Variations in Orf3a protein of SARS-CoV-2 alter its structure and function.

Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports
Gajendra Kumar Azad, Parimal Kumar Khan

Abstract

Severe acquired respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) rapidly spread worldwide and acquired multiple mutations in its genome. Orf3a, an accessory protein encoded by the genome of SARS-CoV-2, plays a significant role in viral infection and pathogenesis. In the present in-silico study, 15,928 sequences of Orf3a reported worldwide were compared to identify variations in this protein. Our analysis revealed the occurrence of mutations at 173 residues of Orf3a protein. Subsequently, protein modelling was performed that revealed twelve mutations which can considerably affect the stability of Orf3a. Among the 12 mutations, three mutations (Y160H, D210Y and S171L) also lead to alterations in secondary structure and protein disorder parameters of the Orf3a protein. Further, we used predictive tools to identify five promising epitopes of B-cells, which resides in the mutated regions of Orf3a. Altogether, our study sheds light on the variations occurring in Orf3a that might contribute to alteration in protein structure and function.

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