ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0315.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; ACE2 receptor; medical cannabis; CBD
Online: 19 April 2020 (02:45:50 CEST)
With the rapidly growing pandemic of COVID-19 caused by the new and challenging to treat zoonotic SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, there is an urgent need for new therapies and prevention strategies that can help curtail disease spread and reduce mortality. Inhibition of viral entry and thereby spread constitute plausible therapeutic avenues. Similar to other respiratory pathogens, SARS-CoV2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, with potential for aerosol and contact spread. It uses receptor-mediated entry into the human host via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) that is expressed in lung tissue, as well as oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract. Modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues may prove a plausible strategy for decreasing disease susceptibility. Cannabis sativa, especially one high in the anti-inflammatory cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), has been proposed to modulate gene expression and inflammation and harbour anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Working under the Health Canada research license, we have developed over 800 new Cannabis sativa lines and extracts and hypothesized that high-CBD C. sativa extracts may be used to modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 target tissues. Screening C. sativa extracts using artificial human 3D models of oral, airway, and intestinal tissues, we identified 13 high CBD C. sativa extracts that modulate ACE2 gene expression and ACE2 protein levels. Our initial data suggest that some C. sativa extract down-regulate serine protease TMPRSS2, another critical protein required for SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells. While our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation, our study is crucial for the future analysis of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19. The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD C. sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy. They can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use. Such products ought to be tested for their potential to decrease viral entry via the oral mucosa. Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.
Wed, 5 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0051.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Wuhan 2019-nCov; ACE2; expression; susceptibility; race; age; gender; smoking
Online: 5 February 2020 (02:56:53 CET)
In current severe global emergency situation of 2019-nCov outbreak, it is imperative to identify vulnerable and susceptible groups for effective protection and care. Recently, studies found that 2019-nCov and SARS-nCov share the same receptor, ACE2. In this study, we analyzed four large-scale datasets of normal lung tissue to investigate the disparities related to race, age, gender and smoking status in ACE2 gene expression. No significant disparities in ACE2 gene expression were found between racial groups (Asian vs Caucasian), age groups (>60 vs <60) or gender groups (male vs female). However, we observed significantly higher ACE2 gene expression in smoker samples compared to non-smoker samples. This indicates the smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and thus smoking history should be considered in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen.
Wed, 11 March 2020
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0180.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; fulminant myocarditis; infection; echocardiography
Online: 11 March 2020 (04:57:10 CET)
Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been demonstrated as the cause of pneumonia. Nevertheless, it has not been reported as the cause of acute myocarditis or fulminant myocarditis. Case Presentation: A 63-year-old male was admitted with pneumonia and cardiac symptoms. He was genetically confirmed as COVID-19 by testing sputum on the first day of admission. He also had an elevated troponin-I (Trop I) level and diffuse myocardial dyskinesia along with decreased left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) on echocardiography. The highest level of Interleukin 6 was 272.40pg/ml. Bedside chest radiograph had typical ground-glass changes of viral pneumonia. The laboratory test results of virus that can cause myocarditis are all negative. The patient conformed to the diagnostic criteria of Chinese expert consensus statement for fulminant myocarditis. After receiving antiviral therapy and mechanical life support, the Trop I reduced to 0.10 g/L, and Interleukin 6 was 7.63 pg/ml. Meanwhile the LVEF of the patient gradually recovered to 68%. Conclusion: COVID-19 patients may develop severe cardiac complications such as myocarditis and heart failure, and this is the first case of COVID-19 infection complicated with fulminant myocarditis. The mechanism of cardiac pathology caused by COVID-19 needs further study.
Sat, 8 February 2020
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: 2019-nCoV; coronavirus; peptide vaccine; CD4+ epitope; CD8+ epitope
Online: 8 February 2020 (05:56:31 CET)
In this report, we demonstrate that it is possible to design epitope-based peptide vaccine candidates to counteract the novel China coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by using an approach similar to the one used in cancer neoantigen vaccination therapy. We identified multiepitope peptide vaccine candidates against 2019-nCov that can potentially trigger both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immune response with increased efficiency due to the presence of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell epitopes and a cathepsin-sensitive linker. Furthermore, we suggest that the peptide design strategy should incorporate population-specific HLA alleles in order to optimize binding specificity of the peptides. We refer to this as populationalized vaccinomics.
Thu, 5 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0078.v1
Online: 5 March 2020 (03:15:43 CET)
Background: Cigarette smoking (CS) is a global public health problem and a high-risk factor for various diseases. In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (HCoV-19) was identified in Wuhan, China. Because ACE2 has been identified as a receptor for HCoV-19, we hypothesize that CS affects the expression pattern of ACE2 in respiratory tract, causing differences in susceptibility to the virus. Methods: Three datasets (GSE994, GSE17913, and GSE18344), were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Correlation and enrichment analysis were used to evaluate the function of ACE2. Also, the different expression of ACE2 in different groups of three datasets were analyzed. Results: Genes associated with ACE2 were enriched in important biological processes such as viral processes and immune response. Elevated ACE2 were found in intrapulmonary airways (GSE994) and oral epithelial cells (GSE17913) of smokers but not those of non-smokers or former smokers. Significant dose- and time-dependent relationships between CS and ACE2 expression were observed in mouse lung tissues, and long periods without smoking were found to significantly reduce ACE2 expression. Conclusions: Both human and rat data confirmed that CS could induce increased ACE2 in the respiratory tract, indicating that smokers have a higher susceptibility to HCoV-19.
Thu, 27 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0408.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Wuhan SARS-CoV-2; ACE2; DC-SIGN; L-SIGN; expression; susceptibility; race; age; gender; smoking; single cell
Online: 27 February 2020 (12:45:26 CET)
The current spreading novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious and pathogenic and has attracted global attention. Recent studies have found that SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share around 80% of homology and use the same cell entry receptor, ACE2. These inspired us to study other receptors of SARS-CoV, which may be used for SARS-CoV-2 binding as well. In this study, we screened the gene expression of three receptors (ACE2, DC-SIGN and L-SIGN) in four datasets of normal lung tissue from lung adenocarcinoma patients and two single-cell RNA sequencing datasets from normal lung and bronchial epithelial cells separately. No significant difference in gene expression of these three receptors were found between gender groups (male vs female). We found higher gene expression of DC-SIGN in elder with age>60 and higher gene expression of L-SIGN in Caucasian than Asian. Similar to ACE2, we observed significantly higher DC-SIGN gene expression in the lungs of smokers, especially former smokers. However, smokers upregulate ACE2 and DC-SIGN gene expression in different cell types. In the whole lung, ACE2 is actively expressed in remodeled Alveolar Type II cells of former smokers, while DC-SIGN is largely expressed in monocytes of former smokers and dendritic cells of current smokers. In bronchial epithelium, no obvious gene expression of DC-SIGN and L-SIGN was observed while ACE2 was found to be actively expressed in goblet cells of current smokers and club cells of non-smokers. In conclusion, our findings may indicate that smokers, especially former smokers, and people over 60 have higher risk and are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Also, this study provides hints on possible SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity mechanisms in lung infection.
Fri, 21 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0299.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; infection; scRNA-Seq; ACE2; spermatogonia
Online: 21 February 2020 (02:42:15 CET)
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified in patients with pneumonia (called COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. SARS-CoV-2 shares high sequence similarity and uses the same cell entry receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as does severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Several studies have provided bioinformatic evidence of potential routes for SARS-CoV-2 infection in respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and urinary systems. However, whether the reproductive system is a potential target of SARS-CoV-2 infection has not been determined. Here, we investigate the expression pattern of ACE2 in adult human testis at the level of single-cell transcriptomes. The results indicate that ACE2 is predominantly enriched in spermatogonia, Leydig and Sertoli cells. Gene ontology analyses indicate that GO categories associated with viral reproduction and transmission are highly enriched in ACE2-positive spermatogonia while male gamete generation related terms are down-regulated. Cell-cell junction and immunity related GO terms are increased in ACE2-positive Leydig and Sertoli cells, but mitochondria and reproduction related GO terms are decreased. These findings provide evidence that human testes are a potential target of SARS-CoV-2 infection which may have significant impact on our understanding of the pathophysiology of this rapidly spreading disease.
Tue, 18 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0258.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; cell-entry receptor; ACE2 expression; The Cancer Genome Atlas; susceptibility; demographic factors; race
Online: 18 February 2020 (06:40:01 CET)
The recurrent coronavirus outbreaks in China (SARS-CoV and its relative, SARS-CoV-2) raise the possibility that Asians are more susceptible to coronavirus. Here, we test this possibility with the lung expression of ACE2, which encodes the cell-entry receptor of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We show that ACE2 expression is not affected during tumorigenesis, suggesting that the transcriptome data from the more than 1000 lung cancer samples in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) can be used to study ACE2 expression among people without cancer. The expression of ACE2 increases with age, but is not associated with sex. Asians show a similar ACE2 expression to other races. Furthermore, the frequencies of ACE2 alleles in Asians are not significantly deviated from those in other races. These observations indicate that individuals of all races need the same level of personal protection against SARS-CoV-2.
Tue, 24 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0356.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; host genetics; genetics; polygenic risk score
Online: 24 March 2020 (08:36:20 CET)
The global pandemic of COVID-19 accounts for more than 14,000 deaths worldwide. However, little is known about the host genetics interaction with infection and COVID-19 progression. To better understand the role of host genetics, we review the current literature, aggregate readily available genetic resources, and provide some updated analysis relevant to COVID-19 and associated phenotypes. Using the unrelated individuals in UK Biobank (total n = 337,579 across 5 populations), we aggregate human leukocyte antigen and ABO blood type frequencies. We find significant and consistent risk reduction of blood group O reported in Zhao et al. and encourage broad sharing of ABO blood type frequencies that are readily accessible across COVID-19 with mild, moderate, and severe/critical symptoms for robust inferences at https://tinyurl.com/abo-covid19. In addition, we generate polygenic risk scores (PRSs) weights for 29 blood measurements, including clinically relevant haematological measurements for COVID-19, such as lymphocyte count and percentage. Focusing on the 8 most COVID-19 clinically relevant blood measurements, we performed PRS-PheWAS analysis across 44 disease antigen measurements (n = 6,643 unrelated individuals in White British group), infectious diseases and acute respiratory infections (n = 20,928 cases and 349,000 controls across 3 population groups) and deaths (n = 1,846 cases and 368,082 controls), recorded in hospital inpatient record and death registry data, respectively, in UK Biobank, and find host genetic PRS associations with disease risk. Taken together, we anticipate these resources (https://github.com/rivas-lab/covid19) will aid in improving our understanding of host genetic risk factors playing a role in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease severity.
Tue, 25 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0258.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; cell-entry receptor; ACE2; The Cancer Genome Atlas; susceptibility; demographic factors; polymorphism
Online: 25 February 2020 (06:30:17 CET)
The recurrent coronavirus outbreaks in China (SARS-CoV and its relative, SARS-CoV-2) have raised speculations that perhaps Asians are somehow more susceptible to these coronaviruses. Here, we test this possibility based on an analysis of the lung-specific expression of ACE2, which encodes the known cell-entry receptor of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We show that ACE2 expression is not affected during tumorigenesis, supporting that the abundant transcriptomes in cancer genomic studies can be informatively used to study ACE2 expression among diverse individuals without cancer. We find that ACE2 expression in the lung increases with age, but is not associated with sex. Further, Asians do not differ from other populations for ACE2 expression and do not harbor unique genetic polymorphisms in the ACE2 locus. Thus, beyond illustrating an innovative method for assessing the potential impacts of demographic factors for non-cancer diseases from large-scale cancer sample datasets, our statistically robust findings emphasize that individuals of all races require the same level of personal protection against SARS-CoV-2.
Tue, 11 December 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0137.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: microscopy, fluorescence, machine learning, deep learning, inverse problems, image reconstruction, image restoration, super-resolution, deconvolution, spectral unmixing
Online: 11 December 2018 (17:03:14 CET)
Deep Learning is a recent and important addition to the computational toolbox available for image reconstruction in fluorescence microscopy. We review state-of-the-art applications such as image restoration, super-resolution, and light-field imaging, and discuss how the latest Deep Learning research can be applied to other image reconstruction tasks such as structured illumination, spectral deconvolution, and sample stabilisation. Despite its successes, Deep Learning also poses significant challenges, has often misunderstood capabilities, and overlooked limits. We will address key questions, such as: What are the challenges in obtaining training data? Can we discover structures not present in the training data? And, what is the danger of inferring unsubstantiated image details?
Tue, 10 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0161.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: coronaviruses receptors; angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); COVID-19; SARS-Cov-2; the Red Queen hypothesis; segmented filamentous bacteria
Online: 10 March 2020 (08:45:34 CET)
Understanding how the coronaviruses invade our body is an essential point, and the expression profile of coronaviruses receptor may help us to find where the coronavirus infects our body. We found that the coronavirus receptors, including angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for SARS-CoV and SARS-Cov-2, are digestion-related enzymes in human enterocytes. Coronaviruses are continually altering the binding receptor and binding modes during their evolution, but the potential target cell in the small intestine is constant when in the lung is inconstant. Enterocytes may act as a conserved cell reservoir for coronaviruses, which may be partially explained by the Red Queen hypothesis. We also found that coronaviruses receptors could be elevated in the presence of both invasive bacteria and their counterpart, probiotics. We demonstrated here that enterocytes act as a conserved cell reservoir for coronaviruses during their evolutions, which should not be ignored in the investigation of coronavirus diagnosis and treatment strategies.
Tue, 28 April 2020
Online: 28 April 2020 (07:50:12 CEST)
There were warnings before; nevertheless the current CoVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise: within just four month, it conquered the globe and claimed over 200'000 lives. Unprecedented governmental actions put about half of the population under curfew or lock-down. The resulting economic meltdown is expected to eliminate globally 9’000’000’000’000 (9 trillion) USD in 2020 and 2021 alone, a value roughly the size of the yearly GDP of the world’s 150 smallest economies. The resulting crises might cause mass-unemployment and a hunger pandemic later this year. This Essay analyses current statistical data of the CoVID-19 pandemic to develop a guideline for a path through the crisis, minimizing both loss of lives and economic costs. Part 1 details the current situation; part 2 develops a small set of measures, allowing a near normal life until a future vaccination campaign has reached sufficient numbers of people; and part 3 provides some important lessons for the future beyond SARS-CoV-2. The Essay leads to the following key-messages: 1) The CoVID-19 pandemic will stay for at least two more years. This is the minimum time required for a vaccination campaign to reach sufficient numbers of people. 2) The crucial element to control the pandemic is keeping case numbers under the threshold required for a functional tracing, testing & isolation (TTI) strategy. That threshold differs from country to country and strongly depends on culture and the applied tracing technology as well as available testing capacities. 3) The economic burden of a TTI strategy is moderate while fatalities are also reduced. Hence, such an approach is strongly recommended. Its implementation requires a set of simple and cost-effective measures (see figure below), which in combination seem to be sufficient to keep CoVID-2’s reproductive rate at or below 1. 4) Implementing international coordination of actions will be necessary for effective infection-chain tracing5) If case numbers are above the TTI threshold, shutdown measures remain the only option until tracing of infection chains becomes feasible again.6) In the future, neglected pandemic-related research requires a funding boost. Just 1% of the bill of the current crisis could support the research of 45’000 scientist for 20 years.
Tue, 24 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0360.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; transcriptional inhibition; COVID-19; drug repurposing; TMPRSS2
Online: 24 March 2020 (14:26:57 CET)
There is an urgent need to identify effective therapies for COVID-19 given that a broadly available and effective vaccine is likely at least one year away. Here, we identify compounds that transcriptionally inhibit host proteins required for SARS-CoV-2 entry and should be evaluated for efficacy in SARS-CoV-2 viral infection assays. Recognizing the need for immediately available treatment options, we focused particular attention on FDA-approved drugs that could be immediately repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients. By mining publicly available gene expression data, we identify several compounds that down-regulate TMPRSS2, a protein required for SARS-CoV-2 entry that has emerged as a promising therapeutic target. Among these, we find twenty independent studies that implicate estrogen-related and androgen-related compounds as transcriptional modulators of TMPRSS2 expression, suggesting that these drugs and others acting on the pathway may be promising therapeutic candidates for COVID-19 for further testing. It is also noteworthy that TMPRSS2 has highly variable and skewed expression in humans, spanning two orders of magnitude with a small minority of individuals having extremely high expression. Combined with literature showing that TMPRSS2 loss-of-function in mouse is protective against SARS while anti-estrogen treatment predicted to increase TMPRSS2 expression exacerbates SARS, this observation raises the hypothesis that TMPRSS2 expression may positively correlate with severity in COVID-19.
Fri, 5 June 2020
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0044.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Epidemiology; COVID-19; coronavirus; bat; RaTG13; BtCoV/4991; SARS-CoV-2; Pangolin Coronavirus; next generation sequencing
Online: 5 June 2020 (06:17:26 CEST)
A recent manuscript (Zhou, P. et al. “A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin”, Nature 579, 270–273 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7) from Wuhan Institute of Virology claimed the identification of a bat coronavirus, RaTG13, which showed 96.2% genome homology with SARS-CoV-2. In this paper, we raise the puzzling observations surrounding the identification, characterization, unique genome features of this RaTG13 strain, as well as its 100% nucleotide identity in partial RdRp gene with another bat coronavirus strain BtCoV/4991. And the paper presented premature hypothesis of potential bat origin of SARS-CoV-2 while RaTG13 strain was not successfully isolated. We also present the concerns on the methodology, data quality and experiment procedures described in this paper. We call for the authors to provide additional data, to share related samples to be verified and further characterized by other scientists.
Thu, 12 March 2020
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: immune system; viral infection; influenza; COVID-19; micronutrients; vitamins; omega-3 fatty acids; minerals; vitamin C; vitamin D
Online: 12 March 2020 (04:30:45 CET)
Public health practices including handwashing and vaccinations help reduce the spread and impact of infections. Nevertheless, the global burden of infection is high, and additional measures are necessary. Acute respiratory tract infections, for example, are responsible for approximately 2.65 million deaths per year. The role nutrition plays in supporting the immune system is well-established. A wealth of mechanistic and clinical data show that vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate; trace elements, including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper; and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid play important and complementary roles in supporting the immune system. Inadequate intake and status of these nutrients are widespread, leading to a decrease in resistance to infections and as a consequence an increase in disease burden. Against this background the following conclusions are made: 1) Supplementation with the above micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids is a safe, effective, and low-cost strategy to help support optimal immune function; 2) Supplementation above the RDA, but within recommended upper safety limits, for specific nutrients such as vitamins C and D is warranted; and 3) Public health officials are encouraged to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health.
Wed, 19 February 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0283.v1
Online: 19 February 2020 (11:58:13 CET)
The latest emergence of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) had caused an outbreak of respiratory virus infections in Wuhan, China, and other countries so that the world health organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 epidemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 31, 2020. At present, it is the fact that we have identified the bats as the host, the route of respiratory droplets, contact, and aerosol can accelerate the transmission from person to person. However, it is not well known about the intermediator and other approaches. Identifying and characterizing the origin and host(s) of COVID-19 can help us to evaluate the potential risk of COVID-19 for transmission among humans or cross-species.
Sun, 23 February 2020
Subject: Life Sciences, Biotechnology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; acute kidney injury; angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2); transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSSs)
Online: 23 February 2020 (15:42:24 CET)
Purpose: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a severe symptom of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), especially for patients in a critical condition.This study explored the potential mechanism of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on AKI at the single-cell level. Methods: 15 normal human kidney samples were collected and analyzed using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). Subsequently, we analyzed the components and proportions of kidney cells expressing the host cellular receptor ACE2 and the key protease TMPRSSs family, and analyzed the expression differences in Occidental and Asian populations. Results: We drafted the currently available world's largest human kidney cell atlas with 42,589 cells and identified 19 clusters through unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis. ACE2 and TMPRSSs genes were significantly co-expressed in podocytes and proximal convoluted tubules as potential host cells targeted by SARS-CoV-2. Comparative analysis showed that ACE2 expression in kidney cells was no less than that in the lung, esophagus, small intestine and colon, suggesting that the kidney may be an important target organ for SARS-CoV-2. In addition, given the high expression of ACE2 and kidney disease-related genes in Occidental donors relative to Asian donors, Occidental populations with SARS-CoV-2 infection might be a higher risk of of kidney injury.
Wed, 8 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0122.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: melatonin; coronavirus; pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; bat; lung; p62; apoptosis; programmed cell death; mortality; morbidity; prevention; vaccine; adjuvant; drug; symptoms
Online: 8 April 2020 (08:13:26 CEST)
The current COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most devastating events in recent history. The virus causes relatively minor damage to young, healthy populations, imposing life-threatening danger to the elderly and people with diseases of chronic inflammation. So, if we could reduce the risk for vulnerable populations, it would make the COVID-19 pandemic more similar to other typical outbreaks. Children do not suffer from COVID-19 as much as their grandparents and have a much higher melatonin level. Bats also do not suffer from the virus they transmit, and bats too have a much higher level of melatonin. Viruses generate an explosion of reactive oxygen species, and melatonin is the best natural antioxidant that is lost with age. Melatonin inhibits the programmed cell death which coronaviruses induce, causing significant lung damage. Coronavirus causes inflammation in the lungs which requires inflammasome activity. Melatonin blocks the inflammasome. The immune response is impaired by anxiety and sleep deprivation. Melatonin improves sleep habits, reduces anxiety and stimulates immunity. Fibrosis may be the most dangerous complication after COVID-19. Melatonin is known to prevent fibrosis. Mechanical ventilation may be necessary but yet imposes risks due to oxidative stress, which can be reduced by melatonin. Thus, by using the safe over-the-counter drug melatonin, we may be immediately able to prevent the development of severe disease symptoms in coronavirus patients, reduce the severity of their symptoms, and/or reduce the negative effects of coronavirus infection on patients’ health after the active phase of the infection is over.
Fri, 20 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0307.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: COVID-19; influenza; SARS-CoV-2; ACE2; risk factor
Online: 20 March 2020 (06:56:25 CET)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with the 2019 novel coronavirus 2 (2019-nCoV, now referred to as SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 has become a global pandemic since its outbreak at the end of Dec 2019. COVID-19 could lead to severe acute respiratory disease, especially to those who have reduced immunity. Binding of the viral Spike protein (S) to its receptor ACE2 (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2) on the surface of target cells has been proven to be key for virus entry and infection. Although ACE2 expression in the respiratory system is necessary for pneumonia infection by SARS-CoV-2, the regulation of ACE2 gene expression remains poorly investigated, especially for patients that are in pre-pathological conditions. Here, by analyzing The Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, we investigated the expression regulation of ACE2 in various kinds of primary epithelial cells from the respiratory system after influenza A or respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. Our analyses reveal that infection of influenza A, RSV or influenza vaccines greatly increased ACE2 expression, suggesting that influenza viral infection could represent a high risk factor for developing COVID-19. We also found that the regulatory effect of influenza A virus on ACE2 expression is associated with activation of the interferon beta-induced pathway and viral RNA-activated host response. Together, our data provide a theoretical framework for clinical classification for SARS-CoV-2 infection susceptibility and could be used for future prevention and therapy treatment for COVID-19.
Fri, 14 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0051.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Wuhan 2019-nCov; ACE2; expression; susceptibility; race; age; gender; smoking; single cell
Online: 14 February 2020 (04:32:49 CET)
In current severe global emergency situation of 2019-nCov outbreak, it is imperative to identify vulnerable and susceptible groups for effective protection and care. Recently, studies found that 2019-nCov and SARS-nCov share the same receptor, ACE2. In this study, we analyzed four large-scale bulk transcriptomic datasets of normal lung tissue and two single-cell transcriptomic datasets to investigate the disparities related to race, age, gender and smoking status in ACE2 gene expression and its distribution among cell types. We didn’t find significant disparities in ACE2 gene expression between racial groups (Asian vs Caucasian), age groups (>60 vs <60) or gender groups (male vs female). However, we observed significantly higher ACE2 gene expression in former smoker’s lung compared to non-smoker’s lung. Also, we found higher ACE2 gene expression in Asian current smokers compared to non-smokers but not in Caucasian current smokers, which may indicate an existence of gene-smoking interaction. In addition, we found that ACE2 gene is expressed in specific cell types related to smoking history and location. In bronchial epithelium, ACE2 is actively expressed in goblet cells of current smokers and club cells of non-smokers. In alveoli, ACE2 is actively expressed in remodelled AT2 cells of former smokers. Together, this study indicates that smokers especially former smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and have infection paths different with non-smokers. Thus, smoking history may provide valuable information in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen.
Mon, 2 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0051.v3
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Wuhan 2019-nCov; ACE2; expression; susceptibility; race; age; gender; smoking; single cell
Online: 2 March 2020 (01:38:52 CET)
In current severe global emergency situation of 2019-nCov outbreak, it is imperative to identify vulnerable and susceptible groups for effective protection and care. Recently, studies found that 2019-nCov and SARS-nCov share the same receptor, ACE2. In this study, we analyzed five large-scale bulk transcriptomic datasets of normal lung tissue and two single-cell transcriptomic datasets to investigate the disparities related to race, age, gender and smoking status in ACE2 gene expression and its distribution among cell types. We didn’t find significant disparities in ACE2 gene expression between racial groups (Asian vs Caucasian), age groups (>60 vs <60) or gender groups (male vs female). However, we observed significantly higher ACE2 gene expression in former smoker’s lung compared to non-smoker’s lung. Also, we found higher ACE2 gene expression in Asian current smokers compared to non-smokers but not in Caucasian current smokers, which may indicate an existence of gene-smoking interaction. In addition, we found that ACE2 gene is expressed in specific cell types related to smoking history and location. In bronchial epithelium, ACE2 is actively expressed in goblet cells of current smokers and club cells of non-smokers. In alveoli, ACE2 is actively expressed in remodelled AT2 cells of former smokers. Together, this study indicates that smokers especially former smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and have infection paths different with non-smokers. Thus, smoking history may provide valuable information in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen.
Sun, 8 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0138.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: 2019-nCoV; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; ADE; antibody depedendent enhancement
Online: 8 March 2020 (15:35:27 CET)
Background: In 80% of patients, COVID-19 presents as mild disease1,2. 20% of cases develop severe (13%) or critical (6%) illness. More severe forms of COVID-19 present as clinical severe acute respiratory syndrome, but include a T-predominant lymphopenia3, high circulating levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, accumulation of neutrophils and macrophages in lungs, and immune dysregulation including immunosuppression4. Methods: All major SARS-CoV-2 proteins were characterized using an amino acid residue variation analysis method. Results predict that most SARS-CoV-2 proteins are evolutionary constrained, with the exception of the spike (S) protein extended outer surface. Results were interpreted based on known SARS-like coronavirus virology and pathophysiology, with a focus on medical countermeasure development implications. Findings: Non-neutralizing antibodies to variable S domains may enable an alternative infection pathway via Fc receptor-mediated uptake. This may be a gating event for the immune response dysregulation observed in more severe COVID-19 disease. Prior studies involving vaccine candidates for FCoV5,6 SARS-CoV-17-10 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 11 demonstrate vaccination-induced antibody-dependent enhancement of disease (ADE), including infection of phagocytic antigen presenting cells (APC). T effector cells are believed to play an important role in controlling coronavirus infection; pan-T depletion is present in severe COVID-19 disease3 and may be accelerated by APC infection. Sequence and structural conservation of S motifs suggests that SARS and MERS vaccine ADE risks may foreshadow SARS-CoV-2 S-based vaccine risks. Autophagy inhibitors may reduce APC infection and T-cell depletion12 13. Amino acid residue variation analysis identifies multiple constrained domains suitable as T cell vaccine targets. Evolutionary constraints on proven antiviral drug targets present in SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 may reduce risk of developing antiviral drug escape mutants. Interpretation: Safety testing of COVID-19 S protein-based B cell vaccines in animal models is strongly encouraged prior to clinical trials to reduce risk of ADE upon virus exposure.
Mon, 19 November 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0467.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: DISC1, neurodevelopment, synapse, CRMP-2, MUNC18, syntaxin, NECAP1, proteomics
Online: 19 November 2018 (12:25:42 CET)
A balanced chromosomal translocation disrupting DISC1 (Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1) gene has been linked to psychiatric diseases, such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Since the discovery of this translocation, many studies have focused on understating the role of the truncated isoform of DISC1, hypothesizing that the gain of function of this protein could be behind the neurobiology of mental conditions, but not so many studies have focused in the mechanisms impaired due to its loss of function. For that reason, we perform an analysis on the cellular proteome of primary neurons in which DISC1 was knocked down with the goal of identifying relevant pathways directly affected by DISC1 loss of function. Using an unbiased proteomic approach, we found that the expression of 31 proteins related to neurodevelopment (e.g. CRMP-2, stathmin) and synaptic function (e.g. MUNC-18, NCS-1) is regulated by DISC1 in primary mouse neurons. Hence, this study reinforces the idea that DISC1 is a unifying regulator of both neurodevelopment and synaptic function, thereby providing a link between these two key anatomical and cellular circuitries.
Tue, 24 March 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0362.v1
Online: 24 March 2020 (14:46:29 CET)
With the current rapid spread of COVID-19, global health systems are increasingly overburdened by the sheer number of people that need diagnosis, isolation and treatment. Shortcomings are evident across the board, from staffing, facilities for rapid and reliable testing to availability of hospital beds and key medical-grade equipment. The scale and breadth of the problem calls for an equally substantive response not only from frontline workers such as medical staff and scientists, but from skilled members of the public who have the time, facilities and knowledge to meaningfully contribute to a consolidated global response. Here, we summarise community-driven approaches based on Free and Open Source scientific and medical Hardware (FOSH) currently being developed and deployed to bolster access to personal protective equipment (PPE), patient treatment and diagnostics.
Thu, 5 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0081.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: COVID-19; electrostatic feature; salt bridging network; structural update
Online: 5 March 2020 (03:37:44 CET)
Since the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at the end of 2019, the past two month has seen an acceleration both in and outside China in the R&D of the diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus. As one of the molecular forces that determine protein structure, electrostatic effects dominate many aspects of protein behaviour and biological function. Thus, incorporating currently available experimental structures related to COVID-19, this article reports a simple python-based analysis tool and a LaTeX-based editing tool to extract and summarize the electrostatic features from experimentally determined structures, to strengthen our understanding of COVID-19's structure and function and to facilitate machine-learning and structure-based computational design of its neutralizing antibodies and/or small molecule(s) as potential therapeutic candidates. Finally, this article puts forward a brief update of the structurally observed electrostatic features of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Tue, 7 April 2020
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0089.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Sars-CoV-2; Homology modelling; Envelope Membrane glycoprotein; Bat; Pangolin; Sars-CoV
Online: 7 April 2020 (11:09:23 CEST)
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.
Fri, 20 March 2020
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: SARS-CoV2; spike; receptor–ligand docking; super infection
Online: 20 March 2020 (08:30:40 CET)
SARS-CoV2 (corona virus) has spread globally at an unprecedented rate; so far, increasing SARS-CoV2-infected individuals have been identified. Although the situation in China is improving and is currently under control, the outbreak in other countries and its pandemic management is only beginning to develop. Based on 154 SARS-CoV2 genome sequence analyses, we used receptor–ligand docking to identify one potential point mutation (V354F) on the spike structure which enhances spike binding to ACE2 receptors underlying potential super infection. Importantly, the V354F site on spike S1 had been identified in 5/10 infected French patients living in Paris, who sharing 100% identical SARS-CoV2 genomes. With Covid-19 cases increasing rapidly in France that could lead to a new explosion, we suggest that the French government should identify all potential super spreaders and treat them accordingly. In summary, our study provides on of the measures to avoid the potential second worldwide explosion of SARS-CoV2.
Mon, 3 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0029.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; mitochondria; Complex V; TORC1; Seahorse respirometry; biomarker; diagnosis; ME/CFS
Online: 3 February 2020 (10:36:05 CET)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a devastating illness whose biomedical basis is now beginning to be elucidated. We reported previously that, after recovery from frozen storage, lymphocytes (peripheral blood monocytic cells, PBMCs) from ME/CFS patients die faster in culture medium than those from healthy controls. We also found that lymphoblastoid cell lines (lymphoblasts) derived from these PBMCs exhibit multiple abnormalities in mitochondrial respiratory function and signalling activity by the cellular stress-sensing kinase TORC1. These differences were correlated with disease severity, as measured by the Richardson and Lidbury Weighted Standing Test. The clarity of the differences between these cells derived from ME/CFS patient blood and those from healthy controls suggested that they may provide useful biomarkers for ME/CFS. Here we report a preliminary investigation into that possibility using a variety of analytical classification tools, including linear discriminant analysis, logistic regression and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. We found that results from three different tests, lymphocyte death rate, mitochondrial respiratory function and TORC1 activity could each individually serve as biomarker with better than 90% sensitivity but only modest specificity vís a vís healthy controls. However, in combination they provided a cell-based biomarker with sensitivity and specificity approaching 100% in our sample. This level of sensitivity and specificity was almost equalled by a suggested protocol in which the frozen lymphocyte death rate was used as a highly sensitive test to triage positive samples to the more time consuming and expensive tests measuring lymphoblast respiratory function and TORC1 activity. This protocol provides a promising biomarker that could assist in more rapid and accurate diagnosis of ME/CFS.
Thu, 30 April 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0529.v1
Online: 30 April 2020 (11:15:17 CEST)
The novel respiratory disease COVID-19 has reached the status of worldwide pandemic and large efforts are currently being undertaken in molecularly characterizing the virus causing it, SARS-CoV-2. The genomic variability of SARS-CoV-2 specimens scattered across the globe can underly geographically specific etiological effects. In the present study, we gather the 10,014 SARS-CoV-2 complete genomes currently available thanks to the collection endeavor of the GISAID consortium and thousands of contributing laboratories. We analyze and annotate all SARS-CoV-2 mutations compared with the reference Wuhan genome NC_045512.2. Our analysis shows the prevalence of single nucleotide transitions as the major mutational type across the world. There exist at least three clades characterized by geographic and genomic specificity. In particular, the clade G, prevalent in Europe, carries a D614G mutation in the Spike protein, which is responsible for the initial interaction of the virus with the host human cell. Our analysis may drive local modulation of antiviral strategies based on the molecular specificities of this novel virus.
Wed, 1 April 2020
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0006.v1
Online: 1 April 2020 (09:30:36 CEST)
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is now officially declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and most parts of the world are taking drastic measures to restrict human movements to contain the infection. Like millions of others around the world, I am wondering, is there anything that could be done, other than keeping high personal hygiene, and be vigilant of symptoms, to reduce the chances of infection, or at least to reduce the burden of the disease. So far, the National and International health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the WHO have provided clear guidelines for both preventive and treatment suggestions. In this opinion-based article, I want to discuss, why keeping the adequate micronutrient balance might enhance the host response and be protective of viral infections. A detailed in-depth discussion of various micronutrients is not the purpose of this article, I will mostly emphasize on the role of zinc in viral infection.
Fri, 1 February 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201902.0004.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: artificial intelligence; machine learning; live-cell imaging; super-resolution microscopy; classification; segmentation
Online: 1 February 2019 (09:00:39 CET)
Artificial Intelligence based on Deep Learning is opening new horizons in Biomedical research and promises to revolutionize the Microscopy field. Slowly, it now transitions from the hands of experts in Computer Sciences to researchers in Cell Biology. Here, we introduce recent developments in Deep Learning applied to Microscopy, in a manner accessible to non-experts. We overview its concepts, capabilities and limitations, presenting applications in image segmentation, classification and restoration. We discuss how Deep Learning shows an outstanding potential to push the limits of Microscopy, enhancing resolution, signal and information content in acquired data. Its pitfalls are carefully discussed, as well as the future directions expected in this field.
Fri, 3 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0040.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Dengue; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; epidemiology; infection; mortality; cross-protection; Dengue vaccine; ELISA; Dengvaxia
Online: 3 April 2020 (15:48:36 CEST)
We observed that global severity maps of ongoing dengue epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic do not overlap. Countries where dengue is highly endemic (>1.5 million cases/year) appear to be less hit by COVID-19 pandemic in terms of infection and transmission. Other evidences also support our proposition that pre-exposure to other wide-spread viral infections like dengue may thwart the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wed, 1 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0005.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Pandemic; Viral Genomics
Online: 1 April 2020 (09:22:38 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic is due to infection caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 that impacts the lower respiratory tract. The spectrum of symptoms ranges from asymptomatic infections to mild respiratory symptoms to the lethal form of COVID-19 which is associated with severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and fatality. At present, the global case fatality rate of COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases is ~4.7% ranging from ~0.3-0.4% in Chile and Israel to ~10.8% in Italy. To address this global crisis, up-to-date information on the viral genomics and transcriptomics is crucial for understanding the origins and global dispersal of the virus, providing insight into viral pathogenicity, transmission and epidemiology, and enabling strategies for therapeutic interventions, drug discovery and vaccine development. Therefore, this review provides a comprehensive overview of COVID-19 epidemiology, genomic etiology, findings from recent transcriptomic map analysis, viral-human protein interactions, molecular diagnostics, and the current status of vaccine and novel therapeutic intervention development. Moreover, we provide an extensive list of resources that will help the scientific community access numerous types of databases related to SARS-CoV-2 OMICs and approaches to therapeutics related to COVID-19 treatment.
Thu, 26 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0386.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: hesperidin; COVID-19; pectin; flavonoids; hydrodynamic cavitation; IntegroPectin
Online: 26 March 2020 (13:59:28 CET)
Computational studies suggest that hesperidin, a flavonoid abundant in citrus peel, binding the three main cellular receptors of SARS-CoV-2 virus can act in the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. Herein we urge the uptake of hydrodynamic cavitation industrial-scale reactors based on the low cost, reliable Venturi tube for the extraction of citrus pectin rich in hesperidin (and in other bioflavonoids including naringing) by very fast processing of waste orange peel or waste lemon peel in water only. A device able to process up to 500 kg of waste peels per session, similar to the one lately deployed in Italy for hydrodynamic cavitation-assisted brewing, is capable to provide 36,000 doses of 1000 mg hesperidin per day.
Thu, 5 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0085.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; CoV-Mpro; CoV-Nsp12 polymerase; CoV-Nsp13 helicase
Online: 5 March 2020 (11:50:45 CET)
The recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused a major outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and instigated a widespread fear and has threatened global health security. Although phenomenal efforts are in progress to effectively combat this COVID-19 outbreak. Still, no licensed antiviral drugs or vaccines are available, and treatment is limited to supportive care and few repurposed drugs. In this urgency situation, computational drug discovery methods provide both an alternative and a supplement to tiresome high-throughput screening, particularly in the hit-to-lead-optimization stage. Identification of small molecules that specifically target viral replication apparatus has shown the most successful strategy in antiviral drug discovery. The present study deals with the identification of potential compounds that specifically interact with SARS-CoV-2 vital proteins, including main protease (Mpro), Nsp12 RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp) and Nsp13 helicase. A constructive and integrated virtual screening efforts together with molecular dynamics simulations identified potential binding modes and favourable molecular interaction profile of corresponding compounds. Moreover, structurally important binding site residues in conserved motifs located inside the active site are elucidated, which displayed relative importance in ligand binding based on residual energy decomposition analysis. Although the current study lacks experimental validation, the structural information obtained from this computational study paved the way to identify and design specific targeted inhibitors to combat COVID-19 outbreak.
Mon, 23 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0349.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biotechnology Keywords: novel coronavirus; COVID-19; protease; molecular docking; drug designing; ADME; drug repurposing
Online: 23 March 2020 (09:47:49 CET)
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA ((+)ssRNA) virus. The COVID-19 Main Proteases play very important role in the propagation of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). It has already killed more than 8000 people around the world and thousands of people are getting infected every day. Therefore, it is very important to identify a potential inhibitor against COVID-19 Main Proteases to inhibit the propagation of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have applied a drug repurposing approach of computational methodology, depending on the synergy of molecular docking and virtual screening techniques, aimed to identify possible potent inhibitors against Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from FDA approved antiviral compounds and from the library of active phytochemicals. On the basis of recently resolved COVID-19 Main Protease crystal structure (PDB:6LU7), the library of 100 FDA approved antiviral compounds and 1000 active components of Indian Medicinal Plants extracted for screening against COVID-19 Main Protease. The compounds were further screened using Pyrex virtual screening tool and then best inhibitors, top 19 compounds optimally docked to the COVID-19 Main Protease structure to understand the participation of specific amino acids with inhibitors at active sites. Total 19 best compounds were identified after screening based on their highest binding affinity with respect to the other screened compounds. Out of 19, 6 best compounds were further screened based on their binding affinity and best ADME properties. Nelfinavir exhibited highest binding energy -8.4 kcal/mol and strong stability with the TRP207, ILE281, LEU282, PHE3, PHE291, GLN127, ARG4, GLY283, GLU288, LYS5, LYS137, TYR126, GLY138, TYR126, SER139 and VAL135 amino acid residues of COVID-19 Main Protease participating in the interaction at the binding pocket. In addition to Nelfinavir (-8.4), Rhein (-8.1), Withanolide D (-7.8), Withaferin A (-7.7), Enoxacin (-7.4), and Aloe-emodin (-7.4) also showed good binding affinity and best ADME properties. Our findings suggest that these compounds can be used as potential inhibitors against COVID-19 Main Protease, which could be helpful in inhibiting the propagation of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Moreover, further in vitro and in vivo validation of these findings would be very helpful to bring these inhibitors to next level study.
Sun, 23 February 2020
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0332.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: nucleic acids; airborne microorganisms; far infrared radiation; RNA virus
Online: 23 February 2020 (15:51:12 CET)
Emergence of zoonotic-human pathogens is proven to be a lethal threat to public health, and RNA virus including influenza viruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), plays a pivotal role. As those viruses as airborne microorganisms spread mainly by tiny airborne particles, it is important to de-active those airborne particles before their entry into human bodies. In this study, we investigated the effect of far infrared (FIR) radiation on inhibition of airborne microorganisms. The result confirmed that double stand DNA from airborne microorganisms were stable under mild FIR radiation. However, single strand RNA from them was found to be sensitive to FIR radiation, indicating that RNA virus in airborne particles is instable under FIR radiation. Based on this observation, two models on usage of FIR radiation to prevent RNA virus transmission and cure RNA virus infection were proposed, implying that FIR radiation might be a cheap, convenient, and efficient method in clinic to treat RNA virus.
