Binding of SARS-CoV-2 Structural Proteins to Hemoglobin and Myoglobin Studied by SPR and DR LPG.Sensors (Basel). 2023 Mar 22; 23(6)S
One of the first clinical observations related to COVID-19 identified hematological dysfunctions. These were explained by theoretical modeling, which predicted that motifs from SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins could bind to porphyrin. At present, there is very little experimental data that could provide reliable information about possible interactions. The surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method and double resonance long period grating (DR LPG) were used to identify the binding of S/N protein and the receptor bind domain (RBD) to hemoglobin (Hb) and myoglobin (Mb). SPR transducers were functionalized with Hb and Mb, while LPG transducers, were only with Hb. Ligands were deposited by the matrix-assisted laser evaporation (MAPLE) method, which guarantees maximum interaction specificity. The experiments carried out showed S/N protein binding to Hb and Mb and RBD binding to Hb. Apart from that, they demonstrated that chemically-inactivated virus-like particles (VLPs) interact with Hb. The binding activity of S/N- and RBD proteins was assessed. It was found that protein binding fully inhibited heme functionality. The registered N protein binding to Hb/Mb is the first experimental fact that supports theoretical predictions. This fact suggests another function of this protein, not only binding RNA. The lower RBD binding activity reveals that other functional groups of S protein participate in the interaction. The high-affinity binding of these proteins to Hb provides an excellent opportunity for assessing the effectiveness of inhibitors targeting S/N proteins.