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J King Saud Univ Sci ; 34(6): 102155, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1882239


Platycodon grandiflorus (Jacq.) A. DC. (Campanulaceae) is commonly known as a balloon flower whose rhizomes have been widely utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in various Japanese prescriptions for the treatment of respiratory diseases, diabetes, and inflammatory disorders. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic requires priming of the virus's spike (S) protein by cleavage of the S proteins by a multi-domain type II transmembrane serine protease, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) to gain entry into the host cell. The current research aims at the screening of active phytocompounds of P. grandiflorus as potential inhibitors of cellular TMPRSS2 using molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations approach. In silico toxicity analyses show that out of a total of 34 phytocompounds selected for the study, 12 compounds obey Lipinski's rule of five and have favourable pharmacokinetic properties. The top three lead molecules identified here were Apigenin, Luteolin and Ferulic acid which exhibited binding energies of -7.47 kcal/mol, -6.8 kcal/mol and -6.62 kcal/mol respectively with corresponding inhibition constants of 3.33 µM, 10.39 µM and 13.95 µM. The complexes between the lead molecules and the receptor were held by hydrogen bond interactions with key residues such as Gly383, Gly385, Glu389, Lys390, Asp435, Ser436, Ser441, Cys465 and Lys467, and hydrophobic interactions with surrounding residues. The stability of the protein-ligand complexes was evaluated during 100 ns molecular dynamics (MD) simulation by analysing key geometric properties such as RMSD, RMSF, radius of gyration, total solvent accessible surface area and the number of hydrogen bonds. The binding free energies analysis using MD simulations revealed that the compounds and TMPRSS2 have favourable thermodynamic interactions, which are primarily driven by van der Waals forces. As a result, the selected bioactive phytochemicals from P. grandiflorus that target the cellular TMPRSS2 could offer an alternative treatment option against SARS-CoV-2 infections.

PLoS One ; 17(6): e0268919, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1879310


The appearance of new variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the lack of effective antiviral therapeutics for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a highly infectious disease caused by the virus, demands the search for alternative therapies. Most antiviral drugs known are passive defenders which must enter the cell to execute their function and suffer from concerns such as permeability and effectiveness, therefore in this current study, we aim to identify peptide inactivators that can act without entering the cells. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is an essential protein that plays a major role in binding to the host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and mediates the viral cell membrane fusion process. SARS vaccines and treatments have also been developed with the spike protein as a target. The virtual screening experiment revealed antiviral peptides which were found to be non-allergen, non-toxic and possess good water solubility. U-1, GST-removed-HR2 and HR2-18 exhibit binding energies of -47.8 kcal/mol, -43.01 kcal/mol, and -40.46 kcal/mol, respectively. The complexes between these peptides and spike protein were stabilized through hydrogen bonds as well as hydrophobic interactions. The stability of the top-ranked peptide with the drug-receptor is evidenced by 50-ns molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The binding of U-1 induces conformational changes in the spike protein with alterations in its geometric properties such as increased flexibility, decreased compactness, the increased surface area exposed to solvent molecules, and an increase in the number of total hydrogen bonds leading to its probable inactivation. Thus, the identified antiviral peptides can be used as anti-SARS-CoV-2 candidates, inactivating the virus's spike proteins and preventing it from infecting host cells.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/metabolism , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry