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1.
Viruses ; 14(12):2764, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2155319

ABSTRACT

The ongoing evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in the recent emergence of a highly divergent variant of concern (VOC) defined as Omicron or B.1.1.529. This VOC is of particular concern because it has the potential to evade most therapeutic antibodies and has undergone a sustained genetic evolution, resulting in the emergence of five distinct sub-lineages. However, the evolutionary dynamics of the initially identified Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages remain poorly understood. Herein, we combined Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, mutational profiling, and selection pressure analysis to track the virus's genetic changes that drive the early evolutionary dynamics of the Omicron. Based on the Omicron dataset chosen for the improved temporal signals and sampled globally between November 2021 and January 2022, the most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) and substitution rates for BA.1 were estimated to be that of 18 September 2021 (95% highest posterior density (HPD), 4 August-22 October 2021) and 1.435 ×10-3 (95% HPD =  1.021 ×10-3 - 1.869 ×10-3) substitution/site/year, respectively, whereas 3 November 2021 (95% highest posterior density (HPD) 26 September-28 November 2021) and 1.074 ×10-3 (95% HPD =  6.444 ×10-4 - 1.586 ×10-3) substitution/site/year were estimated for the BA.2 sub-lineage. The findings of this study suggest that the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages originated independently and evolved over time. Furthermore, we identified multiple sites in the spike protein undergoing continued diversifying selection that may alter the neutralization profile of BA.1. This study sheds light on the ongoing global genomic surveillance and Bayesian molecular dating analyses to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of the virus and, as a result, mitigate the impact of emerging variants on public health.

2.
Environ Res ; 212(Pt C): 113303, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796871

ABSTRACT

Understanding the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been a highly debatable and unresolved issue for scientific communities all over the world. Understanding the mechanism of virus entry to the host cells is crucial to deciphering the susceptibility profiles of animal species to SARS-CoV-2. The interaction of SARS-CoV-2 ligands (receptor-binding domain on spike protein) with its host cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is a critical determinant of host range and cross-species transmission. In this study, we developed and implemented a rigorous computational approach for predicting binding affinity between 299 ACE2 orthologs from diverse vertebrate species and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The findings show that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can bind to a wide range of vertebrate species carrying evolutionary divergent ACE2, implying a broad host range at the virus entry level, which may contribute to cross-species transmission and further viral evolution. Furthermore, the current study facilitated the identification of genetic determinants that may differentiate susceptible from resistant host species based on the conservation of ACE2-spike protein interacting residues in vertebrate host species known to facilitate SARS-CoV-2 infection; however, these genetic determinants warrant in vivo experimental confirmation. The molecular interactions associated with varied binding affinity of distinct ACE2 isoforms in a specific bat species were identified using protein structure analysis, implying the existence of diversified bat species' susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. The current study's findings highlight the importance of intensive surveillance programmes aimed at identifying susceptible hosts, especially those with the potential to transmit zoonotic pathogens, in order to prevent future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vertebrates/metabolism
3.
Int J Pept Res Ther ; 28(1): 28, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568383

ABSTRACT

Several mutations in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have increased the transmission and mortality rate of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) across the globe. Although many vaccines have been developed, a large proportion of the global population remains at high risk of infection. The current study aims to develop an antiviral peptide capable of inhibiting the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and its six major variants with the host cell angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. An in-silico approach was employed to design a therapeutic peptide inhibitor against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3). The binding specificity and affinity of our designed peptide inhibitor Mod13AApi (YADKYQKQYKDAY) with wild-type S-RBD and its six variants was confirmed by molecular docking using the HPEPDOCK tool, whereas complex stability was determined by the MD simulation study. The physicochemical and ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity) properties of inhibitory peptides were determined using the ExPASy tool and pkCSM server. The docking results and its properties from our in-silico analysis present the Mod13AApi, a promising peptide for the rapid development of anti-coronavirus peptide-based antiviral therapy. Blockage of the binding of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 variants with ACE2 in the presence of the therapeutic peptide may prevent deadly SARS-CoV-2 variants entry into host cells. Therefore, the designed inhibitory peptide can be utilized as a promising therapeutic strategy to combat COVID-19, as evident from this in-silico study.

