Coronavirus makes changes that prevent cells from recognizing it


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With an alarm code, we can enter a building without the bell ringing. It turns out that the SARS 2 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has the same advantage by entering cells. He has the code to waltz directly.

July 24 at Nature communications, researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Sciences Center (UT Health San Antonio) reported how the coronavirus gets there.

Scientists have solved the structure of an enzyme called nsp16, which the virus produces and then uses to alter its messenger RNA ceiling, said Yogesh Gupta, Ph.D., lead author of the study by Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.

“It’s a cover-up,” Dr Gupta said. “Due to the changes, which trick the cell, the resulting viral messenger RNA is now considered part of the cell’s own code and not foreign. ”

Deciphering the 3-D structure of nsp16 paves the way for the rational design of antiviral drugs for COVID-19 and other emerging coronavirus infections, Dr Gupta said. The drugs, new small molecules, would prevent nsp16 from making the changes. The immune system would then pounce on the invading virus, recognizing it as foreign.

“Yogesh’s work uncovered the 3D structure of a key enzyme in the COVID-19 virus required for its replication and found a pocket there that can be targeted to inhibit this enzyme. This is a fundamental advance in our understanding of the virus, ”said study co-author Robert Hromas, MD, professor and dean of the Long School of Medicine.

Dr Gupta is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UT Health San Antonio and is a member of the university’s Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute.

Simply put, messenger RNA can be described as a genetic code deliverer to work sites that produce proteins.

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More information:
Structural basis for the modification of the RNA cap by SARS-CoV-2, Nature communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-17496-8

Provided by University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio

Citation: Coronavirus Brings Changes That Prevent Cells From Recognizing It (2020, July 24) Retrieved July 24, 2020 from

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