COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1782.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; microscale thermophoresis; SLC6A20 amino acid transporter; antiviral agents
Online: 25 May 2023 (09:33:29 CEST)
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge. This underscores the need to develop optimized tools to study such variants, as well as new coronaviruses that may arise in the future, and to use them for antiviral drug development. Here we introduce microscale thermophoresis (MST) as a reliable and versatile tool for coronavirus research, which we demonstrate through three different applications described in this report: 1) binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (RBD) to peptides as a strategy to prevent virus entry, 2) binding of the RBD to the viral receptor ACE2, and 3) binding of the RBD to ACE2 in complex with the amino acid transporter SLC6A20/SIT1 or its allelic variant rs61731475 (p.Ile529Val). Our results demonstrate that MST is a highly precise approach to study protein-protein and/or protein-ligand interactions in coronavirus research, making it an ideal tool for studying viral variants and developing antiviral agents. The ability to measure interactions with proteins in their near-native plasma membrane environment is a unique advantage of the MST assay over other available binding assays.