Understanding structural malleability of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins and relation to the comorbidities

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Briefings in Bioinformatics


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a causative agent of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is a part of the $\beta $-Coronaviridae family. The virus contains five major protein classes viz., four structural proteins [nucleocapsid (N), membrane (M), envelop (E) and spike glycoprotein (S)] and replicase polyproteins (R), synthesized as two polyproteins (ORF1a and ORF1ab). Due to the severity of the pandemic, most of the SARS-CoV-2-related research are focused on finding therapeutic solutions. However, studies on the sequences and structure space throughout the evolutionary time frame of viral proteins are limited. Besides, the structural malleability of viral proteins can be directly or indirectly associated with the dysfunctionality of the host cell proteins. This dysfunctionality may lead to comorbidities during the infection and may continue at the post-infection stage. In this regard, we conduct the evolutionary sequence-structure analysis of the viral proteins to evaluate their malleability. Subsequently, intrinsic disorder propensities of these viral proteins have been studied to confirm that the short intrinsically disordered regions play an important role in enhancing the likelihood of the host proteins interacting with the viral proteins. These interactions may result in molecular dysfunctionality, finally leading to different diseases. Based on the host cell proteins, the diseases are divided in two distinct classes: (i) proteins, directly associated with the set of diseases while showing similar activities, and (ii) cytokine storm-mediated pro-inflammation (e.g. acute respiratory distress syndrome, malignancies) and neuroinflammation (e.g. neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases). Finally, the study unveils that males and postmenopausal females can be more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection due to the androgen-mediated protein transmembrane serine protease 2.



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Open Access, Bronze

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