Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy have published a model of a protein located on the surface of the coronavirus. It is he who interacts with human cells. Thanks to this, they figured out why the coronavirus is so deadly. A related study was published in Nature Communications.
It turned out that on the outer surface of the virus there is a protein of the envelope E. It and the spike protein help the virus to enter the cell and spread rapidly. It also helps the virus spread to other cells. Scientists think it does this by binding to surface proteins of PALS1. The virus weakens intercellular connections in order to enter the bloodstream through the lungs and infect other organs.
The virus disrupts contact between cells, so they release cytokines. This immune response, as a rule, aggravates the situation, as it causes inflammation – a cytokine storm and acute respiratory distress syndrome.