Dr. Wataru Nishima (New Mexico Consortium, USA) gave a very interesting presentation about his published paper on the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19 [1]. He described the conformational change which the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein undergoes when it fuses with the host cell to initiate infection. His work offers and interesting alternative view of the process wherein parts of the spike protein ends up inside the host cell. This differs from the usual view where the spike protein would be left on the outside of the cell after virus fusion with the host. This alternative hypothesis could have important implication for better understanding disease severity, e.g. based on the possible toxic effect of spike protein components shed as part of the fusion process. Dr. Nishima's expertise is primarily in Molecular Dynamics and Bioinformatics and he is very interested to establish new collaborations with iTHEMS members.

Reported by Catherine Beauchemin


  1. Wataru Nishima and Marta Kulik, Full-Length Computational Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Its Implications for a Viral Membrane Fusion Mechanism, Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1126 (2021), doi: 10.3390/v13061126