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1.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2890-2901, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604873

ABSTRACT

The nucleocapsid phosphoprotein N plays critical roles in multiple processes of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection cycle: it protects and packages viral RNA in N assembly, interacts with the inner domain of spike protein, binds to structural membrane (M) protein during virion packaging and maturation, and to proteases causing replication of infective virus particle. Even with its importance, very limited biophysical studies are available on the N protein because of its high level of disorder, high propensity for aggregation, and high susceptibility for autoproteolysis. Here, we successfully prepare the N protein and a 1000-nucleotide fragment of viral RNA in large quantities and purity suitable for biophysical studies. A combination of biophysical and biochemical techniques demonstrates that the N protein is partially disordered and consists of an independently folded RNA-binding domain and a dimerization domain, flanked by disordered linkers. The protein assembles as a tight dimer with a dimerization constant of sub-micromolar but can also form transient interactions with other N proteins, facilitating larger oligomers. NMR studies on the ∼100-kDa dimeric protein identify a specific domain that binds 1-1000-nt RNA and show that the N-RNA complex remains highly disordered. Analytical ultracentrifugation, isothermal titration calorimetry, multiangle light scattering, and cross-linking experiments identify a heterogeneous mixture of complexes with a core corresponding to at least 70 dimers of N bound to 1-1000 RNA. In contrast, very weak binding is detected with a smaller construct corresponding to the RNA-binding domain using similar experiments. A model that explains the importance of the bivalent structure of N to its binding on multivalent sites of the viral RNA is presented.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Humans , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Phosphoproteins , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism
2.
BMC Res Notes ; 14(1): 10, 2021 Jan 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388820

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the occurrence of a silent mutation in the RNA binding domain of nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N protein) coding gene from SARS-CoV-2 that may consequence to a missense mutation by onset of another single nucleotide mutation. RESULTS: In the DNA sequence isolated from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) in Iran, a coding sequence for the RNA binding domain of N protein was detected. The comparison of Chinese and Iranian DNA sequences displayed that a thymine (T) was mutated to cytosine (C), so "TTG" from China was changed to "CTG" in Iran. Both DNA sequences from Iran and China have been encoded for leucine. In addition, the second T in "CTG" in the DNA or uracil (U) in "CUG" in the RNA sequences from Iran can be mutated to another C by a missense mutation resulting from thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) of human and base excision repair mechanism to produce "CCG" encoding for proline, which consequently may increase the affinity of the RNA binding domain of N protein to viral RNA and improve the transcription rate, pathogenicity, evasion from human immunity system, spreading in the human body, and risk of human-to-human transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Binding Motifs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , China , Databases, Genetic , Humans , Iran , Mutation, Missense , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Silent Mutation
3.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 39(12): 4243-4255, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317834

ABSTRACT

Recent outbreak of novel Coronavirus disease () pandemic around the world is associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome. The death toll associated with the pandemic is increasing day by day. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus and its N terminal domain (NTD) of Nucleocapsid protein (N protein) binds to the viral (+) sense RNA and results in virus ribonucleoprotien complex, essential for the virus replication. The N protein is composed of a serine-rich linker region sandwiched between NTD and C terminal (CTD). These terminals play a role in viral entry and its processing post entry. The NTD of SARS-CoV-2 N protein forms orthorhombic crystals and binds to the viral genome. Therefore, there is always a quest to target RNA binding domain of nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (NTD-N-protein which in turn may help in controlling diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2 in humans. The role of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine as potential treatments for is still under debate globally because of some side effects associated with it. This study involves the In silico interactions of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine with the NTD-N-protein of SARS-CoV-2. With the help of various computational methods, we have explored the potential role of both of these antiviral drugs for the treatment of patients by comparing the efficacy of both of the drugs to bind to NTD-N-protein. In our research Hydroxychloroquine exhibited potential inhibitory effects of NTD-N-protein with binding energy -7.28 kcal/mol than Chloroquine (-6.30 kcal/mol) at SARS-CoV-2 receptor recognition of susceptible cells. The outcomes of this research strongly appeal for in vivo trials of Hydroxychloroquine for the patients infected with . Furthermore, the recommended doses of Hydroxychloroquine may reduce the chances of catching to the healthcare workers and staff who are in contact with or delivering direct care to coronavirus patients as long as they have not been diagnosed with . We further hypothesize that the comparative NTD-N-protein -drug docking interactions may help to understand the comparative efficacy of other candidate repurposing drugs until discovery of a proper vaccine.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hydroxychloroquine , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Computer Simulation , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Nucleocapsid , Nucleocapsid Proteins , RNA-Binding Motifs , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Biomol NMR Assign ; 15(2): 341-345, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220536

ABSTRACT

During the past 17 years, the coronaviruses have become a global public emergency, with the first appearance in 2012 in Saudi Arabia of the Middle East respiratory syndrome. Among the structural proteins encoded in the viral genome, the nucleocapsid protein is the most abundant in infected cells. It is a multifunctional phosphoprotein involved in the capsid formation, in the modulation and regulation of the viral life cycle. The N-terminal domain of N protein specifically interacts with transcriptional regulatory sequence (TRS) and is involved in the discontinuous transcription through the melting activity of double-stranded TRS (dsTRS).


