Nucleocapsid protein of SARS coronavirus tightly binds to human cyclophilin A

Cheng Luo, Haibin Luo, Suxin Zheng, Chunshan Gui, Liduo Yue, Changying Yu, Tao Sun, Peilan He, Jing Chen, Jianhua Shen, Xiaomin Luo, Yixue Li, Hong Liu, Donglu Bai, Jingkang Shen, Yiming Yang, Fangqiu Li, Jianping Zuo, Rolf Hilgenfeld, Gang PeiKaixian Chen, Xu Shen, Hualiang Jiang

64 Citations (Scopus)


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is responsible for SARS infection. Nucleocapsid protein (NP) of SARS-CoV (SARS_NP) functions in enveloping the entire genomic RNA and interacts with viron structural proteins, thus playing important roles in the process of virus particle assembly and release. Protein-protein interaction analysis using bioinformatics tools indicated that SARS_NP may bind to human cyclophilin A (hCypA), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology revealed this binding with the equilibrium dissociation constant ranging from 6 to 160 nM. The probable binding sites of these two proteins were detected by modeling the three-dimensional structure of the SARS_NP-hCypA complex, from which the important interaction residue pairs between the proteins were deduced. Mutagenesis experiments were carried out for validating the binding model, whose correctness was assessed by the observed effects on the binding affinities between the proteins. The reliability of the binding sites derived by the molecular modeling was confirmed by the fact that the computationally predicted values of the relative free energies of the binding for SARS_NP (or hCypA) mutants to the wild-type hCypA (or SARS_NP) are in good agreement with the data determined by SPR. Such presently observed SARS_NP-hCypA interaction model might provide a new hint for facilitating the understanding of another possible SARS-CoV infection pathway against human cell.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)557-565
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 27.08.2004

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

Coronavirus related work

  • Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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