ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0531.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Rabies; intrinsic disorder; intrinsically disordered protein; intrinsically disordered protein region; protein-protein interaction
Online: 31 August 2022 (03:47:31 CEST)
Rabies is a neurological disease that causes between 40,000 and 70,000 deaths every year. Once a rabies patient has become symptomatic, there is no effective treatment for the illness, and in unvaccinated individuals, the case-fatality rate of rabies is close to 100%. French scientists Louis Pasteur and Émile Roux developed the first vaccine for rabies in 1885. If administered before the virus reaches the brain, the modern rabies vaccine imparts long-lasting immunity to the virus and saves more than 250,000 people every year. However, the rabies virus can suppress the host’s immune response once it has entered the cells of the brain, making death likely. This study aims to make use of disorder-based proteomics and bioinformatics to determine the impact that intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs) in the proteome of the rabies virus have on the infectivity and lethality of the disease. This study uses the proteome of Rabies Lyssavirus (RABV) strain Pasteur Vaccins (PV), one of the best understood strains due to its use in the first rabies vaccine, as a model. The study suggests that the high levels of intrinsic disorder in the phosphoprotein (P-protein) and nucleoprotein (N-protein) allow them to participate in creation of the Negri bodies and help this virus suppress the antiviral immune response in the host cells. Additionally, the study suggests that there is a link between disorder in the matrix (M) protein and the modulation of viral transcription. The disordered regions in the M protein have a possible role in initiating viral budding within the cell. Furthermore, we checked the prevalence of functional disorder in a set of 37 host proteins directly involved in the interaction with the RABV proteins. The hope is that these new insights will aid in the development of treatments for rabies that are effective after infection.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0076.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease 2019; COVID-19; viral infection; virus-host interaction
Online: 4 September 2020 (03:19:43 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is causing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The worldwide transmission of COVID-19 from human to human is spreading like wildfire, affecting almost every country in the world. In the past 100 years, the globe did not face microbial pandemic similar in scale to COVID-19. Taken together, both previous outbreaks of other members of the coronavirus family (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) did not produce even 1% of the global harm already inflicted by COVID-19. There are also four other CoVs capable of infecting humans (HCoVs), which circulate continuously in the human population, but their phenotypes are generally mild, and these HCoVs received relatively little attention. These dramatic differences between infection with HCoVs, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 raise many questions, such as: Why is COVID-19 transmitted so quickly? Is it due to the some specific features of the viral structure? Are there some specific human (host) factors? Are there some environmental factors? The aim of this review is to collect and concisely summaries the possible and logic answers to these questions.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0051.v1
Online: 4 July 2022 (10:28:04 CEST)
For the first time in history, we have witnessed the origin and development of a pandemic. To handle the accelerated accumulation of viral mutations and to comprehend the virus' evolutionary adaptation in humans, an unparalleled program of genetic sequencing and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants has been undertaken. Several scientists have theorized that, with the Omicron surge producing a more contagious but less severe disease, the end of COVID-19 is near. However, by analyzing the behavior shown by this virus for 2 years, we have noted that pandemic viruses do not always show a decreased virulence. Instead, it appears there is an evolutionary equilibrium between transmissibility and virulence. We have termed this concept “intermittent virulence”. The present work analyzes the temporal and epidemiological behavior of SARS-CoV-2 and suggests that there is a high possibility that new virulent variants will arise in the near future, although it is improbable that SARS-CoV-2´s virulence will be the same as was seen during the pandemic phase.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0492.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Drug resistance; nsp12; protein design; fitness; RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; resistance mutations; SARS-CoV-2.
Online: 20 May 2021 (13:18:14 CEST)
Favipiravir is a broad-spectrum inhibitor of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) currently being used to manage COVID-19 in several countries. By acting as a substrate for RdRp, favipiravir gets incorporated into the nascent viral RNA and prevents strand extension. A high mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp may facilitate antigenic drift as an answer to the host immune response, thereby generating resistance of virus to favipiravir. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to predict potential mutational sites in the RdRp and the emergence of structural modifications contributing to drug resistance. Here, we used high-throughput interface-based protein design to generate >100,000 designs and identify mutation hotspot residues in the favipiravir-binding site of RdRp. Several mutants had lower binding affinities to favipiravir, out of which hotspot residues with a high propensity to undergo positive selection were identified. The results showed that the designs retained an average of 97 to 98% sequence identity, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 can develop favipiravir resistance with just a few mutations. Notably, we observed that out of 134 mutations predicted designs, 63 specific mutations were already present in the CoV-GLUE database, thus attaining ~47% correlation match with the clinical sequencing data. The findings improve our understanding of the potential signatures of adaptation in SARS-CoV-2 against favipiravir and management of COVID-19. Furthermore, they can help develop exhaustive strategies for robust antiviral design and discovery.
Subject: Keywords: pangolin; intrinsic; disorder; protein; nucleocapsid; Nipah; virulence; viral protein; protein structure; protein function; shell; covid; coronavirus; ebola; vaccine; immune; antibody; shell; nucleoprotein; matrix; attenuate
Online: 28 June 2020 (09:16:27 CEST)
A model to predict the relative levels of respiratory and fecal-oral transmission potentials of coronaviruses (CoVs) by measuring the percentage of protein intrinsic disorder (PID) of the M (Membrane) and N (nucleoprotein) proteins in their outer and inner shells, respectively, was built before the MERS-CoV outbreak. Application of this model to the 2003 SARS-CoV indicated that this virus with MPID = 8.6% and NPID = 50.2% falls into group B, which consists of CoVs with intermediate levels of both fecal-oral and respiratory transmission potentials. Further validation of the model came with MERS-CoV (MPID = 9%, NPID = 44%) and SARS-CoV-2 (MPID = 5.5%, NPID = 48%) falling into the groups C and B, respectively. Group C contains CoVs with higher fecal-oral but lower respiratory transmission potentials. Unlike SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 with MPID = 5.5% has one of the hardest outer shells among CoVs. This shell hardness is believed to be responsible for high viral loads in the mucus and saliva making it more contagious than SARS-CoV. The hard shell is able to resist the anti-microbial enzymes in body fluids. Further searches have found that high rigidity of outer shell is characteristic for the CoVs of burrowing animals, such as rabbits (MPID = 5.6%) and pangolins (MPID = 5-6%), which are in contact with the buried feces. A closer inspection of pangolin-CoVs from 2017-19 reveals that these animals provided a unique window of opportunity for the entry of an attenuated SARS-CoV-2 precursor into the human population in 2017 or earlier, with the subsequent slow and silent spread as a mild cold that followed by its mutations into the current more virulent form. Evidence of this lies in the similarity of shell disorder and genetic proximity of the pangolin-CoVs to SARS-CoV-2 (~90%). A 2017 pangolin-CoV strain shows evidence of higher levels of attenuation and higher fecal-oral transmission associated with lower human infectivity via having lower NPID (44.8%). Our shell disorder analysis also revealed that lower inner shell disorder is associated with the lesser virulence in a variety of viruses.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0696.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; neurotropic virus; Blood-nervous system barrier; bloodcerebrospinal-fluid-barrier; blood-brain-barrier; blood-nerve barrier; olfactory route; Lymphatic brain drainage route; Peripheral nerve or neuronal retrograde route; Macrophage/monocytes cargo route; Double membrane vesicles cargo route; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
Online: 31 August 2020 (04:43:34 CEST)
Without protective and/or therapeutic agents the SARS-CoV-2 infection known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is quickly spreading worldwide. It has surprising transmissibility potential, since it could infect all ages, gender, and human sectors. It attacks respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, hepatic, and endovascular systems and can reach the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) through known and unknown mechanisms. The reports on the neurological manifestations and complications of the SARS-CoV-2 infection are increasing exponentially. Herein, we enumerate seven candidate routes, which the mature or immature SARS-CoV-2 components could use to reach the CNS and PNS, utilizing the within-body crosstalk between organs. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients suffer from some neurological manifestations (e.g., confusion, anosmia, and ageusia). It seems that although the mature virus did not reach the CNS or PNS of the majority of patients, its unassembled components and/or the accompanying immune-mediated responses may be responsible for the observed neurological symptoms. The viral particles and/or its components have been specifically documented in endothelial cells of lung, kidney, skin, and CNS. This means that the blood-endothelial-barrier may be considered as the main route for SARS-CoV-2 entry into the nervous system, with the barrier disruption being more logical than barrier permeability, as evidenced by postmortem analyses.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0319.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: cytokine; S100 protein; S100P; protein–protein interaction
Online: 21 September 2022 (09:45:39 CEST)
S100 proteins are multifunctional calcium-binding proteins of vertebrates that act intracellularly, extracellularly, or both, and are engaged in the progression of many socially significant diseases. Their extracellular action is typically mediated by the recognition of specific receptor proteins. Besides, recent studies indicate the ability of some S100 proteins to affect cytokine signaling through direct interaction with cytokines. S100P was shown to be the S100 protein most actively involved in interactions with some of four-helical cytokines. To assess selectivity of S100P protein binding to four-helical cytokines, we have probed interaction of Ca2+-bound recombinant human S100P with a panel of 32 four-helical human cytokines covering all structural families of this fold, using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. 22 cytokines from all families of four-helical cytokines are S100P binders with the equilibrium dissociation constants, Kd, ranging from 1 nM to 3 µM (below the Kd value for the S100P complex with the V domain of its conventional receptor, receptor for advanced glycation end products, RAGE). Molecular docking and mutagenesis studies revealed the presence in the S100P molecule of a cytokine-binding site, which overlaps with the RAGE-binding site. Since S100 binding to four-helical cytokines inhibits their signaling in some cases, the revealed ability of S100P protein to interact with ca 71% of the four-helical cytokines indicates that S100P may serve as a poorly selective inhibitor of their action.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0327.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy; water structure; hydrogen bonds; protein solution; solvent properties
Online: 18 August 2022 (03:25:26 CEST)
This work presents the first evidence that dissolved globular proteins change the arrangement of hydrogen bonds in water, with different proteins showing quantitatively different effects. Using ATR-FTIR (Attenuated Total Reflection – Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopic analysis of OH-stretch bands, we obtain quantitative estimates of the relative amounts of the previously reported four subpopulations of water structures coexisting in a variety of aqueous solutions. Where solvatochromic dyes can measure the properties of solutions of non-ionic polymers, the results correlate well with ATR-FTIR measurements. In protein solutions to which solvatochromic dye probes cannot be applied, NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy was used for the first time to estimate the hydrogen bond donor acidity of water. We found strong correlations between the solvent acidity and arrangement of hydrogen bonds in aqueous solutions for several globular proteins. Even quite similar proteins are found to change water properties in dramatically different ways.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0585.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: Functional receptor; Hepatitis B virus; Polymorphism; Sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide; hepatic fibrosis; Egypt
Online: 26 July 2021 (14:42:42 CEST)
Background: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SLC10A1 gene, coding for a functional receptor of hepatitis B virus (HBV), sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP), may influence the susceptibility, the outcome, and disease course of HBV infection in some populations. Aim: to determine the prevalence of SNPs of NTCP gene, rs2296651 and rs943277, and their relationship with chronic HBV infection in a group of Egyptian patients. Methods: 137 patients with HBV and 65 healthy controls were enrolled, and the patients were divided into two groups; group I chronic HBV infection (68 patients with normal ALT and minimal or no liver necroinflammation or fibrosis) and group II chronic hepatitis B (69 patients with elevated ALT and moderate or severe liver necroinflammation). They were subjected to full history taking, clinical examination, laboratory investigations, abdominal ultrasound, and liver stiffness measurement using both Echosens® Fibroscan and acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI). Real time PCR TaqMan 5’ allelic discrimination assay was applied to detect the SNPs in NTCP gene, rs2296651 and rs943277. Results: On studying the rs2296651 variant, all controls and patients had genotype GG without any significant association with HBV infection or disease progression. However, the rs943277 variant in all controls and 98% of patients had genotype GA, except for two chronic HBV infection patients who had genotype AA, but no significant difference between patients and controls was found. The non-invasive methods for liver fibrosis assessment ARFI, AST/platelet's ratio (APRI), and fibrosis-4 score (FIB-4) could predict the stages of fibrosis in agreement with Fibroscan with AUCOR 0.8, 0.79, and 0.76, respectively. Conclusion: These findings may suggest that there is no relation between these SNPs of the NTCP gene and susceptibility or chronicity of HBV infection in the Egyptian population. We also suggest that the use of the non-invasive methods for liver fibrosis assessment, ARFI, FIB-4, and APRI may decrease the need for liver biopsies in prediction of significant hepatic fibrosis in chronic HBV patients.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0185.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; variant; sublineage; transmission; immunity; infection; vaccination; non-pharmaceutical interventions
Online: 14 March 2022 (11:19:04 CET)
The scientific, private and industrial sectors use a wide variety of technological platforms available to achieve protection against SARS-CoV-2, including vaccines. However, the virus evolves continually into new highly virulent variants, which might overcome the protection provided by vaccines and may re-expose the population to infections. Mass vaccinations should be continued in combination with more or less obligation mandatory non-pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, the key questions to be answered are: (i) How to identify the primary and secondary infections of SARS-CoV-2? (ii) Why are neutralizing antibodies not long-lasting in both the cases of natural infections and post-vaccinations? (iii) Which are the factors responsible for this decay in neutralizing antibodies? (iv) What strategy could be adapted to develop long-term herd immunity? (v) Is the Spike the only vaccine candidate or a vaccine cocktail is better?
