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Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4848, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354102


There is currently a lack of effective drugs to treat people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 Non-structural protein 13 (NSP13) has been identified as a target for anti-virals due to its high sequence conservation and essential role in viral replication. Structural analysis reveals two "druggable" pockets on NSP13 that are among the most conserved sites in the entire SARS-CoV-2 proteome. Here we present crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 NSP13 solved in the APO form and in the presence of both phosphate and a non-hydrolysable ATP analog. Comparisons of these structures reveal details of conformational changes that provide insights into the helicase mechanism and possible modes of inhibition. To identify starting points for drug development we have performed a crystallographic fragment screen against NSP13. The screen reveals 65 fragment hits across 52 datasets opening the way to structure guided development of novel antiviral agents.

Methyltransferases/chemistry , RNA Helicases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Adenosine Triphosphate/chemistry , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Apoenzymes/chemistry , Apoenzymes/metabolism , Binding Sites , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Design , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/metabolism , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Phosphates/chemistry , Phosphates/metabolism , Protein Conformation , RNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
SLAS Discov ; 26(9): 1200-1211, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290310


The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly brought the healthcare systems worldwide to a breaking point, along with devastating socioeconomic consequences. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease, uses RNA capping to evade the human immune system. Nonstructural protein (nsp) 14 is one of the 16 nsps in SARS-CoV-2 and catalyzes the methylation of the viral RNA at N7-guanosine in the cap formation process. To discover small-molecule inhibitors of nsp14 methyltransferase (MTase) activity, we developed and employed a radiometric MTase assay to screen a library of 161 in-house synthesized S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) competitive MTase inhibitors and SAM analogs. Among six identified screening hits, SS148 inhibited nsp14 MTase activity with an IC50 value of 70 ± 6 nM and was selective against 20 human protein lysine MTases, indicating significant differences in SAM binding sites. Interestingly, DS0464 with an IC50 value of 1.1 ± 0.2 µM showed a bisubstrate competitive inhibitor mechanism of action. DS0464 was also selective against 28 out of 33 RNA, DNA, and protein MTases. The structure-activity relationship provided by these compounds should guide the optimization of selective bisubstrate nsp14 inhibitors and may provide a path toward a novel class of antivirals against COVID-19, and possibly other coronaviruses.

COVID-19/genetics , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Protein Binding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Methylation , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication/genetics
J Proteome Res ; 20(8): 4212-4215, 2021 08 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284675


In the absence of effective treatment, COVID-19 is likely to remain a global disease burden. Compounding this threat is the near certainty that novel coronaviruses with pandemic potential will emerge in years to come. Pan-coronavirus drugs-agents active against both SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses-would address both threats. A strategy to develop such broad-spectrum inhibitors is to pharmacologically target binding sites on SARS-CoV-2 proteins that are highly conserved in other known coronaviruses, the assumption being that any selective pressure to keep a site conserved across past viruses will apply to future ones. Here we systematically mapped druggable binding pockets on the experimental structure of 15 SARS-CoV-2 proteins and analyzed their variation across 27 α- and ß-coronaviruses and across thousands of SARS-CoV-2 samples from COVID-19 patients. We find that the two most conserved druggable sites are a pocket overlapping the RNA binding site of the helicase nsp13 and the catalytic site of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase nsp12, both components of the viral replication-transcription complex. We present the data on a public web portal (, where users can interactively navigate individual protein structures and view the genetic variability of drug-binding pockets in 3D.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Humans , Pandemics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics