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Ann Neurosci ; 28(3-4): 201-218, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477158


Background: Coronaviruses (CoVs) are single-stranded, polyadenylated, enveloped RNA of positive polarity with a unique potential to alter host tropism. This has been exceptionally demonstrated by the emergence of deadly virus outbreaks of the past: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) in 2012. Summary: The 2019 outbreak by the new cross-species transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has put the world on alert. CoV infection is triggered by receptor recognition, membrane fusion, and successive viral entry mediated by the surface Spike (S) glycoprotein. S protein is one of the major antigenic determinants and the target for neutralizing antibodies. It is a valuable target in antiviral therapies because of its central role in cell-cell fusion, viral antigen spread, and host immune responses leading to immunopathogenesis. The receptor-binding domain of S protein has received greater attention as it initiates host attachment and contains major antigenic determinants. However, investigating the therapeutic potential of fusion peptide as a part of the fusion core complex assembled by the heptad repeats 1 and 2 (HR1 and HR2) is also warranted. Along with receptor attachment and entry, fusion mechanisms should also be explored for designing inhibitors as a therapeutic intervention. Key message: In this article, we review the S protein function and its role in mediating membrane fusion, spread, tropism, and its associated pathogenesis with notable therapeutic strategies focusing on results obtained from studies on a murine ß-Coronavirus (m-CoV) and its associated disease process.