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2.
Antiviral Res ; 204: 105350, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1944193

ABSTRACT

Two years after its emergence, SARS-CoV-2 still represents a serious and global threat to human health. Antiviral drug development usually takes a long time and, to increase the chances of success, chemical variability of hit compounds represents a valuable source for the discovery of new antivirals. In this work, we applied a platform of variably oriented virtual screening campaigns to seek for novel chemical scaffolds for SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) inhibitors. The study on the resulting 30 best hits led to the identification of a series of structurally unrelated Mpro inhibitors. Some of them exhibited antiviral activity in the low micromolar range against SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses (HCoVs) in different cell lines. Time-of-addition experiments demonstrated an antiviral effect during the viral replication cycle at a time frame consistent with the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity. As a proof-of-concept, to validate the pharmaceutical potential of the selected hits against SARS-CoV-2, we rationally optimized one of the hit compounds and obtained two potent SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors with increased activity against Mpro both in vitro and in a cellular context, as well as against SARS-CoV-2 replication in infected cells. This study significantly contributes to the expansion of the chemical variability of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors and provides new scaffolds to be exploited for pan-coronavirus antiviral drug development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protease Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology
3.
J Chem Inf Model ; 62(12): 2901-2908, 2022 06 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890094

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of COVID-19 disease, has rapidly imposed an urgent need to identify effective drug candidates. In this context, the high resolution and non-redundant beta-Coronavirus protein cavities database is pivotal to help virtual screening protocols. Furthermore, the cross-relationship among cavities can lead to highlighting multitarget therapy chances. Here, we first collect all protein cavities on SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV X-ray structures, and then, we compute a similarity map by using molecular interaction fields (MIFs). All the results come together in CROMATIC (CROss-relationship MAp of CaviTIes from Coronaviruses). CROMATIC encloses both a comprehensive and a non-redundant version of the cavities collection and a similarity map revealing, on the one hand, cavities that are conserved among the three Coronaviruses and, on the other hand, unexpected similarities among cavities that can represent a key starting point for multitarget therapy strategies. Similarity analysis was also performed for the available structures of SARS-CoV-2 spike variants, linking sequence mutations to three-dimensional interaction alterations. The CROMATIC repository is freely available to the scientific community at https://github.com/moldiscovery/sars-cromatic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Eur J Med Chem ; 226: 113814, 2021 Dec 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385490

ABSTRACT

Indomethacin (INM), a well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, has recently gained attention for its antiviral activity demonstrated in drug repurposing studies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although the mechanism of action of INM is not yet fully understood, recent studies have indicated that it acts at an early stage of the coronaviruses (CoVs) replication cycle. In addition, a proteomic study reported that the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of INM could be also ascribed to its ability to inhibit human prostaglandin E synthase type 2 (PGES-2), a host protein which interacts with the SARS-CoV-2 NSP7 protein. Although INM does not potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in infected Vero E6 cells, here we have explored for the first time the application of the Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) technology in order to develop more potent INM-derived PROTACs with anti-CoV activity. In this study, we report the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of a series of INM-based PROTACs endowed with antiviral activity against a panel of human CoVs, including different SARS-CoV-2 strains. Two PROTACs showed a strong improvement in antiviral potency compared to INM. Molecular modelling studies support human PGES-2 as a potential target of INM-based antiviral PROTACs, thus paving the way toward the development of host-directed anti-CoVs strategies. To the best of our knowledge, these PROTACs represent the first-in-class INM-based PROTACs with antiviral activity and also the first example of the application of PROTACs to develop pan-coronavirus agents.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Indomethacin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
IUBMB Life ; 74(1): 93-100, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1353459

ABSTRACT

Unfolded protein response (UPR) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress are aspects of SARS-CoV-2-host cell interaction with proposed role in the cytopathic and inflammatory pathogenesis of this viral infection. The role of the NF-kB pathway in these cellular processes remains poorly characterized. When investigated in VERO-E6 cells, SARS-CoV-2 infection was found to markedly stimulate NF-kB protein expression and activity. NF-kB activation occurs early in the infection process (6 hpi) and it is associated with increased MAPK signaling and expression of the UPR inducer IRE-1α. These signal transduction processes characterize the cellular stress response to the virus promoting a pro-inflammatory environment and caspase activation in the host cell. Inhibition of viral replication by the viral protease inhibitor Nelfinavir reverts all these molecular changes also stimulating c-Jun expression, a key component of the JNK/AP-1 pathway with important role in the IRE-1α-mediated transcriptional regulation of stress response genes with anti-inflammatory and cytoprotection function. The present study demonstrates that UPR signaling and its interaction with cellular MAPKs and the NF-kB activity are important aspects of SARS-CoV-2-host cell interaction that deserve further investigation to identify more efficient therapies for this viral infection.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , NF-kappa B/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Caspase 9/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , Humans , MAP Kinase Signaling System/drug effects , Models, Biological , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells
6.
Redox Biol ; 45: 102041, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263367

