, which revealed key differences in the binding. The total binding free energy using MM/GBSA and MM/PBSA further validated the docking results and demonstrated significant variations in the binding. This study is the first to provide a basis for the higher infectivity of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants and provides a strong impetus for the development of novel drugs against them.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies/chemistry , Antibodies/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Immune Evasion , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
10.
Comb Chem High Throughput Screen ; 2022 Jan 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622462
11.
Comput Biol Med ; 141: 105163, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588032

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and the host ACE2 receptor plays a vital role in the entry to the cell. Among which the hotspot residue 501 is continuously subjected to positive selection pressure and induces unusual virulence. Keeping in view the importance of the hot spot residue 501, we predicted the potentially emerging structural variants of 501 residue. We analyzed the binding pattern of wild type and mutants (Spike RBD) to the ACE2 receptor by deciphering variations in the amino acids' interaction networks by graph kernels along with evolutionary, network metrics, and energetic information. Our analysis revealed that N501I, N501T, and N501V increase the binding affinity and alter the intra and inter-residue bonding networks. The N501T has shown strong positive selection and fitness in other animals. Docking results and repeated simulations (three times) confirmed the structural stability and tighter binding of these three variants, correlated with the previous results following the global stability trend. Consequently, we reported three variants N501I, N501T, and N501V could worsen the situation further if they emerged. The relations between the viral fitness and binding affinity is a complicated game thus the emergence of high affinity mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD brings up the question of whether or not positive selection favours these mutations or not?


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
12.
Comput Biol Med ; 141: 105170, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588030

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, an RNA virus, has been prone to high mutations since its first emergence in Wuhan, China, and throughout its spread. Its genome has been sequenced continuously by many countries, including Pakistan, but the results vary. Understanding its genomic patterns and connecting them with phenotypic features will help in devising therapeutic strategies. Thus, in this study, we explored the mutation landscape of 250 Pakistani isolates of SARS-CoV-2 genomes to check the genome diversity and examine the impact of these mutations on protein stability and viral pathogenesis in comparison with a reference sequence (Wuhan NC 045512.2). Our results revealed that structural proteins mainly exhibit more mutations than others in the Pakistani isolates; in particular, the nucleocapsid protein is highly mutated. In comparison, the spike protein is the most mutated protein globally. Furthermore, nsp12 was found to be the most mutated NSP in the Pakistani isolates and worldwide. Regarding accessory proteins, ORF3A is the most mutated in the Pakistani isolates, whereas ORF8 is highly mutated in world isolates. These mutations decrease the structural stability of their proteins and alter different biological pathways. Molecular docking, the dissociation constant (KD), and MM/GBSA analysis showed that mutations in the S protein alter its binding with ACE2. The spike protein mutations D614G-S943T-V622F (-75.17 kcal/mol), D614G-Q677H (-75.78 kcal/mol), and N74K-D614G (-73.84 kcal/mol) exhibit stronger binding energy than the wild type (-66.34 kcal/mol), thus increasing infectivity. Furthermore, the simulation results strongly corroborated the predicted protein servers. Our analysis findings also showed that E, M, ORF6, ORF7A, ORF7B, and ORF10 are the most stable coding genes; they may be suitable targets for vaccine and drug development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation , Pakistan , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
13.
Comput Biol Med ; 140: 105122, 2021 Dec 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561213

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corovirus2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been determined to be the cause of the current pandemic. Typical symptoms of patient having COVID-19 are fever, runny nose, cough (dry or not) and dyspnea. Several vaccines are available in markets that are tackling current pandemic. Many different strains of SAR-CoV-2 have been evolved with the passage of time. The emergence of VOCs particularly the B.1.351 ("South African") variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been reported to be more resistant than other SARS-CoV-2 strains to the current vaccines. Thus, the current research is focused to design multi-epitope subunit Vaccine (MEV) using structural vaccinology techniques. As a result, the designed MEV exhibit antigenic properties and possess therapeutic features that can trigger an immunological response against COVID-19. Furthermore, validation of the MEV using immune simulation and in silico cloning revealed that the proposed vaccine candidate effectively triggered the immune response. Conclusively, the developed MEV needs further wet lab exploration and could be a viable vaccine to manage and prevent COVID-19.

