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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(10)2023 May 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244460

ABSTRACT

The papain-like protease (PLpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a critical role in the proteolytic processing of viral polyproteins and the dysregulation of the host immune response, providing a promising therapeutic target. Here, we report the structure-guide design of novel peptidomimetic inhibitors covalently targeting SARS-CoV-2 PLpro. The resulting inhibitors demonstrate submicromolar potency in the enzymatic assay (IC50 = 0.23 µM) and significant inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro in the HEK293T cells using a cell-based protease assay (EC50 = 3.61 µM). Moreover, an X-ray crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro in complex with compound 2 confirms the covalent binding of the inhibitor to the catalytic residue cysteine 111 (C111) and emphasizes the importance of interactions with tyrosine 268 (Y268). Together, our findings reveal a new scaffold of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro inhibitors and provide an attractive starting point for further optimization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidomimetics , Humans , Peptidomimetics/pharmacology , HEK293 Cells , SARS-CoV-2 , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
2.
Chem Sci ; 14(18): 4681-4696, 2023 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2319196

ABSTRACT

Papain-like protease (PLpro) is a promising therapeutic target against SARS-CoV-2, but its restricted S1/S2 subsites pose an obstacle in developing active site-directed inhibitors. We have recently identified C270 as a novel covalent allosteric site for SARS-CoV-2 PLpro inhibitors. Here we present a theoretical investigation of the proteolysis reaction catalyzed by the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 PLpro as well as the C270R mutant. Enhanced sampling MD simulations were first performed to explore the influence of C270R mutation on the protease dynamics, and sampled thermodynamically favorable conformations were then submitted to MM/PBSA and QM/MM MD simulations for thorough characterization of the protease-substrate binding and covalent reactions. The disclosed proteolysis mechanism of PLpro, as characterized by the occurrence of proton transfer from the catalytic C111 to H272 prior to the substrate binding and with deacylation being the rate-determining step of the whole proteolysis process, is not completely identical to that of the 3C-like protease, another key cysteine protease of coronaviruses. The C270R mutation alters the structural dynamics of the BL2 loop that indirectly impairs the catalytic function of H272 and reduces the binding of the substrate with the protease, ultimately showing an inhibitory effect on PLpro. Together, these results provide a comprehensive understanding at the atomic level of the key aspects of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro proteolysis, including the catalytic activity allosterically regulated by C270 modification, which is crucial to the follow-up inhibitor design and development.

3.
Angewandte Chemie ; 134(52):1-9, 2022.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-2172438

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus papain‐like protease (PLpro) plays an important role in the proteolytic processing of viral polyproteins and the dysregulation of the host immune response, providing a promising therapeutic target. However, the development of inhibitors against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) PLpro is challenging owing to the restricted S1/S2 sites in the substrate binding pocket. Here we report the discovery of two activators of SARS‐CoV‐2 PLpro and the identification of the unique residue, cysteine 270 (C270), as an allosteric and covalent regulatory site for the activators. This site is also specifically modified by glutathione, resulting in protease activation. Furthermore, a compound was found to allosterically inhibit the protease activity by covalent binding to C270. Together, these results elucidate an unrevealed molecular mechanism for allosteric modulation of SARS‐CoV‐2 PLpro and provid a novel site for allosteric inhibitors design. [ FROM AUTHOR]

4.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; : e202212378, 2022 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2094147

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus papain-like protease (PLpro ) plays an important role in the proteolytic processing of viral polyproteins and the dysregulation of the host immune response, providing a promising therapeutic target. However, the development of inhibitors against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) PLpro is challenging owing to the restricted S1/S2 sites in the substrate binding pocket. Here we report the discovery of two activators of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro and the identification of the unique residue, cysteine 270 (C270), as an allosteric and covalent regulatory site for the activators. This site is also specifically modified by glutathione, resulting in protease activation. Furthermore, a compound was found to allosterically inhibit the protease activity by covalent binding to C270. Together, these results elucidate an unrevealed molecular mechanism for allosteric modulation of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro and provid a novel site for allosteric inhibitors design.

5.
Acta Pharmacol Sin ; 41(9): 1167-1177, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-691161

ABSTRACT

Human infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and there is no cure currently. The 3CL protease (3CLpro) is a highly conserved protease which is indispensable for CoVs replication, and is a promising target for development of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. In this study we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 potential of Shuanghuanglian preparation, a Chinese traditional patent medicine with a long history for treating respiratory tract infection in China. We showed that either the oral liquid of Shuanghuanglian, the lyophilized powder of Shuanghuanglian for injection or their bioactive components dose-dependently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro as well as the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells. Baicalin and baicalein, two ingredients of Shuanghuanglian, were characterized as the first noncovalent, nonpeptidomimetic inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and exhibited potent antiviral activities in a cell-based system. Remarkably, the binding mode of baicalein with SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro determined by X-ray protein crystallography was distinctly different from those of known 3CLpro inhibitors. Baicalein was productively ensconced in the core of the substrate-binding pocket by interacting with two catalytic residues, the crucial S1/S2 subsites and the oxyanion loop, acting as a "shield" in front of the catalytic dyad to effectively prevent substrate access to the catalytic dyad within the active site. Overall, this study provides an example for exploring the in vitro potency of Chinese traditional patent medicines and effectively identifying bioactive ingredients toward a specific target, and gains evidence supporting the in vivo studies of Shuanghuanglian oral liquid as well as two natural products for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections , Drugs, Chinese Herbal , Flavanones , Flavonoids , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Virus Replication/drug effects , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/chemistry , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/pharmacology , Enzyme Assays , Flavanones/chemistry , Flavanones/pharmacokinetics , Flavonoids/chemistry , Flavonoids/pharmacokinetics , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/physiology
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