Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the pandemic that broke out in 2020 and continues to be the cause of massive global upheaval. Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses with a genome of ~30 kb. The genome is replicated and transcribed by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase together with accessory factors. One of the latter is the protein helicase (NSP13), which is essential for viral replication. The recently solved helicase structure revealed a tertiary structure composed of five domains. Here, we investigated NSP13 from a structural point of view, comparing its RNA-free form with the RNA-engaged form by using atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at the microsecond timescale. Structural analyses revealed conformational changes that provide insights into the contribution of the different domains, identifying the residues responsible for domain–domain interactions in both observed forms. The RNA-free system appears to be more flexible than the RNA-engaged form. This result underlies the stabilizing role of the nucleic acid and the functional core role of these domains.

Computational Study of Helicase from SARS-CoV-2 in RNA-Free and Engaged Form

Musiani, Francesco
2022

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the pandemic that broke out in 2020 and continues to be the cause of massive global upheaval. Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses with a genome of ~30 kb. The genome is replicated and transcribed by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase together with accessory factors. One of the latter is the protein helicase (NSP13), which is essential for viral replication. The recently solved helicase structure revealed a tertiary structure composed of five domains. Here, we investigated NSP13 from a structural point of view, comparing its RNA-free form with the RNA-engaged form by using atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at the microsecond timescale. Structural analyses revealed conformational changes that provide insights into the contribution of the different domains, identifying the residues responsible for domain–domain interactions in both observed forms. The RNA-free system appears to be more flexible than the RNA-engaged form. This result underlies the stabilizing role of the nucleic acid and the functional core role of these domains.
Di Matteo, Francesca; Frumenzio, Giorgia; Chandramouli, Balasubramanian; Grottesi, Alessandro; Emerson, Andrew; Musiani, Francesco
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/907865
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