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.
Project description:The recent pandemic of COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is unarguably the most fearsome compared with the earlier outbreaks caused by other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Human ACE2 is now established as a receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Where variations in the viral spike protein, in turn, lead to the cross-species transmission of the virus, genetic variations in the host receptor ACE2 may also contribute to the susceptibility and/or resistance against the viral infection. This study aims to explore the binding of the proteins encoded by different human ACE2 allelic variants with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Briefly, coding variants of ACE2 corresponding to the reported binding sites for its attachment with coronavirus spike protein were selected and molecular models of these variants were constructed by homology modeling. The models were then superimposed over the native ACE2 and ACE2-spike protein complex, to observe structural changes in the ACE2 variants and their intermolecular interactions with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, respectively. Despite strong overall structural similarities, the spatial orientation of the key interacting residues varies in the ACE2 variants compared with the wild-type molecule. Most ACE2 variants showed a similar binding affinity for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as observed in the complex structure of wild-type ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. However, ACE2 alleles, rs73635825 (S19P) and rs143936283 (E329G) showed noticeable variations in their intermolecular interactions with the viral spike protein. In summary, our data provide a structural basis of potential resistance against SARS-CoV-2 infection driven by ACE2 allelic variants.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the current global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, infecting millions of people and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. The viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 depends on an interaction between the receptor-binding domain of its trimeric spike glycoprotein and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. A better understanding of the spike/ACE2 interaction is still required to design anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics. Here, we investigated the degree of cooperativity of ACE2 within both the SARS-CoV-2 and the closely related SARS-CoV-1 membrane-bound S glycoproteins. We show that there exist differential inter-protomer conformational transitions between both spike trimers. Interestingly, the SARS-CoV-2 spike exhibits a positive cooperativity for monomeric soluble ACE2 binding when compared to the SARS-CoV-1 spike, which might have more structural restraints. Our findings can be of importance in the development of therapeutics that block the spike/ACE2 interaction.
Project description:A novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) recently emerged and is rapidly spreading in humans, causing COVID-191,2. A key to tackling this pandemic is to understand the receptor recognition mechanism of the virus, which regulates its infectivity, pathogenesis and host range. SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV recognize the same receptor-angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-in humans3,4. Here we determined the crystal structure of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (engineered to facilitate crystallization) in complex with ACE2. In comparison with the SARS-CoV RBD, an ACE2-binding ridge in SARS-CoV-2 RBD has a more compact conformation; moreover, several residue changes in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD stabilize two virus-binding hotspots at the RBD-ACE2 interface. These structural features of SARS-CoV-2 RBD increase its ACE2-binding affinity. Additionally, we show that RaTG13, a bat coronavirus that is closely related to SARS-CoV-2, also uses human ACE2 as its receptor. The differences among SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and RaTG13 in ACE2 recognition shed light on the potential animal-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2. This study provides guidance for intervention strategies that target receptor recognition by SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:The COVID-19 disease has plagued over 200 countries with over three million cases and has resulted in over 200,000 deaths within 3 months. To gain insight into the high infection rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we compare the interaction between the human ACE2 receptor and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with that of other pathogenic coronaviruses using molecular dynamics simulations. SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and HCoV-NL63 recognize ACE2 as the natural receptor but present a distinct binding interface to ACE2 and a different network of residue-residue contacts. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 have comparable binding affinities achieved by balancing energetics and dynamics. The SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 complex contains a higher number of contacts, a larger interface area, and decreased interface residue fluctuations relative to the SARS-CoV-ACE2 complex. These findings expose an exceptional evolutionary exploration exerted by coronaviruses toward host recognition. We postulate that the versatility of cell receptor binding strategies has immediate implications for therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was identified to be the causative agent of SARS with atypical pneumonia. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the major receptor for SARS-CoV. It is not clear whether ACE2 conveys signals from the cell surface to the nucleus and regulates expression of cellular genes upon SARS-CoV infection. To understand the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV, human type II pneumocyte (A549) cells were incubated with the viral spike protein or with SARS-CoV virus-like particles containing the viral spike protein to examine cytokine modulation in lung cells. Results from oligonucleotide-based microarray, real-time PCR, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays indicated an upregulation of the fibrosis-associated chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) by the viral spike protein and the virus-like particles. The upregulation of CCL2 by SARS-CoV spike protein was mainly mediated by extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and AP-1 but not the IkappaBalpha-NF-kappaB signaling pathway. In addition, Ras and Raf upstream of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway were involved in the upregulation of CCL2. Furthermore, ACE2 receptor was activated by casein kinase II-mediated phosphorylation in cells pretreated with the virus-like particles containing spike protein. These results indicate that SARS-CoV spike protein triggers ACE2 signaling and activates fibrosis-associated CCL2 expression through the Ras-ERK-AP-1 pathway.
