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Nature ; 586(7827): 113-119, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-672174


The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 2019 has triggered an ongoing global pandemic of the severe pneumonia-like disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)1. The development of a vaccine is likely to take at least 12-18 months, and the typical timeline for approval of a new antiviral therapeutic agent can exceed 10 years. Thus, repurposing of known drugs could substantially accelerate the deployment of new therapies for COVID-19. Here we profiled a library of drugs encompassing approximately 12,000 clinical-stage or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved small molecules to identify candidate therapeutic drugs for COVID-19. We report the identification of 100 molecules that inhibit viral replication of SARS-CoV-2, including 21 drugs that exhibit dose-response relationships. Of these, thirteen were found to harbour effective concentrations commensurate with probable achievable therapeutic doses in patients, including the PIKfyve kinase inhibitor apilimod2-4 and the cysteine protease inhibitors MDL-28170, Z LVG CHN2, VBY-825 and ONO 5334. Notably, MDL-28170, ONO 5334 and apilimod were found to antagonize viral replication in human pneumocyte-like cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, and apilimod also demonstrated antiviral efficacy in a primary human lung explant model. Since most of the molecules identified in this study have already advanced into the clinic, their known pharmacological and human safety profiles will enable accelerated preclinical and clinical evaluation of these drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

Antiviral Agents/analysis , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/growth & development , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/analysis , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Synergism , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Hydrazones , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Models, Biological , Morpholines/analysis , Morpholines/pharmacology , Pandemics , Pyrimidines , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Small Molecule Libraries/analysis , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Triazines/analysis , Triazines/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
ChemMedChem ; 15(11): 907-932, 2020 06 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-108817


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is spreading at an alarming rate and has created an unprecedented health emergency around the globe. There is no effective vaccine or approved drug treatment against COVID-19 and other pathogenic coronaviruses. The development of antiviral agents is an urgent priority. Biochemical events critical to the coronavirus replication cycle provided a number of attractive targets for drug development. These include, spike protein for binding to host cell-surface receptors, proteolytic enzymes that are essential for processing polyproteins into mature viruses, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase for RNA replication. There has been a lot of ground work for drug discovery and development against these targets. Also, high-throughput screening efforts have led to the identification of diverse lead structures, including natural product-derived molecules. This review highlights past and present drug discovery and medicinal-chemistry approaches against SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and COVID-19 targets. The review hopes to stimulate further research and will be a useful guide to the development of effective therapies against COVID-19 and other pathogenic coronaviruses.

Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Chemistry, Pharmaceutical/trends , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Development , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Drug Discovery , Humans , Models, Molecular , Pandemics , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use
J Virol ; 94(11)2020 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-10361


Coronaviruses express a multifunctional papain-like protease, termed papain-like protease 2 (PLP2). PLP2 acts as a protease that cleaves the viral replicase polyprotein and as a deubiquitinating (DUB) enzyme which removes ubiquitin (Ub) moieties from ubiquitin-conjugated proteins. Previous in vitro studies implicated PLP2/DUB activity as a negative regulator of the host interferon (IFN) response, but the role of DUB activity during virus infection was unknown. Here, we used X-ray structure-guided mutagenesis and functional studies to identify amino acid substitutions within the ubiquitin-binding surface of PLP2 that reduced DUB activity without affecting polyprotein processing activity. We engineered a DUB mutation (Asp1772 to Ala) into a murine coronavirus and evaluated the replication and pathogenesis of the DUB mutant virus (DUBmut) in cultured macrophages and in mice. We found that the DUBmut virus replicates similarly to the wild-type (WT) virus in cultured cells, but the DUBmut virus activates an IFN response at earlier times compared to the wild-type virus infection in macrophages, consistent with DUB activity negatively regulating the IFN response. We compared the pathogenesis of the DUBmut virus to that of the wild-type virus and found that the DUBmut-infected mice had a statistically significant reduction (P < 0.05) in viral titer in liver and spleen at day 5 postinfection (d p.i.), although both wild-type and DUBmut virus infections resulted in similar liver pathology. Overall, this study demonstrates that structure-guided mutagenesis aids the identification of critical determinants of the PLP2-ubiquitin complex and that PLP2/DUB activity plays a role as an interferon antagonist in coronavirus pathogenesis.IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses employ a genetic economy by encoding multifunctional proteins that function in viral replication and also modify the host environment to disarm the innate immune response. The coronavirus papain-like protease 2 (PLP2) domain possesses protease activity, which cleaves the viral replicase polyprotein, and also DUB activity (deconjugating ubiquitin/ubiquitin-like molecules from modified substrates) using identical catalytic residues. To separate the DUB activity from the protease activity, we employed a structure-guided mutagenesis approach and identified residues that are important for ubiquitin binding. We found that mutating the ubiquitin-binding residues results in a PLP2 that has reduced DUB activity but retains protease activity. We engineered a recombinant murine coronavirus to express the DUB mutant and showed that the DUB mutant virus activated an earlier type I interferon response in macrophages and exhibited reduced replication in mice. The results of this study demonstrate that PLP2/DUB is an interferon antagonist and a virulence trait of coronaviruses.

Coronavirus Infections/virology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/virology , Mice , Models, Molecular , Murine hepatitis virus/pathogenicity , Mutagenesis , Protein Conformation , Structure-Activity Relationship , Ubiquitination , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Virulence , Virus Replication