We discuss four kinds of projects that students can do to learn about molecular interactions between the novel SARS coronavirus and the cells it infects.
1. We use iCn3D to look at the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in closed and open conformations.
2. We search for the human ACE2 gene in the NCBI Gene database and look the patterns of gene expression to learn about the kinds of cells that SARS-CoV-2 can infect.
3. We use the ClinVar database at the NCBI to learn about genetic variation in the human ACE2 gene and examine a molecular structure to see if that variation might impact binding by SARS-CoV-2.
4. We look the interaction between two different antibodies and whether or not they block the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to bind to the ACE2 receptor.