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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.BPJ.2021.02.041

Binding mode of SARS-CoV-2 fusion peptide to human cellular membrane.

04 Mar 2021-Biophysical Journal (Elsevier BV)-Vol. 120, Iss: 14, pp 2914-2926
Abstract: Infection of human cells by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) relies on its binding to a specific receptor and subsequent fusion of the viral and host cell membranes. The fusion peptide (FP), a short peptide segment in the spike protein, plays a central role in the initial penetration of the virus into the host cell membrane, followed by the fusion of the two membranes. Here, we use an array of molecular dynamics simulations that take advantage of the highly mobile membrane mimetic model to investigate the interaction of the SARS-CoV2 FP with a lipid bilayer representing mammalian cellular membranes at an atomic level and to characterize the membrane-bound form of the peptide. Six independent systems were generated by changing the initial positioning and orientation of the FP with respect to the membrane, and each system was simulated in five independent replicas, each for 300 ns. In 73% of the simulations, the FP reaches a stable, membrane-bound configuration, in which the peptide deeply penetrated into the membrane. Clustering of the results reveals three major membrane-binding modes (binding modes 1-3), in which binding mode 1 populates over half of the data points. Taking into account the sequence conservation among the viral FPs and the results of mutagenesis studies establishing the role of specific residues in the helical portion of the FP in membrane association, the significant depth of penetration of the whole peptide, and the dense population of the respective cluster, we propose that the most deeply inserted membrane-bound form (binding mode 1) represents more closely the biologically relevant form. Analysis of FP-lipid interactions shows the involvement of specific residues, previously described as the "fusion-active core residues," in membrane binding. Taken together, the results shed light on a key step involved in SARS-CoV2 infection, with potential implications in designing novel inhibitors.

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Topics: Host cell membrane (60%), Lipid bilayer fusion (54%), Peptide sequence (54%) ... read more

10 results found

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.BPJ.2021.02.023
Abstract: Cell penetration after recognition of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus by the ACE2 receptor and the fusion of its viral envelope membrane with cellular membranes are the early steps of infectivity. A region of the Spike protein of the virus, identified as the "fusion peptide" (FP), is liberated at its N-terminal site by a specific cleavage occurring in concert with the interaction of the receptor-binding domain of the Spike. Studies have shown that penetration is enhanced by the required binding of Ca2+ ions to the FPs of coronaviruses, but the mechanisms of membrane insertion and destabilization remain unclear. We have predicted the preferred positions of Ca2+ binding to the SARS-CoV-2-FP, the role of Ca2+ ions in mediating peptide-membrane interactions, the preferred mode of insertion of the Ca2+-bound SARS-CoV-2-FP, and consequent effects on the lipid bilayer from extensive atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and trajectory analyses. In a systematic sampling of the interactions of the Ca2+-bound peptide models with lipid membranes, SARS-CoV-2-FP penetrated the bilayer and disrupted its organization only in two modes involving different structural domains. In one, the hydrophobic residues F833/I834 from the middle region of the peptide are inserted. In the other, more prevalent mode, the penetration involves residues L822/F823 from the LLF motif, which is conserved in CoV-2-like viruses, and is achieved by the binding of Ca2+ ions to the D830/D839 and E819/D820 residue pairs. FP penetration is shown to modify the molecular organization in specific areas of the bilayer, and the extent of membrane binding of the SARS-CoV-2 FP is significantly reduced in the absence of Ca2+ ions. These findings provide novel mechanistic insights regarding the role of Ca2+ in mediating SARS-CoV-2 fusion and provide a detailed structural platform to aid the ongoing efforts in rational design of compounds to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 cell entry.

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Topics: Lipid bilayer (58%), Membrane lipids (54%), Cell membrane (53%) ... read more

18 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1515/CCLM-2021-0414
Michele Mussap1, Vassilios Fanos1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Human Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection activates a complex interaction host/virus, leading to the reprogramming of the host metabolism aimed at the energy supply for viral replication. Alterations of the host metabolic homeostasis strongly influence the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, forming the basis of a wide range of outcomes, from the asymptomatic infection to the onset of COVID-19 and up to life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome, vascular dysfunction, multiple organ failure, and death. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms associated with the individual susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection calls for a system biology approach; this strategy can address multiple goals, including which patients will respond effectively to the therapeutic treatment. The power of metabolomics lies in the ability to recognize endogenous and exogenous metabolites within a biological sample, measuring their concentration, and identifying perturbations of biochemical pathways associated with qualitative and quantitative metabolic changes. Over the last year, a limited number of metabolomics- and lipidomics-based clinical studies in COVID-19 patients have been published and are discussed in this review. Remarkable alterations in the lipid and amino acid metabolism depict the molecular phenotype of subjects infected by SARS-CoV-2; notably, structural and functional data on the lipids-virus interaction may open new perspectives on targeted therapeutic interventions. Several limitations affect most metabolomics-based studies, slowing the routine application of metabolomics. However, moving metabolomics from bench to bedside cannot imply the mere determination of a given metabolite panel; rather, slotting metabolomics into clinical practice requires the conversion of metabolic patient-specific data into actionable clinical applications.

