Mimicry between respiratory virus proteins and some human immune proteins

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A comparative analysis on search for amino acid sequences in viral proteins causing respiratory infections (or respiratory infections syndrome) homologous to amino acid sequences from some human immune proteins was performed. The following viruses were used for comparative computer analysis: coronavirus (SARS-CoV), serotype C subgroup adenovirus C (adenoid 71 strain), measles virus (ICHINOSE-BA strain), rubella (Therien strain) and respiratory syncytial (B1 strain) virus. The search for homologous sequences in viral and human immune proteins was carried out by computer comparison of 12 amino acid fragments, which were assigned as homologous at identity in ≥ 8 positions. The data obtained showed that viral proteins contained homologous motifs in several host immune proteins involved in regulating both the inflammatory response and immune response. Mechanistically, all viruses studied were characterized by sequences homologous to host immune proteins such as complement system proteins, integrins, apoptosis inhibitory proteins, interleukins, and toll-like receptors. Such cellular proteins are actively involved in regulating host inflammatory process and immune response formation. Upon that, a set of host immune proteins, to which homologous fragments were found in viral proteins, was individual for each virus. Interestingly, the largest amount of homologous fragments (up to 20) was mainly concentrated in viral proteins with polymerase and protease activity suggesting that these proteins apart to their major role were involved in production of viral nucleic acids and might participate in regulating host immune system. Envelope, internal and non-structural viral proteins, homologous fragments were detected in much smaller quantities (from 1 to 4). In addition, two fragments homologous to various motifs of the same cellular protein were detected in some viral proteins. Thus, the data obtained further support our understanding that signs of immune system disorders in viral infections can result from multi-layered processes associated with modulation of host innate and adaptive immune system, and open up new approaches to study interaction of viruses with host immune system and identify new functions of viral proteins.

About the authors

I. N. Zhilinskaya

Smorodintsev Institute of Influenza, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: irina@influenza.spb.ru

Irina N. Zhilinskaya – PhD, MD (Biology), Leading Researcher, Laboratory of System Virology

197376, St. Petersburg, Prof. Popova str., 15/17
Phone: +7 (812) 499-15-71 

Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2020 Zhilinskaya I.N.

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