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    Education: Coronavirus spike protein and membrane fusion
    Submitted by Eric Martz; posted on Thursday, August 27, 2020

    Submitter

    Two new tutorials are available animating the latest findings about coronavirus spike protein:

    http://proteopedia.org/w/SARS-CoV-2_spike_protein_priming_by_furin
    http://proteopedia.org/w/SARS-CoV-2_spike_protein_fusion_transformation

    Each includes interactive morph animations, and downloadable Powerpoint-ready animations. These are based on recent cryo-EM structures of multiple conformations.

    A protease (typically furin, ample in the lungs) clips spike protein, inducing it to extend a receptor-binding surface to engage the ACE2 receptor on the host cell.

    The mechanism of membrane fusion, which deposits the viral RNA inside the host cell initiating infection, appears similar to that of influenza hemagglutinin. The spike protein "spears" the host cell membrane, capturing it with a "fusion peptide", and pulls the virus membrane very close. Fusion has been seen in molecular dynamics simulations (see Figure 2 in the fusion link). Spike protein has a cavity that is the target of drug screening (see Figure 4 in the fusion link). A cute graphical abstract shows a 3-legged folding stool as an analogy to spike protein, with the drug-target cavity between its legs (see Figure 3 in the fusion link).

    These tutorials have been cataloged at Merlot.Org: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/materials.htm?userId=14545&fromAdvancedSearch=true&sort.property=dateCreated

    These and all tutorials at http://Proteopedia.Org are offered under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license.

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