Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Structural and Genetic Analysis of Coronaviruses Spike Proteins Suggest Pangolin as a Proximate Intermediate Host of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

Version 1 : Received: 30 April 2020 / Approved: 2 May 2020 / Online: 2 May 2020 (16:29:38 CEST)

How to cite: Raza, S.; Rasheed, M.A.; Zahir, W.; Navid, M.T.; Diwan, R.A.; Awais, M.; Yaqub, T.; Rabbani, M.; Rashid, M. Structural and Genetic Analysis of Coronaviruses Spike Proteins Suggest Pangolin as a Proximate Intermediate Host of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Preprints 2020, 2020050022 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0022.v1). Raza, S.; Rasheed, M.A.; Zahir, W.; Navid, M.T.; Diwan, R.A.; Awais, M.; Yaqub, T.; Rabbani, M.; Rashid, M. Structural and Genetic Analysis of Coronaviruses Spike Proteins Suggest Pangolin as a Proximate Intermediate Host of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Preprints 2020, 2020050022 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0022.v1).

Abstract

During December 2019, a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 has emerged in Wuhan, China. The human to human transmission of this virus has also been established. The virus has so far infected more than 2 million people and spread over 200 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global health emergency due to its spread well beyond China. It has been established that this virus originates from bats and uses an intermediate host for transfer to humans. The knowledge about the intermediate host is important to find the virus shuttle mechanism to stop future outbreaks. For this, the genetic and structural analysis of coronaviruses spike proteins was performed using a computer-assisted approach.To conduct the In silico analysis, 43 sequences of spike protein belong to different species were retrieved from the NCBI nucleotide database. Pairwise and multiple sequence alignments were performed to check the similarities and differences of the retrieved sequences. Moreover, to highlight relationships among different species, phylogenetics analysis was performed using the MEGA software tool. In the end, protein structure alignment (superimposition) was performed against the reference structure by UCSF Chimera software. The results highlighted that the maximum similarity of human protein was found against Bat and Pangolinsequences. Moreover, among Bat and Pangolin, the highest similarity was found against pangolin based on phylogenetics analysis. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 transfers from bats to humans through pangolins.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; origin; bat; pangolin

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