Preprint Short Note Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Sars-CoV-2 Envelope and Membrane Proteins: Differences from Closely Related Proteins Linked to Cross-species Transmission?

Version 1 : Received: 5 April 2020 / Approved: 7 April 2020 / Online: 7 April 2020 (11:09:23 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 8 May 2020 / Approved: 9 May 2020 / Online: 9 May 2020 (08:43:08 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was initially reported in city of Wuhan, China and afterwards spread globally. Genomic analyses revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is phylogenetically related to severe acute respiratory syndrome-like (SARS-like) Pangolin and Bat coronavirus specific isolates. In this study we focused on two proteins of Sars-CoV-2 surface: Envelope protein and Membrane protein. Sequences from Sars-CoV-2 isolates and other closely related virus were collected from the GenBank through TBlastN searches. The retrieved sequences were multiply aligned with MAFFT. The Envelope protein is identical to the counterparts from Pangolin CoV MP798 isolate and Bat CoV isolates CoVZXC21, CoVZC45 and RaTG13. However, a substitution at position 69 where an Arg replace for Glu, and a deletion in position 70 corresponding to Gly or Cys in other Envelope proteins were found. The Membrane glycoprotein appears more variable with respect to the SARS CoV proteins than the Envelope: a heterogeneity at the N-terminal position, exposed to the virus surface, was found between Pangolin CoV MP798 isolate and Bat CoV isolates CoVZXC21, CoVZC45 and RaTG13. Mutations observed on Envelope protein are drastic and may have significant implications for conformational properties and possibly for protein-protein interactions. Mutations on Membrane protein may also be relevant because this protein cooperates with the Spike during the cell attachment and entry. Therefore, these mutations may influence interaction with host cells. The mutations that have been detected in these comparative studies may reflect functional peculiarities of the Sars-CoV-2 virus and may help explaining the epizootic origin the COVID-19 epidemic.


Sars-CoV-2; Homology modelling; Envelope Membrane glycoprotein; Bat; Pangolin; Sars-CoV


Biology and Life Sciences, Virology

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Comment 1
Received: 31 May 2020
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The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: This preprint has been published in BioMed Research International at
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