First MX results of the priority COVID-19 call
Scientists from the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany have published results on the papain-like protease (PLpro), an essential enzyme of SARS-CoV-2. The structural biology work was performed at the macromolecular crystallography beamline X06SA-PXI at SLS following the opening of the "PRIORITY COVID-19 Call”. The paper was submitted within one month after answering the proposal call. The crystallographic data collection happened on the 9th of April after the planned Easter shutdown of the SLS was cancelled for this specific experiment.
The protease PLpro is required for the processing of viral polypeptides and the assembly of new viral particles within human cells. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 uses this enzyme to dampen the anti-viral immune response, helping the virus to modulate the host’s immune system to its own benefit. By this, the virus can easily multiply and spread further. The team has demonstrated that pharmaceutical targeting of PLpro by a non-covalent inhibitor (GRL-0617) blocks virus spread and increases anti-viral immunity in human epithelial cells, the prime site of pathogen entry.