Apr 2, 2020

Identification of a common deletion in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology


Abstract Two notable features have been identified in the SARS-CoV-2 genome: (1) the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2; (2) a unique insertion of twelve nucleotide or four amino acids (PRRA) at the S1 and S2 boundary. For the first feature, the similar RBD identified in SARs-like virus from pangolin suggests the RBD in SARS-CoV-2 may already exist in animal host(s) before it transmitted into human. The left puzzle is the history and function of the insertion at S1/S2 boundary, which is uniquely identified in SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we identified two variants from the first Guangdong SARS-CoV-2 cell strain, with deletion mutations on polybasic cleavage site (PRRAR) and its flank sites. More extensive screening indicates the deletion at the flank sites of PRRAR could be detected in 3 of 68 clinical samples and half of 22 in vitro isolated viral strains. These data indicate (1) the deletion of QTQTN, at the flank of polybasic cleavage site, is likely benefit the SARS-CoV-2 replication or infection in vitro but under strong purification selection in vivo since it is rarely identified in clinical samples; (2) there could be a very efficient mechanism for deleting this region from viral genome as the variants losing 23585-2359...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

DNA Methylation [PE]
Protein Methylation
Demethylase Activity
Genomic Stability
DNA Methylation
RNA-directed DNA Methylation

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