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CIL Aids COVID-19-Related Research at MIT with 13C6 Glucose

June 4, 2020

CIL is aiding COVID-19-related research currently being conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Mei Hong, a professor of chemistry at MIT (Cambridge, MA.). The Hong laboratory develops and applies magic-angle-spinning solid-state NMR spectroscopy to elucidate the structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules. One current research focus of the Hong group is to determine the structure and binding mechanism of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV 2) membrane protein.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, a respiratory illness known as COVID-19. The findings of the Hong laboratory should increase fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of action of SARS CoV 2 membrane proteins and aid in future antiviral drug development efforts.

Dr. Hong’s lab may be the best-equipped research group to investigate the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins found in pathogenic viruses such as SARS CoV 2, due to their prior success in determining atomic-level structures and mechanisms of action of the influenza A and B viruses’ M2 transmembrane proton channels. She has recently shown that the closed and open structures of the proton channel of influenza BM2 indicate how this viral channel activates differently from the influenza A M2 proton channel. This knowledge can significantly aid in the design of novel BM2 inhibitors, which may lead to the very first drugs of this type to treat influenza B infections.

CIL is pleased to assist Dr. Hong’s research efforts by supplying her group 13C6 glucose (CIL Catalog Number CLM-1396). 13C6 glucose is used in E. coli-based protein expression to enrich SARS CoV 2 with 13C. Labeling samples with 13C is a general requirement for NMR investigations of this type.


Mandala, V.S., McKay, M.J., Shcherbakov, A.A. et al., 2020. Structure and drug binding of the SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein transmembrane domain in lipid bilayers. Nat Struct Mol Biol 27, 1202–1208.

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