Conformational states of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike protein ectodomain
JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY
Authors: Li, Fang; Berardi, Marcelo; Li, Wenhui; Farzan, Michael; Dormitzer, Philip R.; Harrison, Stephen C.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus enters cells through the activities of a spike protein (S) which has receptor-binding (S1) and membrane fusion (S2) regions. We have characterized four sequential states. of a purified recombinant S ectodomain (S-e) comprising S1 and the ectodomain of S2. They are S-e monomers, uncleaved S-e trimers, cleaved S-e trimers, and dissociated S1 monomers and S2 trimer rosettes. Lowered pH induces an irreversible transition from flexible, L-shaped S-a monomers to clove-shaped trimers. Protease cleavage of the trimer occurs at the S1-S2 boundary; an ensuing S1 dissociation leads to a major rearrangement of the trimeric S2 and to formation of rosettes likely to represent clusters of elongated, postfusion trimers of S2 associated through their fusion peptides. The states and transitions of S suggest conformational changes that mediate viral entry into cells.
Phylogenomics and bioinformatics of SARS-CoV
TRENDS IN MICROBIOLOGY
Authors: Lio, P; Goldman, N
Tracing the history of molecular changes in corona-viruses using phylogenetic methods can provide powerful insights into the patterns of modification to sequences that underlie alteration to selective pressure and molecular function in the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) genome. The topology and branch lengths of the phylogenetic relationships among the family Coronaviridae, including SARS-CoV, have been estimated using the replicase polyprotein. The spike protein fragments S1 (involved in receptor-binding) and S2 (involved in membrane fusion) have been found to have different mutation rates. Fragment S1 can be further divided into two regions (S1A, which comprises approximately the first 400 nucleotides, and S1B, comprising the next 280) that also show different rates of mutation. The phylogeny presented on the basis of S1B shows that SARS-CoV is closely related to MHV (murine hepatitis virus), which is known to bind the murine receptor CEACAM1. The predicted structure, accessibility and mutation rate of the S1B region is also presented. Because anti-SARS drugs based on S2 heptads have short half-lives and are difficult to manufacture, our findings suggest that the S1B region might be of interest for anti-SARS drug discovery.