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3 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.7554/ELIFE.70362
31 Aug 2021-eLife
Abstract: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is highly contagious, and transmission involves a series of processes that may be targeted by vaccines and therapeutics. During transmission, host cell invasion is controlled by a large-scale (200-300 A) conformational change of the Spike protein. This conformational rearrangement leads to membrane fusion, which creates transmembrane pores through which the viral genome is passed to the host. During Spike-protein-mediated fusion, the fusion peptides must be released from the core of the protein and associate with the host membrane. While infection relies on this transition between the prefusion and postfusion conformations, there has yet to be a biophysical characterization reported for this rearrangement. That is, structures are available for the endpoints, though the intermediate conformational processes have not been described. Interestingly, the Spike protein possesses many post-translational modifications, in the form of branched glycans that flank the surface of the assembly. With the current lack of data on the pre-to-post transition, the precise role of glycans during cell invasion has also remained unclear. To provide an initial mechanistic description of the pre-to-post rearrangement, an all-atom model with simplified energetics was used to perform thousands of simulations in which the protein transitions between the prefusion and postfusion conformations. These simulations indicate that the steric composition of the glycans can induce a pause during the Spike protein conformational change. We additionally show that this glycan-induced delay provides a critical opportunity for the fusion peptides to capture the host cell. In contrast, in the absence of glycans, the viral particle would likely fail to enter the host. This analysis reveals how the glycosylation state can regulate infectivity, while providing a much-needed structural framework for studying the dynamics of this pervasive pathogen.

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Topics: Protein structure (52%), Transmembrane protein (52%), Glycosylation (52%) ... read more

2 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1021/ACS.JPCB.1C04176
Abstract: During infection the SARS-CoV-2 virus fuses its viral envelope with cellular membranes of its human host. The viral spike (S) protein mediates both the initial contact with the host cell and the subsequent membrane fusion. Proteolytic cleavage of S at the S2' site exposes its fusion peptide (FP) as the new N-terminus. By binding to the host membrane, the FP anchors the virus to the host cell. The reorganization of S2 between virus and host then pulls the two membranes together. Here we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to study the two core functions of the SARS-CoV-2 FP: to attach quickly to cellular membranes and to form an anchor strong enough to withstand the mechanical force during membrane fusion. In eight 10 μs long MD simulations of FP in proximity to endosomal and plasma membranes, we find that FP binds spontaneously to the membranes and that binding proceeds predominantly by insertion of two short amphipathic helices into the membrane interface. Connected via a flexible linker, the two helices can bind the membrane independently, yet binding of one promotes the binding of the other by tethering it close to the target membrane. By simulating mechanical pulling forces acting on the C-terminus of the FP, we then show that the bound FP can bear forces up to 250 pN before detaching from the membrane. This detachment force is more than 10-fold higher than an estimate of the force required to pull host and viral membranes together for fusion. We identify a fully conserved disulfide bridge in the FP as a major factor for the high mechanical stability of the FP membrane anchor. We conclude, first, that the sequential binding of two short amphipathic helices allows the SARS-CoV-2 FP to insert quickly into the target membrane, before the virion is swept away after shedding the S1 domain connecting it to the host cell receptor. Second, we conclude that the double attachment and the conserved disulfide bridge establish the strong anchoring required for subsequent membrane fusion. Multiple distinct membrane-anchoring elements ensure high avidity and high mechanical strength of FP-membrane binding.

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Topics: Viral envelope (55%), Membrane (55%), Lipid bilayer fusion (53%) ... read more

2 Citations

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.04.09.439051
Rui Su1, Jin Zeng1, Ben O'Shaughnessy1Institutions (1)
09 Jul 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: Cell entry by SARS-CoV-2 is accomplished by the S2 subunit of the spike S protein on the virion surface by capture of the host cell membrane and fusion with the viral envelope. Capture and fusion require the prefusion S2 to transit to its potent, fusogenic form, the fusion intermediate (FI). However, the FI structure is unknown, detailed computational models of the FI are unavailable, and the mechanisms and timing of membrane capture and fusion are not established. Here, we constructed a full-length model of the CoV-2 FI by extrapolating from known CoV-2 pre- and postfusion structures. In atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations the FI was remarkably flexible and executed large bending and extensional fluctuations due to three hinges in the C-terminal base. Simulations suggested a host cell membrane capture time of ∼ 2 ms. Isolated fusion peptide simulations identified an N-terminal helix that directed and maintained binding to the membrane but grossly underestimated the binding time, showing that the fusion peptide environment is radically altered when attached to its host fusion protein. The large configurational fluctuations of the FI generated a substantial exploration volume that aided capture of the target membrane, and may set the waiting time for fluctuation-triggered refolding of the FI that draws the viral envelope and host cell membrane together for fusion. These results describe the FI as a machinery designed for efficient membrane capture and suggest novel potential drug targets.

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Topics: Host cell membrane (62%), Fusion protein (52%), Viral envelope (51%)

1 Citations


84 results found

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/0263-7855(96)00018-5
Abstract: VMD is a molecular graphics program designed for the display and analysis of molecular assemblies, in particular biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids. VMD can simultaneously display any number of structures using a wide variety of rendering styles and coloring methods. Molecules are displayed as one or more "representations," in which each representation embodies a particular rendering method and coloring scheme for a selected subset of atoms. The atoms displayed in each representation are chosen using an extensive atom selection syntax, which includes Boolean operators and regular expressions. VMD provides a complete graphical user interface for program control, as well as a text interface using the Tcl embeddable parser to allow for complex scripts with variable substitution, control loops, and function calls. Full session logging is supported, which produces a VMD command script for later playback. High-resolution raster images of displayed molecules may be produced by generating input scripts for use by a number of photorealistic image-rendering applications. VMD has also been expressly designed with the ability to animate molecular dynamics (MD) simulation trajectories, imported either from files or from a direct connection to a running MD simulation. VMD is the visualization component of MDScope, a set of tools for interactive problem solving in structural biology, which also includes the parallel MD program NAMD, and the MDCOMM software used to connect the visualization and simulation programs. VMD is written in C++, using an object-oriented design; the program, including source code and extensive documentation, is freely available via anonymous ftp and through the World Wide Web.

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Topics: Rendering (computer graphics) (52%), Molecular graphics (52%), Visualization (51%) ... read more

36,939 Citations

Open accessJournal Article
Abstract: Scikit-learn is a Python module integrating a wide range of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms for medium-scale supervised and unsupervised problems. This package focuses on bringing machine learning to non-specialists using a general-purpose high-level language. Emphasis is put on ease of use, performance, documentation, and API consistency. It has minimal dependencies and is distributed under the simplified BSD license, encouraging its use in both academic and commercial settings. Source code, binaries, and documentation can be downloaded from

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33,540 Citations

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1063/1.445869
Abstract: Classical Monte Carlo simulations have been carried out for liquid water in the NPT ensemble at 25 °C and 1 atm using six of the simpler intermolecular potential functions for the water dimer: Bernal–Fowler (BF), SPC, ST2, TIPS2, TIP3P, and TIP4P. Comparisons are made with experimental thermodynamic and structural data including the recent neutron diffraction results of Thiessen and Narten. The computed densities and potential energies are in reasonable accord with experiment except for the original BF model, which yields an 18% overestimate of the density and poor structural results. The TIPS2 and TIP4P potentials yield oxygen–oxygen partial structure functions in good agreement with the neutron diffraction results. The accord with the experimental OH and HH partial structure functions is poorer; however, the computed results for these functions are similar for all the potential functions. Consequently, the discrepancy may be due to the correction terms needed in processing the neutron data or to an effect uniformly neglected in the computations. Comparisons are also made for self‐diffusion coefficients obtained from molecular dynamics simulations. Overall, the SPC, ST2, TIPS2, and TIP4P models give reasonable structural and thermodynamic descriptions of liquid water and they should be useful in simulations of aqueous solutions. The simplicity of the SPC, TIPS2, and TIP4P functions is also attractive from a computational standpoint.

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Topics: Water model (53%), Solvent models (52%), Water dimer (51%) ... read more

29,424 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5
Chaolin Huang1, Yeming Wang2, Xingwang Li3, Lili Ren4  +25 moreInstitutions (8)
24 Jan 2020-The Lancet
Abstract: A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not.

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26,390 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1063/1.464397
Tom Darden1, Darrin M. York1, Lee G. Pedersen1Institutions (1)
Abstract: An N⋅log(N) method for evaluating electrostatic energies and forces of large periodic systems is presented. The method is based on interpolation of the reciprocal space Ewald sums and evaluation of the resulting convolutions using fast Fourier transforms. Timings and accuracies are presented for three large crystalline ionic systems.

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Topics: Ewald summation (69%), P3M (64%), Particle Mesh (51%)

20,639 Citations

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