4.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411085

ABSTRACT

Many viruses that cause serious diseases in humans and animals, including the betacoronaviruses (beta-CoVs), such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and the recently identified SARS-CoV-2, have natural reservoirs in bats. Because these viruses rely entirely on the host cellular machinery for survival, their evolution is likely to be guided by the link between the codon usage of the virus and that of its host. As a result, specific cellular microenvironments of the diverse hosts and/or host tissues imprint peculiar molecular signatures in virus genomes. Our study is aimed at deciphering some of these signatures. Using a variety of genetic methods we demonstrated that trends in codon usage across chiroptera-hosted CoVs are collaboratively driven by geographically different host-species and temporal-spatial distribution. We not only found that chiroptera-hosted CoVs are the ancestors of SARS-CoV-2, but we also revealed that SARS-CoV-2 has the codon usage characteristics similar to those seen in CoVs infecting the Rhinolophus sp. Surprisingly, the envelope gene of beta-CoVs infecting Rhinolophus sp., including SARS-CoV-2, had extremely high CpG levels, which appears to be an evolutionarily conserved trait. The dissection of the furin cleavage site of various CoVs infecting hosts revealed host-specific preferences for arginine codons; however, arginine is encoded by a wider variety of synonymous codons in the murine CoV (MHV-A59) furin cleavage site. Our findings also highlight the latent diversity of CoVs in mammals that has yet to be fully explored.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , Codon Usage , Coronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Animals , Furin/metabolism , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral
5.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 1006-1022, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387712

ABSTRACT

Interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein with the ACE2 cell receptor is very crucial for virus attachment to human cells. Selected mutations in SARS-CoV-2 S-protein are reported to strengthen its binding affinity to mammalian ACE2. The N501T mutation in SARS-CoV-2-CTD furnishes better support to hotspot 353 in comparison with SARS-CoV and shows higher affinity for receptor binding. Recombination analysis exhibited higher recombination events in SARS-CoV-2 strains, irrespective of their geographical origin or hosts. Investigation further supports a common origin among SARS-CoV-2 and its predecessors, SARS-CoV and bat-SARS-like-CoV. The recombination events suggest a constant exchange of genetic material among the co-infecting viruses in possible reservoirs and human hosts before SARS-CoV-2 emerged. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of codon usage bias (CUB) in SARS-CoV-2 revealed significant CUB among the S-genes of different beta-coronaviruses governed majorly by natural selection and mutation pressure. Various indices of codon usage of S-genes helped in quantifying its adaptability in other animal hosts. These findings might help in identifying potential experimental animal models for investigating pathogenicity for drugs and vaccine development experiments.


Subject(s)
Biological Evolution , Codon Usage , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Models, Animal , Mutation , RNA, Transfer/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Drugs R D ; 21(3): 273-283, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330440

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Coronavirus disease 2019 is a novel disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 virus. It was first detected in December 2019 and has since been declared a pandemic causing millions of deaths worldwide. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop effective therapeutics against coronavirus disease 2019. A critical step in the crosstalk between the virus and the host cell is the binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the peptidase domain of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor present on the surface of host cells. METHODS: An in silico approach was employed to design a 13-amino acid peptide inhibitor (13AApi) against the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Its binding specificity for RBD was confirmed by molecular docking using pyDockWEB, ClusPro 2.0, and HDOCK web servers. The stability of 13AApi and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein complex was determined by molecular dynamics simulation using the GROMACS program while the physicochemical and ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity) properties of 13AApi were determined using the ExPASy tool and pkCSM server. Finally, in vitro validation of the inhibitory activity of 13AApi against the spike protein was performed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: In silico analyses indicated that the 13AApi could bind to the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at the ACE2 binding site with high affinity. In vitro experiments validated the in silico findings, showing that 13AApi could significantly block the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. CONCLUSIONS: Blockage of binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with ACE2 in the presence of the 13AApi may prevent virus entry into host cells. Therefore, the 13AApi can be utilized as a promising therapeutic agent to combat coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/toxicity , Binding Sites , Computer Simulation , Drug Design , Humans , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Molecular Structure , Peptides/pharmacokinetics , Peptides/toxicity , Protein Binding/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Substrate Specificity
8.
Microb Pathog ; 145: 104236, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-165205

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease that was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has subsequently spread worldwide. In the absence of any antiviral or immunomodulatory therapies, the disease is spreading at an alarming rate. A possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 in places where lockdowns have already worked is also developing. Thus, for controlling COVID-19, vaccines may be a better option than drugs. An mRNA-based anti-COVID-19 candidate vaccine has entered a phase 1 clinical trial. However, its efficacy and potency have to be evaluated and validated. Since vaccines have high failure rates, as an alternative, we are presenting a new, designed multi-peptide subunit-based epitope vaccine against COVID-19. The recombinant vaccine construct comprises an adjuvant, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL), helper T-lymphocyte (HTL), and B-cell epitopes joined by linkers. The computational data suggest that the vaccine is non-toxic, non-allergenic, thermostable, with the capability to elicit a humoral and cell-mediated immune response. The stabilization of the vaccine construct is validated with molecular dynamics simulation studies. This unique vaccine is made up of 33 highly antigenic epitopes from three proteins that have a prominent role in host-receptor recognition, viral entry, and pathogenicity. We advocate this vaccine must be synthesized and tested urgently as a public health priority.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
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