ACE2 coding variants in different populations and their potential impact on SARS-CoV-2 binding affinity.
ABSTRACT: The susceptibility of different populations to SARS-CoV-2 infection is not yet understood. Here, we combined ACE2 coding variants' analysis in different populations and computational chemistry calculations to probe the effects on SARS-CoV-2/ACE2 interaction. ACE2-K26R; which is most frequent in Ashkenazi Jewish population decreased the SARS-CoV-2/ACE2 electrostatic attraction. On the contrary, ACE2-I468V, R219C, K341R, D206G, G211R increased the electrostatic attraction; ordered by binding strength from weakest to strongest. The aforementioned variants are most frequent in East Asian, South Asian, African and African American, European, European and South Asian populations, respectively.
Project description:The severity of the new COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is strikingly variable in different global populations. SARS-CoV-2 uses <i>ACE2</i> as a cell receptor, <i>TMPRSS2</i> protease, and <i>FURIN</i> peptidase to invade human cells. Here, we investigated 1,378 whole-exome sequences of individuals from the Middle Eastern populations (Kuwait, Qatar, and Iran) to explore natural variations in the <i>ACE2</i>, <i>TMPRSS2,</i> and <i>FURIN</i> genes. We identified two activating variants (K26R and N720D) in the <i>ACE2</i> gene that are more common in Europeans than in the Middle Eastern, East Asian, and African populations. We postulate that K26R can activate <i>ACE2</i> and facilitate binding to S-protein RBD while N720D enhances <i>TMPRSS2</i> cutting and, ultimately, viral entry. We also detected deleterious variants in <i>FURIN</i> that are frequent in the Middle Eastern but not in the European populations. This study highlights specific genetic variations in the <i>ACE2</i> and <i>FURIN</i> genes that may explain SARS-CoV-2 clinical disparity. We showed structural evidence of the functionality of these activating variants that increase the SARS-CoV-2 aggressiveness. Finally, our data illustrate a significant correlation between <i>ACE2</i> variants identified in people from Middle Eastern origins that can be further explored to explain the variation in COVID-19 infection and mortality rates globally.
Project description:COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The viral spike (S) protein engages the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to invade host cells with ~10-15-fold higher affinity compared to SARS-CoV S-protein, making it highly infectious. Here, we assessed if ACE2 polymorphisms can alter host susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 by affecting this interaction. We analyzed over 290,000 samples representing >400 population groups from public genomic datasets and identified multiple ACE2 protein-altering variants. Using reported structural data, we identified natural ACE2 variants that could potentially affect virus-host interaction and thereby alter host susceptibility. These include variants S19P, I21V, E23K, K26R, T27A, N64K, T92I, Q102P and H378R that were predicted to increase susceptibility, while variants K31R, N33I, H34R, E35K, E37K, D38V, Y50F, N51S, M62V, K68E, F72V, Y83H, G326E, G352V, D355N, Q388L and D509Y were predicted to be protective variants that show decreased binding to S-protein. Using biochemical assays, we confirmed that K31R and E37K had decreased affinity, and K26R and T92I variants showed increased affinity for S-protein when compared to wildtype ACE2. Consistent with this, soluble ACE2 K26R and T92I were more effective in blocking entry of S-protein pseudotyped virus suggesting that ACE2 variants can modulate susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:It was shown that the human Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor of recent coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and variation in this gene may affect the susceptibility of a population. Therefore, we have analysed the sequence data of ACE2 among 393 samples worldwide, focusing on South Asia. Genetically, South Asians are more related to West Eurasian populations rather than to East Eurasians. In the present analyses of ACE2, we observed that the majority of South Asian haplotypes are closer to East Eurasians rather than to West Eurasians. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that the South Asian haplotypes shared with East Eurasians involved two unique event polymorphisms (rs4646120 and rs2285666). In contrast with the European/American populations, both of the SNPs have largely similar frequencies for East Eurasians and South Asians, Therefore, it is likely that among the South Asians, host susceptibility to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 will be more similar to that of East Eurasians rather than to that of Europeans.
Project description:There is increasing evidence that ACE2 gene polymorphism can modulate the interaction between ACE2 and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein affecting the viral entry into the host cell, and/or contribute to lung and systemic damage in COVID-19. Here we used in silico molecular docking to predict the effects of ACE2 missense variants on the interaction with the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. HDOCK and FireDock simulations identified 6 ACE2 missense variants (I21T, A25T, K26R, E37K, T55A, E75G) with higher affinity for SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) with respect to wild type ACE2, and 11 variants (I21V, E23K, K26E, T27A, E35K, S43R, Y50F, N51D, N58H, K68E, M82I) with lower affinity. This result supports the hypothesis that ACE2 genetic background may represent the first "genetic gateway" during the disease progression.
Project description:We constructed complex models of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding to pangolin or human ACE2, the receptor for virus transmission, and estimated the binding free energy changes using molecular dynamics simulation. SARS-CoV-2 can bind to both pangolin and human ACE2, but has a significantly lower binding affinity for pangolin ACE2 due to the increased binding free energy (9.5 kcal mol-1). Human ACE2 is among the most polymorphous genes, for which we identified 317 missense single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) from the dbSNP database. Three SNVs, E329G (rs143936283), M82I (rs267606406) and K26R (rs4646116), had a significant reduction in binding free energy, which indicated higher binding affinity than wild-type ACE2 and greater susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection for people with them. Three other SNVs, D355N (rs961360700), E37K (rs146676783) and I21T (rs1244687367), had a significant increase in binding free energy, which indicated lower binding affinity and reduced susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Project description:The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) glycoprotein D614G mutation became the predominant globally circulating variant after its emergence in the early coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Studies showed that this mutation results in an open conformation of the S glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD), and increased angiotensin 1-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) binding and fusion, which result in an increase in SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and infectivity. Dynamic tracking of SARS-CoV-2 showed that the D614G variant became predominant after emergence in Europe and North America, but not in China. The current absence of selective pressures from antiviral treatment suggests that the driving force for viral evolution could be variations in human population genetics. Results show that ACE2 expression is higher in Asian populations than that in European, North American, and African populations. This supports the idea that lower ACE2 expression is a driving force in the positive selection for the D614G mutation. This study suggests that the dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 D614G mutation during the early-to-mid pandemic is associated with enhanced transmission efficiency in populations with lower ACE2 expression. Understanding the role that human genetic diversity plays in the adaptive evolution of SARS-CoV-2 may have an important impact on public health and measures to control the pandemic.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) mediated Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has affected millions of individuals around all corners of the globe. Symptoms and severities of infection with this highly contagious virus vary among individuals and there is disparity in the number of COVID-19-related casualties across different ethnic groups. The primary receptor for SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host cells is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Certain variants of ACE2 are known to be associated with COVID-19 comorbidities such as hypertension, cardiovascular complications, diabetes, chronic lung disease, etc. In this study, we looked into the geographic distribution of disease-associated variants of ACE2 as well as closely located PIR gene to explore any possible correlation with the disparities in COVID-19 severities and casualties across ethnic groups. Frequencies of the ACE2 variants associated with COVID-19 comorbidities are higher in the European and the admixed American populations. These variants are also present with stronger pairwise linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the European and the admixed American populations. On the other hand, the variants with protective role are more prevalent in the East and the South Asian populations. Strong pairwise LD exists among the activity modifying (modifier) variants of the PIR and ACE2 genes only in the European super-population. Absence of these PIR variants in the South Asian population may contribute to the overall lower COVID-19 case fatality rates (CFR) despite the dense population in this region.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been posing an unprecedented challenge to global public health. SARS-CoV-2 and several other coronaviruses utilize angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as their entry receptors. The ACE2 gene has been found to experience episodic positive selection across mammals. However, much remains unknown about how the ACE2 gene evolved in human populations. Here, we use population genetics approaches to investigate the evolution of the ACE2 gene in 26 human populations sampled globally. We find the ACE2 gene exhibits an extremely low nucleotide diversity in the East Asian populations. Strong signals of selective sweep are detected in the East Asian populations, but not in the other human populations. The selective sweep in ACE2 is estimated to begin in East Asian populations ∼23,600 years ago. Our study provides novel insights into the evolution of the ACE2 gene within human populations.
Project description:The interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 virus Spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) and the ACE2 cell surface protein is required for viral infection of cells. Mutations in the RBD are present in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern that have emerged independently worldwide. For example, the B.1.1.7 lineage has a mutation (N501Y) in its Spike RBD that enhances binding to ACE2. There are also ACE2 alleles in humans with mutations in the RBD binding site. Here we perform a detailed affinity and kinetics analysis of the effect of five common RBD mutations (K417N, K417T, N501Y, E484K, and S477N) and two common ACE2 mutations (S19P and K26R) on the RBD/ACE2 interaction. We analysed the effects of individual RBD mutations and combinations found in new SARS-CoV-2 Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Gamma (P1) variants. Most of these mutations increased the affinity of the RBD/ACE2 interaction. The exceptions were mutations K417N/T, which decreased the affinity. Taken together with other studies, our results suggest that the N501Y and S477N mutations enhance transmission primarily by enhancing binding, the K417N/T mutations facilitate immune escape, and the E484K mutation enhances binding and immune escape.
Project description:The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has been a serious threat to human health worldwide. The virus SARS-CoV-2 initiates its infection to the human body via the interaction of its spike (S) protein with the human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) of the host cells. Therefore, understanding the fundamental mechanisms of how SARS-CoV-2 S protein receptor binding domain (RBD) binds to ACE2 is highly demanded for developing treatments for COVID-19. Here we implemented multi-scale computational approaches to study the binding mechanisms of human ACE2 and S proteins of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Electrostatic features, including electrostatic potential, electric field lines, and electrostatic forces of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 were calculated and compared in detail. The results demonstrate that SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 S proteins are both attractive to ACE2 by electrostatic forces even at different distances. However, the residues contributing to the electrostatic features are quite different due to the mutations between SARS-CoV S protein and SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Such differences are analyzed comprehensively. Compared to SARS-CoV, the SARS-CoV-2 binds with ACE2 using a more robust strategy: The electric field line related residues are distributed quite differently, which results in a more robust binding strategy of SARS-CoV-2. Also, SARS-CoV-2 has a higher electric field line density than that of SARS-CoV, which indicates stronger interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2, compared to that of SARS-CoV. Key residues involved in salt bridges and hydrogen bonds are identified in this study, which may help the future drug design against COVID-19.