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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
Saudi J Biol Sci ; 29(1): 65-74, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537079


Boesenbergia rotunda (L.) Mansf., commonly known as fingerroot is a perennial herb in the Zingiberaceae family with anticancer, anti-leptospiral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiulcer, and anti-herpes viral activities. While the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) inhibitory activity of B. rotunda extract has been recently found, the active compounds contributing to this activity are yet unknown. The main protease (Mpro) enzyme is one of the most well established therapeutic targets among coronaviruses which plays a vital role in the maturation and cleavage of polyproteins during viral replication. The current work aims to identify active phytochemical substances from B. rotunda extract that can inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 by using a combined molecular docking and dynamic simulation approaches. The virtual screening experiment revealed that fifteen molecules out of twenty-three major active compounds in the plant extract have acceptable drug-like characteristics. Alpinetin, Pinocembrin, and Pinostrobin have binding energies of -7.51 kcal/mol, -7.21 kcal/mol, and -7.18 kcal/mol, respectively, and can suppress Mpro activity. The stability of the simulated complexes of the lead compounds with the drug-receptor is demonstrated by 100-ns MD simulations. The binding free energies study utilizing molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) and molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) show that the compounds and Mpro enzyme have favourable thermodynamic interactions, which are majorly driven by van der Waals forces. Thus, the selected bioactive phytochemicals from B. rotunda might be used as anti-SARS-CoV-2 candidates that target the Mpro enzyme.