European Research Area (ERA) Corona Platform
Useful link for the latest information on EU grant opportunities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launch of Life Science Research Insfrastructure website with COVID-19 resources
A new website brings together the vast services of 13 Life Science Research Infrastructures in order to advance research in the life sciences. This website aims to be a common source of comprehensive information about the 13 European Life Science Research Infrastructures, their activities, offers, news and funding opportunities.
How SARS-CoV-2 binds to human cells
Scientists are racing to learn the secrets of severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the cause of the pandemic disease COVID-19. On Friday, March 27 , 2020 Yuanyuan Zhan et al. from Westlake Institute of Advanced Study, Hangzhou, China, published in Science a study entitled Structural basis for the recognition of SARS-CoV-2 by full-length human ACE2 where they explain how it binds to human cells...
CIISB offers priority and free-of-charge access for COVID-19 research proposals
CIISB is committed to the use its resources in response to the emergency situation of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. CIISB ensures that available technologies support primarily researchers in their efforts to study the virus and projects aiming to the development of an effective vaccine or treatment.
New EMBO Core Facility Fellowships
EMBO recently launched Core Facility Fellowships, which will support international training exchanges for staff working in core facilities that provide services to research institutes and universities.
Instruct-ERIC priority access for research proposals relating the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Instruct-ERIC is offering priority access to groups that need to use its structural biology services for projects directly related to COVID-19 viral proteins. Priority access will ensure a faster review of research proposals relating to COVID-19.
Highlights of Coronavirus Structural Studies
Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 main protease provides a basis for design of improved a-ketoamide inhibitors Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 main protease provides a basis for design of improved a-ketoamide inhibitors
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome– coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global health emergency. An attractive drug target among coronaviruses is the main protease (Mpro, also called 3CLpro) because of its essential role in processing the polyproteins that are translated from the viral RNA. Rolf Hingenfeld et. al. report in Science the x-ray structures of the unliganded SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and its complex with an a-ketoamide inhibitor. This was derived from a previously designed inhibitor but with the P3-P2 amide bond incorporated into a pyridone ring to enhance the half-life of the compound in plasma. On the basis of the unliganded structure, they developed the lead compound into a potent inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. The pharmacokinetic characterization of the optimized inhibitor reveals a pronounced lung tropism and suitability for administration by the inhalative route.
Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in >90,000 infections and >3,000 deaths. Coronavirus spike (S) glycoproteins promote entry into cells and are the main target of antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 S uses ACE2 to enter cells and that the receptor-binding domains of SARS-CoV-2 S and SARS-CoV S bind with similar affinities to human ACE2, correlating with the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 among humans. We found that the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein harbors a furin cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which is processed during biogenesis and sets this virus apart from SARS-CoV and SARS-related CoVs. In the study published in Cell, David Veesler with coworkers determined cryo-EM structures of the SARS-CoV-2 S ectodomain trimer, providing a blueprint for the design of vaccines and inhibitors of viral entry. Finally, they demonstrate that SARS-CoV S murine polyclonal antibodies potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 S mediated entry into cells, indicating that cross-neutralizing antibodies targeting conserved S epitopes can be elicited upon vaccination.
Reader's Corner Archive
Principles for Integrative Structural Biology Studies
Guru of integrative structural biology computation Andrej Sali and Michale P. Rout summarize in the recent Cell Primer Principles for Integrative Structural Biology Studies.
Visualization of biological macromolecules at near-atomic resolution: cryo-electron microscopy comes of age
The topical review by Alok K. Mitra recapitulates developments and transformational advances of cryo-EM technology.
The expanding toolkit for structural biology: synchrotrons, X-ray lasers and cryo-EM
Samar Hasnain et. al. describe the steadily-expanding methodologies for atomic resolution studies in The expanding toolkit for structural biology: synchrotrons, X-ray lasers and cryo-EM. Of note is the following statistics: Despite the wealth of structures in the Protein Data Bank, a closer examination reveals that 89% of the structures, i.e. 126 994, are of proteins or complexes with a molecular weight of less than 160 kDa. Furthermore, only 4% of the deposited structures have a molecular weight in excess of 300 kDa.