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Molecular Prediction of SARS-Cov-2 Transmission in Domesticated Livestock

Author(s): Rajarshi Bhattacharya, Aayatti Mallick Gupta, Sukhendu Mandal, Swadesh R Biswas

COVID-19 outbreak caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an ongoing global pandemic. Although the disease spreads from human to human, the fundamental question concerning the spread of the disease between domesticated animals or from animals to humans remains unanswered. The human angiotensin-converting enzymes 2 (hACE2) receptor, the recognition site for the virus, has orthologs in animals and are structurally and functionally similar to hACE2. This study investigated the nature and strength of interaction between ACE2 of nine pet animals and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Among nine animals, ACE2 of Oryctolagus and Canis had significantly higher binding affinity of -11.7 Kcal/mol and -13.8 Kcal/mol, burried surface area of 2383 Å2 and 2508 Å2 and Z score of -1.2 and -1.4, respectively. In phylogenetic analysis, the relatedness of ACE2 of Oryctolagus and human was found to be very high. Interestingly, the binding affinity of simulated Oryctolagus-ACE2:RBD was lower in comparison to that of hACE2 as determined from the distance of intermolecular hydrogen-bonds and the energy of interaction. We conclude that like humans, a faster transmission and spread of SARS-CoV-2 among pet animals is not expected to occur.

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