Mutation made Covid-19 insensitive to cold

Biologists from Taiwan (PRC) found out that D614G mutation is the first major change in the genome of the coronavirus in the entire history of the global pandemic – she protected it from destabilization of the shell at low temperatures. This feature of the virus can be used to create vaccines, writes scientists in the article in the Biorxiv electronic library.

“We managed to reveal the possible reason why the appearance of D614G mutation made coronavirus more contagious and accelerated its distribution. It allows the virus to exist at a temperature of four degrees Celsius a very long time than you can use and when developing vaccines, as it allows Do not make a lot of other mutations in the virus gene, “- reports RIA Novosti Researchers.

The first serious change in the Coronavirus genome occurred at the beginning of March last year, when new coronavirus strains of coronavirus began to spread in Europe, having a common mutation in the so-called gene S, encoding that part of the SARS-COV-2 shell, which is directly related to its penetration in the body.

Now this mutation, D614G, have actually all variations of coronavirus, circulating among the population of all continents of the Earth. Its rapid spread indicated that this “typo” in RNA, presumably, is useful for coronavirus, but the exact nature of its action to the virus did not manage to establish so far.

Group of molecular biologists under the leadership of Xu Danny (Hsu Danny), a researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences Taiwan in Taipei (China), found a simple explanation for why D614G mutation very quickly began to dominate in all regions of the world covered by infection by receiving the first Three-dimensional photos of S-protein with this feature of the structure.

For this, scientists have prepared a variety of crystals consisting of repeating fragments of the virus S-protein, frozen them and enlightened using X-ray source. After receiving several similar pictures for the detailed and folded forms of this protein molecule, scientists compared them with photos obtained for the same part of the protein in which the D614G mutation was absent. These experiments indicated that the original S-protein form was very unstable at low temperatures and could have been arbitrary to change its form, which was almost no observed if there was a D614G mutation. In particular, 96% of protein samples without this mutation lost the original form about six days after their room in the refrigerator, whereas this happened only with 12% of those molecules in which D614G was present.

Similarly, mutant versions of the protein have kept the heating to higher temperatures and, in general, it was better to resist sharp fluctuations in environmental conditions. This can explain why SARS-COV-2 strains that have gotten the D614G mutation very quickly spread throughout the continents of the earth in the spring of last year.