Posted: 2021-11-25 20:00:00
The worse outcome of COVID-19 in people with diabetes mellitus could be related to the non-enzymatic glycation of human ACE2, leading to a more susceptible interaction with virus Spike protein. We aimed to evaluate, through a computational approach, the interaction between human ACE2 receptor and SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein under different conditions of hyperglycemic environment. A computational analysis was performed, based on the X-ray crystallographic structure of the Spike Receptor-Binding Domain (RBD)-ACE2 system. The possible scenarios of lysine aminoacid residues on surface transformed by glycation were considered: (1) on ACE2 receptor; (2) on Spike protein; (3) on both ACE2 receptor and Spike protein. In comparison to the native condition, the number of polar bonds (comprising both hydrogen bonds and salt bridges) in the poses considered are 10, 6, 6, and 4 for the states ACE2/Spike both native, ACE2 native/Spike glycated, ACE2 glycated/Spike native, ACE2/Spike both glycated, respectively. The analysis highlighted also how the number of non-polar contacts (in this case, van der Waals and aromatic interactions) significantly decreases when the lysine aminoacid residues undergo glycation. Following non-enzymatic glycation, the number of interactions between human ACE2 receptor and SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein is decreased in comparison to the unmodified model. The reduced affinity of the Spike protein for ACE2 receptor in case of non-enzymatic glycation may shift the virus to multiple alternative entry routes.
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