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J Nat Med ; 75(4): 1080-1085, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375679


The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contains a cleavage motif R-X-X-R for furin-like enzymes at the boundary of the S1/S2 subunits. The cleavage of the site by cellular proteases is essential for S protein activation and virus entry. We screened the inhibitory effects of crude drugs on in vitro furin-like enzymatic activities using a fluorogenic substrate with whole-cell lysates. Of the 124 crude drugs listed in the Japanese Pharmacopeia, aqueous ethanolic extract of Cnidii Monnieris Fructus, which is the dried fruit of Cnidium monnieri Cussion, significantly inhibited the furin-like enzymatic activities. We further fractionated the plant extract and isolated the two active compounds with the inhibitory activity, namely, imperatorin and osthole, whose IC50 values were 1.45 mM and 9.45 µM, respectively. Our results indicated that Cnidii Monnieris Fructus might exert inhibitory effects on furin-like enzymatic activities, and that imperatorin and osthole of the crude drug could be potential inhibitors of the motif cleavage.

Cnidium/chemistry , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Assays , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Furin/metabolism , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , A549 Cells , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism