Molecular mimicry, defined as similar structures shared by molecules from dissimilar genes or proteins, is a general strategy used by pathogens to infect host cells. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a new human respiratory infectious disease caused by SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV plays an important role in the virus entry into a cell. In this study, eleven synthetic peptides from the S protein were selected based on its sequence homology with human proteins. Two of the peptides D07 (residues 927-937) and D08 (residues 942-951) were recognized by the sera of SARS patients. Murine hyperimmune sera against these peptides bound to proteins of human lung epithelial cells A549. Another peptide D10 (residues 490-502) stimulated A549 to proliferate and secrete IL-8. The present results suggest that the selected S protein regions, which share sequence homology with human proteins, may play important roles in SARS-CoV infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis