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See detailNeurotoxic Amyloidogenic Peptides Identified in the Proteome of SARS-COV2: Potential Implications for Neurological Symptoms in COVID-19
Islam, Saba; Charnley, Mirren; Bindra, Guneet et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

COVID-19 is primarily known as a respiratory disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. However, neurological symptoms such as memory loss, sensory confusion, cognitive and psychiatric issues, severe ... [more ▼]

COVID-19 is primarily known as a respiratory disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. However, neurological symptoms such as memory loss, sensory confusion, cognitive and psychiatric issues, severe headaches, and even stroke are reported in as many as 30% of cases and can persist even after the infection is over (so-called ‘long COVID’). These neurological symptoms are thought to be caused by brain inflammation, triggered by the virus infecting the central nervous system of COVID-19 patients, however we still don’t fully understand the mechanisms for these symptoms. The neurological effects of COVID-19 share many similarities to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in which the presence of cytotoxic protein-based amyloid aggregates is a common etiological feature. Following the hypothesis that some neurological symptoms of COVID-19 may also follow an amyloid etiology we performed a bioinformatic scan of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome, detecting peptide fragments that were predicted to be highly amyloidogenic. We selected two of these peptides and discovered that they do rapidly self-assemble into amyloid. Furthermore, these amyloid assemblies were shown to be highly toxic to a neuronal cell line. We introduce and support the idea that cytotoxic amyloid aggregates of SARS-CoV-2 proteins are causing some of the neurological symptoms commonly found in COVID-19 and contributing to long COVID, especially those symptoms which are novel to long COVID in contrast to other post-viral syndromes. [less ▲]

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