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      Protein structure and sequence re-analysis of 2019-nCoV genome does not indicate snakes as its intermediate host or the unique similarity between its spike protein insertions and HIV-1

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          Abstract

          As the infection of 2019-nCoV coronavirus is quickly developing into a global pneumonia epidemic, careful analysis of its transmission and cellular mechanisms is sorely needed. In this report, we re-analyzed the computational approaches and findings presented in two recent manuscripts by Ji et al. (https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25682) and by Pradhan et al. (https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.30.927871), which concluded that snakes are the intermediate hosts of 2019-nCoV and that the 2019-nCoV spike protein insertions shared a unique similarity to HIV-1. Results from our re-implementation of the analyses, built on larger-scale datasets using state-of-the-art bioinformatics methods and databases, do not support the conclusions proposed by these manuscripts. Based on our analyses and existing data of coronaviruses, we concluded that the intermediate hosts of 2019-nCoV are more likely to be mammals and birds than snakes, and that the "novel insertions" observed in the spike protein are naturally evolved from bat coronaviruses.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          08 February 2020
          Article
          2002.03173
          4f9f459f-f005-444f-973e-c7e2af3fb88a

          http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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          Custom metadata
          Structure models for 2019-nCoV proteins are available at https://zhanglab.ccmb.med.umich.edu/C-I-TASSER/2019-nCov/
          q-bio.GN q-bio.BM

          Molecular biology,Genetics
          Molecular biology, Genetics

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