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Nat Prod Res ; : 1-6, 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764406


The interaction of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) receptor-binding domain (RBD) of spike protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mediates cell invasion. While this interaction mechanism is conserved, the RBD is affected by amino acid mutations in variants such as Delta and Omicron, resulting in enhanced transmissibility and altered ligand binding. Tanshinones are currently investigated as multi-target antiviral agents, but the studies were limited to the original SARS-CoV-2. This study aims at investigating the interaction of tanshinones with the Delta RBD. Chloroquine, methylene blue and pyronaridine, antimalarials previously identified as SARS-CoV-2 RBD binders, were studied for reference. Docking indicated the best scores for tanshinones, while bio-layer interferometry and molecular dynamics highlighted methylene blue as the best Delta RBD binder, although with decreased affinity with respect to the original strain.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel) ; 14(10)2021 Sep 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438690


Host cell invasion by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is mediated by the interaction of the viral spike protein (S) with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) through the receptor-binding domain (RBD). In this work, computational and experimental techniques were combined to screen antimalarial compounds from different chemical classes, with the aim of identifying small molecules interfering with the RBD-ACE2 interaction and, consequently, with cell invasion. Docking studies showed that the compounds interfere with the same region of the RBD, but different interaction patterns were noted for ACE2. Virtual screening indicated pyronaridine as the most promising RBD and ACE2 ligand, and molecular dynamics simulations confirmed the stability of the predicted complex with the RBD. Bio-layer interferometry showed that artemisone and methylene blue have a strong binding affinity for RBD (KD = 0.363 and 0.226 µM). Pyronaridine also binds RBD and ACE2 in vitro (KD = 56.8 and 51.3 µM). Overall, these three compounds inhibit the binding of RBD to ACE2 in the µM range, supporting the in silico data.

J Chem Inf Model ; 61(6): 2780-2787, 2021 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1246311


In the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome, open reading frames (ORFs) encode for viral accessory proteins. Among these, Orf7a structurally resembles the members of the immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily and intracellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs), in particular. ICAMs are involved in integrin binding through lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1). Based on such considerations and on previous findings on SARS-CoV, it has been postulated that the formation of the LFA-1/Orf7a complex could contribute to SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and pathogenicity. With the current work, we aim at providing insight into this macromolecular assembly, taking advantage of the recently reported SARS-CoV-2 Orf7a structure. Protein-protein docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and a Molecular Mechanical-Generalized Born Surface Area (MM-GBSA)-based stage were enrolled to provide refined models.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 , Molecular Docking Simulation , Viral Proteins
Nat Prod Res ; : 1-6, 2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225565


The mechanism of host cell invasion of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 SARS-CoV-2 is connected with the interaction of spike protein (S) with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) through receptor-binding domain (RBD). Small molecules targeting this assembly are being investigated as drug candidates to contrast SARS-CoV-2. In this context, chloroquine, an antimalarial agent proposed as a repurposed drug to treat coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), was hypothesized to bind RBD among its other mechanisms. Similarly, artemisinin and its derivatives are being studied as potential antiviral agents. In this work, we investigated the interaction of artemisinin, its metabolite dihydroartemisinin and chloroquine with RBD by means of computational tools and in vitro. Docking studies showed that the compounds interfere with the same region of the protein and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations demonstrated the stability of the predicted complexes. Bio-layer interferometry showed that chloroquine dose-dependently binds RBD (KD = 35.9 µM) more efficiently than artemisinins.

J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 40(3): 1101-1108, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-780183


The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused a worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), which rapidly evolved as a global concern. The efforts of the scientific community are pointed towards the identification of promptly available therapeutic options. RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) is a promising target for developing small molecules to contrast SARS-CoV-2 replication. Modern computational tools can boost identification and repurposing of known drugs targeting RdRp. We here report the results regarding the screening of a database containing more than 8800 molecules, including approved, experimental, nutraceutical, illicit, withdrawn and investigational compounds. The molecules were docked against the cryo-electron microscopy structure of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp, optimized by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The adopted three-stage ensemble docking study underline that compounds formerly developed as kinase inhibitors may interact with RdRp.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

COVID-19 , Drug Repositioning , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , RNA, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , SARS-CoV-2
Healthcare (Basel) ; 8(3)2020 Aug 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-727408


In the middle of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) outbreak, the main efforts of the scientific community are rightly all focused on identifying efficient pharmacological treatments to cure the acute severe symptoms and developing a reliable vaccine. On the other hand, we cannot exclude that, in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) positive subjects, the virus infection could have long-term consequences, leading to chronic medical conditions such as dementia and neurodegenerative disease. Considering the age of SARS-CoV-2 infected subjects, the neuroinvasive potential might lead/contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we analyzed a possible link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and Alzheimer's disease risk, hypothesizing possible mechanisms at the base of disease development. This reflection raises the need to start to experimentally investigating today the mechanistic link between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and COVID-19 to be ready tomorrow.