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Biomed Pharmacother . Targeting the SARS-CoV2 nucleocapsid protein for potential therapeutics using immuno-informatics and structure-based drug discovery techniques

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  • Biomed Pharmacother . Targeting the SARS-CoV2 nucleocapsid protein for potential therapeutics using immuno-informatics and structure-based drug discovery techniques


    Biomed Pharmacother


    . 2020 Dec;132:110914.
    doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110914. Epub 2020 Oct 20.
    Targeting the SARS-CoV2 nucleocapsid protein for potential therapeutics using immuno-informatics and structure-based drug discovery techniques


    Alexander Kwarteng 1 , Ebenezer Asiedu 2 , Samuel Amoah Sakyi 3 , Samuel Opoku Asiedu 2



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    The occurrence of the SARS-CoV2 infection has become a worldwide threat and the urgent need to discover therapeutic interventions remains paramount. The primary roles of the coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein are to interact with the viral genome and pack them into ribonucleoprotein complex. It also plays critical roles at many stages of the viral life cycle. Herein, we explore the N protein of SARS-CoV2 to identify promising epitope-based vaccine candidates and target the N-terminal domain of SARS-CoV2 N-protein for potential inhibitors using an integrative bioinformatics approach. We identified B-cell epitopes and T-cell epitopes that are non-toxic, non-allergenic, capable of inducing IFN-γ and structurally stable with high global population coverage of response. The 404SKQLQQSMSSADS416 and 92RRIRGGDGKMKDL104 sequences of N-protein were identified to induce B-cell immunity. We also identified 79SSPDDQIGY87 and 305AQFAPSASAFFGMSR319 as potential T-cell epitopes that form stable structures with human leucocyte antigens. We have also identified zidovudine triphosphate, an anti-HIV agent, as a potential inhibitor of the N-terminal domain of SARS-CoV2 N-protein based on docking and simulation analysis and should be considered for experimental validations. The findings of this study can help fast-track the discovery of therapeutic options to combat COVID-19.

    Keywords: COVID-19; Epitope; Immuno-informatics; Molecular dynamics simulation; Vaccine; Zidovudine.

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