https://twitter.com/upulie/status/15780 ... zDYA8GNwTgAmazing news - paper in @Nature reporting that SARS-CoV-2 acts like a histone, thus blocking host epigenome.
Translation: DNA in our cells is packaged into chromosomes, and these are held together by histones, which are a kind of protein. Histones have to be unwrapped, then
the bits of DNA that are the gene to be expressed have to be unwound, so Histones are part of the regulation of genes being expressed.
One of the genes encoded by SARS-CoV-2 mimics these histones. It can stop the DNA being rewound correctly; and alters the epigenome - which is a bunch of modifications that alter gene expression and a genetic memory of say, things that happen to some cells.
Because this gene mimics histones, this can alter the ability of the cell/body to express other genes effectively, making it doubly harder to deal with the infection. It's a diabolical virus, up there with HIV for sheer host disruptive genius.
This gene is not the same as the spike protein that we've been using in vaccines to prime the immune system. The spike protein's function is to connect with the host cell and facilitate the fusion of the virus membrane with the cell membrane.
Two different proteins, two different functions, for two different reasons.
SARS-CoV-2 disrupts host epigenetic regulation via histone mimicry