N501Y mutation and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 binding

In a current examine posted to the bioRxiv* preprint server, researchers assessed the results of N501Y mutation of extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein on binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2).

The N501Y mutation within the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein‘s receptor binding area (RBD) has not too long ago been demonstrated to extend the binding affinity of the virus to the ACE2. That is achieved by overcompensating for a much less favorable enthalpy of binding by considerably reducing the entropic penalty for complicated formation. Nonetheless, the precise mechanism underlying this entropic overcompensation is unclear.

Study: Entropic overcompensation of the N501Y mutation on SARS-CoV-2 S binding to ACE2. Image Credit: Lightspring/Shutterstock
Examine: Entropic overcompensation of the N501Y mutation on SARS-CoV-2 S binding to ACE2. Picture Credit score: Lightspring/Shutterstock

In regards to the examine

Within the current examine, researchers evaluated the results of the N501Y mutation on the enthalpy and entropy of binding of SARS-CoV-2 S RBD to ACE2 utilizing all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations together with free-energy calculations.

5 completely different techniques had been modelled for this examine: sRBD,  sACE2, sRBD:sACE2, sRBDN501Y, and sRBDN501Y:sACE2. With a view to distinguish between completely different techniques, the staff referred to the techniques having the N501YsRBD mutation as “mutant” and people with the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan pressure sRBD sequence as “wild-type (WT).” Nanoscale molecular dynamics (NAMD) was used to carry out equilibrium MD simulations for 40 ns. Three replicates of every of those techniques had been simulated.

Carma was used to calculate entropic contributions. An approximation of the utmost absolute entropy was derived by selecting heavy atoms in residues on the sRBD:sACE2 interface that match corresponding trajectories within the N501YsRBD in addition to WT mutations. Interatomic lengths and whole hydrogen bond occupancy had been assessed utilizing visible MD (VMD). A distance-based method was utilized to establish hydrogen bonds, whereby two residues are thought of to be H-bonded if the gap between their corresponding heavy atoms is 3.3 Å or much less throughout 30 ns of equilibrated MD trajectory per copy. Every system interface’s heavy atoms had been evaluated utilizing their respective nearest neighbor atomic distance from the accomplice residue. A standard mode evaluation (NMA) was additionally carried out.


The examine outcomes confirmed that the N501YsRBD mutation rendered the entropy of binding extra favorable whereas lowering the enthalpy of binding. By quantifying and categorizing interactions between residues on the protein-protein interface, the staff outlined the enthalpic contributions to the binding. Moreover, distributions of the closest interatomic distance for every pair of residues on the interface had been computed.

The ACE2 residue K353 confirmed the primary affect of N501Y. Within the WT and mutant techniques, K353sACE2 interacted with the sRBD residues in numerous methods. K353sACE2 modified its H-bonding choice from the side-chain hydroxyl of Y501sRBD within the mutant to the spine carbonyl of G496sRBD within the WT. Moreover, the interatomic density distributions famous from the ultimate 30 ns of the MD simulations confirmed that each of those H-bonds had been pretty properly crammed.

The staff demonstrated that the mutant developed a sporadic peripheral H-bond between Y83sACE2 and Y489sRBD. Following the N501YsRBD mutation, the general sample of alterations within the H-bonding associations between sACE2 and sRBD confirmed a discount in additional centrally located H-bonds and a rise in additional peripherally situated H-bonds. Total, the mutant system had a significantly much less favorable enthalpy of binding than the WT system, which is in line with the findings that confirmed that the binding enthalpy is much less favored for the mutant system.

The correlations famous between sACE2 and sRBD are decrease within the mutant system than within the WT. Moreover, the mutant exhibited a weaker ACE2-to-ACE2 relationship as in comparison with that within the WT. This indicated that whereas an insignificant quantity of binding enthalpy was sacrificed, the alteration within the association of interprotein H-bonds attributable to mutation was correlated to the poor dynamic coupling between the 2 proteins. Furthermore, compared to the mutant, the WT complicated exhibited considerably extra correlated fluctuations on the protein-protein interface.

In response to NMA, variations noticed in correlations had been because of the large-scale relative movement exhibited by the 2 proteins, which was considerably extra distinguished within the mutant than in WT. The staff noticed that the mutant complicated displayed a bending movement concerning the protein: protein junction which was considerably extra versatile on a big scale. This additionally supported the discovering that the mutant’s binding entropy was extra entropically favorable than that of the WT.


The examine findings confirmed that the extent to which fluctuations had been distributed throughout the complicated is a vital issue within the dedication of protein-protein binding affinity. Moreover, the staff famous that the residue mutations that originally appeared to offer rise to weaker interactions than these of their wild-type counterparts might really enhance binding affinity because the residue mutations suppressed unfavorable entropy adjustments throughout binding.

*Vital discover

bioRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reviews that aren’t peer-reviewed and, subsequently, shouldn’t be considered conclusive, information scientific observe/health-related habits, or handled as established data.

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