Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

SARS-CoV-2 Prion-Like Domains in Spike Proteins Enable Higher Affinity to ACE2

Version 1 : Received: 27 March 2020 / Approved: 29 March 2020 / Online: 29 March 2020 (06:16:20 CEST)

How to cite: Tetz, G.; Tetz, V. SARS-CoV-2 Prion-Like Domains in Spike Proteins Enable Higher Affinity to ACE2. Preprints 2020, 2020030422 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0422.v1). Tetz, G.; Tetz, V. SARS-CoV-2 Prion-Like Domains in Spike Proteins Enable Higher Affinity to ACE2. Preprints 2020, 2020030422 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0422.v1).

Abstract

Currently, the world is struggling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Prion-like domains are critical for virulence and the development of therapeutic targets; however, the prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome have not been analyzed. In this in silico study, using the PLAAC algorithm, we identified the presence of prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Compared with other viruses, a striking difference was observed in the distribution of prion-like domains in the spike protein, since SARS-CoV-2 was the only coronavirus with a prion-like domain found in the receptor-binding domain of the S1 region of the spike protein. The presence and unique distribution of prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domains of the spike protein is particularly interesting, since although the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV S proteins share the same host cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates a 10- to 20-fold higher affinity for ACE2. Finally, we identified prion-like domains in the α1 helix of the ACE2 receptor that interact with the viral receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2. Taken together, the present findings indicate that the identified PrDs in the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) and ACE2 region that interact with RBD have important functional roles in viral adhesion and entry.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; SARS; SARS-CoV-2 Prion-like domain

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