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Tue Sep 29, 2020, 07:45 AM

Coronavirus spike protein morphs into 10 different shapes to invade cells


By Yasemin Saplakoglu - Staff Writer a day ago

These changes exposes more surfaces to potentially target with therapeutics.



(Image: © Shutterstock)


The novel coronavirus uses its "spike proteins" to latch onto and invade human cells. But to do so, the spikes morph into at least 10 different shapes, according to a new study.

At the start of the pandemic, scientists rapidly identified the structure of the spike protein, paving the way to target it with vaccines and other drugs. But there's still so much scientists don't know about the interaction between the spike protein and the "doorknob" on the outsides of human cells ó called the ACE2 protein. For instance, they aren't sure what intermediate steps the protein takes to kickstart the process of fusing to, and then opening the cell, ultimately dumping viral material into the cell.

"The spike protein is the focus of so much research at the minute," said co-lead author Donald Benton, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Francis Crick Institute's Structural Biology of Disease Processes Laboratory in the United Kingdom. Understanding how it functions "is very important because it's the target of most of the vaccination attempts and a lot of diagnostic work as well."

To understand the process of infection, Benton and his team mixed human ACE2 proteins with spike proteins in the lab. They then used a very cold liquid ethane to rapidly freeze the proteins such that they became "suspended in a special form of ice," Benton told Live Science. They then put these samples under a cryo-electron microscope and obtained tens of thousands of high-resolution images of the spike proteins frozen at different stages of binding to the ACE2 receptors.

More:
https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-spike-protein-multiple-shapes.html

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Coronavirus spike protein morphs into 10 different shapes to invade cells (Original post)
Judi Lynn Sep 2020 OP
no_hypocrisy Sep 2020 #1
2naSalit Sep 2020 #3
PatSeg Sep 2020 #6
hkp11 Sep 2020 #2
Atticus Sep 2020 #4
Boogiemack Sep 2020 #5
PatSeg Sep 2020 #7
Oppaloopa Sep 2020 #8
Delmette2.0 Sep 2020 #10
BadgerKid Sep 2020 #11
GaYellowDawg Oct 2020 #12
MontanaMama Sep 2020 #9
NNadir Oct 2020 #13

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 08:11 AM

1. No wonder the Virus is relentless.

If it can't enter the cell one way, it will try several other ways.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 08:43 AM

3. Relentless...

that's the right word for it.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 10:09 AM

6. It is rather horrifying

I agree, the word "relentless" is perfect, a contagious disease expert's worst nightmare.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 08:43 AM

2. thank you

covid-19 is so different from it's sister SARS-cov-1 and still unknown in many ways...

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 08:46 AM

4. When the spikes change shape, do you know if there is any change in the cellular

electrical charge at or near their base? At one point, I believe these charges were seen as a possible vulnerability.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 10:04 AM

5. My biggest fear is that COVID19 will use any vaccine as super food.

 

This virus communicates well across it membranes and seems to outsmart anything man does to fight it. Yeah, I sound dumb but so far, this virus has outsmarted us all.

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Response to Boogiemack (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 10:15 AM

7. With this virus,

I think we have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. Its like we are living in a really bad disaster movie.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 10:16 AM

8. This is why I agree with Dr Pauling

I take 500 milligram twice per day to harden the cell wall to prevent invasions of virus. I never get the flu or a flu shot.

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Response to Oppaloopa (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 11:29 AM

10. 500 mg of what?

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Response to Delmette2.0 (Reply #10)

Wed Sep 30, 2020, 09:09 PM

11. Think it's Linus Pauling's 400mg vitamin c

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Response to Oppaloopa (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 4, 2020, 03:27 AM

12. You don't have a cell wall.

Plants do. Fungi do. Some protists do. Bacteria do. You donít. And if youíre referring to the cell membrane, you donít ďhardenĒ that with supplements, and even if you did, it wouldnít necessarily prevent viral infection. Not having caught the flu is nothing more than luck.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 10:24 AM

9. My husband has a friend/client who is an ER physician

who says Covid 19 is a perfect virus with the exception of it not having higher death rate. My husband asked him if global reaction by health care experts to the virus was overblown and his doctor friend laughed...and then said NO. You donít want to catch this virus and you donít want anyone you love to catch it either. This virus will be around a long long time if not forever.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Oct 4, 2020, 11:09 AM

13. Pretty much every protein goes through conformational changes. It's how they work.

There is nothing particularly exotic about this.

There are pretty much zero proteins that do not change shape.

(An exception would be structural proteins which can be fairly constrained.)

All this said, understanding the conformational changes, particularly with with respect to local energy minima, and/or transition states, is an important factor in designing drugs for treatment.

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