ACERT continues agency-approved essential research on SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-2) structure, in collaboration with other Cornell University laboratories.
Our ACERT center continues its contribution to understanding the SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-2) structure, especially its Spike protein Fusion Peptide (FP) and its envelope E protein. The FP is a critical portion of the viral envelope, allowing the virus to anchor to a host cell and inject its genetic material into the host. We have found preliminary results that the SARS-2 FP, like the FP of the original SARS, Ebola, and some other coronaviruses, has its effectiveness significantly affected by the presence of Ca2+ ions in the local environment.1 This interaction suggests a potentially important therapeutic line of attack against it. All of our research is supported by the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). We are employing Electron Resonance Spectroscopy (ESR/EPR), both continuous-wave and pulsed, to investigate viral protein structure and dynamics. In this, we are continuing a multi-year collaboration with the labs of Gary Whittaker in the Microbiology Dept. of the Vet School and Susan Daniel of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.2 In addition to our larger P41 NIH-funded Center grant, we have a second NIH grant to study membrane protein structure and dynamics and their effects on membranes. Our present COVID-19 research is a direct, logical progression of this project to our collaboration with the Whittaker and Daniel groups from other viruses we have been studying (SARS-1, MERS, Ebola, Influenza A, etc.).
1 A.L. Lai, J.K. Millet, S. Daniel, J.H. Freed, G.R. Whittaker, The SARS-CoV fusion peptide forms an extended bipartite fusion platform that perturbs membrane order in a calcium-dependent manner, J. Mol. Biol., 429 (2017), pp. 3875-3892, 10.1016/j.jmb.2017.10.017
2 Researchers seek universal treatments to impede coronavirus, Cornell Chronicle, 2020/04
ACERT Hands-On Tutorial Workshop on Denoising ESR Signals via Wavelets
The ACERT 2018 Hands-On Tutorial Denoising Workshop took place on July 30-31. Participants came from a number of U.S. and international institutions: the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Denver, Vanderbilt University, University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, the University of Maryland, ETH Zürich, and the Technion, as well people from Cornell. In addition, two employees of our corporate sponsor, Bruker Biospin Corp., attended. Day One consisted of a variety of presentations on the theoretical background of wavelets and the methodologies we have developed to use them for denoising ESR signals, followed by several case studies by our invited speakers–Sandra Eaton of the University of Denver, Songi Han of the University of California Santa Barbara, Igor Dikiy of the Structural Biology Initiative at the NY Advanced Research Center in NYC, and Siddarth Chandrasekaran of the Brian Crane lab at Cornell–of how the new methods have helped research labs achieve better research results. Day Two had participants learn in the morning how to use the software we have developed, followed in the afternoon by using the software to denoise datasets that they had brought themselves. The participants provided a large number of very helpful comments and suggestions, which we are using to improve the software and user interface.
Further details can be found here.