Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein RNA binding domain reveals potential unique drug targeting sites
Posted 07 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.06.977876 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.04.009)
Posted 07 Mar 2020
The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus continually lead to worldwide human infections and deaths. It is currently no specific viral protein targeted therapeutics yet. Viral nucleocapsid protein is a potential antiviral drug target, serving multiple critical functions during the viral life cycle. However, the structural information of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein is yet to be clear. Herein, we have determined the 2.7 Å crystal structure of the N-terminal RNA binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Although overall structure is similar with other reported coronavirus nucleocapsid protein N-terminal domain, the surface electrostatic potential characteristics between them are distinct. Further comparison with mild virus type HCoV-OC43 equivalent domain demonstrates a unique potential RNA binding pocket alongside the β-sheet core. Complemented by in vitro binding studies, our data provide several atomic resolution features of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein N-terminal domain, guiding the design of novel antiviral agents specific targeting to SARS-CoV-2.
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