Cover Image

Prediction of Single Point Mutations in Human Coronavirus and Their Effects on Binding to 9-O-Acetylated Sialic Acid and Hidroxychloroquine

Petar M Mitrasinovic


Due to the current spreading of the new disease CoViD-19, the World Health Organization formally declared a world pandemic on March 11, 2020. The present trends indicate that the pandemic will have an enormous clinical and economic impact on population health. Infections are initiated by the transmembrane spike (S) glycoproteins of human coronavirus (hCoV) binding to host receptors. Ongoing research and therapeutic product development are of vital importance for the successful treatment of CoViD-19. To contribute somewhat to the overall effort, herein, single point mutations (SPMs) of the binding site residues in hCoV-OC43 S that recognizes cellular surface components containing 9-O-acetylated sialic acid (9-O-Ac-Sia) are explored using an in silico protein engineering approach, while their effects on the binding of 9-O-Ac-Sia and Hidroxychloroquine (Hcq) are evaluated using molecular docking simulations. Thr31Met and Val84Arg are predicted to be the critical – most likely SPMs in hCoV-OC43 S for the binding of 9-O-Ac-Sia and Hcq, respectively, even though Thr31Met is a very likely SPM in the case of Hcq too. The corresponding modes of interaction indicate a comparable strength of the Thr31Met/9-O-Ac-Sia and Val84Arg/Hcq (or Thr31Met/Hcq) complexes. Given that the binding site is conserved in all CoV S glycoproteins that associate with 9-O-acetyl-sialoglycans, the high hydrophobic affinity of Hcq to hCoV-OC43 S speaks in favor of its ability to competitively inhibit rapid S-mediated virion attachment in high-density receptor environments, but its considerably low specificity to hCoV-OC43 S may be one of the key obstacles in considering the potential of Hcq to become a drug candidate.


CoViD-19; coronavirus; hidroxychloroquine; pandemic; single point mutation

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Petar M Mitrasinovic

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.