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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Exhibits High Predicted Binding Affinity to ACE2 from Lagomorphs (Rabbits and Pikas).

ABSTRACT: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the pandemic COVID-19. The virus infects human cells by binding of the virus spike to the cell receptor ACE2. The crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 spikes in complex with human ACE2 has recently been solved, and the main amino acid residues involved in the virus-receptor complex have been detected. To investigate the affinity of ACE2 of lagomorphs to the SARS-CoV-2 spike, ACE2 sequences from rabbits and American pikas were compared with human ACE2 and with ACE2 from mammals with different susceptibility to the virus. Models of the complex formed by SARS-CoV-2 spike and ACE2 from lagomorphs and from other mammals were created for comparative studies. ACE2 of lagomorphs showed fewer substitutions than human ACE2 in residues involved in the ACE2-SARS-CoV-2 spike complex, similar to cats. Analysis of the binding interface of the simulated complexes ACE2-SARS-CoV-2 spike showed high affinity of the ACE2 of lagomorphs to the viral spike protein. These findings suggest that the spike of SARS-CoV-2 could bind the ACE2 receptor of lagomorphs, and future studies should investigate the role of lagomorphs in SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology. Furthermore, the risks to humans coming into close contacts with these animals should be evaluated.

SUBMITTER: Preziuso S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7552617 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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