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J King Saud Univ Sci ; 34(2): 101773, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1670766


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread around the world jeopardizing the global economy and health. The rapid proliferation and infectivity of the virus can be attributed to many accumulating mutations in the spike protein leading to continuous generation of variants. The spike protein is a glycoprotein that recognizes and binds to cell surface receptor known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) leading to the fusion of the viral and host cell membranes and entry into the host cells. These circulating variants in the population have greatly impacted the virulence, transmissibility, and immunological evasion of the host. The present study is aimed at understanding the impact of the major mutations (L452R, T478K and N501Y) in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of spike protein and their consequences on the binding affinity to human ACE2 through protein-protein docking and molecular dynamics simulation approaches. Protein-protein docking and Molecular mechanics with generalised Born and surface area solvation (MM/GBSA) binding free energy analysis reveal that the spike mutants-L452R, T478K and N501Y have a higher binding affinity to human ACE2 as compared to the native spike protein. The increase in the number of interface residues, interface area and intermolecular forces such as hydrogen bonds, salt bridges and non-bonded contacts corroborated with the increase in the binding affinity of the spike mutants to ACE2. Further, 75 ns all-atom molecular dynamics simulation investigations show variations in the geometric properties such as root mean square deviation (RMSD), radius of gyration (Rg), total solvent accessible surface area (SASA) and number of hydrogen bonds (NHBs) in the mutant spike:ACE2 complexes with respect to the native spike:ACE2 complex. Therefore, the findings of this study unravel plausible molecular mechanisms of increase in binding affinity of spike mutants (L452R, T478K and N501Y) to human ACE2 leading to higher virulence and infectivity of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. The study will further aid in designing novel therapeutics targeting the interface residues between spike protein and ACE2 receptor.

J King Saud Univ Sci ; : 101810, 2022 Jan 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587215


The need for novel antiviral treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues with the widespread infections and fatalities throughout the world. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the deadly disease, relies on the non-structural protein Nsp1 for multiplication within the host cells and disarms the host immune defences by various mechanisms. Herein, we investigated the potential of artemisinin and its derivatives as possible inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1 through various computational approaches. Molecular docking results show that artemisinin (CID68827) binds to Nsp1 with a binding energy of -6.53 kcal/mol and an inhibition constant of 16.43 µM. The top 3 derivatives Artesunate (CID6917864), Artemiside (CID53323323) and Artemisone (CID11531457) show binding energies of -7.92 kcal/mol, -7.46 kcal/mol and -7.36 kcal/mol respectively. Hydrophobic interactions and hydrogen bonding with Val10, Arg11, and Gln50 helped to stabilize the protein-ligand complexes. The pharmacokinetic properties of these molecules show acceptable properties. The geometric parameters derived from large-scale MD simulation studies provided insights into the changes in the structural topology of Nsp1 upon binding of Artesunate. Thus, the findings of our research highlight the importance of artemisinin and its derivatives in the development of drugs to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1 protein.

Saudi J Biol Sci ; 29(1): 65-74, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537079


Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf., commonly known as fingerroot is a perennial herb in the Zingiberaceae family with anticancer, anti-leptospiral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiulcer, and anti-herpes viral activities. While the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) inhibitory activity of B. rotunda extract has been recently found, the active compounds contributing to this activity are yet unknown. The main protease (Mpro) enzyme is one of the most well established therapeutic targets among coronaviruses which plays a vital role in the maturation and cleavage of polyproteins during viral replication. The current work aims to identify active phytochemical substances from B. rotunda extract that can inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 by using a combined molecular docking and dynamic simulation approaches. The virtual screening experiment revealed that fifteen molecules out of twenty-three major active compounds in the plant extract have acceptable drug-like characteristics. Alpinetin, Pinocembrin, and Pinostrobin have binding energies of -7.51 kcal/mol, -7.21 kcal/mol, and -7.18 kcal/mol, respectively, and can suppress Mpro activity. The stability of the simulated complexes of the lead compounds with the drug-receptor is demonstrated by 100-ns MD simulations. The binding free energies study utilizing molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) and molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) show that the compounds and Mpro enzyme have favourable thermodynamic interactions, which are majorly driven by van der Waals forces. Thus, the selected bioactive phytochemicals from B. rotunda might be used as anti-SARS-CoV-2 candidates that target the Mpro enzyme.

Saudi J Biol Sci ; 28(12): 7517-7527, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404835


Houttuynia cordata Thunb., a perennial herb belonging to the Saururaceae family is a well-known ingredient of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with several therapeutic properties. During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in China, it was one of the approved ingredients in SARS preventative formulations and therefore, the plant may contain novel bioactive chemicals that can be used to suppress the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a virus for which there are currently no effective drugs available. Like all RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 encode RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) enzyme which aids viral gene transcription and replication. The present study is aimed at understanding the potential of bioactive compounds from H. cordata as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp enzyme. We investigated the drug-likeness of the plant's active constituents, such as alkaloids, polyphenols, and flavonoids, as well as their binding affinity for the RdRp enzyme. Molecular docking experiments show that compounds 3 (1,2,3,4,5-pentamethoxy-dibenzo-quinolin-7-one), 14 (7-oxodehydroasimilobine), and 21 (1,2-dimethoxy-3-hydroxy-5-oxonoraporphine) have a high affinity for the drug target and that the complexes are maintained by hydrogen bonds with residues like Arg553, Cys622 and Asp623, as well as hydrophobic interactions with other residues. The lead compounds' complexes with the target enzyme remained stable throughout the molecular dynamics simulation. Analysis of molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) and molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) revealed the key residues contributing considerably to binding free energy. Thus, the findings reveal the potential of H. cordata bioactive compounds as anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug candidate molecules against the target enzyme.