Interactions of Peptide Coated Gold Nanoparticles with Spike Protein of the SARS-CoV-2: A Basis for Design of a Simple and Rapid Detection Tool
The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic which not only created a situation of dealing with public health emergency but also triggered the financial crisis of international concern. The current situation demands rapid, convenient and reliable diagnosis of the disease to downregulate its spread. Primary method of diagnosis presently being used, such as nucleic acid testing (RT-PCR), CT scans etc. involve time-consuming advanced machinery for imaging/ RNA replication and highly skilled technicians which could be only done in a laboratory set-up. A rapid, simple yet selective naked eye detection methodology that does not require any advanced instrumental techniques is highly desirable.
In this study, we report computational results which could form the basis of a simple and rapid strategy for the detection of SARS-Cov-2 using peptide (screened from angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor of host cell) functionalized gold nanoparticles (GNPs). This is based on the preferential binding of viral spike (S) protein to ACE2 receptor situated on the surface of the host cell membrane by which the virus gains access to the host cell. The interaction of peptide coated GNPs with spike protein has been investigated using coarse grained molecular dynamic simulations. The potential of mean force calculation of spike protein confirmed strong binding between peptide and receptor binding domain (RBD) of spike protein. The results presented here demonstrate the potential of this peptide coated GNPs-based system in the development of convenient sensors for the clinical diagnosis.