(SEMINAR) Prof. Bartosz Różycki, Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

event date: 24 November 2023

The Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw invites to a seminar by

Prof. Bartosz Różycki

Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Title: Conformational ensemble of the full-length SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein based on molecular simulations and SAXS data

Date: 24th of November 2023, Friday

Time: 12:00 pm (Central European Time)

Host: Silvio Osella, PhD

The seminar will be in the CeNT aula hall (00.142) on the main floor.


The nucleocapsid protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus comprises two RNA-binding domains and three regions that are intrinsically disordered. While the structures of the RNA-binding domains have been solved using protein crystallography and NMR, current knowledge of the conformations of the full-length nucleocapsid protein is rather limited. To fill in this knowledge gap, we combined coarse-grained molecular simulations with data from small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments using the ensemble refinement of SAXS (EROS) method. Our results show that the dimer of the full-length nucleocapsid protein exhibits large conformational fluctuations with its radius of gyration ranging from about 4 to 8 nm. The RNA-binding domains do not make direct contacts. The disordered region that links these two domains comprises a hydrophobic alpha-helix which makes frequent and nonspecific contacts with the RNA-binding domains. Each of the intrinsically disordered regions adopts conformations that are locally compact, yet on average, much more extended than Gaussian chains of equivalent lengths. We offer a detailed picture of the conformational ensemble of the nucleocapsid protein dimer under near-physiological conditions, which will be important for understanding the nucleocapsid assembly process.