The researchers also found around 127 other molecules shared between SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses that were involved in various biological processes ranging from the metabolic processes of cell-to-cell communication that occur within the cell and cell growth.
The first case of the novel coronavirus The disease was reported in December 2019. Although SARS-CoV-2 is a fairly new virus, scientists have managed to identify some existing drugs that can be reused to treat the disease caused by it.
Most of the suggested drugs target specific proteins or enzymes to prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells or making more copies of itself.
Now a group of studies conducted at various institutes, including the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York University Langone Health Perlmutter Cancer Center, and Rockefeller University, indicate a previously unknown weakness, an interacting host protein. with SARS-CoV-2, which can be exploited for fighting COVID-19 .
The study findings are published in the journal Cell.
Deletion of genes to assess their role in viral replication
For the study, the researchers used CRISPR (a DNA editing tool) to remove (render it non-functional) around 19,000 genes in human cells while they were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 or three common cold that cause coronavirus en (HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E) and studied how the deletion of each gene affected viral replication.
“An important first step in dealing with a new contagion like SARS-CoV-2 is mapping the molecular landscape to see what possible targets you have to combat it,” said Dr. John Poirier, study co-principal investigator and assistant professor. . of medicine at NYU Langone Health in a press release from NYU Langone Health.
“Comparing a newly discovered virus with other known viruses may reveal shared responsibilities, which we hope will serve as a catalog of potential vulnerabilities for future outbreaks,” he added.
TMEM41B protein and other drug targets
Here are some of the study’s findings:
A 41 B or TMEM41B transmembrane protein was found to play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 replication and its spread to surrounding healthy tissues.
TMEM41B is generally present within human cells and participates in the removal of unnecessary components from cells.
According to the NYU Langone Health press release, this protein helps shape the outer fat layer around the COVID-19 causing viruses. This layer is responsible for protecting the RNA of the virus while it replicates and infects other cells. Interestingly, this protein was found in all types of coronavirus is studied.
Along with TMEM41B, the researchers also found more than 100 other possible drug targets against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, about 127 other molecules shared between SARS-CoV-2 and others were found. coronavirus is that they were involved in various biological processes ranging from cell-to-cell communication, metabolic processes that occur within the cell, and cell growth.
TMEM41B mutations are seen more frequently in East Asians than in Europeans and Africans. It was suggested that this was the possible reason for the observed variations in the spread of infection in the US and other parts of the world. However, more studies are needed to find out if this mutation actually makes East Asians less susceptible to COVID-19 .
The study authors say that next they will study the exact role of TMEM41B in the replication of SARS-CoV-2 and find ways to target this protein to treat. COVID-19 .
For more information, read our article on COVID-19 treatment.
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