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Structural basis of coronavirus E protein interactions with human PALS1 PDZ domain

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SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is associated with severe and life-threatening pneumonia and respiratory failure. However, the molecular basis of these symptoms remains unclear. SARS-CoV-1 E protein interferes with control of cell polarity and cell-cell junction integrity in human epithelial cells by binding to the PALS1 PDZ domain, a key component of the Crumbs polarity complex. We show that C-terminal PDZ binding motifs of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 E proteins bind the PALS1 PDZ domain with 29.6 and 22.8 μM affinity, whereas the related sequence from MERS-CoV did not bind. We then determined crystal structures of PALS1 PDZ domain bound to both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 E protein PDZ binding motifs. Our findings establish the structural basis for SARS-CoV-1/2 mediated subversion of Crumbs polarity signalling and serve as a platform for the development of small molecule inhibitors to suppress SARS-CoV-1/2 mediated disruption of polarity signalling in epithelial cells.

History

Publication Date

11/06/2021

Journal

Communications Biology

Volume

4

Issue

1

Article Number

724

Pagination

p. 8

Publisher

Springer

ISSN

2399-3642

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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.