Interviewer: Dr. Yohei Yamauchi, thank you very much
for connecting with us today to discuss mechanisms of
SARS-CoV-2 entry into
human cells and in particular with regards to the role of neuropilin 1.
Your recently published research in the Journal of Science investigated
the specific interaction between the virus and this host protein.
Could you provide us with some background to the research itself,
such as what was your initial drive and hypothesis for this research?
Prof. Yamauchi: Thank you for the invitation.
Before I go into that,
I'd just like to tell you that coronaviruses
are viruses that are about 100 nanometers in size,
they're very small. They have
an RNA virus genome which is protected inside a lipid bi-layer,
which is also called an envelope.
On the outside of this lipid bi-layer there are protrusions called the spike protein.
These spike proteins enable the virus to attach onto
the surface of the host cell that the virus wants to infect.
In order for this virus to infect the cell,
the cell has to express the specific receptive protein and this binds directly to spike.
Many of you may know that the SARS-CoV-2 spike was
already known to use ACE2 as its main receptor.
Our finding was that we found a second receptor, or
perhaps a co-receptor (called neuropilin 1), which is a protein on the surface of cells.
The spike protein of coronaviruses is cleaved by cellular proteases at multiple sites,
one of them being called the S1/S2 site,