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Nanoscopic Elucidation of Spontaneous Self-Assembly of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Open Reading Frame 6 (ORF6) Protein

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posted on 2023-09-14, 13:36 authored by Goro Nishide, Keesiang Lim, Maiki Tamura, Akiko Kobayashi, Qingci Zhao, Masaharu Hazawa, Toshio Ando, Noritaka Nishida, Richard W. Wong
Open reading frame 6 (ORF6), the accessory protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that suppresses host type-I interferon signaling, possesses amyloidogenic sequences. ORF6 amyloidogenic peptides self-assemble to produce cytotoxic amyloid fibrils. Currently, the molecular properties of the ORF6 remain elusive. Here, we investigate the structural dynamics of the full-length ORF6 protein in a near-physiological environment using high-speed atomic force microscopy. ORF6 oligomers were ellipsoidal and readily assembled into ORF6 protofilaments in either a circular or a linear pattern. The formation of ORF6 protofilaments was enhanced at higher temperatures or on a lipid substrate. ORF6 filaments were sensitive to aliphatic alcohols, urea, and SDS, indicating that the filaments were predominantly maintained by hydrophobic interactions. In summary, ORF6 self-assembly could be necessary to sequester host factors and causes collateral damage to cells via amyloid aggregates. Nanoscopic imaging unveiled the innate molecular behavior of ORF6 and provides insight into drug repurposing to treat amyloid-related coronavirus disease 2019 complications.

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