Covid-19: a new understanding of how the virus infects humans
A new study has provided deuterated cholesterol to get better e greater understanding of how Covid-19 spike protein infects human cellsthrough a membrane fusion mechanism. In deuterated compounds it is hydrogen that is replaced by deuterium. Deuterated cholesterol can be used as a molecular probe to determine how cholesterol expands across the membrane. It is also capable of determine the stacking order of the membrane layers.
Cambridge University researchers have clarified how fusion peptides, short protein sequences, initiate Covid infection using a model of membrane interactions. The peptides act as a bridge between the host membrane and the viral envelope to promote fusion.
Covid-19, this is how the virus infects human cells
A critical stage of infection occurs when the COVID-19 spike protein envelope fuses with the host cell membrane to create a path that allows the virus to enter. In addition to elucidating two potential molecular mechanisms, they found that both calcium and cholesterol influenced the interactions between the peptides and the host cell membrane. The team of researchers used a set of neutron analysis techniques to be able to distinguish between viral and host membrane layers and other neutron techniques to understand the dynamic changes of membranes.
Cholesterol was a key component of the cell membrane pattern and provided a contrast that could be distinguished from the other components of the layer. The presence or absence of calcium can affect the orientation of the cholesterol molecule, making it thicker or thinner. Although the neutron scattering associated with this research was carried out at the Institut Laue-Langevin in France, many of the users choose to turn to ANSTO to use the neutron scattering tools because they can easily access the tailored deuterated compounds of the NDF. . Our structure it can produce relatively large quantities, which are generally needed in neutron experiments.
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