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RSC advances ; 11(26):16026-16033, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1812711


In the present era, there are many efforts trying to face the emerging and successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to considering new and unusual targets for SARS CoV-2. 2′-O-Methyltransferase (nsp16) is a key and attractive target in the SARS CoV-2 life cycle since it is responsible for the viral RNA protection via a cap formation process. In this study, we propose a new potential inhibitor for SARS COV-2 2′-O-methyltransferase (nsp16). A fragment library was screened against the co-crystal structure of the SARS COV-2 2′-O-methyltransferase complexed with Sinefungin (nsp16 – PDB ID: 6WKQ), and consequently the best proposed fragments were linked via a de novo approach to build molecule AP-20. Molecule AP-20 displayed a superior docking score to Sinefungin and reproduced the key interactions in the binding site of 2′-O-methyltransferase. Three molecular dynamic simulations of the 2′-O-methyltransferase apo structure and its complexed forms with AP-20 and Sinefungin were performed for 150 nano-seconds to provide insights on the dynamic nature of such setups and to assess the stability of the proposed AP-20/enzyme complex. AP-20/enzyme complex demonstrated better stability for the ligand–enzyme complex compared to Sinefungin in a respective setup. Furthermore, MM-PBSA binding free energy calculations showed a better profile for AP-20/enzyme complex compared to Sinefungin/enzyme complex emphasizing the potential inhibitory effect of AP-20 on SARS COV-2 2′-O-methyltransferase. We endorse our designed molecule AP-20 to be further explored via experimental evaluations to confront the spread of the emerging COVID-19. Also, in silico ADME profiling has ascribed to AP-20 an excellent safety and metabolic stability profile. The identification of AP-20 as a potential SARS COV-2 2′-O-methyltransferase inhibitor: fragment-based screening approach and MM-PBSA calculations.

Processes ; 9(6):1004, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1259568


Since December 2019, the world has been facing the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that has infected more than 149 million and killed 3.1 million people by 27 April 2021, according to WHO statistics. Safety measures and precautions taken by many countries seem insufficient, especially with no specific approved drugs against the virus. This has created an urgent need to fast track the development of new medication against the virus in order to alleviate the problem and meet public expectations. The SARS-CoV-2 3CL main protease (Mpro) is one of the most attractive targets in the virus life cycle, which is responsible for the processing of the viral polyprotein and is a key for the ribosomal translation of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. In this work, we targeted this enzyme through a structure-based drug design (SBDD) protocol, which aimed at the design of a new potential inhibitor for Mpro. The protocol involves three major steps: fragment-based drug design (FBDD), covalent docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation with the calculation of the designed molecule binding free energy at a high level of theory. The FBDD step identified five molecular fragments, which were linked via a suitable carbon linker, to construct our designed compound RMH148. The mode of binding and initial interactions between RMH148 and the enzyme active site was established in the second step of our protocol via covalent docking. The final step involved the use of MD simulations to test for the stability of the docked RMH148 into the Mpro active site and included precise calculations for potential interactions with active site residues and binding free energies. The results introduced RMH148 as a potential inhibitor for the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro enzyme, which was able to achieve various interactions with the enzyme and forms a highly stable complex at the active site even better than the co-crystalized reference.