Proteome Analysis and Antigenic Peptide Prediction of Beta Corona Virus, A Cause of MERS

Author Name(s): *Syeda Sograh Fatima, Desu Jyothsna
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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus is the a genus belonging to beta corona Virus, currently well known for its out break in the countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, the UAE etc causing severe illness. MERS CoV is a dreadful RNA virus infecting huge population especially from Saudi Arabia. There is not been any protection against this well known virus in spite of its outbreak and rapid spread. The current work is an approach to design a vaccine that can protect the people by making them immune to the virus. The important proteins of the beta corona virus were retrieved from NCBI public data base and the screening was performed to identify the Foreign proteins among the complete set of viral proteins. The methodology is based on the principle that the diseases are caused due to the viral proteins that are totally foreign to the human proteome so that the synthesis of antibodies does not occur. The tools like BLAST of NCBI and TFASTY of SDSC Biology Workbench have been used for this screening. Once the foreign proteins were collected they were further analyzed for the presence of the antigenic peptide on their sequences. The tool used for the purpose was Antigenic Emboss. The result contains several peptides for a single protein. All the set of peptides collected were further screened to identify the peptides having highest antigenic propensity using the PVS server. Later the Surface accessibility Area of the selected peptides was calculated to eliminate the peptides having lowest SAA so as to increase the accuracy and effectively of the vaccine thus generated. The final list of selected peptides was designed in Argus lab and their internal energy values were calculated. The peptides having lowest energy can be selected as the targets for the development of protein based vaccines. The work can further be extended to synthetically produce the antigenic peptides and attenuate them so as to check for its capability of immunization on lab animals. Once the result shows positive in the lab animals its can be processed for the production of large scale vaccines for MERS so as to eradicate the disease.


MERS, Beta Corona Virus, RNA based Virus, TFASTY, SDSC Biology work bench, NCBI, PVS.


The virus MERS-CoV is a new member of the beta group of coronavirus, Betacoronavirus, lineage C. It causes a dreadfull breathing disorder MERS whose onset was first reported in 2012 at Saudi Arabia. The Organism as isolated and identified for the first time by an Egyptian Virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated from patients lungs [1]. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person [2]. In addition to humans, MERS-CoV has been found in camels in Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and a bat in Saudi Arabia. There is growing evidence that camels play a significant role in the virus transmission [3]. The symptoms of the disease include Fever, cold, couph, shortness of breath this may finally become severe and deadly [4]. There has not yet been any vaccine or medication designed to treat the symptoms or stop the onset of the disease. The biggest precaution one can take from contracting MERS is to maintain healthy habits that can prevent the individual from coming down with any sort of respiratory illness, such as: thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, covering mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, refraining from touching the face with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact (no kissing or sharing utensils) with sick people, and keeping one’s environment clean and disinfected.
Vaccine designing is one of the most advanced methodologies in the area of medication. Other than the regular vaccine development in case of Reverse vaccinology approach the vaccine molecules can be predicted without the use of human volunteers. Here in this method the screening starts from the proteome of the bacteria or any other pathogen that causes the disease. The identification of the foreign proteins is performed followed by the prediction of antigenic regions. Final step is to design the structure and calculate the energy values. Once the best peptide is proposed that can be further synthesized in the laboratory and used for vaccination.


The complete work involved the screening of the proteome of MERS CoV so as to identify a potent protein that was foreign to the human proteome followed by the identification of the Antigenic regions within the selected peptides. Once all the antigenic peptides were clustered they were further compared for their antigenic propensity values using PVS server. The peptides with good antigenic propensities were further selected and their SAA (Surface Accessibility Area) were calculated. The peptides with High SAA and good antigenic propensity were finalized for Vaccine development. Here “APLMLLQLLG” and “ETNCLLNV” were selected and considered for the peptide model development in Argus Lab. The peptides are shown in the figures 4 and 5. The work concludes that these two peptides are identified to be the most antigenic and foreign proteins of MERS CoV and can be further used for the synthesis of viral vaccine.

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