Since the start of the pandemic, a particular protein has received a great deal of attention: called the Spike protein (or S protein). Indeed, the latter allows the new Covid-19 to easily enter human cells.
This protein is the main target of antibodies secreted by the body after infection. Following the sequencing of the genome of the virus, it was possible to create this protein in the laboratory. In this article, we will therefore see the role of the Spike protein as well as its impact in the infection process.
What is the main role of the Spike protein?
In practice, it is certain that Spike shows some biochemical differences with the same viral envelope proteins produced under physiological conditions in a cell “Naturally” affected by SARS-CoV-2. These differences could influence the effectiveness of possible vaccines and tests whose activity targets Spike.
However, they turn out to be very complex to highlight with conventional research devices, and only certain teams in the world have best technical means allowing them to be identified.
PCR makes it possible to duplicate a large number of copies of DNA sequences starting from a determined amount of nucleic acid at the start, generally used to identify and search for the genetic material of the virus in the body.
Some researchers use the mass spectrometry : this is a very powerful technique, allowing the direct study of viral proteins, although they are only present in smaller concentrations in the biological samples analyzed.
The gateway to Covid-19 during an infection
Several researchers have long established that the binding of SARS-CoV-2 in acute respiratory syndrome to the angiotensin-2 converting enzyme is necessary for the virus to integrate into the host cell and infects it.
A study published in October 2020, in the renowned journal Science, reports the potential therapeutic values of the second type of transmembrane host receptor: named neuropilines, which mainly bind to SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and may increase its infectivity.
The Dr Boris Simonetti, a well-known researcher at the Cullen lab, recently used numerous approaches to discover that SARS-CoV recognizes a certain protein called neuropilin-1 located on the surface of human cells in order to facilitate viral infection.
Promising results on neuropilin 1
To make this discovery, some researchers had to go back a bit, as the story goes Ravi ojhan, another co-author of the study.
Several experiments conducted on a large number of samples taken from mice and deceased coronavirus patients have claimed that the neuropiline 1 facilitated the penetration of the virus into the nervous system.
Thus, the researchers intend to use this scientific discovery to develop much more effective means against the spread of the virus.