Nature Communications: Metal ions help COVID-19 virus to disguise itself (Gupta Lab)
SAN ANTONIO (June 2, 2021) — Scientists from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Gupta Lab) and other collaborators have discovered a mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 exploits changes in metal ion concentrations to disguise itself in the body. Varying concentrations of metal ions — positively charged atoms such as magnesium, manganese, and calcium — are observed in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
“This is a newly described metal-dependent mechanism by which these ions help the virus to evade immune surveillance,” said Yogesh Gupta, PhD, senior author of the research published June 2 in the journal Nature Communications. Dr. Gupta is an assistant professor of biochemistry and structural biology at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and an investigator with its Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute.
Dr. Gupta and colleagues captured atomic-level snapshots during various stages of camouflaging activity of the coronavirus. It turns out metal ions have an architectural purpose — they form a bridge between viral messenger RNA (which are instructions for encoding the virus) and a protein complex consisting of viral proteins nsp16 and nsp10. The activity is sort of like a scaffold swaying in the wind and workers laying hands on it to steady it.
SOURCE: UT Health SA Newsroom, Contact: Will Sansom, (210) 567-2579, email@example.com
A metal ion orients SARS-CoV-2 mRNA to ensure accurate 2’-O methylation of its first nucleotide
Thiruselvam Viswanathan, Anurag Misra, Siu-Hong Chan, Shan Qi, Nan Dai, Shailee Arya, Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Yogesh K. Gupta
First published: June 2, 2021, Nature Communications
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