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SARS-CoV-2 ORF8 and SARS-CoV ORF8ab: Genomic Divergence and Functional Convergence

Authors
  • Mohammad, Sameer1
  • Bouchama, Abderrezak1
  • Mohammad Alharbi, Bothina1
  • Rashid, Mamoon
  • Saleem Khatlani, Tanveer
  • Gaber, Nusaibah S.1
  • Malik, Shuja Shafi1
  • 1 (N.S.G.)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Pathogens
Publisher
MDPI
Publication Date
Aug 20, 2020
Volume
9
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/pathogens9090677
PMID: 32825438
PMCID: PMC7558349
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic, in the first seven months, has led to more than 15 million confirmed infected cases and 600,000 deaths. SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19, has proved to be a great challenge for its ability to spread in asymptomatic stages and the diverse disease spectrum it has generated. This has created a challenge of unimaginable magnitude, not only affecting human health and life but also potentially generating a long-lasting socioeconomic impact. Both medical sciences and biomedical research have also been challenged, consequently leading to a large number of clinical trials and vaccine initiatives. While known proteins of pathobiological importance are targets for these therapeutic approaches, it is imperative to explore other factors of viral significance. Accessory proteins are one such trait that have diverse roles in coronavirus pathobiology. Here, we analyze certain genomic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 accessory protein ORF8 and predict its protein features. We have further reviewed current available literature regarding its function and comparatively evaluated these and other features of ORF8 and ORF8ab, its homolog from SARS-CoV. Because coronaviruses have been infecting humans repeatedly and might continue to do so, we therefore expect this study to aid in the development of holistic understanding of these proteins. Despite low nucleotide and protein identity and differentiating genome level characteristics, there appears to be significant structural integrity and functional proximity between these proteins pointing towards their high significance. There is further need for comprehensive genomics and structural-functional studies to lead towards definitive conclusions regarding their criticality and that can eventually define their relevance to therapeutics development.

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