Conserved Genomic Terminals of SARS-CoV-2 as Coevolving Functional Elements and Potential Therapeutic Targets

Agnes P ChanNicholas J Schork


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 40 million people worldwide, with over 1 million deaths as of October 2020 and with multiple efforts in the development and testing of antiviral drugs and vaccines under way. In order to gain insights into SARS-CoV-2 evolution and drug targets, we investigated how and to what extent the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence differs from those of other well-characterized human and animal coronavirus genomes, as well as how polymorphic SARS-CoV-2 genomes are generally. We ultimately sought to identify features in the SARS-CoV-2 genome that may contribute to its viral replication, host pathogenicity, and vulnerabilities. Our analyses suggest the presence of unique sequence signatures in the 3' untranslated region (3'-UTR) of betacoronavirus lineage B, which phylogenetically encompasses SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV as well as multiple groups of bat and animal coronaviruses. In addition, we identified genome-wide patterns of variation across different SARS-CoV-2 strains that likely reflect the effects of selection. Finally, we provide evidence for a possible host-microRNA-mediated interaction between the 3'-UTR and human microRNA hsa-miR-1307-3p based on the results of m...Continue Reading


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Jul 3, 2021·International Journal of Molecular Sciences·María Asunción Barreda-MansoRodrigo M Maza

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