Molecular Mechanisms Behind Anti SARS-CoV-2 Action of Lactoferrin

Mattia Miotto, Lorenzo Di Rienzo, Leonardo Bò, Alberto Boffi, Giancarlo Ruocco, Edoardo Milanetti
2021 Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences  
Despite the huge effort to contain the infection, the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has rapidly become pandemic, mainly due to its extremely high human-to-human transmission capability, and a surprisingly high viral charge of symptom-less people. While the seek for a vaccine is still ongoing, promising results have been obtained with antiviral compounds. In particular, lactoferrin is regarded to have beneficial effects both in preventing and soothing the infection. Here, we explore the possible
more » ... olecular mechanisms with which lactoferrin interferes with SARS-CoV-2 cell invasion, preventing attachment and/or entry of the virus. To this aim, we search for possible interactions lactoferrin may have with virus structural proteins and host receptors. Representing the molecular iso-electron surface of proteins in terms of 2D-Zernike descriptors, we 1) identified putative regions on the lactoferrin surface able to bind sialic acid present on the host cell membrane, sheltering the cell from the virus attachment; 2) showed that no significant shape complementarity is present between lactoferrin and the ACE2 receptor, while 3) two high complementarity regions are found on the N- and C-terminal domains of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, hinting at a possible competition between lactoferrin and ACE2 for the binding to the spike protein.
doi:10.3389/fmolb.2021.607443 pmid:33659275 pmcid:PMC7917183 fatcat:yd4tiyh36jh2hhxqir2yjxznem