- Within the last 2 decades, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses 1 and 2 (SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2) have caused two major outbreaks; yet, for reasons not fully understood, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been significantly more widespread than the 2003 SARS epidemic caused by SARS-CoV-1, despite striking similarities between these two viruses. The SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, both of which bind to host cell angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, have been implied to be a potential source of their differential transmissibility.
- The seasonal nature of outbreaks of respiratory viral infections with increased transmission during low temperatures has been well established. Accordingly, temperature has been suggested to play a role on the viability and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the Spike glycoprotein is known to bind to its host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to initiate viral fusion. Using biochemical, biophysical, and functional assays to dissect the effect of temperature on the receptor–Spike interaction, we observed a significant and stepwise increase in RBD-ACE2 affinity at low temperatures, resulting in slower dissociation kinetics.
- The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 envelope protein (S2-E) is a conserved membrane protein that is important for coronavirus (CoV) assembly and budding. Here, we describe the recombinant expression and purification of S2-E in amphipol-class amphipathic polymer solutions, which solubilize and stabilize membrane proteins, but do not disrupt membranes. We found that amphipol delivery of S2-E to preformed planar bilayers results in spontaneous membrane integration and formation of viroporin cation channels.
- The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is an important target in current drug development efforts for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019. Molnupiravir is a broad-spectrum antiviral that is an orally bioavailable prodrug of the nucleoside analogue β-D-N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC). Molnupiravir or NHC can increase G to A and C to U transition mutations in replicating coronaviruses. These increases in mutation frequencies can be linked to increases in antiviral effects; however, biochemical data of molnupiravir-induced mutagenesis have not been reported.