Trans-species evolution of SARS-CoV2 via a mutation at position 32 (G>U) of S2M motif

Majid Vahed, Mohammad Vahed, Aaron Sweeney, Farshad Shirazi, Mehdi Mirsaeidi

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Received date: 4th October 2020

The new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) is a zoonotic pathogen that has rapidly mutated and become transmissible to humans. There is little data on mutations that made coronavirus capable to invade human cells. In this study, the SARS-CoV2 genomic sequence was analyzed to identify variants within the 3’UTR region of its cis-regulatory RNA elements. A 43-nucleotide genetic element with a highly conserved stem-loop II-like motif (S2M) of coronavirus family members was evaluated. We found mutations at positions 32 (G>U) and 16 (G>U/A) within the S2M sequence in SARS-CoV2 that differentiate it from other members of coronavirus family. SARS-CoV2 is targeted by a human miRNA with anti-viral property (hsa-miR-1307-3p). However, bat/pangolin coronavirus and SARS-CoV-1 S2M sequences are targetable by two human miRNAs with anti-viral miRNA-mediated properties (hsa-miR-1307-3p and hsa-miR-1304-3p). As such, human cells have less ability to control SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. While this S2M of 32 G>U nucleotide substitutions is found in all human SARS-CoV2, 16 (G>U/A) is reported as a new mutation in a portion of isolated viruses in 2020. The S2M segment of SARS-CoV2 may have an important role in viral replication, therefore, it may be a potential target for the development of vaccines and therapeutic agents.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

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