Apr 23, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 Encodes a PPxY Late Domain Motif that is Known to Enhance Budding and Spread in Enveloped RNA Viruses

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Halim maaroufi


Currently, the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) pandemic is affecting the health and/or socioeconomic life of almost each people in the world. Finding vaccines and therapeutics is urgent but without forgetting to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that allow some viruses to become dangerous for humans. Here, analysis of all proteins of SARS-CoV-2 revealed a unique PPxY Late (L) domain motif 25-PPAY-28 in spike protein inside hot disordered loop predicted subject to phosphorylation and binding. It was demonstrated in enveloped RNA viruses that PPxY motif recruits Nedd4 E3 ubiquitin ligases and ultimately the ESCRT complex to enhance virus budding and release that means a high viral load, hence facilitating new infections. Note that PPxY motif is not present in proteins of SARS-CoV. This suggests that PPxY motif by its role in enhancing the viral load could explain why SARS-CoV-2 is more contagious than SARS-CoV. Of course, after the experimental verifications showing that PPxY motif plays the same role as reported for other enveloped RNA viruses, it could become an interesting target for the development of novel host-oriented antivirals therapeutics for preventing S protein to recruit Nedd4 E3 ubiquitin ligases partners.

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