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Article

Full-Length Computational Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Its Implications for a Viral Membrane Fusion Mechanism

by 1,2,* and 3
1
New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
2
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
3
Biological and Chemical Research Centre, Department of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Żwirki i Wigury 101, 02-839 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Luis Martinez-Sobrido and Fernando Almazan Toral
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1126; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061126
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 2 June 2021 / Accepted: 2 June 2021 / Published: 11 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has now become one of the greatest causes of infectious death and morbidity since the 1918 flu pandemic. Substantial and unprecedented progress has been made in the elucidation of the viral infection process in a short time; however, our understanding of the structure–function dynamics of the spike protein during the membrane fusion process and viral uptake remains incomplete. Employing computational approaches, we use full-length structural models of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein integrating Cryo-EM images and biophysical properties, which fill the gaps in our understanding. We propose a membrane fusion model incorporating structural transitions associated with the proteolytic processing of the spike protein, which initiates and regulates a series of events to facilitate membrane fusion and viral genome uptake. The membrane fusion mechanism highlights the notable role of the S1 subunit and eventual mature spike protein uptake through the host membrane. Our comprehensive view accounts for distinct neutralizing antibody binding effects targeting the spike protein and the enhanced infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 variant. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; spike protein; S protein; membrane fusion; fusion mechanism; viral entry; COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; spike protein; S protein; membrane fusion; fusion mechanism; viral entry; COVID-19
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nishima, W.; Kulik, M. Full-Length Computational Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Its Implications for a Viral Membrane Fusion Mechanism. Viruses 2021, 13, 1126. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061126

AMA Style

Nishima W, Kulik M. Full-Length Computational Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Its Implications for a Viral Membrane Fusion Mechanism. Viruses. 2021; 13(6):1126. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061126

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nishima, Wataru, and Marta Kulik. 2021. "Full-Length Computational Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Its Implications for a Viral Membrane Fusion Mechanism" Viruses 13, no. 6: 1126. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061126

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