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0558.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Yersinia pestis; vaccine; guinea pigs; bubonic plague; inactivated vaccine; phage; bacterial ghost; protection; protein-E-mediated lysis, holin-endolysin system
Online: 30 November 2021 (11:08:18 CET)
To develop a modern plague vaccine, we used hypo-endotoxic Yersinia pestis bacterial ghosts (BGs) with combinations of genes encoding the bacteriophage ɸX174 lysis-mediating protein E and/or holin-endolysin systems from λ or L-413C phages. Expression of the protein E gene resulted in the BGs that retained the shape of the original bacterium. Co-expression of this gene with genes coding for holin-endolysin system of the phage L-413C caused formation of structures resembling collapsed sacs. Such structures, which have lost their rigidity, were also formed as a result of the expression of only the L-413C holin-endolysin genes. Similar holin-endolysin system from phage λ containing mutated holin gene S and intact genes R-Rz coding for the endolysins caused generation of mixtures of BGs that had (i) practically preserved and (ii) completely lost their original rigidity. The addition of protein E to the work of this system shifted the equilibrium in the mixture towards the collapsed sacs. The collapse of the structure of BGs can be explained by endolysis of peptidoglycan sacculi. Immunizations of laboratory animals with the variants of BGs followed by infection with a wild-type Y. pestis strain showed that bacterial envelopes protected only cavies. BGs with peptidoglycan maximally hydrolyzed had a greater protectivity compared to BGs with preserved peptidoglycan skeleton.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0554.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; ORF10; Co-mutations; Intrinsic Protein Disorder; Ubiquitin Ligase Complex
Online: 26 July 2021 (09:07:38 CEST)
The devastating impact of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on public health, caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has made fighting of the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority in medical research and pharmaceutical development. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 mutations is essential for the comprehension of SARS-CoV-2 variant diversity and their impact on virulence and pathogenicity. The SARS-CoV-2 open reading frame 10 (ORF10) protein interacts with multiple human proteins CUL2, ELOB, ELOC, MAP7D1, PPT1, RBX1, THTPA, TIMM8B, and ZYG11B expressed in the lung tissues. Mutations and co-mutations in the emerging SARS-CoV-2 ORF10 variants are expected to impact the severity of the virus and its associated consequences. In this article, We highlight 128 single mutations and 35 co-mutations in the unique SARS-CoV-2 ORF10 variants in this article. The possible predicted effects of these mutations and co-mutations on the secondary structure of ORF10 variants and host protein interactomes are presented. The findings highlight the possible effects of mutations and co-mutations on the emerging 140 ORF10 unique variants from secondary structure and intrinsic protein disorder perspectives.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0297.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Biomaterials Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; carbon-based nanomaterials; antiviral properties; pneumonia
Online: 15 January 2021 (13:30:21 CET)
Therapeutic options for the highly pathogenic human Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing the current pandemic Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are urgently needed. COVID-19 is associated with viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome causing significant morbidity and mortality. The proposed treatments for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir and lopinavir/ritonavir, have shown little or no effect in the clinic. Additionally, bacterial and fungal pathogens contribute to the SARS-CoV-2 mediated pneumonia disease complex. The antibiotic resistance in pneumonia treatment is increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore, carbon-based nanomaterials (CBNs), such as fullerene, carbon dots, graphene, and their derivatives constitute a promising alternative due to their wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity, biocompatibility, biodegradability and capacity to induce tissue regeneration. Furthermore, the antimicrobial mode of action is mainly physical (e.g. membrane distortion), which is characterized by a low risk of antimicrobial resistance. In this review, we evaluated the literature on the antiviral activity and broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties of CBNs. CBNs had antiviral activity against 12 enveloped positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. CBNs with low or no toxicity to the humans are promising therapeutics against COVID-19 pneumonia complex with other viruses, bacteria and fungi, including those that are multidrug-resistant.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0472.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Mutations; Furin Cleavage Site (FCS); Evenly-uneven; Invariant regions
Online: 18 June 2021 (09:22:08 CEST)
Several hypotheses have been presented on the origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from its identification as the agent causing the current coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. So far, no hypothesis has managed to identify the origin, and the issue has resurfaced. Here we have unfolded a pattern of distribution of several mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 proteins across different continents comprising 24 geo-locations. The results showed an evenly uneven distribution of unique protein variants, distinct mutations, unique frequency of common conserved residues, and mutational residues across the 24 geo-locations. Furthermore, ample mutations were identified in the evolutionarily conserved invariant regions in the SARS-CoV-2 proteins across almost all geo-locations we have considered. This pattern of mutations potentially breaches the law of evolutionary conserved functional units of the beta-coronavirus genus. These mutations may lead to several novel SARS-CoV-2 variants with a high degree of transmissibility and virulence. A thorough investigation on the origin and characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 needs to be conducted in the interest of science and to be prepared to meet the challenges of potential future pandemics.