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Viral Immunol. 2004;17(4):528-34.

Structure-based preliminary analysis of immunity and virulence of SARS coronavirus.

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Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China.


The research on SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has not stopped since its discovery, but the pathogenesis of SARS is still unclear. To explore the possible molecular mechanisms of the invasion and virulence of SARS-CoV, we investigated the structural basis of the viral proteins using computational biology. Forty-five motifs relating to superantigens, toxins and other bioactive molecules were detected in the proteins of SARS-CoV. The results showed that the distribution of the motifs varied in different proteins. Enzyme-like motifs were located in the R protein, while ICAM- 1-like and toxin-like molecules were located in the spike, envelop, nucleocapsid, PUP1, PUP 2 and PUP 4 proteins. Comparison of SARS-CoV with other viruses (OC43, PEDV, HRSV, HHerpV and HAdenoV) showed that each group of motifs was different for each type of virus. Data suggest that the proteins of SARS-CoV with toxic motifs might play crucial roles in targeting host cells and interfering with the immune system. This study provides new information for drug and vaccine design, as well as therapeutic strategies against SARS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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