Apr 22, 2020

Dynamical asymmetry exposes 2019-nCoV prefusion spike

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Susmita Roy

Abstract

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spike protein is a smart molecular machine that instigates the entry of coronavirus to the host cell causing the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, a structural-topology based model Hamiltonian of C3 symmetric trimeric spike is developed to explore its complete conformational energy landscape using molecular dynamic simulations. The study finds 2019-nCoV to adopt a unique strategy by undertaking a dynamic conformational asymmetry induced by a few unique inter-chain interactions. This results in two prevalent asymmetric structures of spike where one or two spike heads lifted up undergoing a dynamic transition likely to enhance rapid recognition of the host-cell receptor turning on its high-infectivity. The crucial interactions identified in this study are anticipated to potentially affect the efficacy of therapeutic targets.

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