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Are the integrin binding motifs within SARS CoV-2 spike protein and MHC class II alleles playing the key role in COVID-19?

Gerencer, M. and McGuffin, L. J. ORCID: (2023) Are the integrin binding motifs within SARS CoV-2 spike protein and MHC class II alleles playing the key role in COVID-19? Frontiers in Immunology, 14. ISSN 1664-3224

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1177691


The previous studies on the RGD motif (aa403-405) within the SARS CoV-2 spike (S) protein receptor binding domain (RBD) suggest that the RGD motif binding integrin(s) may play an important role in infection of the host cells. We also discussed the possible role of two other integrin binding motifs that are present in S protein: LDI (aa585-587) and ECD (661-663), the motifs used by some other viruses in the course of infection. The MultiFOLD models for protein structure analysis have shown that the ECD motif is clearly accessible in the S protein, whereas the RGD and LDI motifs are partially accessible in S protein. Furthermore, the amino acids that are present in Epstein-Barr virus protein (EBV) gp42 playing very important role in binding to the HLA-DRB1 molecule and in the subsequent immune response evasion, are also present in the S protein heptad repeat-2. Our MultiFOLD model analyses have shown that these amino acids are clearly accessible on the surface in each S protein chain as monomers and in the homotrimer complex and bind to HLA-DRB1 β chain. Accordingly, they may have the identical role in SARS CoV-2 immune evasion as in EBV infection. The prediction analyses of the MHC class II binding peptides within the S protein have shown that the RGD motif is present in the core 9-mer peptide IRGDEVRQI within the two HLA-DRB1*03:01 and HLA-DRB3*01.01 strong binding 15-mer peptides suggesting that RGD motif may be the potential immune epitope. Accordingly, infected HLA-DRB1*03:01 or HLA-DRB3*01.01 positive individuals may develop high affinity anti-RGD motif antibodies that react with the RGD motif in the host proteins, like fibrinogen, thrombin or von Willebrand factor, affecting haemostasis or participating in autoimmune disorders.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:112024


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