APR 02, 2021 6:46 PM PDT

Protein Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Provides Targets for Vaccine Development

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Recent protein modeling of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein reveals novel areas for vaccine development. The novel SARS-CoV-2 is the culprit for the COVID19 pandemic. A key feature of the virus is how the spike protein extends from the surface and sticks on human cells initiating the infection process. Even though previous models on the coronavirus spike protein were not poor, these models did not capture the flexibility of the protein itself nor its components made from protective glycans.

Learn more about the structure of the coronavirus spike protein:

The newly developed model utilizes molecule dynamics simulations and supports vaccine development by directly identifying potential target sites on the surface of the spike protein. The model captures the complete structure of the spike protein and its realistic motion.

Findings were published in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology and describes how dynamic spike protein simulations combined with bioinformatic analyses show that glycans act as a shield to help the virus evade the human immune system.

"We are in a phase of the pandemic driven by the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, with mutations concentrated in particular in the spike protein," Sikora says. "Our approach can support the design of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies, especially when established methods struggle."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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