The highly conserved RNA-binding specificity of nucleocapsid protein facilitates the identification of drugs with broad anti-coronavirus activity

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Shaorong Fan
  • Wenju Sun
  • Ligang Fan
  • Nan Wu
  • Wei Sun
  • Haiqian Ma
  • Siyuan Chen
  • Zitong Li
  • Yu Li

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5040-5044
Journal / PublicationComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Volume20
Online published8 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Link(s)

Abstract

The binding of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein to both the 5′- and 3′-ends of genomic RNA has different implications arising from its binding to the central region during virion assembly. However, the mechanism underlying selective binding remains unknown. Herein, we performed the high-throughput RNA-SELEX (HTR-SELEX) to determine the RNA-binding specificity of the N proteins of various SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as other β-coronaviruses and showed that N proteins could bind two unrelated sequences, both of which were highly conserved across all variants and species. Interestingly, both sequences are virtually absent from the human transcriptome; however, they exhibit a highly enriched, mutually complementary distribution in the coronavirus genome, highlighting their varied functions in genome packaging. Our results provide mechanistic insights into viral genome packaging, thereby increasing the feasibility of developing drugs with broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus activity by targeting RNA binding by N proteins.

Research Area(s)

  • Conserved, Coronavirus, Nucleocapsid protein, RNA binding specificity, SARS-CoV-2, Virion assembly

Citation Format(s)

The highly conserved RNA-binding specificity of nucleocapsid protein facilitates the identification of drugs with broad anti-coronavirus activity. / Fan, Shaorong; Sun, Wenju; Fan, Ligang et al.
In: Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Vol. 20, 2022, p. 5040-5044.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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