Influenza C virus and bovine coronavirus esterase reveal a similar catalytic mechanism: New insights for drug discovery
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Both, the influenza C (INF-C) virus haemagglutinin esterase fusion and bovine coronavirus (BCoV) haemagglutinin esterase surface glycoproteins exhibit a lectin binding capability and a receptor-destroying 9-O-acetyl esterase activity that recognise 9-O-acetyl-N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5,9Ac2)-containing glycans. Here we report nuclear magnetic resonance and molecular modelling studies on the 9-O-acetyl esterase showing that the a-configured Neu5,9Ac2 is strictly preferred by the INF-C and BCoV esterases. Interestingly, we have discovered that the INF-C esterase function releases acetate independently of the chemical nature of the aglycon moiety, whereas subtle differences in substrate recognition were found for BCoV esterase. Analysis of the apo and complexed X-ray crystal structure of INF-C esterase revealed that binding of 9-O-acetylated N-acetylneuraminic acids is a dynamic process that involves conformational rearrangement of serine-57 in the esterase active site. This study provides valuable insights towards the design of drugs to combat INF-C virus and coronavirus infections causing outbreaks of upper respiratory infections and severe diarrhea in calves, respectively.