‘…Thanks to a recent research focus on SARs-CoV-2, scientists have determined around a thousand 3D structures of the virus’ 27 individual proteins, and nearly a thousand more for related proteins.’
Researchers from Australia-based organisations the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and CSIRO’s Data61 have released what they say is ‘the most comprehensive analysis of the 3D structure of SARs-CoV-2 to date.’
Led by Professor Sean O’Donoghue Laboratory Head and Senior Faculty Member of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney Australia, and Visiting Scientist CSIRO Data61, researchers have compiled more than 2000 different structures involving the coronavirus’ 27 different proteins. Data 61 is the data and digital arm of CSIRO, with research expertise in AI, robotics, modelling analytics.
The analysis identified three coronavirus proteins that ‘mimicked’ human proteins, which the researchers believe allows the virus to better ‘hide’ from the human immune system and could contribute to the variation in covid-19 outcomes. The modelling also identified five coronavirus proteins which the researchers say ‘hijack’ or disrupt processes in human cells, thereby helping the virus to take control, complete its life cycle and spread to other cells. The findings have been published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology.
Explaining the context to the research Professor O’Donoghue said ‘3D structures of proteins provide us with atomic-resolution information on the composition of SARs-CoV-2 that is crucial for developing vaccines or treatment targeting distinct parts of the virus. Thanks to a recent research focus on SARs-CoV-2, scientists have determined around a thousand 3D structures of the virus’ 27 individual proteins, and nearly a thousand more for related proteins. However, until now there has been no easy way to bring all the pieces of data together and analyse them.’
The researchers have made their structural models accessible via the Aquaria-COVID resource, a website developed by the team to help the research community focus in on potential new targets on the virus for future treatments or vaccines, and investigate new virus variants.
‘Much of the coronavirus research to date has focused on the spike glycoprotein, which is the main target for current vaccines. This protein will continue to be an important target, but it’s also important we broaden our focus to other potential targets and better understand the entire life cycle,’ Professor O’Donoghue added.