Coronavirus Cell Recognition

Tom Goddard
January 31, 2019

Look at coronavirus spike proteins and what molecules they recognized on host cells. An augmented reality video of this data is available.

We especially want to look at Wuhan coronavirus which is similar to SARS coronavirus and recognizes the same host cell angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein. But we also look at a more benign human coronavirus (HCoV-OC43) that causes some cases of the common cold and instead recognizes sialic acid (as does influenza which is not a coronavirus). Coronaviruses cause 10-15% of cases of the common cold.

A ChimeraX session file is available along with all the data (1 Gbyte). The session file is coronavirus.cxs in the data subdirectory.

What do virus spikes look like?

Wuhan coronavirus Influenza (EMDB 8088) HIV virus (EMDB 3464) - fewer spikes

Common cold human coronavirus HCoV-OC43 recognizes sialic acid on human cells

HCoV-OC43 spike electron microscopy. Spike molecular model,
glycosylation sites in orange.
Binding sialic acid (yellow).

SARS coronavirus recognizes ACE2 protein on human cells

SARS spike with green binding domain flipped up.
Morph of 6acc to 6acd.
ACE2 (tan) bound to SARS spike.
Morph of 6acg, 6acj, 6ack.

Wuhan virus differences from SARS

SARS neutralizing antibody S230

Coronavirus sequence phylogeny