Despite the rigorous global efforts to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission, it continues to pose a serious threat to humans with the frequent emergence of new variants. Thus, robust therapeutics to combat the virus are a desperate need. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is an important target protein as it mediates the entry of the virus inside the host cells, which is initiated by the binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) to its cognate receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2). Herein, the inhibition potential of several naturally occurring coumarins was investigated against the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 variants using computational approaches. Molecular docking studies revealed 26 coumarins with better binding energies than the reference ligands, molnupiravir and ceftazidime, against the S-RBD of the omicron variant. The top 10 best-docked coumarins were further analyzed to understand their binding interactions against the spike proteins of other variants (wild-type, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta), and these studies also demonstrated decent binding energies. Physicochemical, QSAR, and pharmacokinetics analyses of the coumarins revealed wedelolactone as the best inhibitor of the spike protein with ideal Lipinski's drug-likeness and optimal ADMET properties. Furthermore, coarse-grained molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies of spike protein-wedelolactone complexes validated the stable binding of wedelolactone in the respective binding pockets. As an outcome, wedelolactone could be utilized to develop a potent drug candidate against COVID-19 by blocking the viral entry into the host cell. [ FROM AUTHOR]
Despite ongoing vaccination programs against COVID-19 around the world, cases of infection are still rising with new variants. This infers that an effective antiviral drug against COVID-19 is crucial along with vaccinations to decrease cases. A potential target of such antivirals could be the membrane components of the causative pathogen, SARS-CoV-2, for instance spike (S) protein. In our research, we have deployed in vitro screening of crude extracts of seven ethnomedicinal plants against the spike receptor-binding domain (S1-RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Following encouraging in vitro results for Tinospora cordifolia, in silico studies were conducted for the 14 reported antiviral secondary metabolites isolated from T. cordifolia-a species widely cultivated and used as an antiviral drug in the Himalayan country of Nepal-using Genetic Optimization for Ligand Docking (GOLD), Molecular Operating Environment (MOE), and BIOVIA Discovery Studio. The molecular docking and binding energy study revealed that cordifolioside-A had a higher binding affinity and was the most effective in binding to the competitive site of the spike protein. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies using GROMACS 5.4.1 further assayed the interaction between the potent compound and binding sites of the spike protein. It revealed that cordifolioside-A demonstrated better binding affinity and stability, and resulted in a conformational change in S1-RBD, hence hindering the activities of the protein. In addition, ADMET analysis of the secondary metabolites from T. cordifolia revealed promising pharmacokinetic properties. Our study thus recommends that certain secondary metabolites of T. cordifolia are possible medicinal candidates against SARS-CoV-2.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Plants, Medicinal , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Plants, Medicinal/metabolism , Altitude , Nepal , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Protein Binding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
The in silico method has provided a versatile process of developing lead compounds from a large database in a short duration. Therefore, it is imperative to look for vaccinations and medications that can stop the havoc caused by SARS-CoV-2. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is required for the viral entry into the host cells, hence inhibiting the virus from fusing and infecting the host. This study determined the binding interactions of 36 flavonoids along with two FDA-approved drugs against the spike protein receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 through molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. In addition, the molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) approach was used to calculate the binding-free energy (BFE). Flavonoids were selected based on their in vitro assays on SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Our pharmacokinetics study revealed that cyanidin showed good drug-likeness, fulfilled Lipinski's rule of five, and conferred favorable toxicity parameters. Furthermore, MD simulations showed that cyanidin interacts with spike protein and alters the conformation and binding-free energy suited. Finally, an in vitro assay indicated that about 50% reduction in the binding of hACE2 with S1-RBD in the presence of cyanidin-containing red grapes crude extract was achieved at approximately 1.25 mg/mL. Hence, cyanidin may be a promising adjuvant medication for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein based on in silico and in vitro research.