Thu, 9 April 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0068.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biotechnology Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; hACE-2; MPro; multi-target-directed ligand; protease inhibito; RdRp; SARS-CoV-2 virus
Online: 9 April 2020 (05:13:05 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has resulted in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Worldwide this disease has infected around 1.5 million individuals with a mortality rate ranging from 5 to 10%. It has also imposed extreme challenges on global health, economy, and social behavior. Due to the unavailability of therapeutics, several efforts are going on in the drug discovery to control the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. The main protease (MPro) plays a critical role in viral replication and maturation, thus can serve as the primary drug target. To understand the structural evolution of MPro, we have performed phylogenetic and SSN analysis, that depicted divergence of Coronaviridae MPro in five clusters specific to viral hosts. This clustering was also corroborated with the comparison of MPro structures. Furthermore, it has been observed that backbone and binding site conformations are conserved despite variation in some of the residues. This conservation can be exploited to repurpose available viral protease inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 MPro. In agreement with this, we performed screening of the custom-made library of ~7100 molecules including active ingredients present in the Ayurvedic anti-tussive medicines, anti-viral phytochemicals and synthetic anti-virals against SARS-CoV-2 MPro as the primary target. We identified several natural molecules that strongly binds to SARS-CoV-2 MPro among which top seven molecules are d-Viniferin, Myricitrin, Taiwanhomoflavone A, Lactucopicrin 15-oxalate, Nympholide A, Biorobin and Phyllaemblicin B. Most of the predicted lead molecules are from Vitis vinifera, also reported for anti-tussive and/or antiviral activities. These molecules also showed strong binding with other main targets RdRp and hACE-2. We anticipate that our approach for identification of multi-target-directed ligand will provide new avenues for drug discovery against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Tue, 5 May 2020
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0084.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Vitamin D; Ivermectin; RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase; Spike glycoprotein; Knowledge based docking
Online: 5 May 2020 (15:18:30 CEST)
COVID-19 has emerged as deadly pandemic worldwide with no vaccine or suitable antiviral drugs to prevent or cure the disease. Because of the time-consuming process to develop new vaccines or antiviral agents, there has been a growing interest in repurposing some existing drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2. Vitamin D is known to be protective against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia and cytokine storm. Recently it has been used as a repurposed drug for the treatment of H5N1 virus-induced lung injury. Circumstantial evidences indicate that people with low level of vitamin D are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Although, vitamin D was suggested to interfere with viral replication, its interaction with any SARS-CoV-2 protein is unexplored yet. Beside this, ivermectin, a well-known anti-parasitic agent, exhibits potent anti-viral activities in vitro against viruses such as HIV-1 and dengue. Very recently, ivermectin has been found to reduce viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. We have analyzed available structures of SARS-CoV-2 proteins to identify probable binding partner(s) of vitamin D and ivermectin through knowledge-based docking studies and figured out possible implication of their binding in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observations suggest that the non-structural protein nsp7 possesses a potential site to house 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (VDY) or the active form of Vitamin D, calcitrol. Binding of vitamin D with nsp7 likely to hamper the formation of nsp7-nsp8 complex which is required to bind with RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), nsp12 for optimal function. On the other hand, potential binding site of ivermectin has been identified in the S2 subunit of trimeric spike(S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. We propose that deeply inserted mode of ivermectin binding at three inter-subunit junctions may restrict large scale conformational changes of S2 helices which is necessary for efficient fusion of viral and host membrane. Our study, therefore, opens up avenues for further investigations to consider vitamin D and ivermectin as potential drugs against SARS-CoV-2.
Mon, 30 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0440.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; 2019-nCoV; novel corona virus; drug repurposing; chloroquine; high-risk group; asymptomatic
Online: 30 March 2020 (07:24:16 CEST)
COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) is a pandemic disease with an estimated mortality rate of 3.4% (estimated by the WHO as of March 3, 2020). Until now there is no antiviral drug and vaccine for COVID-19. The current overwhelming situation by COVID-19 patients in hospitals is likely to increase in the next few months. About 15 percent of patients with serious disease in COVID-19 require immediate health services. Rather than waiting for new anti-viral drugs or vaccines that take a few months to years to develop and test, several researchers and public health agencies are attempting to repurpose medicines that are already approved for another similar disease and have proved to be fairly effective. This study aims to identify FDA approved drugs that can be used for drug repurposing and identify biomarkers among high- risk and asymptomatic groups. In this study gene-disease association related to COVID-19 reported mild, severe symptoms and clinical outcomes were determined. The high-risk group was studied related to SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and life cycle by using Disgenet and compared with curated COVID-19 gene data sets from the CTD database. The overlapped gene sets were enriched and the selected genes were constructed for protein-protein interaction networks. Through interactome, key genes were identified for COVID-19 and also for high risk and asymptomatic groups. The key hub genes involved in COVID-19 were VEGFA, TNF, IL-6, CXCL8, IL10, CCL2, IL1B, TLR4, ICAM1, MMP9. The identified key genes were used for drug-gene interaction for drug repurposing. The chloroquine, lenalidomide, pentoxifylline, thalidome, sorafenib, pacitaxel, rapamycin, cortisol, statins were proposed to be probable drug repurposing candidates for the treatment of COVID-19. However, these predicted drug candidates need to be validated through randomized clinical trials. Also, a key gene involved in high risk and the asymptomatic group were identified, which can be used as probable biomarkers for early identification.
Tue, 3 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0042.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: COVID -19; 2019-nCoV; spike (S) protein; zorubicin; aclarubicin
Online: 3 March 2020 (11:41:51 CET)
The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a human and animal pathogen recently emerged in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province of China, causing a spectrum of severe respiratory illnesses. Corona viruses makes entry in to human cells through its spike (S) protein that binds to cell surface receptors. Wide spread of 2019-nCoV has been attributed to relatively high affinity of S protein to its receptor. Although S protein is a highly importantdrug target, unavailability of a high-resolution crystal structure and solvent accessible binding surface has made it a tedious target for current rapid virtual screening. A homology model of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of 2019 -n CoV S protein that is reasonably acceptable for drug screening was prepared using a high resolution crystal structure of SARS corona virus (SARS CoV)S protein. Data obtained from RBD- receptor docking experiments and published molecular dynamics experiments were used to map a RBD-receptor interaction hotspot that can be used for designing small molecule inhibitors. The hot spot was then used for virtual screening of more than 3000 drugs approved by U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other authorities for human use. Two anthracycline class drugs (zorubicin and aclarubicin) and a food dye (E 155) were predicted to be potent inhibitors of RBD – receptor interaction. Results of present study provide evidence for the potential of these compounds asprophylactic medications or for use to reduce disease severity of COVID -19.
Mon, 25 May 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0413.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; nucleocapsid (N); genomics; coronavirus; Wuhan; Pandemic
Online: 25 May 2020 (17:45:40 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome novel coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the global pandemic as COVID-19, which is the most notorious global public health crisis in the last 100 years. SARS-CoV-2 is composed of four structural proteins and several non-structured proteins. The multi-facet nucleocapsid (N) protein is the major component of structural proteins of CoVs, However, there are no dedicated genomic, sequences and structural analyses focusing on potential roles of N protein. Hence, there is an urgent requirement of a detailed study on N protein of SARS-CoV-2. Herein, we are presenting a comprehensive study on N protein from SARS-CoV-2. We have identified seven motifs conserved in the three major domains namely N-terminal domain, linker regions and the C-terminal domains. Out of seven motifs, six motifs are conserved across different members of coronaviridae, while motif4 is specific for SARS CoVs with potential amyloidogenic properties. Additionally, we report this protein has large patches of disordered regions flanking with these seven motifs. These motifs are hubs of epitopes with 67 experimentally verified epitopes from related viruses. We report the presence of three nuclear localization signals (NLS1-NLS3 mapped to 36-41, 256-26, and 363-389 residues, respectively) and two nuclear export signals (NES1-NLS2 from 151-161 and 217-230 residues, respectively) in the N protein of SARS-CoV-2. These deciphered two Q-patches as Q-patch1 and Q-patch2, mapped in the regions of 266-306, and 361-418 residues, which potentially help in the aggregation of the viral proteins along with 219LALLLLDR226 patch. Additionally, we have identified 14 antiviral drugs potentially binding to seven motifs of N-proteins using docking-based drug discovery methods.
Thu, 7 May 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0134.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: Crispr-Cas9; ACE2 gene; SARS-CoV-2; new coronavirus; COVID-19
Online: 7 May 2020 (15:26:06 CEST)
The human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has a crucial role on blood pressure control; however, ACE2 is also the primary SARS-CoV-2 (S domain) virus receptor. Inhibiting or even reducing the expression of the native ACE2 might diminish the viral entry into the cells, but may cause a failure of ACE2 biological activity, primarily in patients with comorbidities, including diabetes mellitus or hypertension. Since the ACE2 catalytic site and the SARS-Cov-2 receptor are distinct, we designed a Crispr-Cas9 model system, predicting the respective sequences for a guide RNA (gRNA) and a single-stranded oligo dideoxy nucleotide (ssODN), to introduce point mutations into the exon 1 of the human ACE2 gene, which encodes the alpha-helix, implicated on the binding of the SARS-CoV-2 envelope S protein. Protein modeling predicted that the specific substitutions of residues Phe28, Lys31, and Tyr41 for Ala at the ACE2 alpha-helix do not significantly alter ACE2 native conformation. The analysis of the impact of these mutations on ACE2 receptor function predicted a weakening of the binding of the SARS-CoV-2 protein S. An experimental genome editing of cells based on these Crispr-Cas9 elements might reduce the SARS-CoV-2 ability to enter the epithelial cell, preserving the biological activity of ACE2 enzyme.
Fri, 3 April 2020
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0024.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-nCoV-2; vaccine; antibody; immune escape; variant; spike protein; genomic drift; convalescent plasma
Online: 3 April 2020 (04:24:52 CEST)
New coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) treatments and vaccines are under development to combat the COVID-19 disease. Several approaches are being used by scientists for investigation including 1) various small molecule approaches targeting RNA polymerase, 3C-like protease, and RNA endonuclease and 2) exploration of antibodies obtained from convalescent plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. The coronavirus genome is highly prone to mutations that lead to genetic drift and escape from immune recognition; thus, it is imperative that sub-strains with different mutations are also accounted for during vaccine development. As the disease has grown to become a pandemic, new B-cell and T-cell epitopes predicted from SARS coronavirus have been reported. Using the epitope information along with variants of the virus, we have found several variants which might cause drifts. Among such variants, 23403A>G variant (p.D614G) in spike protein B-cell epitope is observed frequently in European countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.
Sun, 13 October 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0146.v1
Online: 13 October 2019 (15:51:58 CEST)
Tue, 23 May 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0127.v3
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: educational attainment; polygenes; polygenic selection; IQ; GWAS
Online: 23 May 2017 (17:08:33 CEST)
Background: The genetic variants identified by three large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of educational attainment were used to test a polygenic selection model. Methods: Average frequencies of alleles with positive effect (polygenic scores or PS) were compared across populations (N=26) using data from 1000 Genomes. A null model was created using frequencies of random SNPs. Results: Polygenic selection signal of educational attainment GWAS hits is high among a handful of SNPs within genomic regions replicated across GWAS publications. A polygenic score comprising 9 SNPs predicts population IQ (r=0.88), outperforming 99% of the polygenic scores obtained from sets of random SNPs (Monte Carlo p= 0.011). Its predictive power remains unaffected after controlling for spatial autocorrelation (Beta= 0.83). The largest polygenic score (161 SNPs) exhibits similar predictive power (Beta=0.8). Random polygenic scores are moderate predictors of population IQ (thanks to spatial autocorrelation), and their predictive power increases logarithmically with the number of SNPs, indicating an exponential reduction in noise. Conclusion: This study provides guidance for using GWAS hits together with random SNPs for testing polygenic selection using Monte Carlo simulations.
Sat, 23 May 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0376.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: virus bioinformatics; SARS-CoV-2; sequencing; epidemiology; drug design; tools
Online: 23 May 2020 (11:01:11 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is a novel virus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. The biology of coronaviruses has been studied for many years. However, bioinformatics tools designed explicitly for SARS-CoV-2 have only recently been developed as a rapid reaction to the need for fast detection, understanding, and treatment of COVID-19. To control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to get insight into the evolution and pathogenesis of the virus. In this review, we cover bioinformatics workflows and tools for the routine detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the reliable analysis of sequencing data, the tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of containment measures, the study of coronavirus evolution, the discovery of potential drug targets and development of therapeutic strategies. For each tool, we briefly describe its use case and how it advances research specifically for SARS-CoV-2. All tools are freely available online, either through web applications or public code repositories.
Fri, 3 February 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201702.0006.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Deformed cloacal region; Danio rerio; Live-Cell imaging; Salmonella infection; Immune response; Cloacitis
Online: 3 February 2017 (04:18:59 CET)
Pathogenic Salmonella strains have a set of virulence factors allowing them to generate systemic infections and damage in a variety of hosts. Among these factors, bacterial proteins secreted by specialized systems are used to penetrate the host’s intestinal mucosa, through the invasion and destruction of specialized epithelial M cells in the intestine. On the other hand, numerous studies have demonstrated that humans, as well as experimental animal hosts, respond to Salmonella infection by activating both innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, through live cell imaging of S. Typhimurium infection of zebrafish larvae, we showed that besides the intestinal colonization, a deformed cloacae region and a concomitant accumulation of S. Typhimurium cells was observed upon bacterial infection. The swelling led to a persistent inflammation of infected larvae, although the infection was non-lethal. The in vivo inflammation process was confirmed by the co-localization of GFP-tagged S. Typhimurium with mCherry-tagged neutrophils at 72 hours post exposition. Our live-cell analyses suggest that Salmonella Typhimurium induce cloacitis-like symptoms in zebrafish larvae. Typhimurium induce cloacitis-like symptoms in zebrafish larvae.
Thu, 2 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0018.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19 response; MERS-CoV; Saudi Arabia; travel restrictions; Pandemic preparedness
Online: 2 April 2020 (12:08:33 CEST)
Nearly three months have passed since the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which caused the rapidly spreading Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. To date, there have been more than 550,000 confirmed cases and more than 25,000 deaths globally caused by COVID-19. Chinese health authorities, where the virus emerged, have taken prompt strict public health measures to control and prevent the spread of the outbreak. In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, unprecedented precautionary strict measures were applied to slow virus entry and to mitigate the risk of the outbreak. Here, we review the experience learned during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) epidemic in Saudi Arabia, which has been in the country since 2012, and is expected to have helped the country to be well prepared for the current COVID-19 pandemic. We also discuss the country readiness, improvement in research and development, and the unprecedented rapid precautionary measures that have been taken by the Saudi government thus far.
Wed, 4 September 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0043.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; mitochondria; Complex V; TORC1; Seahorse respirometry.
Online: 4 September 2019 (13:29:14 CEST)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is an enigmatic condition characterized by fatigue that is unaided by rest and by exacerbation of symptoms after exertion (post-exertional malaise or “PEM”). There is no definitive molecular marker or known underlying pathological mechanism for the condition. Increasing evidence for aberrant energy metabolism suggests a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in ME/CFS. Our objective was therefore to measure mitochondrial function and cellular stress sensing in actively metabolising patient blood cells. We immortalized lymphoblasts isolated from 51 ME/CFS patients diagnosed according to the Canadian Consensus Criteria and an age- and gender-matched control group. Parameters of mitochondrial function and energy stress sensing were assessed by Seahorse extracellular flux analysis, proteomics, and an array of additional biochemical assays. As a proportion of the basal oxygen consumption rate (OCR), the rate of ATP synthesis by Complex V was significantly reduced in ME/CFS lymphoblasts, while significant elevations were observed in Complex I OCR, maximum OCR, spare respiratory capacity, nonmitochondrial OCR and “proton leak” as a proportion of the basal OCR. This was accompanied by an elevation of mitochondrial membrane potential, chronically hyperactivated TOR Complex I stress signalling and upregulated expression of mitochondrial respiratory complexes, fatty acid transporters and enzymes of the β-oxidation and TCA cycles. By contrast, mitochondrial mass and genome copy number, as well as glycolytic rates and steady state ATP levels were unchanged. Our results suggest a model in which ME/CFS lymphoblasts have a Complex V defect accompanied by compensatory upregulation of their respiratory capacity that includes the mitochondrial respiratory complexes, membrane transporters and enzymes involved in fatty acid β-oxidation. This homeostatically returns ATP synthesis and steady state levels to “normal” in resting cells, but may leave them unable to adequately respond to acute increases in energy demand as the relevant homeostatic pathways are already activated.
Thu, 8 June 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201706.0039.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: educational attainment; polygenes; polygenic selection; IQ; GWAS
Online: 8 June 2017 (08:11:07 CEST)
Background: The genetic variants identified by three large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of educational attainment and the largest intelligence GWAS were used to test a polygenic selection model. Methods: Average frequencies of alleles with positive effect (polygenic scores or PS) were compared across populations (N=26) using data from 1000 Genomes. Factor analysis was used to extract a signal of polygenic selection. Results: A polygenic selection factor of educational attainment GWAS hits is high among a handful of SNPs within genomic regions replicated across GWAS publications and it is highly correlated to the genetic intelligence factor (r= 0.96). These factors are both highly predictive of average population IQ (r=0.9), and are robust to tests of spatial autocorrelation. Several Monte Carlo simulations yielded highly significant p values. Furthermore, the polygenic selection model shows high replicability, with the EA and intelligence factor scores being virtually identical to those from an older study (r=0.96-0.99). A larger sample of populations (N=53) produced similar results. Conclusion: This study shows robust results after accounting for spatial autocorrelation and Monte Carlo simulation using random SNPs and shows robust reproducibility of results from a previous study.
Thu, 27 October 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201610.0119.v1
Online: 27 October 2016 (11:50:52 CEST)
Rosette caused by rose rosette virus (RRV) is the most devastating malady of rose in the United States. Because of the recent discovery of the virus and the completion of Koch’s postulates all assumptions about the disease are based on visual observations of material that may or may have not been infected by the virus. This study addresses several aspects of virus and disease epidemiology. Twenty rose genotypes were screened for mite and/or virus resistance. Phyllocoptes fructiphilus the only known vector of RRV, was able to establish, lay eggs and develop to nymphs and adults in all genotypes. ‘Stormy Weather’ shows resistance to the virus as assessed by both mite and cleft-grafting transmission experiments. The acquisition/latent and inoculation access periods were studied revealing long acquisition/latent periods but rapid inoculation time frames. The outputs of this study will assist in the better management of the vector and the disease. The resistant genotype identified could be used in areas with high disease pressure to minimize spread and for identification of the mechanisms behind resistance or as breeding material to incorporate virus resistance to new cultivars. The short inoculation access period indicates that chemical control for the vector may be a challenging undertaking.
Fri, 7 September 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0139.v1
Online: 7 September 2018 (13:30:46 CEST)
The discovery of a simple numerical formula for the projection of all the atomic mass of life-sustaining CONHSP bioatoms leads to the emergence of a set of Nested CODES unifying all the biological, genetic and genomic components by unifying them from bioatoms up to 'to whole genomes. In particular, we demonstrate the existence of a digital meta-code common to the three languages of biology that are RNA, DNA and amino acid sequences. Through this meta-code, genomic and proteomic images appear almost analogous and correlated. The analysis of the textures of these images then reveals a binary code as well as an undulatory code whose analysis on the human genome makes it possible to predict the alternating bands constituting the cariotypes of the chromosomes. The application of these codes to perspectives in astrobiology, in Cancers basic research and the emergence of binary codes and regions of local stability (voting process), whose fractal nature we demonstrate, is illustrated.
Sun, 15 March 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0242.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; spike protein; multiepitope vaccine; molecular modeling
Online: 15 March 2020 (12:45:54 CET)
The outbreak of 2019-novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes severe respiratory infection (COVID-19) has spread in China, and the world health organization declared it pandemic. However, no approved drug or vaccines are available, and treatment is mainly supportive and through a few repurposed drugs. In this urgency situation, development of SARS-CoV-2 based vaccines is immediately required. Immunoinformatic and molecular modelling are generally used time-efficient methods to accelerate the discovery and design of the candidate peptides for vaccine development. In recent years, the use of multiepitope vaccines is proved to be a promising immunization strategy against viruses and pathogens, which induce more comprehensive protective immunity. The current study demonstrated a comprehensive in-silico strategy to design stable multiepitope vaccine construct (MVC) from B-cell and T-cell epitopes of essential SARS-CoV-2 proteins with the help of adjuvants and linkers. The integrated molecular dynamics simulations analysis revealed the stability of MVC and its interaction with human Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which trigger an innate and adaptive immune response. Later, the in-silico cloning in a known pET28a vector system also estimated the possibility of MVC expression in E. Coli. Despite this study lacks validation of this vaccine construct in terms of its efficacy, the current integrated strategy encompasses the initial multiple epitope vaccine design concepts. After validation, this MVC can present to be a better prophylactic solution against COVID-19.
Wed, 26 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0385.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; enrichment; next-generation sequencing
Online: 26 February 2020 (02:27:21 CET)
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel betacoronavirus and the aetiological agent of the current COVID-19 outbreak that originated in Hubei Province, China. While polymerase chain reaction is the front-line tool for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance, application of amplification-free and culture-free methods for isolation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, partnered with next-generation sequencing, would provide a useful tool for both surveillance and research of SARS-CoV-2. We here release into the public domain a set of bait capture hybridization probe sequences for enrichment of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from complex biological samples. These probe sequences have been designed using rigorous bioinformatics methods to provide sensitivity, accuracy, and minimal off-target hybridization. Probe design was based on existing, validated approaches for detecting antimicrobial resistance genes in complex samples and it is our hope that this SARS-CoV-2 bait capture platform, once validated by those with samples in hand, will be of aid in combating the current outbreak.
Fri, 10 March 2017
TECHNICAL NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0057.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Remotely Operated Vehicle; Metatranscriptomics; Niskin
Online: 10 March 2017 (10:50:15 CET)
The development of low-cost, open-source Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) systems has provided almost unrestricted access for researchers looking to monitor the marine environment in ever greater resolution. Sampling microbial communities from the marine environment, however, still usually relies on Niskin-bottle sampling (ROV or CTD based), a method which introduces an inaccuracy and variability that is incompatible with metatranscriptomic analysis. Here, we describe a versatile, easily-replicated platform which achieves in situ mRNA preservation, via the addition of RNAlater to filtered microbial cells, to enhance ROV or CTD functionality.
Wed, 14 November 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0326.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: cellular agriculture; cell-based seafood; fish tissue culture; bioreactor; serum-free media; ocean conservation; marine cell culture; aquaculture
Online: 14 November 2018 (08:50:01 CET)
Cellular agriculture is defined as the production of agricultural products from cell cultures rather than from whole plants or animals. With growing interest in cellular agriculture as a means to address the public health, environmental, and animal welfare challenges of animal agriculture, the concept of producing seafood from fish cell- and tissue-cultures is emerging as a means to address similar challenges with industrial aquaculture systems and marine capture. Cell-based seafood - as opposed to animal-based seafood - can combine developments in biomedical engineering with modern aquaculture techniques. Biomedical engineering developments such as closed-system bioreactor production of land animal cells create a basis for large scale production of marine animal cells. Aquaculture techniques such as genetic modification and closed system aquaculture have achieved marked gains in production that can pave the way for innovations in cell-based seafood production. Here, we present the current state of innovation relevant to the development of cell-based seafood across multiple species as well as specific opportunities and challenges that exist for advancing this science. The authors find that the physiological properties of fish cell- and tissue- culture may be uniquely suited to cultivation in vitro. These physiological properties, including hypoxia tolerance, high buffering capacity, and low-temperature growth conditions, make marine cell culture an attractive opportunity for scale production of cell-based seafood; perhaps even more so than mammalian and avian cell cultures for cell-based meats. This, coupled with the unique capabilities of crustacean tissue-friendly scaffolding such as chitosan, a common seafood waste product and mushroom derivative, presents great promise for cell-based seafood production via bioreactor cultivation. To become fully realized, cell-based seafood research will require more understanding of fish muscle culture and cultivation; more investigation into serum-free media formulations optimized for fish cell culture; and bioreactor designs tuned to the needs of fish cells for large scale production.
Sun, 12 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0201.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: diagnosis; detection kits; RT-PCR; immunoassay; false negative; false positive; sensitivity; point-of-care (POC)
Online: 12 April 2020 (16:50:05 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge damage to society and brought panics around the world. Such panics can be ascribed to the seemingly deceptive features of the COVID-19: compared to other deadly viral outspreads, it has medium transmission and mortality rates. As a result, the severity of this virus was deeply underestimated by the society at the beginning of the outbreak. Based on this, in this review, we define the viruses with features similar to those of COVID-19 as the Panic Zone viruses. To contain those viruses, accurate and fast diagnosis followed by effective isolation and treatment of patients are pivotal at the early stage of virus breakouts. This is especially true when there is no cure or vaccine available for a transmissible disease, which is the case for current COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 2020, more than one hundred kits for the COVID-19 diagnosis on the market are surveyed in this review. It is of critical importance to rationally use these kits for the efficient management and control of the Panic Zone viruses. Therefore, we discuss guidelines to select diagnostic kits at different outbreak stages of the Panic Zone viruses, COVID-19 in particular. While it is of utmost importance to use detection kits with low false negativity at the early stage of an outbreak, the low false positivity gains its importance at later stages of the outbreak. Finally, since a massive attack from a viral pandemic requires a massive defense from the whole society, we urge both government and private sectors to research and develop affordable point-of-care (POC) detection kits, which can be used massively by the general public (and therefore called as massive POC) to contain Panic Zone viruses in future.
Wed, 4 January 2017
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0016.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: symbiogenesis; eukaryogenesis; RNA world; expensive brain; human evolution; hydrothermal vent
Online: 4 January 2017 (07:34:07 CET)
Currently there is little doubt left on the symbiogenetic nature of eukaryotes - genomes of archaeon and bacterium participated in shaping a genome of last eukaryotic common ancestor in equal albeit asymmetric manner, while a merger event itself indicated the advent of a new domain of life. The “symbiogenetic” framework of interaction of two partners is proposed, outlining similar steps essential for three major advents: the origin of life, the origin of complex life and the origin of humans. Given the immense importance of proper energy source for the evolution of life it seems plausible that for any principal increase in complexity, a partnership with a novel energy donor is required. Moreover, a “language” elaborated in the course of communication of partners might have been a prerequisite for a subsequent increase in complexity. Transitions, which led to RNA-protein world, eukaryotes and human brain, resulted in advent of complex languages via communication onsets between two entities in close partnership. Accordingly this further facilitated formation of first cells, multicellular organisms and human society.
Sun, 19 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0351.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: COVID-19; BCG immunization; SARS-CoV-2; immunity and tuberculosis
Online: 19 April 2020 (13:55:50 CEST)
The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine (BCG vaccine) designed to prevent tuberculosis in children has been shown to induce a trained immune response in the body to fight against bacteria as well as other parasites and viruses. This knowledge has been reciprocated to generate the idea that this vaccine can also offer protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2). Some recent pre-print articles have highlighted that countries with mass BCG immunizations seems to have a lower incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared to those without BCG immunization. There are yet no experimental proof of any such association and the world health organisation (WHO) is currently testing the theory with clinical trials on selected cohorts. Epidemiologists and other scientific experts has expressed both their hope and concern simultaneously regarding the success theory of BCG vaccination to prevent COVID-19. Though its still not verified in any way whether the BCG vaccination can actually prevent COVID-19 or not but we believe a thorough analytical research in this regard is indeed worth a shot.
Wed, 5 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0071.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: 2019-nCoV; novel corona virus; Wuhan virus; drug; vaccine; spike protein; epitope; vaccine design
Online: 5 February 2020 (15:34:15 CET)
The recent outbreak of the new virus in Wuhan city, China from the sea food market has led to the identification of a new strain called the corona virus and named as novel corona virus (2019-nCoV) belonging to Coronaviridae family. This has created major havoc and concern due to the mortality of 250 persons and affecting more than 10,000 people. This virus causes sudden fever, pneumonia and also kidney failure. In this study a computational approach is proposed for drug and vaccine design. The spike protein sequences were collected from a protein database and analysed with various bioinformatics tools to identify suitable natural inhibitors for the N-terminal receptor binding domain of spike protein. Also, it is attempted to identify suitable vaccine candidates by identifying B-Cell and T-cell epitopes. In the drug design, the tanshinone Iia and methyl Tanshinonate were identified as natural inhibitors based on the docking score. In the vaccine design, B-cell epitope VLLPLVSSQCVNLTTRTQLPPAYTN was found to have the highest antigenicity. FVFLVLLPL of MHC class-I allele and FVFLVLLPL of MHC class-II allele were identified as best peptides based on a number of alleles and antigencity scores. The present study identifies natural inhibitors and putative antigenic epitopes which may be useful as effective drug and vaccine candidates for the eradication of novel corona virus.
Mon, 23 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0341.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Aetiology; Treatment; Cytokine Storm; ICU; COVID-19; ACE2; Irinotecan; Etoposide
Online: 23 March 2020 (06:56:57 CET)
We present the AI-discovered aetiology of COVID-19, based on a precise disease model of COVID-19 built under five weeks that best matches the epidemiological characteristics, transmission dynamics, clinical features, and biological properties of COVID-19 and consistently explains the rapidly expanding COVID-19 literature. We present that SARS-CoV-2 implements a unique unbiased survival strategy of balancing viral replication with viral spread by increasing its dependence on (i) ACE2-expressing cells for viral entry and spread, (ii) PI3K signaling in ACE2-expressing cells for viral replication and egress, and (iii) viral-non-structural-and-accessory-protein-dependent immunomodulation to balance viral spread and viral replication. We further propose the combination of irinotecan (an in-market topoisomerase I inhibitor) and etoposide (an in-market topoisomerase IIinhibitor) could potentially be an exceptionally effective treatment to protect critically ill patients from death caused by COVID-19-specific cytokine storms triggered by sepsis, ARDS, and other fatal comorbidities.
Wed, 3 October 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0050.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: public engagement on science, science engagement, science communication, public understanding of science, deficit model, informal STEM learning, active learning
Online: 3 October 2018 (13:09:31 CEST)
Publicly-funded scientists have a responsibility to engage with the public on scientific information, but are lacking a standardized framework and assessment strategy to do it well. The PEPS (Public Engagement Practices for Scientists) Method is an outcomes-centered framework employing standardized pedagogical methods with quantifiable outcomes. This approach reveals that scientists often have unrealistic expectations for achieving affective learning outcomes (i.e. changing views from anti- to pro-vaccine) by solely cognitive learning strategies (i.e. supplying data). The PEPS Method can serve as a roadmap for standardized science communication assessments, complementing existing science communication training programs for the next generation of scientists.
Mon, 17 February 2020
Online: 17 February 2020 (15:25:43 CET)
A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and then spreads to the other Provinces of China. 2019-nCoV was reported to share the same receptor, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS-CoV. Previous studies have found ACE2 is abundantly present in humans in the epithelia of the lung and small intestines, and they found ACE2 expression in the basal layer of the non-keratinizing squamous epithelium in nasal and oral mucosa and the nasopharynx. Here based on the public single-cell RNA-Seq datasets, we analyzed the ACE2 expression in the nasal, mouth, lung, and colon tissues. We find that the number of ACE2-expressing cells in the nasal tissue and mouth is comparable to the number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung tissue and colon. We also find that ACE2 tends to be co-expressed with HLA-DRB1, which plays a central role in the immune system by presenting peptides derived from extracellular proteins, in the nasal, mouth, lung, and colon tissues at single-cell resolution. We hope this provides valuable information for virus-prevention strategy and therapeutic strategy development.
Thu, 3 November 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201611.0023.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: anti-yeast; enzyme inhibitors; Terminalia mantaly; Combretaceae
Online: 3 November 2016 (09:35:17 CET)
The chemical investigation of the anti-yeast methanol extract from the stem bark of Terminalia mantaly led to the isolation of seven compounds: 3-O-methyl-4-O-α-rhamnopyranoside ellagic acid (1), 3-O-mehylellagic acid (2), arjungenin or 2,3,19,23-tetrahydroxyolean-12-en-28-oïc acid (3), arjunglucoside or 2,3,19,23-tetrahydroxyolean-12-en-28-oïc acid glucopyranoside (4), 2α,3α,24-trihydroxyolean-11,13(18)-dien-28-oïc acid (5), stigmasterol (6), stigmasterol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (7). Their structures were established by means of spectroscopic analysis and comparison with published data. Compounds 1-5 were tested in vitro for activity against three pathogenic yeast isolates, Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis and Candida krusei. The activity of compounds 1, 2 and 4 were comparable to that of the reference compound fluconazole (MIC values below 32 µg/ml) against the three tested yeast isolates. They were also tested for inhibitory properties against four enzymes of metabolic significance: Glucose-6-Phosphate Deshydrogenase (G6PD), human erythrocyte Carbonic anhydrase I and II (hCA I and hCA II), Glutathione S-transferase (GST). Compound 4 showed highly potent inhibitory property against the four tested enzymes with overall IC50 values below 4 µM and inhibitory constant (Ki) <3 µM.
Mon, 1 May 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201705.0015.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: fusion proteins; protein therapeutics; ricin; pokeweed antiviral protein; protein engineering; immunotoxins; ribosome-inactivating proteins.
Online: 1 May 2017 (10:51:21 CEST)
Fusion protein therapeutics engineering is advancing to meet the need for novel medicine. Herein, we further characterize the development of novel RTA & PAP-S1 antiviral fusion proteins. In brief, RTA/PAP-S1 and PAP-S1/RTA fusion proteins were produced in both cell free and E. coli in vivo expression systems, purified by His-tag affinity chromatography, and protein synthesis inhibitory activity assayed by comparison to the production of a control protein, CalmL3. Results showed that the RTA/PAP-S1 fusion protein is amenable to standardized production and purification and has both increased potency and less toxicity compared to either RTA or PAP-S1 alone. Thus, this research highlights the developmental potential of novel fusion proteins with reduced cytotoxic risk and increased potency.
Wed, 18 July 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0317.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: Boswellia serrata Roxb.; Curcuma longa L.; intestinal bowel diseases (IBD); Caco-2; PBMC; HMC-1.1; mast cells; cytokines; trans epithelial electrical resistance (TEER); reactive oxygen species (ROS)
Online: 18 July 2018 (07:51:12 CEST)
Inflammatory bowel diseases, which consist of chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon and the small intestine, are considered a global disease of our modern society. Recently, the use of herbal therapies has increased in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases because of their effectiveness and better safety profile, compared to conventional drugs. Boswellia serrata Roxb. and Curcuma longa L. are amongst the most promising herbal drugs, however, their clinical use in inflammatory bowel diseases is limited and little is known on their mechanism of action. The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of two standardized extract of B. serrata and C. longa in an in vitro model of intestinal inflammation. Their impact on cytokine release and reactive oxygen species production, as well as the maintenance of the intestinal barrier function and on intestinal mucosa immune cells infiltration, has been evaluated. The extracts showed a good protective effect on the intestinal epithelium at 1 µg/ml, with C. longa having an anti-inflammatory mechanism of action and B. serrata acting as an antioxidant. In summary, these herbal products were demonstrated to be promising agents for the management of inflammatory bowel diseases by modulating in vitro parameters which have been identified in the clinical conditions.
Fri, 7 September 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0125.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: HSV-1; HSV-2; photodynamic inactivation; plaque assay; natural product; antiviral
Online: 7 September 2018 (05:26:24 CEST)
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections can be treated with direct acting antivirals like acyclovir and foscarnet, but long-term use can lead to drug resistance, which motivates research into broadly-acting antivirals that can provide a greater genetic barrier to resistance. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) employs a photosensitizer, light, and oxygen to create a local burst of reactive oxygen species that inactivate microorganisms. The botanical plant extract OrthoquinTM is a powerful photosensitizer with antimicrobial properties. Here we report that Orthoquin also has antiviral properties. Photoactivated Orthoquin inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection of target cells in a dose-dependent manner, across a broad range of sub-cytotoxic concentrations. HSV inactivation required direct contact between Orthoquin and the inoculum, whereas pre-treatment of target cells had no effect. Orthoquin did not cause appreciable damage to viral capsids or pre-mature release of viral genomes as measured by qPCR for the HSV-1 genome. By contrast, immunoblotting for HSV-1 antigens in purified virion preparations suggested that higher doses of Orthoquin had a physical impact on certain HSV-1 proteins that altered protein mobility or antigen detection. Orthoquin PDI also inhibited the non-enveloped adenovirus (AdV) in a dose-dependent manner, whereas Orthoquin-mediated inhibition of the enveloped vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was light-independent. Together, these findings suggest that broad antiviral effects of Orthoquin-mediated PDI may stem from damage to viral attachment proteins.
Tue, 7 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0091.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Coronavirus; Pneumonia; COVID-19; Virus; Flu; Vaccine; Epidemic; Pandemic
Online: 7 April 2020 (11:15:55 CEST)
The SARS-CoV-2 is a recently identified positive sense single stranded RNA virus and member of the coronavirus family of viruses. It is thought to be the etiological factor for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This virus is thought to have originated from bats and acquired ability of human-to-human transmission. While SARS-CoV-2 is relatively benign, it has infected more than half a million people (as of March 29th 2020) worldwide and the number of infected people continues to rise. More than 170 countries have reported COVID-19 positive cases. With a mortality rate of less than both the previous coronavirus outbreaks, COVID-19 has (conversely) caused the death of over 33,980 (as of 29th March, 2020 at 22.00 hours EDT) people worldwide and the number is increasing. Given the enormous impact of this virus on human health and wellbeing and consequent devastating impacts on world trade, economics and quality of life, it is important to understand this virus better and get insight into its pathogenic mechanisms which will aid in devising effective measure to curb its spread and predict future pattern of its interaction with humans. Though very little is known about this SARS-CoV-2 but its mechanisms and patterns of spread can be speculated (with caution, nevertheless) from what we know about its closest relatives SARS-CoV-1 (responsible for SARS-2002 epidemic) and MERS-CoV (responsible for MERS-2012 epidemic). In the present review, we aim at bringing together the coherent and peer reviewed literature about the SARS-CoV-2 and its close relatives and try to understand its infection patterns and reconstruct its pathogenic mechanisms with anecdotes on diagnosis and future directions. We hope that this paper will serve the purpose of being a reliable source of information to scientists, clinicians and general public.
Mon, 1 August 2016
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201608.0005.v1
Online: 1 August 2016 (12:08:36 CEST)
The Leguminosae (legume family) is divided into three sub-families, the Caesalpiniodeae, Mimosoideae and Papilionoideae. Here, the literature on legume-rhizobia symbioses was reviewed, and genotypically characterised rhizobia related to the taxonomy of the legumes they were isolated from. Only data from field soils were considered. The objective of the work was to assess to what extent legume specificity for rhizobial symbiont is related to legume taxonomy. Bradyrhizobium spp. were the exclusive rhizobial symbionts of species in the Caesalpinioideae but data are limited. Where tested, species within the two Mimosoideae tribes, Ingeae and Mimoseae were nodulated by different rhizobial genera. Generally, Papilionoideae species with indeterminate nodules were promiscuous in relation to rhizobial symbionts but high specificity for rhizobial partners appears to hold at tribe level for the Fabeae (Rhizobium spp.), genus level for Medicago (Ensifer spp.), Cytisus (Bradyrhizobium spp.) and Lupinus (Bradyrhizobium spp.), and species level for Galega spp. (Neorhizobium galegeae), Hedysarum coronarium (Rhizobium sullae), Cicer arietinum (Mesorhizobium spp.) and New Zealand native Sophora spp. (Mesorhizobium spp.). High legume specificity for rhizobial symbionts was linked to specific rhizobial symbiosis genes. For Papilionoideae species with determinate nodules, the Dalbergieae were primarily nodulated by Bradyrhizobium but were promiscuous with respect to Bradyrhizobium spp. while those in the Desmodieae, Phaseoleae, Psoraleae and Loteae were promiscuous across different rhizobial genera. Possible advantages and disadvantages of high specificity or promiscuity are discussed.
Tue, 19 November 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0273.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: amyloid; virus; nucleation; loss-of-function; Alzheimer's; Parkinson's; prion; protein-only
Online: 19 November 2019 (03:53:09 CET)
Amyloids are fibrillar protein aggregates that are associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The process of amyloid aggregation involves three pathological protein transformations; from natively-folded conformation to the cross-β conformation, from biophysically soluble to insoluble, and from biologically functional to non-functional. While amyloids share a similar cross-β conformation, the biophysical transformation can either take place spontaneously via a homogeneous nucleation mechanism (HON) or catalytically on an exogenous surface via a heterogeneous nucleation mechanism (HEN). Here, we postulate that the different nucleation pathways can serve as a mechanistic basis for an etiological classification of amyloidopathies, where hereditary forms generally follow the HON pathway, while sporadic forms follow surface-induced (including microbially-induced) HEN pathways. Furthermore, the conformational and biophysical amyloid transformation results in loss-of-function (LOF) of the original natively-folded and soluble protein. This LOF can, at least initially, be the mechanism of amyloid toxicity even before amyloid accumulation reaches toxic levels. By highlighting the important role of non-protein species in amyloid formation and LOF mechanisms of toxicity, we propose a generalized mechanistic framework that could help better understand the diverse etiology of amyloid diseases and offer new opportunities for therapeutic interventions including replacement therapies.
Mon, 17 July 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201707.0041.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: pine nut; pine nut syndrome (PNS); pine mouth syndrome (PMS); non-wood forest products; Leptoglossus occidentalis (Western conifer seed bug); Sphaeropsis sapinea (sphaeropsis blight)
Online: 17 July 2017 (05:58:34 CEST)
Pine nuts are non-wood forest products (NWFP) with constantly growing market notwithstanding a series of phytosanitary issues and related trade problems. The aim of paper is to review the literature on the relationship between phytosanitary problems and trade development. Production and trade of pine nuts in Mediterranean Europe have been negatively affected by the spreading of Sphaeropsis sapinea (a fungus) associated to an adventive insect Leptoglossus occidentalis (fungal vector), with impacts on forest management activities, production and profitability and thus in value chain organization. Reduced availability of domestic production in markets with growing demand has stimulated the import of pine nuts. China has become a leading exporter of pine nuts, but its export is affected by a symptom associated to the nuts of some pine species: the ‘pine nut syndrome’ (PNS). Most of the studies embraced during the review are associated to PNS occurrence associated to the nuts of Pinus armandii. In the literature review we highlight the need for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of the pine nuts value chain organisation, where research on food properties and clinical toxicology be connected to breeding and forest management, forest pathology and entomology and trade development studies.
Tue, 21 April 2020
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0381.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: hydroxychloroquine; COVID-19; immunomodulator; cytokine storm; flow chemistry
Online: 21 April 2020 (08:26:31 CEST)
Hydroxychloroquine, a known antiviral metabolite of chloroquine, is increasingly used along with antibiotic azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 infection. In about one month India, the world’s largest manufacturer, delivered hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 to over 50 countries. The therapy is being used across the world both for patients staying at home at the early phase of symptoms, as well as for patients hospitalized. We summarize achievements as of late April 2020, review possible modes of action and suggest avenues for the quick scale-up of production of hydroxychloroquine.
Mon, 11 May 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0195.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: Placenta; trophoblast; SARS-CoV-2; Coronaviruses; COVID-19; Single cell RNAseq; scRNA-seq; ACE2; TMPRSS2; CD147; CTSL; inflammation
Online: 11 May 2020 (12:50:48 CEST)
Infection by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) results in the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, which has posed a serious threat globally. Infection of SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy is associated with complications like preterm labor and premature rupture of membranes; a proportion of neonates born to the infected mothers are also positive for the virus. During pregnancy, the placental barrier protects the fetus from pathogens and ensures healthy development. However, whether or not SARS-CoV-2 can infect the placenta is unknown. Herein, utilizing single-cell RNA-seq data, we report that the SARS-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 and the S protein priming protease TMPRSS2 are co-expressed by a subset of syncytiotrophoblasts (STB) in the first trimester and extra villous trophoblasts (EVT) in the second trimester human placenta. The ACE2- and TMPRSS2-positive (ACE2+TMPRSS2+) placental subsets express mRNA for proteins involved in viral budding and replication. These cells also express mRNA for proteins that interact with SARS-CoV-2 structural and non-structural proteins in the host cells. We also discovered unique signatures of genes in ACE2+TMPRSS2+ STBs and EVTs. The ACE2+TMPRSS2+ STBs are highly differentiated cells and express genes involved mitochondrial metabolism and glucose transport. The second trimester ACE2+TMPRSS2+ EVTs are enriched for markers of endovascular trophoblasts. Further, both these subtypes abundantly expressed genes in Toll like receptor pathway, the second trimester EVTs (but not first trimester STBs) are also enriched for component of the JAK-STAT pathway that drive inflammation. To conclude, herein we uncovered the cellular targets for SARS-CoV-2 entry and show that these cells can potentially drive viremia in the developing human placenta. Our results provide a basic framework towards understanding the paraphernalia involved in SARS-CoV-2 infections in pregnancy.
Thu, 9 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0122.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: melatonin; coronavirus; pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; bat; lung; apoptosis; programmed cell death; mortality; morbidity; COVID-19; drug
Online: 9 April 2020 (09:24:47 CEST)
The current COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most devastating events in recent history. The virus causes relatively minor damage to young, healthy populations, imposing life-threatening danger to the elderly and people with diseases of chronic inflammation. Therefore, if we could reduce the risk for vulnerable populations, it would make the COVID-19 pandemic more similar to other typical outbreaks. Children don’t suffer from COVID-19 as much as their grandparents and have a much higher melatonin level. Bats are nocturnal animals possessing high levels of melatonin, which may contribute to their high anti-viral resistance. Viruses induce an explosion of inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, and melatonin is the best natural antioxidant that is lost with age. The programmed cell death coronaviruses cause, which can result in significant lung damage, is also inhibited by melatonin. Coronavirus causes inflammation in the lungs which requires inflammasome activity. Melatonin blocks these inflammasomes. General immunity is impaired by anxiety and sleep deprivation. Melatonin improves sleep habits, reduces anxiety and stimulates immunity. Fibrosis may be the most dangerous complication after COVID-19. Melatonin is known to prevent fibrosis. Mechanical ventilation may be necessary but yet imposes risks due to oxidative stress, which can be reduced by melatonin. Thus, by using the safe over-the-counter drug melatonin, we may be immediately able to prevent the development of severe disease symptoms in coronavirus patients, reduce the severity of their symptoms, and/or reduce the immuno-pathology of coronavirus infection on patients’ health after the active phase of the infection is over.
Sun, 29 January 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0127.v2
Online: 29 January 2017 (07:55:37 CET)
Background: The genetic variants identified by three large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of educational attainment were used to test a polygenic selection model.ethods: Average frequencies of alleles with positive effect (polygenic scores or PS) were compared across populations (N=26) using data from 1000 Genomes. A null model was created using frequencies of random SNPs.Results: Polygenic selection signal of educational attainment GWAS hits is high among a handful of SNPs within genomic regions replicated across GWAS publications. A polygenic score comprising 9 SNPs predicts population IQ (r=0.9), outperforming 99.9% of the polygenic scores obtained from sets of random SNPs. Its predictive power remains unaffected after controlling for spatial autocorrelation. Even random polygenic scores are moderate predictors of population IQ (thanks to spatial autocorrelation), and their predictive power increases logarithmically with the number of SNPs, indicating an exponential reduction in noise. Conclusion: This study provides guidance for using GWAS hits together with random SNPs for testing polygenic selection.
Mon, 4 December 2017
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0023.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Endocrinology & Metabolomics Keywords: physical exercise; irisin; neurodegeneration; aging; Alzheimer’s disease
Online: 4 December 2017 (08:46:17 CET)
The skeletal muscle-secreted myokine irisin, which is produced in response to physical exercise, has several protective functions both in the central and peripheral nervous systems, including regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, modification of telomere length, inhibition of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response, and anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects that may be of benefit in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present review is based on the hypothesis that irisin connects physical exercise with AD progression. We herein describe current knowledge of the physiology of irisin and its potential role in AD. We conclude that, although current and ongoing research on irisin is very promising, further research is required to clarify its potential as a meaningful target for drugs to treat human diseases.
Wed, 10 August 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201608.0111.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Erigeron floribundus; essential oil; antimicrobial; NadD; Trypanosoma brucei; cytotoxicity; antioxidant; limonene; caryophyllene oxide
Online: 10 August 2016 (12:36:57 CEST)
Erigeron floribundus (Asteraceae) is an herbaceous plant widely used in the Cameroonian traditional medicine to treat various diseases of microbial and non-microbial origin. In the present study we evaluated the in vitro biological activities displayed by the essential oil obtained from the aerial parts of E. floribundus, namely the antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities. Moreover, we investigated the inhibitory effects of E. floribundus essential oil on nicotinate mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (NadD), a promising new target for developing novel antibiotics, and Trypanosoma brucei, the protozoan parasite responsible for Human African trypanosomiasis. The essential oil composition was dominated by spathulenol (12.2%), caryophyllene oxide (12.4%) and limonene (8.8%). The E. floribundus oil showed a good activity against Staphylococcus aureus (IZD of 14 mm, MIC of 512 µg/mL). Interestingly, it inhibited the NadD enzyme from S. aureus (IC50 of 98 µg/mL), with no effects on mammalian orthologue enzymes. In addition, T. brucei proliferation was inhibited with IC50 values of 33.5 µg/mL with the essential oil and 5.6 µg/mL with the active component limonene. The essential oil exhibited strong cytotoxicity on HCT 116 colon carcinoma cells with an IC50 value of 14.89 µg/mL, and remarkable ferric reducing antioxidant power (TEAC= 411.9 μmol TE/g).
Tue, 23 August 2016
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201608.0195.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: green anole; tail autotomy; regeneration; microRNAs; Anolis carolinensis
Online: 23 August 2016 (11:25:42 CEST)
Regeneration of lost tail is of great importance to lizards. Anolis carolinensis, a green lizard, is capable of regenerating its tail efficiently after autotomy. Hence, it is considered as a model organism in regeneration study. A. carolinensis shed its tail in order to distract the predator’s attention and thus makes a way to escape. Restoring of the amputated tail takes several days and the mechanism is currently clearly understood. Although save its life, tail regeneration is associated with the impairment of several vital functions in Anoles. In addition, various differences have been observed between original and regenerated tail in terms of mechanism and structure. To date, very little work has been conducted on tail autotomy and regeneration at molecular and genetic level. The genes responsible for regeneration in anoles are identified recently. These genes are evolutionarily conserved through all tetrapod vertebrates. They are, however, in a state of ‘switched-off’ in other vertebrates including humans. Consequently, a throughout study of these so called ‘switched-off’ genes may provide a way of restoring lost organs in human, and thus could revolutionize the modern medical science.
Fri, 16 December 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201612.0089.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: origin of life; selection; accumulation; prebiotic chemistry; molecular evolution; vesicles
Online: 16 December 2016 (08:46:10 CET)
A basic problem in all postulated pathways of prebiotic chemistry is the low concentration which generally is expected for interesting reactants in fluid environments. Even though compounds like nucleobases, sugars or peptides principally may form spontaneously under environmental conditions, they will always be rapidly diluted in an aqueous environment. In addition, any such reaction leads to side products which often exceed the desired compound and generally hamper the first steps of a subsequent molecular evolution. Therefore, a mechanism of selection and accumulation of relevant prebiotic compounds seems to be crucial for molecular evolution. A very efficient environment for selection and accumulation can be found in the fluid continuum circulating in tectonic fault zones. Vesicles which form spontaneously at a depth of approximately 1 km present a selective trap for amphiphilic molecules, especially for peptides composed of hydrophilic and hydrophobic amino acids in a suitable sequence. The accumulation effect is shown in a numeric simulation on a simplified model. Further, possible mechanisms of a molecular evolution in vesicle membranes are discussed. Altogether, the proposed scenario can be seen as an ideal environment for constant, undisturbed molecular evolution in and on cell-like compartments, the latter offering preferential starting conditions for a subsequent RNA world.
Fri, 1 December 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0199.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: human papillomavirus; HPV; cervical cancer; cancer screening; self-sampling; vaginal microbiome
Online: 1 December 2017 (07:19:13 CET)
In most industrialized countries, screening programs for cervical cancer have shifted from cytology (Pap smear or ThinPrep) alone on clinician-obtained samples to the addition of screening for human papillomavirus (HPV), its main causative agent. For HPV testing, self-sampling instead of clinician-sampling has proven to be equally accurate, in particular for assays that use nucleic acid amplification techniques. In addition, HPV testing of self-collected samples in combination with a follow-up Pap smear in case of a positive result is more effective in detecting precancerous lesions than a Pap smear alone. Self-sampling for HPV testing has already been adopted by some countries, while others have started trials to evaluate its incorporation into national cervical cancer screening programs. Self-sampling may result in more individuals willing to participate in cervical cancer screening, because it removes many of the barriers that prevent women, especially those in low socioeconomic and minority populations, from participating in regular screening programs. Several studies have shown that the majority of women who have been underscreened but who tested HPV-positive in a self-obtained sample, will visit a clinic for follow-up diagnosis and management. Additionally, a self-collected sample can also be used for vaginal microbiome analysis, which can provide additional information about HPV infection persistence as well as vaginal health in general.
Mon, 23 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0042.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Flue; Virus; COVID19; SARS CoV-2; Spike Protein; Virtual Screening; dgitoxin; anthracycline; rolitetracycline; E-155
Online: 23 March 2020 (10:19:17 CET)
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a human pathogen recently emerged in China, causing a global pandemic of severe respiratory illness (COVID19). SARS-CoV-2 makes entry into human cells through its spike (S) protein that binds to cell surface receptors. Widespread of SARS-CoV-2 has been attributed to high affinity of S protein to its receptor. A homology model of the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 S protein (RBD) was built. RBD- receptor docking and published molecular dynamics data were used to map the key RBD-receptor interaction hotspot (RBDhp) on the RBD. Primary virtual screening was carried out against RBDhp using more than 3300 compounds approved by U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other authorities for human use. Compounds that bind to hpRBD with a binding energy ≤ - 6.5 kcal/mol were subjected to secondary screening using a recently published cryo EM (2.9 Å) structure of RBD. A cardiac glycoside (dgitoxin), two anthracyclines (zorubicin and aclarubicin), a tetracycline derivative (rolitetracycline), a cephalosporin (cefoperazone) and a food dye (E-155) were predicted to be most potent inhibitors of RBD – receptor interaction. An anti-asthmatic drug (zafirlukast) and several other drugs (itrazol, fazadinium, troglitazone, gliquidone, Idarubicin, Oxacillin) were found to be high affinity binders that may have a potential to inhibit RBD – receptor interaction.
Wed, 13 June 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0201.v1
Online: 13 June 2018 (11:17:04 CEST)
Human genetic studies have long been vastly Eurocentric, raising a key question about the generalizability of these study findings to other populations. Because humans originated in Africa, these populations retain more genetic diversity, and yet individuals of African descent have been tremendously underrepresented in genetic studies. The diversity in Africa affords ample opportunities to improve fine-mapping resolution for associated loci, discover novel genetic associations with phenotypes, build more generalizable genetic risk prediction models, and better understand the genetic architecture of complex traits and diseases subject to varying environmental pressures. Thus, it is both ethically and scientifically imperative that geneticists globally surmount challenges that have limited progress in African genetic studies to date while meaningfully including African investigators, as greater inclusivity and enhanced research capacity affords enormous opportunities to accelerate genomic discoveries that translate more effectively to all populations. We review the advantages and challenges of studying the genetic architecture of complex traits and diseases in Africa. For example, with greater genetic diversity comes greater ancestral heterogeneity; this higher level of understudied diversity can yield novel genetic findings, but some methods that assume homogeneous population structure and work well in European populations may work less well in the presence of greater diversity and heterogeneity in African populations. Consequently, we advocate for methodological development that will accelerate studies important for all populations, especially those currently underrepresented in genetics.
Sun, 29 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0428.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; furin cleavage site (FCS); salt bridging analysis
Online: 29 March 2020 (08:54:42 CEST)
One notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome is that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 has a functional polybasic (furin) cleavage site (RRAR) at the S1–S2 boundary through the insertion of 12 nucleotides encoding PRRA. To date, the furin cleavage site (FCS) remains an experimentally uncharted territory both structurally and functionally. For instance, whether or not FCS is actually cleaved, before or after viral cell entry or exit, still remains to be experimentally investigated. With currently available structural data, this article presents a computational structural characterization of the FCS inserted into SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, and puts forward a set of structural hypothesis against the hypothesis of SARS-CoV-2 from purposeful manipulation: (1), the inserted FCS does not alter, neither stabilize nor de-stabilize, the overall structure of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein; (2), the net structural consequence of FCS is the insertion of a furin cleavage site into SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, whose S1 and S2 subunits will still be bonded together even if the FCS is actually cleaved by furin protease.
Mon, 24 October 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201610.0101.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: reactive oxygen species (ROS); asthma; montelukast; long-acting β2 agonist (LABA); corticosteroid; monocyte
Online: 24 October 2016 (05:50:30 CEST)
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease induced by many environmental factors. The inhalation of allergens and pollutants promote the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production leading to airway inflammation, hyper-responsiveness and remodeling in allergic asthma. The effects of asthma medications on ROS production are unclear. The present study investigated the anti-ROS effects of current asthma medications including inhaled corticosteroid (ICS; budesonide and fluticasone), leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA; montelukast), long acting β2 agonists (LABAs; salmeterol and formoterol) and a new extra-LABA (indacaterol). The human monocyte cell line THP-1 cells were pre-treated with different concentrations of the asthma medications at different time-points after hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) stimulation. H2O2 production was measured with DCFH-DA by flow cytometry. Montelukast, fluticasone and salmeterol suppressed H2O2-induced ROS production. Indacaterol enhanced H2O2-induced ROS production. Budesonide and formoterol alone had no anti-ROS effects, but the combination of these two drugs significantly suppressed H2O2-induced ROS production. Different asthma medications have different anti-ROS effects on monocytes. The combination therapy with LABA and ICS seemed not be the only choice for asthma control. Montelukast may be also a good supplemental treatment for the poorly-controlled asthma because of its powerful anti-ROS effects. Our findings provide a novel therapeutic view in asthma.
Wed, 1 April 2020
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0004.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19, Pakistan, Economic Losses, Disease Spread, SARS-CoV-2
Online: 1 April 2020 (09:19:30 CEST)
As of 26 March 2020, Pakistan had 1179 cases of COVID-19, with most 421 cases from Sindh, 394 cases, 131 cases, 123 cases, 84 cases, 25 cases and 01 cases from Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad Capital Territory, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir respectively. Travel-related cases were the main source of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the early phase of the pandemic in Pakistan. Nevertheless, cases of local virus transmission are increasing day by day. As of 26 March 2020, nine deaths have been reported from COVID-19. The case fatality rate is 0.8%, which is less compare to China, Italy, USA, and Iran. The SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered) model of epidemiological analysis predicts that almost 90 million population will be infected in the coming days with 5% critical cases that need health care facilities. However, the Pakistan health care system cannot provide services to this much population. Hence, we need to act timely to reduce this number by restricting local transmission of the disease. This can be done by mass testing, quarantine, isolation and social distancing of the active coronavirus cases in Pakistan. Moreover, better communication between the authorities is very much required to control disease transmission.
Tue, 3 April 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0033.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Endocrinology & Metabolomics Keywords: cordycepin; adenosine A1 receptor; prolactin; anti-obesity
Online: 3 April 2018 (07:53:24 CEST)
Cordycepin is an extract from the insect fungus Cordyceps. militaris, which is a traditional medicine with various biological function. In previous studies, cordycepin had been reported with excellent anti-obesity effect, but the mechanism is unclear. A large quantity of evidences showed that prolactin plays an important part in body weight regulation, hyperprolactinemia can promote appetite and accelerate fat deposition. In this study, we explored the molecular mechanism of the anti-obesity effect of cordycepin by reducing prolactin release via an adenosine A1 receptor. In vivo, obese rats model was induced by high fat diet for 5 weeks, the serum and liver lipids coupling with serum prolactin were reduced by treatment of cordycepin, the results suggested that cordycepin is a potential drug for therapying obesity which could be related with prolactin. In vitro, cordycepin could inhibit prolactin secretion in GH3 cells via upregulating the expression of adenosine A1 receptor, the inhibition effect could be blocked by an antagonist of adenosine receptor A1 DPDPX, prolactin induced the upregulation of lipogenesis genes PRLR, and P-JAK2 in 3T3-L1 cells. Intriguingly, cordycepin would down-regulate the expression of prolactin receptor (PRLR). Thus, we concluded that cordycepin modulate body weight by reducing prolactin release via an adenosine A1 receptor.
Wed, 15 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0234.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; comorbidity; race and ethnicity; health disparities; income; inequality; influenza
Online: 15 April 2020 (09:25:47 CEST)
Recent clinical SARS-CoV-2 studies link diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension to increased disease severity. In the US, racial and ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic status (SES) individuals are more likely to have increased rates of these comorbidities, lower baseline health, limited access to care, increased perceived discrimination, and limited resources, all of which increase their vulnerability to severe disease and poor health outcomes from SARS-CoV-2. Previous studies demonstrated the disproportionate impact of pandemic and seasonal influenza on these populations, due to these risk factors. This paper reviews increased health risks and documented health disparities of racial and ethnic minorities and low SES individuals in the US. Pandemic response must prioritize these marginalized communities to minimize the negative, disproportionate impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on them and manage spread throughout the entire population. This paper concludes with recommendations applicable to healthcare facilities and public officials at various government levels.
Mon, 6 March 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0026.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: ovarian cancer; melatonin; angiogenesis; VEGF; VEGFR; HIF-1α
Online: 6 March 2017 (06:34:02 CET)
Angiogenesis is a hallmark of ovarian cancer (OC) it promotes rapid cell growth and the associated metastasis. Identifying new bioactive compounds to target angiogenesis may provide valuable paradigms as therapeutic strategies. Melatonin is a well-characterized indoleamine that possesses important anti-angiogenic properties in a set of aggressive solid tumors. Herein, we evaluated the role of melatonin therapy on the angiogenic signaling pathway in OC of an ethanol-preferring rat model that mimics the same pathophysiological conditions occurring in women. OC was chemically induced with a single injection of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) under the ovarian bursa. After the rats developed serous papillary OC, half of the animals received i.p. injections of melatonin (200 µg/100 g body weight/day) for 60 days. Serum levels of melatonin were higher following therapy, and the expression of its receptor MT1R was significantly increased in OC-bearing rats, regardless of ethanol intake. TGFB1, a transforming growth factor-beta1, was reduced only after melatonin treatment. Importantly, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was severely reduced after melatonin therapy in animals given or not given ethanol. Conversely, the levels of VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1) was diminished after ethanol consumption, regardless of melatonin therapy, and VEGFR2 was only reduced following melatonin. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α was augmented with ethanol consumption, and notably, melatonin significantly reduced their levels. Collectively, our results suggest that melatonin attenuates angiogenesis in OC of an animal model of ethanol consumption; this provides a possible complementary therapeutic opportunity for concurrent OC chemotherapy.
Wed, 24 January 2018
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints201801.0220.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: aging; bioactive molecules; blue biotechnology; cancer; cell culture; COST Action; Europe; marine/aquatic invertebrates; regeneration; stem cells
Online: 24 January 2018 (04:14:56 CET)
The “stem cells” discipline represents one of the most dynamic areas in biomedicine. While adult marine/aquatic invertebrate stem cell (MISC) biology is of prime research and medical interest, studies on stem cells from organisms outside the classical vertebrate (e.g., human, mouse, zebrafish) and invertebrate (e.g., Drosophila, Caenorhabditis) models have not been pursued vigorously. Marine/aquatic invertebrates constitute the largest biodiversity and the widest phylogenetic radiation on Earth, from morphologically simple organisms (e.g. sponges, cnidarians), to the more complex mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms and protochordates. These organisms illustrate a kaleidoscope of MISC-types that participate in the production of a large number of novel bioactive-molecules, many of which are of significant potential interest for human health. MISCs further participate in aging and regeneration phenomena, including whole-body regeneration. For years, the European MISC-community has been highly fragmented and scarce ties were established with biomedical industries in attempts to harness MISCs for human welfare. Thus, it is important to: i) consolidate the fragmented European community working on MISCs; ii) promote and coordinate European research on MISC biology; iii) stimulate young researchers to embark on research in MISC-biology; iv) develop, validate, and network novel MISC tools and methodologies; v) establish the MISC discipline as a forefront interest of biomedical disciplines, including nanobiomedicine; vi) establish collaborations with industries to exploit MISCs as sources of bioactive molecules. In order to fill the recognised gaps, the EC-COST Action 16203 “MARISTEM”, has recently been launched. At its initial stage the consortium unites 26 scientists from EC countries, Cooperating countries and Near Neighbor Countries.
Fri, 20 March 2020
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0289.v3
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; proton affinity; calcium oxalate; isoleucine; valine; glycine; prophylactic approach
Online: 20 March 2020 (09:14:58 CET)
The current pneumonia epidemic in China could evolve into a pandemic on a global scale if not effectively contained. The SARS-CoV-2 possesses a 61-amino acid open reading frame resembling SARS-CoV virulence factor - ORF6 peptide. The isoleucine content is 15.9% in ORF6 of SARS-CoV versus 16.4% of that in SARS-CoV-2. Given the proton affinity in the carbonyl oxygen in isoleucine, augmented proton traffic can enhance proton-ion antiport and prompt cell swelling. Calorie restriction has been confirmed in animal studies to extend lifespan, and its underlying mechanism is not fully known. As the content of essential amino acids in the open reading frame of SARS-CoV-2 reaches 57.4%, a starch/vitamin diet served for short period of time does not give rise to essential amino acids and halts virion production, which could be adopted as prophylactic approach of many viral infections. Plant-based diet or fasting/boiled rice water can also minimize the intake of essential amino acids or all amino acids respectively. Furthermore, several proteins of SARS-CoV-2 possess high valine plus glycine content which is implicated in heart disease, justifying the aforementioned approaches.
Mon, 19 March 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0164.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Origin of life; evolution; molecular evolution; prebiotic chemistry; peptides; vesicles
Online: 19 March 2018 (13:01:33 CET)
Based on a new model of a possible origin of life, we establish an efficient and stable system undergoing structural reproduction, self-optimization and molecular evolution. This system is being formed under realistic conditions by the interaction of two cyclic processes, one of which offering vesicles as the structural environment, the other supplying peptides from a variety of amino acids as versatile building blocks. We demonstrate that structures growing in a combination of both cycles have the potential to support their own existence, to undergo chemical and structural evolution and to develop unpredicted functional properties. The key mechanism is the mutual stabilization of the peptides by the vesicles and of the vesicles by the peptides together with a constant production and selection of both. The development of the proposed system over time not only would represent one of the principles of life, but could also be a model for the formation of self-evolving structures ultimately leading to the first living cell. The experiment yields clear evidence on a vesicle-induced accumulation of membrane-interacting peptide which could be identified by liquid chromatography combined with high-resolution mass spectroscopy. We found that the selected peptide has an immediate effect on the vesicles, leading to i) reduced vesicle size, ii) increased vesicle membrane permeability, and iii) improved thermal vesicle stability.
Tue, 2 August 2016
OPINION | doi:10.20944/preprints201608.0016.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: parallel DNA; antiparallel DNA; PCR; CRISPR; nucleic acid hybridization; microarray; siRNA
Online: 2 August 2016 (10:42:27 CEST)
Many fundamental molecular techniques (PCR, Microarray, Southern and northern hybridization, siRNA, CRISPR/Cas9 etc.) developed so far shows errors. I wish to highlight these molecular techniques are developed on basis of Watson-Crick DNA model, ignoring the concept of parallel stranded DNA. Through this opinion article, I wish to highlight specificity and accuracy of these molecular techniques can be enhanced by considering both parallel and anti parallel hybridization of DNA. Hopefully my views will also solve issue of irreproducibility in life science research.
Tue, 14 March 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0081.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: miRNAs; pre-miRNAs sequencing; Abelmoschus esculentus; Next generation sequencing; non-model plant
Online: 14 March 2017 (10:15:14 CET)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are crucial regulatory RNAs, originated from hairpin precursors. For the past decade, researchers are focusing extensively on miRNA profiles in various plants. However studies on precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) global profiling stay static even in model plants. Here, for the first time in a non-model plant, Abelmoschus esculentus with negligible genome information, we are reporting the global profiling to characterize the miRNAs and their associated pre-miRNAs by applying next generation sequencing approach. Preliminarily we performed sRNA (small RNA) sequencing with five biological replicates of leaf samples to attain 207,285,863 reads and data analysis using miRPlant keyed out 128 known and 845 novel miRNA candidates. With the objective to seize their associated hairpin precursors, we accomplished pre-miRNA sequencing to attain 83,269,844 reads. The paired end reads are merged, adaptor trimmed and the resulting 40-241 nt (nucleotide) sequences were picked out for analysis by using perl scripts from miRGrep tool and in-house built shell script for Minimum Fold Energy Index (MFEI) calculation. Applying stringent criteria of dicer cleavage pattern and perfect stem loop structure revealed precursors for 57 known miRNAs of 15 families and 18 novel miRNAs. Quantitative Real Time (qRT) PCR was performed to determine the expression of selected miRNAs.
Thu, 19 January 2017
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0086.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: spermine; cyclooctaoxygen; DNA; selenium; glyphosate; AMPA
Online: 19 January 2017 (02:29:15 CET)
Oxygen exists in two gaseous and six solid allotropic modifications. An additional allotropic modification of oxygen, the cyclooctaoxygen, was predicted to exist in 1990. The first synthesis and characterization of cyclooctaoxygen as its sodium crown complex, isolated in the form of three cytosine nucleoside hydrochloride complexes, was reported in 2016. Cyclooctaoxygen sodium was synthesized from atmospheric oxygen, or catalase effect-generated oxygen, under catalysis of cytosine nucleosides and either ninhydrin or eukaryotic low-molecular weight RNA. The cationic cyclooctaoxygen sodium complex was shown to bind RNA and DNA, to associate with single-stranded DNA and spermine phosphate, and to be essentially non-toxic to cultured mammalian cells at 0.1–1.0 mM concentration. We postulated that cyclooctaoxygen is formed in most eukaryotic cells from dihydrogen peroxide in a catalase reaction catalysed by cytidine and RNA. A molecular biological model was deduced for a first epigenetic shell of eukaryotic euchromatin. This model incorporates an epigenetic explanation for the interactions of the essential micronutrient selenium (as selenite) with eukaryotic euchromatin. The sperminium phosphate/cyclooctaoxygen sodium complex is calculated to cover the actively transcribed regions (2.6%) of bovine lymphocyte interphase genome. Cyclooctaoxygen seems to be naturally absent in hypoxia-induced highly condensed chromatin, taken as a model for eukaryotic metaphase/anaphase/early telophase mitotic chromatin. We hence propose that the cyclooctaoxygen sodium-bridged spermine phosphate and selenite coverage serves as an epigenetic shell of actively transcribed gene regions in eukaryotic ‘open’ euchromatin DNA. The total herbicide glyphosate (ROUNDUP) and its metabolite (aminomethyl)phosphonic acid (AMPA) are proved to represent ‘epigenetic poisons’, since they both selectively destroy the cyclooctaoxygen sodium complex. This definition is of reason, since the destruction of cyclooctaoxygen is sufficient to bring the protection shield of human euchromatin into collateral epigenetic collapse.
Tue, 21 April 2020
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0377.v1
Online: 21 April 2020 (06:56:12 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that is the causative agent of Coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVD-19). As of the 17th April 2020, it has infected 2 114 269 people resulting in 145 144 deaths. The timing, magnitude and longevity of humoral immunity is not yet understood for SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, understanding this is urgently required to inform the likely future dynamics of the pandemic, to guide strategies to allow relaxation of social distancing measures and to understand how to deploy limiting vaccine doses when they become available to achieve maximum impact. SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh human coronavirus to be described. Four human coronaviruses circulate seasonally and cause common colds. Two other coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, have crossed from animal sources into humans but have not become endemic. Here we review what is known about the human humoral immune response to epidemic SARS CoV and MERS CoV and to the seasonal, endemic coronaviruses. Then we summarize recent, mostly non-peer reviewed studies into SARS-CoV-2 serology and reinfection in humans and non-human primates and summarize current pressing research needs.
Mon, 24 October 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201610.0102.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: dental caries; Streptococcus mutans; lactic acid bacteria; biofilm; glucosyltransferases
Online: 24 October 2016 (09:37:48 CEST)
Consumption of refined foods and beverages high in sugar make the teeth susceptible to the formation of biofilm, and lead to dental caries and diseases of the oral cavity such as periodontitis and periodontal disease. The aim of the present study was to determine the ability of selected probiotics to inhibit growth and biofilm formation by the cariogenic bacterium Streptococcus mutans in vitro. We screened strains of latic acid bacteria (LAB) (n=120) from the Bioresources Collection and Research Center (BCRC), saliva of healthy adults and infant stool. The antimicrobial activity of LAB in vitro was evaluated by agar spot culture and co-culture of the S. mutans strains. We determined the effect of heating and dilution factors (2- and 4-fold) on the antagonistic activity of LAB. Antagonistic substances in the spent culture suspensions (SCS) of LAB were precipitated by extraction with ammonium sulphate and chloroform to characterise the protein and lipophilic fractions. Results of co-culturing show that the SCS of the three LAB strains (Lactobacillus pentosus 13-1, 13-4 and Lactobacillus crispatus BCRC 14618) subjected to heat treatment showed significantly high antimicrobial activity. We found that substances produced by L. pentosus 13-4 which have the potential to exhibit antimicrobial properties might be lipophilic proteins. Additionally, we infer that the mechanism of reducing biofilm formation by Lactobacillus strains is associated with sucrose-dependent cell–cell adhesion and the gtfC level of glucosyltransferases (Gtfs) in the biofilm. Native LAB strains screened in our study may be used in chewing gums and other processed foods for preventing tooth decay.
Fri, 14 October 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201610.0054.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: energy metabolism; respiration; fermentation; auxotrophy; retrograde response
Online: 14 October 2016 (10:58:50 CEST)