14.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538576

ABSTRACT

Yersinia pestis is responsible for plague and major pandemics in Asia and Europe. This bacterium has shown resistance to an array of drugs commonly used for the treatment of plague. Therefore, effective therapeutics measurements, such as designing a vaccine that can effectively and safely prevent Y. pestis infection, are of high interest. To fast-track vaccine development against Yersinia pestis, herein, proteome-wide vaccine target annotation was performed, and structural vaccinology-assisted epitopes were predicted. Among the total 3909 proteins, only 5 (rstB, YPO2385, hmuR, flaA1a, and psaB) were shortlisted as essential vaccine targets. These targets were then subjected to multi-epitope vaccine design using different linkers. EAAK, AAY, and GPGPG as linkers were used to link CTL, HTL, and B-cell epitopes, and an adjuvant (beta defensin) was also added at the N-terminal of the MEVC. Physiochemical characterization, such as determination of the instability index, theoretical pI, half-life, aliphatic index, stability profiling, antigenicity, allergenicity, and hydropathy of the ensemble, showed that the vaccine is highly stable, antigenic, and non-allergenic and produces multiple interactions with immune receptors upon docking. In addition, molecular dynamics simulation confirmed the stable binding and good dynamic properties of the vaccine-TLR complex. Furthermore, in silico and immune simulation of the developed MEVC for Y. pestis showed that the vaccine triggered strong immune response after several doses at different intervals. Neutralization of the antigen was observed at the third day of injection. Conclusively, the vaccine designed here for Y. pestis produces an immune response; however, further immunological testing is needed to unveil its real efficacy.

15.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 39(13): 4659-4670, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521979

ABSTRACT

The current coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) pandemic and phenomenal spread to every nook and cranny of the world has raised major apprehensions about the modern public health care system. So far as a result of this epidemic, 4,434,653 confirmed cases and 302,169 deaths are reported. The growing infection rate and death toll demand the use of all possible approaches to design novel drugs and vaccines to curb this disease. In this study, we combined drugs repurposing and virtual drug screening strategies to target 3CLpro, which has an essential role in viral maturation and replication. A total of 31 FDA approved anti-HIV drugs, and Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) database were screened to find potential inhibitors. As a result, Saquinavir, and five drugs (TCM5280805, TCM5280445, TCM5280343, TCM5280863, and TCM5458190) from the TCM database were found as promising hits. Furthermore, results from molecular dynamics simulation and total binding free energy revealed that Saquinavir and TCM5280805 target the catalytic dyad (His41 and Cys145) and possess stable dynamics behavior. Thus, we suggest that these compounds should be tested experimentally against the SARS-COV-2 as Saquinavir has been reported to inhibit HIV protease experimentally. Considering the intensity of coronavirus dissemination, the present research is in line with the idea of discovering the latest inhibitors against the coronavirus essential pathways to accelerate the drug development cycle.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Microorganisms ; 9(11)2021 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512502

ABSTRACT

Glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) might be a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 to bind and enter the host cell. Recently reported mutations in the spike glycoprotein unique to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of different variants might increase the binding and pathogenesis. However, it is still not known how these mutations affect the binding of RBD to GRP78. The current study provides a structural basis for the binding of GRP78 to the different variants, i.e., B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617, and P.1 (spike RBD), of SARS-CoV-2 using a biomolecular simulation approach. Docking results showed that the new variants bound stronger than the wild-type, which was further confirmed through the free energy calculation results. All-atom simulation confirmed structural stability, which was consistent with previous results by following the global stability trend. We concluded that the increased binding affinity of the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants was due to a variation in the bonding network that helped the virus induce a higher infectivity and disease severity. Consequently, we reported that the aforementioned new variants use GRP78 as an alternate receptor to enhance their seriousness.