Project description:We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein interacts with both cellular heparan sulfate and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) through its receptor-binding domain (RBD). Docking studies suggest a heparin/heparan sulfate-binding site adjacent to the ACE2-binding site. Both ACE2 and heparin can bind independently to spike protein in vitro, and a ternary complex can be generated using heparin as a scaffold. Electron micrographs of spike protein suggests that heparin enhances the open conformation of the RBD that binds ACE2. On cells, spike protein binding depends on both heparan sulfate and ACE2. Unfractionated heparin, non-anticoagulant heparin, heparin lyases, and lung heparan sulfate potently block spike protein binding and/or infection by pseudotyped virus and authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus. We suggest a model in which viral attachment and infection involves heparan sulfate-dependent enhancement of binding to ACE2. Manipulation of heparan sulfate or inhibition of viral adhesion by exogenous heparin presents new therapeutic opportunities.
Project description:SARS-CoV-2 has caused the largest pandemic of the twenty-first century (COVID-19), threatening the life and economy of all countries in the world. The identification of novel therapies and vaccines that can mitigate or control this global health threat is among the most important challenges facing biomedical sciences. To construct a long-term strategy to fight both SARS-CoV-2 and other possible future threats from coronaviruses, it is critical to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the virus action. The viral entry and associated infectivity stems from the formation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein complex with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The detection of putative allosteric sites on the viral spike protein molecule can be used to elucidate the molecular pathways that can be targeted with allosteric drugs to weaken the spike-ACE2 interaction and, thus, reduce viral infectivity. In this study, we present the results of the application of different computational methods aimed at detecting allosteric sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The adopted tools consisted of the protein contact networks (PCNs), SEPAS (Affinity by Flexibility), and perturbation response scanning (PRS) based on elastic network modes. All of these methods were applied to the ACE2 complex with both the SARS-CoV2 and SARS-CoV spike proteins. All of the adopted analyses converged toward a specific region (allosteric modulation region [AMR]), present in both complexes and predicted to act as an allosteric site modulating the binding of the spike protein with ACE2. Preliminary results on hepcidin (a molecule with strong structural and sequence with AMR) indicated an inhibitory effect on the binding affinity of the spike protein toward the ACE2 protein.
Project description:The trimeric SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) surface spike (S) glycoprotein consisting of three S1-S2 heterodimers binds the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and mediates fusion of the viral and cellular membranes through a pre- to postfusion conformation transition. Here, we report the structure of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein in complex with its host cell receptor ACE2 revealed by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The complex structure shows that only one receptor-binding domain of the trimeric S glycoprotein binds ACE2 and adopts a protruding "up" conformation. In addition, we studied the structures of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein and its complexes with ACE2 in different in vitro conditions, which may mimic different conformational states of the S glycoprotein during virus entry. Disassociation of the S1-ACE2 complex from some of the prefusion spikes was observed and characterized. We also characterized the rosette-like structures of the clustered SARS-CoV S2 trimers in the postfusion state observed on electron micrographs. Structural comparisons suggested that the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein retains a prefusion architecture after trypsin cleavage into the S1 and S2 subunits and acidic pH treatment. However, binding to the receptor opens up the receptor-binding domain of S1, which could promote the release of the S1-ACE2 complex and S1 monomers from the prefusion spike and trigger the pre- to postfusion conformational transition.
Project description:Soluble forms of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) have recently been shown to inhibit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We report on an improved soluble ACE2, termed a "microbody," in which the ACE2 ectodomain is fused to Fc domain 3 of the immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy chain. The protein is smaller than previously described ACE2-Ig Fc fusion proteins and contains an H345A mutation in the ACE2 catalytic active site that inactivates the enzyme without reducing its affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike. The disulfide-bonded ACE2 microbody protein inhibits entry of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein pseudotyped virus and replication of live SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in a mouse model. Its potency is 10-fold higher than soluble ACE2, and it can act after virus bound to the cell. The microbody inhibits the entry of ? coronaviruses and virus with the variant D614G spike. The ACE2 microbody may be a valuable therapeutic for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is active against viral variants and future coronaviruses.
Project description:SARS-CoV-2 is a novel highly virulent pathogen which gains entry to human cells by binding with the cell surface receptor - angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE2). We computationally contrasted the binding interactions between human ACE2 and coronavirus spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) of the 2002 epidemic-causing SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and bat coronavirus RaTG13 using the Rosetta energy function. We find that the RBD of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is highly optimized to achieve very strong binding with human ACE2 (hACE2) which is consistent with its enhanced infectivity. SARS-CoV-2 forms the most stable complex with hACE2 compared to SARS-CoV-1 (23% less stable) or RaTG13 (11% less stable). Notably, we calculate that the SARS-CoV-2 RBD lowers the binding strength of angiotensin 2 receptor type I (ATR1) which is the native binding partner of ACE2 by 44.2%. Strong binding is mediated through strong electrostatic attachments with every fourth residue on the N-terminus alpha-helix (starting from Ser19 to Asn53) as the turn of the helix makes these residues solvent accessible. By contrasting the spike protein SARS-CoV-2 Rosetta binding energy with ACE2 of different livestock and pet species we find strongest binding with bat ACE2 followed by human, feline, equine, canine and finally chicken. This is consistent with the hypothesis that bats are the viral origin and reservoir species. These results offer a computational explanation for the increased infection susceptibility by SARS-CoV-2 and allude to therapeutic modalities by identifying and rank-ordering the ACE2 residues involved in binding with the virus.