The COVID-19 virus holds some mysteries. Scientists remain in the dark on aspects of how it fuses and enters the host cell; how it assembles itself; and how it buds off the host cell.
A new multiscale coarse-grained model of the complete SARS-CoV-2 virion, its core genetic material and virion shell, has been developed for the first time using supercomputers. The model offers scientists the potential for new ways to exploit the virus’s vulnerabilities.
“We wanted to understand how SARS-CoV-2 works holistically as a whole particle,” said Gregory Voth, the Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Voth is the corresponding author of the study that developed the first whole virus model, published November 2020 in the Biophysical Journal.
“We developed a bottom-up coarse-grained model,” said Voth, “where we took information from atomistic-level molecular dynamics simulations and from experiments.” He explained that a coarse-grained model resolves only groups of atoms, versus all-atom simulations, where every single atomic interaction is resolved. “If you do that well, which is always a challenge, you maintain the physics in the model.”
The early results of the study show how the spike proteins on the surface of the virus move cooperatively.
“They don’t move independently like a bunch of random, uncorrelated motions,” Voth said. “They work together.”
This cooperative motion of the spike proteins is informative of how the coronavirus explores and detects the ACE2 receptors of a potential host cell.
“The paper we published shows the beginnings of how the modes of motion in the spike proteins are correlated,” Voth said. He added that the spikes are coupled to each other. When one protein moves another one also moves in response.
“The ultimate goal of the model would be, as a first step, to study the initial virion attractions and interactions with ACE2 receptors on cells and to understand the origins of that attraction and how those proteins work together to go on to the virus fusion process,” Voth said.
Image Credit: Gregory Voth, University of Chicago
Research drawing on the national Overcoming COVID-19 study, led by Boston Children's Hospital, and the hospital's own Taking On COVID-19 Together Group provides evidence that children who previously had COVID-19 (or the inflammatory condition [...]
Scientists at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center were optimistic when they identified a small molecule that blocked a key pathway in brain tumors. But there was a problem: How to get the [...]
According to scientists at Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, a nanoparticle vaccine that incorporates two proteins that stimulate immune responses against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that prompted the [...]
Study explores if prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 increased sensitivity to a mitochondrial toxin known to induce parkinsonism
Post-viral infection sequelae have included neurological syndromes. Among these is the association of parkinsonian manifestations with a prior history of viral infection, as far back as the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, when encephalitis [...]
They call them long-haulers – people still suffering symptoms long after a bout of COVID. But what is the condition, exactly? Doctors expect the answer will change [...]
Microbubbles can assist with localized drug delivery in a patient's body by popping at a target site to create enhanced permeability of tumor blood vessels. By temporarily increasing the porosity of the blood vessels, [...]
In patients with serious and long-term COVID-19, disturbed blood coagulation has often been observed. Now, researchers at Linköping University (LiU), Sweden, have discovered that the body's immune system can affect the spike protein on [...]
Glucose is the sugar we absorb from the foods we eat. It is the fuel that powers every cell in our bodies. Could glucose also power tomorrow’s medical implants? Engineers at MIT and the [...]
Although skin aging has not been related to many health complications, it has aesthetic issues. Some of the common symptoms of skin aging are changes in the skin texture (rough, dry, and itchy), discoloration, [...]
In an article published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers have highlighted the significance and potential risks associated with the release of nanoparticles from coal-fired power plants. Applying the single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass [...]
A paper recently published in the journal ACS Applied Energy Materials demonstrated the feasibility of using a covalent organic framework (COF)-based nanofluidic hybrid membranes (NHMs) to attain enhanced interfacial ion transport for the generation of osmotic [...]
The excess fluoroquinolones (FQs) discharged into the aquatic environment due to human activities must be removed cost-effectively. In an article published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the authors fabricated an environment-friendly dealkaline lignin-grafted Fe3O4 nanoparticles [...]
Controlling strong electromagnetic fields on nanoparticles is the key to triggering targeted molecular reactions on their surfaces. Such control over strong fields is achieved via laser light. Although laser-induced formation and breaking of molecular [...]
A paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications demonstrated an effective method to realize on-chip nanophotonic topological rainbow devices using the concept of synthetic dimensions. Importance of Synthetic Dimensions for the Construction of Topological Nanophotonics [...]
In a study available in the journal Materials Today: Proceedings, silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) were fabricated using a green method using Citrus X sinensis. Methylthioninium Chloride (MB) Dyes Threatening the Environment Dye and sewage drainage into [...]