ABSTRACT

Viral infections sustain their replication cycle promoting a pro-oxidant environment in the host cell. In this context, specific alterations of the levels and homeostatic function of the tripeptide glutathione have been reported to play a causal role in the pro-oxidant and cytopathic effects (CPE) of the virus. In this study, these aspects were investigated for the first time in SARS-CoV2-infected Vero E6 cells, a reliable and well-characterized in vitro model of this infection. SARS-CoV2 markedly decreased the levels of cellular thiols, essentially lowering the reduced form of glutathione (GSH). Such an important defect occurred early in the CPE process (in the first 24 hpi). Thiol analysis in N-acetyl-Cys (NAC)-treated cells and membrane transporter expression data demonstrated that both a lowered uptake of the GSH biosynthesis precursor Cys and an increased efflux of cellular thiols, could play a role in this context. Increased levels of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and protein glutathionylation were also observed along with upregulation of the ER stress marker PERK. The antiviral drugs Remdesivir (Rem) and Nelfinavir (Nel) influenced these changes at different levels, essentially confirming the importance or blocking viral replication to prevent GSH depletion in the host cell. Accordingly, Nel, the most potent antiviral in our in vitro study, produced a timely activation of Nrf2 transcription factor and a GSH enhancing response that synergized with NAC to restore GSH levels in the infected cells. Despite poor in vitro antiviral potency and GSH enhancing function, Rem treatment was found to prevent the SARS-CoV2-induced glutathionylation of cellular proteins. In conclusion, SARS-CoV2 infection impairs the metabolism of cellular glutathione. NAC and the antiviral Nel can prevent such defect in vitro.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Glutathione , Glutathione/metabolism , Glutathione Disulfide/metabolism , Humans , Oxidation-Reduction , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Viruses ; 13(3)2021 03 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1129784

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to establish the persistence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on inanimate surfaces such as plastic, stainless steel, and glass during UV-C irradiation which is a physical means commonly utilized in sanitization procedures. The viral inactivation rate, virus half-life, and percentage of titer reduction after UV-C irradiation were assessed. Infectivity was maintained on plastic and glass until 120 h and on stainless steel until 72 h. The virus half-life was 5.3, 4.4, and 4.2 h on plastic, stainless steel, and glass, respectively. In all cases, titer decay was >99% after drop drying. UV-C irradiation efficiently reduced virus titer (99.99%), with doses ranging from 10.25 to 23.71 mJ/cm2. Plastic and stainless steel needed higher doses to achieve target reduction. The total inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 on glass was obtained with the lower dose applied. SARS-CoV-2 survival can be long lasting on inanimate surfaces. It is worth recommending efficient disinfection protocols as a measure of prevention of viral spread. UV-C can provide rapid, efficient and sustainable sanitization procedures of different materials and surfaces. The dosages and mode of irradiation are important parameters to consider in their implementation as an important means to fight the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Disinfection/methods , SARS-CoV-2/radiation effects , Virus Inactivation/radiation effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disinfection/instrumentation , Glass/analysis , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Stainless Steel/analysis , Ultraviolet Rays , Viral Load/radiation effects
8.
New Journal of Chemistry ; 45(2):522-525, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1035934

ABSTRACT

Non-structural protein 9 (Nsp9) plays a key role in viral replication of coronavirus and represents a promising target for anti-SARS-CoV-2 strategies. In order to find pockets with potential druggability, four binding-site search methods were employed. One potentially druggable pocket was found and compared to a pocket database to search for similar pockets of viral proteins containing co-crystallized small-molecules. This resulted in 16 molecules with known antiviral activity that were subsequently analyzed by molecular docking using both the dimer and monomer forms of Nsp9 as receptors. Using these molecules as probes, the binding site was mapped according to the amino acids and to their specific interactions involved in harboring these compounds. Molecular dynamics simulations suggested that the dimer and monomer forms are stable and pointed to a reduced flexibility of the monomer compared to the dimer. The pocket of the monomer was also shown to be more accessible and more prone to small-molecule binding.

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