Subject(s)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Protein Domains
5.
Biomolecules ; 11(3)2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1148287

ABSTRACT

The huge global expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel SARS-corona virus-2 is an extraordinary public health emergency. The unavailability of specific treatment against SARS-CoV-2 infection necessitates the focus of all scientists in this direction. The reported antiviral activities of guanidine alkaloids encouraged us to run a comprehensive in silico binding affinity of fifteen guanidine alkaloids against five different proteins of SARS-CoV-2, which we investigated. The investigated proteins are COVID-19 main protease (Mpro) (PDB ID: 6lu7), spike glycoprotein (PDB ID: 6VYB), nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (PDB ID: 6VYO), membrane glycoprotein (PDB ID: 6M17), and a non-structural protein (nsp10) (PDB ID: 6W4H). The binding energies for all tested compounds indicated promising binding affinities. A noticeable superiority for the pentacyclic alkaloids particularly, crambescidin 786 (5) and crambescidin 826 (13) has been observed. Compound 5 exhibited very good binding affinities against Mpro (ΔG = -8.05 kcal/mol), nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (ΔG = -6.49 kcal/mol), and nsp10 (ΔG = -9.06 kcal/mol). Compound 13 showed promising binding affinities against Mpro (ΔG = -7.99 kcal/mol), spike glycoproteins (ΔG = -6.95 kcal/mol), and nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (ΔG = -8.01 kcal/mol). Such promising activities might be attributed to the long ω-fatty acid chain, which may play a vital role in binding within the active sites. The correlation of c Log P with free binding energies has been calculated. Furthermore, the SAR of the active compounds has been clarified. The Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion, and Toxicity (ADMET) studies were carried out in silico for the 15 compounds; most examined compounds showed optimal to good range levels of ADMET aqueous solubility, intestinal absorption and being unable to pass blood brain barrier (BBB), non-inhibitors of CYP2D6, non-hepatotoxic, and bind plasma protein with a percentage less than 90%. The toxicity of the tested compounds was screened in silico against five models (FDA rodent carcinogenicity, carcinogenic potency TD50, rat maximum tolerated dose, rat oral LD50, and rat chronic lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL)). All compounds showed expected low toxicity against the tested models. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations were also carried out to confirm the stable binding interactions of the most promising compounds, 5 and 13, with their targets. In conclusion, the examined 15 alkaloids specially 5 and 13 showed promising docking, ADMET, toxicity and MD results which open the door for further investigations for them against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Alkaloids/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Porifera/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/toxicity , Blood-Brain Barrier , Crystallography, X-Ray , Ligands , Membrane Glycoproteins/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Rats , Software , Viral Proteases/chemistry
6.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; : 1-26, 2021 Feb 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1081511

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the most cryptic pandemic outbreak of the 21st century, has gripped more than 1.8 million people to death and infected almost eighty six million. As it is a new variant of SARS, there is no approved drug or vaccine available against this virus. This study aims to predict some promising cytotoxic T lymphocyte epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome utilizing immunoinformatic approaches. Firstly, we identified 21 epitopes from 7 different proteins of SARS-CoV-2 inducing immune response and checked for allergenicity and conservancy. Based on these factors, we selected the top three epitopes, namely KAYNVTQAF, ATSRTLSYY, and LTALRLCAY showing functional interactions with the maximum number of MHC alleles and no allergenicity. Secondly, the 3D model of selected epitopes and HLA-A*29:02 were built and Molecular Docking simulation was performed. Most interestingly, the best two epitopes predicted by docking are part of two different structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2, namely Membrane Glycoprotein (ATSRTLSYY) and Nucleocapsid Phosphoprotein (KAYNVTQAF), which are generally target of choice for vaccine designing. Upon Molecular Docking, interactions between selected epitopes and HLA-A*29:02 were further validated by 50 ns Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation. Analysis of RMSD, Rg, SASA, number of hydrogen bonds, RMSF, MM-PBSA, PCA, and DCCM from MD suggested that ATSRTLSYY is the most stable and promising epitope than KAYNVTQAF epitope. Moreover, we also identified B-cell epitopes for each of the antigenic proteins of SARS CoV-2. Findings of our work will be a good resource for wet lab experiments and will lessen the timeline for vaccine construction.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