17.
Comput Biol Med ; 138: 104936, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458824

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Reports of new variants that potentially increase virulence and viral transmission, as well as reduce the efficacy of available vaccines, have recently emerged. In this study, we computationally analyzed the N439K, S477 N, and T478K variants for their ability to bind Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). We used the protein-protein docking approach to explore whether the three variants displayed a higher binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor than the wild type. We found that these variants alter the hydrogen bonding network and the cluster of interactions. Additional salt bridges, hydrogen bonds, and a high number of non-bonded contacts (i.e., non-bonded interactions between atoms in the same molecule and those in other molecules) were observed only in the mutant complexes, allowing efficient binding to the ACE2 receptor. Furthermore, we used a 2.0-µs all-atoms simulation approach to detect differences in the structural dynamic features of the resulting protein complexes. Our findings revealed that the mutant complexes possessed stable dynamics, consistent with the global trend of mutations yielding variants with improved stability and enhanced affinity. Binding energy calculations based on molecular mechanics/generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) further revealed that electrostatic interactions principally increased net binding energies. The stability and binding energies of N439K, S477 N, and T478K variants were enhanced compared to the wild-type-ACE2 complex. The net binding energy of the systems was -31.86 kcal/mol for the wild-type-ACE2 complex, -67.85 kcal/mol for N439K, -69.82 kcal/mol for S477 N, and -69.64 kcal/mol for T478K. The current study provides a basis for exploring the enhanced binding abilities and structural features of SARS-CoV-2 variants to design novel therapeutics against the virus.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Computational Biology , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
Biomed Pharmacother ; 143: 112176, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1412768

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its new variants reported in different countries have posed a serious threat to human health and social fabrics worldwide. In addition, these new variants hindered the efforts of vaccines and other therapeutic developments. In this review article, we explained the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, their transmission risk, mortality rate, and, more importantly, the impact of each new variant on the efficacy of the developed vaccines reported in different literature and findings. The literature reported that with the emergence of new variants, the efficacy of different vaccines is declined, hospitalization and the risk of reinfection is increased. The reports concluded that the emergence of a variant that entirely evades the immune response triggered by the vaccine is improbable. The emergence of new variants and reports of re-infections are creating a more distressing situation and therefore demands further investigation to formulate an effective therapeutic strategy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/classification , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Treatment Outcome
19.
Comput Biol Med ; 133: 104420, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385348

ABSTRACT

Reports of the novel and more contagious strains of SARS-CoV-2 originating in different countries have further aggravated the pandemic situation. The recent substitutions in spike protein may be critical for the virus to evade the host's immune system and therapeutics that have already been developed. Thus, this study has employed an immunoinformatics pipeline to target the spike protein of this novel strain to construct an immunogenic epitope (CTL, HTL, and B cell) vaccine against the new variant. Our investigation revealed that 12 different epitopes imparted a critical role in immune response induction. This was validated by an exploration of physiochemical properties and experimental feasibility. In silico and host immune simulation confirmed the expression and induction of both primary and secondary immune factors such as IL, cytokines, and antibodies. The current study warrants further lab experiments to demonstrate its efficacy and safety.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Cloning, Molecular , Computer Simulation , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Humans , Immunity , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit
20.
J Cell Physiol ; 236(10): 7045-7057, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1342890

ABSTRACT

The evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 new variants reported to be 70% more contagious than the earlier one is now spreading fast worldwide. There is an instant need to discover how the new variants interact with the host receptor (ACE2). Among the reported mutations in the Spike glycoprotein of the new variants, three are specific to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and required insightful scrutiny for new therapeutic options. These structural evolutions in the RBD domain may impart a critical role to the unique pathogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 new variants. Herein, using structural and biophysical approaches, we explored that the specific mutations in the UK (N501Y), South African (K417N-E484K-N501Y), Brazilian (K417T-E484K-N501Y), and hypothetical (N501Y-E484K) variants alter the binding affinity, create new inter-protein contacts and changes the internal structural dynamics thereby increases the binding and eventually the infectivity. Our investigation highlighted that the South African (K417N-E484K-N501Y), Brazilian (K417T-E484K-N501Y) variants are more lethal than the UK variant (N501Y). The behavior of the wild type and N501Y is comparable. Free energy calculations further confirmed that increased binding of the spike RBD to the ACE2 is mainly due to the electrostatic contribution. Further, we find that the unusual virulence of this virus is potentially the consequence of Darwinian selection-driven epistasis in protein evolution. The triple mutants (South African and Brazilian) may pose a serious threat to the efficacy of the already developed vaccine. Our analysis would help to understand the binding and structural dynamics of the new mutations in the RBD domain of the Spike protein and demand further investigation in in vitro and in vivo models to design potential therapeutics against the new variants.


Subject(s)
Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brazil , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Protein Binding/genetics , South Africa , United Kingdom , Virulence/genetics
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