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Missense mutations in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus may cause changes in the structure of proteins. The nucleocapsid (N) protein is an important target for drugs and vaccines. The main purpose of this study is to detect missense mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 N protein and to reveal the effects of these mutations on protein structure by using in silico approaches. 161 missense mutations of the N protein were determined in 2286 SARS-CoV-2 genomes derived from the GISAID EpiCoV database in the Turkish population. Identified 161 missense mutations were analyzed by using sequence and structure-based methods to predict effects of mutation on function and structure of SARS-CoV-2 N protein. These analyzes revealed that some mutations showed deleterious effects and change of stability and flexibility of nucleocapsid protein. D3L, S194L, S235F, and P13L (Omicron variant) mutations were further analyzed in our study due to their importance in the literature and in our results. Even though, our findings are essential for research of SARS-CoV-2 virus, in vitro and in vivo validations are necessary. Keywords: nucleocapsid protein; SARS-CoV-2; missense mutations; protein stability; protein flexibility.


Betul Akcesme, Burcin Erkal, Zehra Yaren Donmez. Structural and functional characterization of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein mutations identified in Turkey by using in silico approaches. Acta virologica. 2023;67(1):59-68

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PMID: 36950886

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