7.
Arch Microbiol ; 203(1): 59-66, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064447

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) belongs to the single-stranded positive-sense RNA family. The virus contains a large genome that encodes four structural proteins, small envelope (E), matrix (M), nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N), spike (S), and 16 nonstructural proteins (nsp1-16) that together, ensure replication of the virus in the host cell. Among these proteins, the interactions of N and Nsp3 are essential that links the viral genome for processing. The N proteins reside at CoV RNA synthesis sites known as the replication-transcription complexes (RTCs). The N-terminal of N has RNA-binding domain (N-NTD), capturing the RNA genome while the C-terminal domain (N-CTD) anchors the viral Nsp3, a component of RTCs. Although the structural information has been recently released, the residues involved in contacts between N-CTD with Nsp3 are still unknown. To find the residues involved in interactions between two proteins, three-dimensional structures of both proteins were retrieved and docked using HADDOCK. Residues at N-CTD were detected in interaction with L499, R500, K501, V502, P503, T504, D505, N506, Y507, I508, T509, K529, K530K532, S533 of Nsp3 and N-NTD to synthesize SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The interaction between Nsp3 and CTD of N protein may be a potential drug target. The current study provides information for better understanding the interaction between N protein and Nsp3 that could be a possible target for future inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Computer Simulation , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/genetics , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Design , Genome, Viral , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Protein Binding/physiology , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
8.
PeerJ ; 9: e10666, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1006829

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes four structural proteins that include the spike glycoprotein, membrane protein, envelope protein and nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N-protein). The N-protein interacts with viral genomic RNA and helps in packaging. As SARS-CoV-2 spread to almost all countries worldwide within 2-3 months, it also acquired mutations in its RNA genome. Therefore, this study was conducted with an aim to identify the variations present in N-protein of SARS-CoV-2. Here, we analysed 4,163 reported sequence of N-protein from United States of America (USA) and compared them with the first reported sequence from Wuhan, China. Our study identified 107 mutations that reside all over the N-protein. Further, we show the high rate of mutations in intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of N-protein. Our study show 45% residues of IDR2 harbour mutations. The RNA-binding domain (RBD) and dimerization domain of N-protein also have mutations at key residues. We further measured the effect of these mutations on N-protein stability and dynamicity and our data reveals that multiple mutations can cause considerable alterations. Altogether, our data strongly suggests that N-protein is one of the mutational hotspot proteins of SARS-CoV-2 that is changing rapidly and these mutations can potentially interferes with various aspects of N-protein functions including its interaction with RNA, oligomerization and signalling events.

9.
PLoS Pathog ; 16(12): e1009100, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-954543

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. Like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 has an unusually large genome that encodes four structural proteins and sixteen nonstructural proteins. The structural nucleocapsid phosphoprotein N is essential for linking the viral genome to the viral membrane. Both N-terminal RNA binding (N-NTD) and C-terminal dimerization domains are involved in capturing the RNA genome and, the intrinsically disordered region between these domains anchors the ribonucleoprotein complex to the viral membrane. Here, we characterized the structure of the N-NTD and its interaction with RNA using NMR spectroscopy. We observed a positively charged canyon on the surface of the N-NTD that might serve as a putative RNA binding site similarly to other coronaviruses. The subsequent NMR titrations using single-stranded and double-stranded RNA revealed a much more extensive U-shaped RNA-binding cleft lined with regularly distributed arginines and lysines. The NMR data supported by mutational analysis allowed us to construct hybrid atomic models of the N-NTD/RNA complex that provided detailed insight into RNA recognition.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
10.
ACS Nano ; 2020 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880666

ABSTRACT

A large-scale diagnosis of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is essential to downregulate its spread within as well as across communities and mitigate the current outbreak of the pandemic novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Herein, we report the development of a rapid (less than 5 min), low-cost, easy-to-implement, and quantitative paper-based electrochemical sensor chip to enable the digital detection of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material. The biosensor uses gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), capped with highly specific antisense oligonucleotides (ssDNA) targeting viral nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N-gene). The sensing probes are immobilized on a paper-based electrochemical platform to yield a nucleic-acid-testing device with a readout that can be recorded with a simple hand-held reader. The biosensor chip has been tested using samples collected from Vero cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus and clinical samples. The sensor provides a significant improvement in output signal only in the presence of its target-SARS-CoV-2 RNA-within less than 5 min of incubation time, with a sensitivity of 231 (copies µL-1)-1 and limit of detection of 6.9 copies/µL without the need for any further amplification. The sensor chip performance has been tested using clinical samples from 22 COVID-19 positive patients and 26 healthy asymptomatic subjects confirmed using the FDA-approved RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic kit. The sensor successfully distinguishes the positive COVID-19 samples from the negative ones with almost 100% accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity and exhibits an insignificant change in output signal for the samples lacking a SARS-CoV-2 viral target segment (e.g., SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, or negative COVID-19 samples collected from healthy subjects). The feasibility of the sensor even during the genomic mutation of the virus is also ensured from the design of the ssDNA-conjugated AuNPs that simultaneously target two separate regions of the same SARS-CoV-2 N-gene.

11.
Comput Struct Biotechnol J ; 18: 2174-2184, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-710430

ABSTRACT

The emergence of recent SARS-CoV-2 has become a global health issue. This single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus is continuously spreading with increasing morbidities and mortalities. The proteome of this virus contains four structural and sixteen nonstructural proteins that ensure the replication of the virus in the host cell. However, the role of phosphoprotein (N) in RNA recognition, replicating, transcribing the viral genome, and modulating the host immune response is indispensable. Recently, the NMR structure of the N-terminal domain of the Nucleocapsid Phosphoprotein has been reported, but its precise structural mechanism of how the ssRNA interacts with it is not reported yet. Therefore, here, we have used an integrated computational pipeline to identify the key residues, which play an essential role in RNA recognition. We generated multiple variants by using an alanine scanning strategy and performed an extensive simulation for each system to signify the role of each interfacial residue. Our analyses suggest that residues T57A, H59A, S105A, R107A, F171A, and Y172A significantly affected the dynamics and binding of RNA. Furthermore, per-residue energy decomposition analysis suggests that residues T57, H59, S105 and R107 are the key hotspots for drug discovery. Thus, these residues may be useful as potential pharmacophores in drug designing.

12.
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 110030, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-612684

ABSTRACT

Novel Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2), the etiological agent for the highly contagious Corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has threatened global health and economy infecting around 5.8 million people and causing over 359,200 deaths (as of 28th May 2020, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/). The clinical manifestations of infected patients generally range from asymptomatic or mild to severe illness, or even death. The ability of the virus to evade the host immune response have been major reasons for high morbidity and mortality. One of the important clinical observations under conditions of critical illness show increased risk of developing disseminated intravascular coagulation. Molecular mechanisms of how SARS CoV-2 induces such conditions still remain unclear. This report describes the presence of two unique motifs in the SARS CoV-2 nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N-protein) that can potentially interact with fibrinogen and possibly prothrombin. This is based on an established function of secretory proteins in Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus)-coagulase, Efb (Extracellular fibrinogen binding) and vWBP (von Willebrand factor Binding Protein), which are known to regulate the blood clotting cascade and the functions of host immune response. It is hypothesized that having protein interaction motifs that are homologous to these S. aureus proteins, the N-protein of this virus can mimic their functions, which may in turn play a crucial role in formation of blood clots in the host and help the virus evade host immune response. However, this hypothesis needs to be tested in vitro. Considering the overwhelming increase in the incidence of SARS CoV-2 infection globally, this information may be useful for further investigation and could help in deducing new therapeutic strategies to combat advanced stages of this disease.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Fibrinogen/chemistry , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acid Motifs , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Immune System , Models, Theoretical , Peptides/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Staphylococcus aureus/enzymology , von Willebrand Factor/chemistry
13.
Arch Med Sci ; 16(3): 497-507, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-251207

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-nCoV) outbreak in Wuhan, China and other parts of the world affects people and spreads coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through human-to-human contact, with a mortality rate of > 2%. There are no approved drugs or vaccines yet available against SARS-CoV-2. MATERIAL AND METHODS: State-of-the-art tools based on in-silico methods are a cost-effective initial approach for identifying appropriate ligands against SARS-CoV-2. The present study developed the 3D structure of the envelope and nucleocapsid phosphoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, and molecular docking analysis was done against various ligands. RESULTS: The highest log octanol/water partition coefficient, high number of hydrogen bond donors and acceptors, lowest non-bonded interaction energy between the receptor and the ligand, and high binding affinity were considered for the best ligand for the envelope (mycophenolic acid: log P = 3.00; DG = -10.2567 kcal/mol; pKi = 7.713 µM) and nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (1-[(2,4-dichlorophenyl)methyl]pyrazole-3,5-dicarboxylic acid: log P = 2.901; DG = -12.2112 kcal/mol; pKi = 7.885 µM) of SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: The study identifies the most potent compounds against the SARS-CoV-2 envelope and nucleocapsid phosphoprotein through state-of-the-art tools based on an in-silico approach. A combination of these two ligands could be the best option to consider for further detailed studies to develop a drug for treating patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19.

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