Boston researchers have converted the spike protein and its transmission to human cells into a musical score. Objective: to find weak points to neutralize Sars-CoV2
After the photos comes the music of the new coronavirus: the experts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Mit) have found a way to ‘listen to it’, translating the structure of its famous spike protein into musical notes, i.e. the claw protruding from the surface of the SarsCov2 virus and helps it hook onto cells.
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The result, published on the Science, is a concert for flutes and string instruments that is not just a curiosity: this music could in fact help to find an Achilles heel of the protein to neutralize it.
LISTEN Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein
The sounds you hear, from flutes to vibrating strings, all represent different aspects of the spike protein. To translate it into music, the researchers assigned each amino acid of which a note is made, converting the entire protein into a preliminary musical score that was performed by instruments chosen by the MIT scholars.
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The musical ‘format’ of the protein, according to experts, could help find sites on the protein where antibodies or drugs could bind, simply by looking for specific music sequences that correspond to these sites. This, the researchers note, is faster and more intuitive than the conventional methods used to study proteins, such as molecular modeling. Also, by comparing the musical sequence of the spike protein with a large database of other proteins translated into music, it may one day be possible to find one that sticks to spike, preventing the virus from infecting a cell.