American Chemical Society
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Dynamic Asymmetry Exposes 2019-nCoV Prefusion Spike

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posted on 2020-08-13, 14:44 authored by Susmita Roy, Akhilesh Jaiswar, Raju Sarkar
The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spike protein is a smart molecular machine that instigates the entry of coronavirus to the host cell causing the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, a symmetry-information-loaded structure-based Hamiltonian is developed using recent Cryo-EM structural data to explore the complete conformational energy landscape of the full-length prefusion spike protein. The study finds the 2019-nCoV prefusion spike to adopt a unique strategy by undertaking a dynamic conformational asymmetry that results in two prevalent asymmetric structures of spike where one or two spike heads rotate up to provide better exposure to the host-cell receptor. A few unique interchain interactions are identified at the interface of closely associated N-terminal domain (NTD) and receptor binding domain (RBD) playing a crucial role in the thermodynamic stabilization of the up conformation of the RBD in the case of the 2019-nCoV spike. The interaction-level information decoded in this study may provide deep insight into developing effective therapeutic targets.

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