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Nucleic Acids Research Studies on 3D SARS-CoV-2 Structures, Human Brain Atlas, More

Researchers from the University of Maryland, Scripps Research Institute, and elsewhere outline an online database designed to house high-resolution protein structures corresponding to SARS-CoV-2 protein structures. The CoV3D database contains a collection of SARS-CoV-2 protein structures and is updated weekly from the Protein Data Bank, along with corresponding SARS-CoV-2 sequences and polymorphisms, the team writes. The combination of structural data and sequence diversity makes it possible to compare and contrast spike glycoprotein structures and other informative three-dimensional clues. "This resource can aid in efforts for rational vaccine design, targeting by immunotherapies, biologics, and small molecules, and basic research into coronavirus structure and recognition," the authors suggest.

A team from China describes a database called "Spatio-temporal cell atlas of the human brain," or STAB. Using publicly available single-cell RNA sequencing data, the researchers put together a collection that currently houses single-cell transcriptome data for dozens of cell types found in 20 brain regions during 11 stages of development. "Although great effort has been made to explore the transcriptome architecture of the human brain, a comprehensive database with dynamic cellular compositions and molecular characteristics of the human brain during the lifespan is still not available," the researchers write. "With STAB, the landscape of cell types and their regional heterogeneity and temporal dynamics across the human brain can be clearly seen, which can help to understand both the development of the normal human brain and the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders."

Investigators in Spain and the UK explore the genetic diversity found in Spanish populations using a collaborative crowdsourcing approach. The team's Collaborative Spanish Variability Server (CSVS) brings together whole-genome and exome sequence data from several local projects, which was standardized and filtered through quality control steps, to get a look at allele frequencies, variants linked to pharmacogenomic features, disease risk variants, and other variable genetic features in more than 2,000 Spanish individuals. "The CSVS is a continuously growing resource that collects genomic or exomic sequences of the Spanish local population, no matter whether these come from healthy or diseased individuals," the authors write, adding that "[t]he main objective is using the repository as a pseudo-control population for finding new disease-causing variants and genes."