The SARS coronavirus main proteinase (Mpro) is a key enzyme in the processing of the viral polyproteins and thus an attractive target for the discovery of drugs directed against SARS. The enzyme has been shown by X-ray crystallography to undergo significant pH-dependent conformational changes. Here, we assess the conformational flexibility of the Mpro by analysis of multiple crystal structures (including two new crystal forms) and by molecular dynamics (MD) calculations. The MD simulations take into account the different protonation states of two histidine residues in the substrate-binding site and explain the pH-activity profile of the enzyme. The low enzymatic activity of the Mpro monomer and the need for dimerization are also discussed.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
Coronavirus related work
- Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19