Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 8;10(1):16862. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73820-8.
The prevalence of a novel β-coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was declared as a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 and a global pandemic on 11 March 2020 by WHO. The spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 is regarded as a key target for the development of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. In order to develop anti-viral therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2, it is crucial to find amino acid pairs that strongly attract each other at the interface of the spike glycoprotein and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) complex. In order to find hot spot residues, the strongly attracting amino acid pairs at the protein-protein interaction (PPI) interface, we introduce a reliable inter-residue interaction energy calculation method, FMO-DFTB3/D/PCM/3D-SPIEs. In addition to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein/hACE2 complex, the hot spot residues of SARS-CoV-1 spike glycoprotein/hACE2 complex, SARS-CoV-1 spike glycoprotein/antibody complex, and HCoV-NL63 spike glycoprotein/hACE2 complex were obtained using the same FMO method. Following this, a 3D-SPIEs-based interaction map was constructed with hot spot residues for the hACE2/SARS-CoV-1 spike glycoprotein, hACE2/HCoV-NL63 spike glycoprotein, and hACE2/SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein complexes. Finally, the three 3D-SPIEs-based interaction maps were combined and analyzed to find the consensus hot spots among the three complexes. As a result of the analysis, two hot spots were identified between hACE2 and the three spike proteins. In particular, E37, K353, G354, and D355 of the hACE2 receptor strongly interact with the spike proteins of coronaviruses. The 3D-SPIEs-based map would provide valuable information to develop anti-viral therapeutics that inhibit PPIs between the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and hACE2.