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Evidence for mutations in SARS‐CoV‐2 Italian isolates potentially affecting virus transmission

  • Benvenuto, Domenico1
  • Demir, Ayse Banu2
  • Giovanetti, Marta3
  • Bianchi, Martina4
  • Angeletti, Silvia1
  • Pascarella, Stefano4
  • Cauda, Roberto5, 6
  • Ciccozzi, Massimo1
  • Cassone, Antonio7
  • 1 University Campus Bio‐Medico of Rome, Italy , (Italy)
  • 2 School of Medicine, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey , (Turkey)
  • 3 Laboratório de Flavivírus, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Av. Brasil, 4365 ‐ Manguinhos, Brasil , (Brazil)
  • 4 University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy , (Italy)
  • 5 UOC Malattie Infettive – Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A.Gemelli” IRCCS, Italy , (Italy)
  • 6 Department of Healthcare Surveillance and Bioethics ‐ Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Italy , (Italy)
  • 7 Center of genomics, genetics and biology, University of Siena, Italy , (Italy)
Published Article
Journal of Medical Virology
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Jun 03, 2020
DOI: 10.1002/jmv.26104
PMID: 32492183
PMCID: PMC7300971
PubMed Central
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Italy is the first western country suffering heavy SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission and disease impact after Covid‐19 pandemia started in China. Even though the presence of mutations on spike glycoprotein and nucleocapsid in Italian isolates has been reported, the potential impact of these mutations on viral transmission has not been evaluated. We have compared SARS‐CoV‐2 genome sequences from Italian patients with virus sequences from Chinese patients. We focussed upon three non‐synonimous mutations of genes coding for S(one) and N (two) viral proteins present in Italian isolates and absent in Chinese ones, using various bio‐informatic tools. Amino acid analysis and changes in three‐dimensional protein structure suggests the mutations reduce protein stability and, particularly for S1 mutation, the enhanced torsional ability of the molecule could favour virus binding to cell receptor(s). This theoretical interpretation awaits experimental and clinical confirmation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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