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The COVID-19 epidemic is one of the most influential epidemics in history. Understanding the impact of coronaviruses (CoVs) on host cells is very important for disease treatment. The SARS-CoV-2 envelope (E) protein is a small structural protein involved in many aspects of the viral life cycle. The E protein promotes the packaging and reproduction of the virus, and deletion of this protein weakens or even abolishes the virulence. This review aims to establish new knowledge by combining recent advances in the study of the SARS-CoV-2 E protein and by comparing it with the SARS-CoV E protein. The E protein amino acid sequence, structure, self-assembly characteristics, viroporin mechanisms and inhibitors are summarized and analyzed herein. Although the mechanisms of the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV E proteins are similar in many respects, specific studies on the SARS-CoV-2 E protein, for both monomers and oligomers, are still lacking. A comprehensive understanding of this protein should prompt further studies on the design and characterization of effective targeted therapeutic measures. © 2021 The Protein Society.


Yipeng Cao, Rui Yang, Imshik Lee, Wenwen Zhang, Jiana Sun, Wei Wang, Xiangfei Meng. Characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 E Protein: Sequence, Structure, Viroporin, and Inhibitors. Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society. 2021 Jun;30(6):1114-1130

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PMID: 33813796

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