Immunoinformatic analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein as a strategy to assess cross-protection against COVID-19

Bruno Tilocca, Alessio Soggiu, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Gabriele Babini, Flavio De Maio, Domenico Britti, Alfonso Zecconi, Luigi Bonizzi, Andrea Urbani, Paola Roncada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Envelope protein of coronaviruses is a structural protein existing in both monomeric and homo-pentameric form. It has been related to a multitude of roles including virus infection, replication, dissemination and immune response stimulation. In the present study, we employed an immunoinformatic approach to investigate the major immunogenic domains of the SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein and map them among the homologue proteins of coronaviruses with tropism for animal species that are closely inter-related with the human beings population all over the world. Also, when not available, we predicted the envelope protein structural folding and mapped SARS-CoV-2 epitopes. Envelope sequences alignment provides evidence of high sequence homology for some of the investigated virus specimens; while the structural mapping of epitopes resulted in the interesting maintenance of the structural folding and epitope sequence localization also in the envelope proteins scoring a lower alignment score. In line with the One-Health approach, our evidences provide a molecular structural rationale for a potential role of taxonomically related coronaviruses in conferring protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and identifying potential candidates for the development of diagnostic tools and prophylactic-oriented strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020


  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Diagnosis
  • Immunoinformatics
  • One-health
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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