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Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12740, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275953

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 variants replacing the first wave strain pose an increased threat by their potential ability to escape pre-existing humoral protection. An angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) decoy that competes with endogenous ACE2 for binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (S RBD) and inhibits infection may offer a therapeutic option with sustained efficacy against variants. Here, we used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation to predict ACE2 sequence substitutions that might increase its affinity for S RBD and screened candidate ACE2 decoys in vitro. The lead ACE2(T27Y/H34A)-IgG1FC fusion protein with enhanced S RBD affinity shows greater live SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization capability than wild type ACE2. MD simulation was used to predict the effects of S RBD variant mutations on decoy affinity that was then confirmed by testing of an ACE2 Triple Decoy that included an additional enzyme activity-deactivating H374N substitution against mutated S RBD. The ACE2 Triple Decoy maintains high affinity for mutated S RBD, displays enhanced affinity for S RBD N501Y or L452R, and has the highest affinity for S RBD with both E484K and N501Y mutations, making it a viable therapeutic option for the prevention or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a high likelihood of efficacy against variants.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , Drug Discovery/methods , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Domains/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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