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SARS-CoV-2 Protease Cuts Human Proteins Responsible for Immune Response

Photo: Lubo Ivanko/

The SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease (PLpro) plays an essential role in processing viral proteins needed for replication. In addition, the enzyme can cut and inactivate some human proteins important for an immune response. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Infectious Diseases have found other targets of PLpro in the human proteome, including proteins involved in cardiovascular function, blood clotting, and inflammation, suggesting a link between the inactivation of these proteins and COVID-19 symptoms.

Viruses like SARS-CoV-2 make multiple proteins as one long "polyprotein." Viral enzymes called proteases recognize specific amino acid sequences in this polyprotein ...