A Fusion Peptide in the Spike Protein of MERS Coronavirus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Coronaviruses represent current and emerging threats for many species, including humans. Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is responsible for sporadic infections in mostly Middle Eastern countries, with occasional transfer elsewhere. A key step in the MERS-CoV replication cycle is the fusion of the virus and host cell membranes mediated by the virus spike protein, S. The location of the fusion peptide within the MERS S protein has not been precisely mapped. We used isolated peptides and giant unilamellar vesicles (GUV) to demonstrate membrane binding for a peptide located near the N-terminus of the S2 domain. Key residues required for activity were mapped by amino acid replacement and their relevance in vitro tested by their introduction into recombinant MERS S protein expressed in mammalian cells. Mutations preventing membrane binding in vitro also abolished S-mediated syncytium formation consistent with the identified peptide acting as the fusion peptide for the S protein of MERS-CoV.

published proceedings

  • Viruses

author list (cited authors)

  • Alsaadi, E., Neuman, B. W., & Jones, I. M.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Alsaadi, Entedar AJ||Neuman, Benjamin W||Jones, Ian M

publication date

  • September 2019