The new coronavirus proves to be more infectious to cells than the 2003 SARS coronavirus



At the time of writing the article, research on a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) , which has already confirmed more than 75,000 infected people worldwide, is being conducted every day, and a group of researchers in the United States said `` SARS-CoV- As a result of analyzing the genomic sequence of 2, the structure of the protein on the virus surface was identified . ' This shows that SARS-CoV-2 is more susceptible to infecting human cells than the coronavirus ( SARS-CoV ), which caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) , which was widespread in China in 2003. Was.

Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation | Science

Revealed: the protein 'spike' that lets the 2019-nCoV coronavirus pierce and invade human cells

SARS-CoV-2, which has been rampant since December 2019, was infected with mammals and birds as a result of the genome sequence specified by a sample obtained from a pneumonia patient in Wuhan, China in January 2020. It was identified as one of the coronaviruses that cause respiratory infections.

Coronavirus is a single-stranded RNA virus with a lipid membrane called an envelope . On the surface of the coronavirus, there is a protein protrusion called ' spike protein ' with a large tip. The coronavirus “corona” means “crown” in Latin, and is named after the shape of this spike protein.


Scientific Animations

Spike proteins are like 'keys' to access certain cells. In addition, there are various proteins that serve as 'keyholes' on the surface of human cells, and it is important to clarify 'what keys the virus has' when studying viruses.

A research team led by Jason McClellan, a molecular biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, used a cryo-electron microscope to cool the crystallized SARS-CoV-2 protein to -150 ° C and observe it. The structure of -2 spike protein was identified.

The team also found that the key to human cells is angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 is a protein that is abundantly expressed in the duodenum, small intestine, gall bladder, kidney, and testis.It is also the key to SARS-CoV that caused SARS in 2003, and SARS-CoV-2 may also target ACE2. Was expected.

In addition, the team reports that the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 is 10 to 20 times higher than SARS-CoV due to the structure of the spike protein. According to the research team, antibodies against SARS-CoV had no effect on SARS-CoV-2, and humans need to develop new antibodies to fight SARS-CoV-2.

'Identifying the structure of the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 provides good and bad news. The good news is that the structure of the spike protein is known.' This makes it easier to find the silver bullet for the virus. The bad news is that you have more enemies than you think and you don't have an effective weapon at hand. '

in Science, Posted by log1i_yk