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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307686

ABSTRACT

A worldwide effort is ongoing to discover drugs against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has so far caused >3.5 million fatalities (https://covid19.who.int/). The virus essential RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex is targeted by several nucleoside/tide analogues whose mechanisms of action and clinical potential are currently evaluated. The guanosine analogue AT-527, a double prodrug of its 5'-triphosphate AT-9010, is currently in phase III clinical trials as a COVID19 treatment. Here we report the cryo-EM structure at 2.98 Å resolution of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp12-nsp7-(nsp8)2 complex with RNA showing AT-9010 bound at three sites of nsp12. At the RdRp active-site, one AT-9010 is incorporated into the RNA product. Its 2'-methyl group prevents correct alignment of a second AT-9010 occupying the incoming NTP pocket. The 2'-F, 2'-methyl 3'-OH ribose scaffold explains the non-obligate RNA chain-termination potency of this NA series for both HCV NS5 and SARS-CoV RTCs. A third AT-9010 molecule 5'-diphosphate binds to a coronavirus-specific pocket in the nsp12 N-terminus NiRAN domain, a SelO pseudo-kinase structural and functional homologue. This unique binding mode impedes NiRAN-mediated UMPylation of SARS-CoV-2 nsp8 and nsp9 proteins. Our results suggest a mechanism of action for AT-527 in line with a therapeutic use for COVID19.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 621, 2022 02 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671551

ABSTRACT

The guanosine analog AT-527 represents a promising candidate against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2). AT-527 recently entered phase III clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Once in cells, AT-527 is converted into its triphosphate form, AT-9010, that presumably targets the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp, nsp12), for incorporation into viral RNA. Here we report a 2.98 Å cryo-EM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp12-nsp7-nsp82-RNA complex, showing AT-9010 bound at three sites of nsp12. In the RdRp active-site, one AT-9010 is incorporated at the 3' end of the RNA product strand. Its modified ribose group (2'-fluoro, 2'-methyl) prevents correct alignment of the incoming NTP, in this case a second AT-9010, causing immediate termination of RNA synthesis. The third AT-9010 is bound to the N-terminal domain of nsp12 - known as the NiRAN. In contrast to native NTPs, AT-9010 is in a flipped orientation in the active-site, with its guanine base unexpectedly occupying a previously unnoticed cavity. AT-9010 outcompetes all native nucleotides for NiRAN binding, inhibiting its nucleotidyltransferase activity. The dual mechanism of action of AT-527 at both RdRp and NiRAN active sites represents a promising research avenue against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Guanosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Phosphoramides/chemistry , Phosphoramides/pharmacology , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Guanosine Monophosphate/chemistry , Guanosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Humans , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
3.
Elife ; 102021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456505

ABSTRACT

The absence of 'shovel-ready' anti-coronavirus drugs during vaccine development has exceedingly worsened the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Furthermore, new vaccine-resistant variants and coronavirus outbreaks may occur in the near future, and we must be ready to face this possibility. However, efficient antiviral drugs are still lacking to this day, due to our poor understanding of the mode of incorporation and mechanism of action of nucleotides analogs that target the coronavirus polymerase to impair its essential activity. Here, we characterize the impact of remdesivir (RDV, the only FDA-approved anti-coronavirus drug) and other nucleotide analogs (NAs) on RNA synthesis by the coronavirus polymerase using a high-throughput, single-molecule, magnetic-tweezers platform. We reveal that the location of the modification in the ribose or in the base dictates the catalytic pathway(s) used for its incorporation. We show that RDV incorporation does not terminate viral RNA synthesis, but leads the polymerase into backtrack as far as 30 nt, which may appear as termination in traditional ensemble assays. SARS-CoV-2 is able to evade the endogenously synthesized product of the viperin antiviral protein, ddhCTP, though the polymerase incorporates this NA well. This experimental paradigm is essential to the discovery and development of therapeutics targeting viral polymerases.


To multiply and spread from cell to cell, the virus responsible for COVID-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2) must first replicate its genetic information. This process involves a 'polymerase' protein complex making a faithful copy by assembling a precise sequence of building blocks, or nucleotides. The only drug approved against SARS-CoV-2 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), remdesivir, consists of a nucleotide analog, a molecule whose structure is similar to the actual building blocks needed for replication. If the polymerase recognizes and integrates these analogs into the growing genetic sequence, the replication mechanism is disrupted, and the virus cannot multiply. Most approaches to study this process seem to indicate that remdesivir works by stopping the polymerase and terminating replication altogether. Yet, exactly how remdesivir and other analogs impair the synthesis of new copies of the virus remains uncertain. To explore this question, Seifert, Bera et al. employed an approach called magnetic tweezers which uses a magnetic field to manipulate micro-particles with great precision. Unlike other methods, this technique allows analogs to be integrated under conditions similar to those found in cells, and to be examined at the level of a single molecule. The results show that contrary to previous assumptions, remdesivir does not terminate replication; instead, it causes the polymerase to pause and backtrack (which may appear as termination in other techniques). The same approach was then applied to other nucleotide analogs, some of which were also found to target the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase. However, these analogs are incorporated differently to remdesivir and with less efficiency. They also obstruct the polymerase in distinct ways. Taken together, the results by Seifert, Bera et al. suggest that magnetic tweezers can be a powerful approach to reveal how analogs interfere with replication. This information could be used to improve currently available analogs as well as develop new antiviral drugs that are more effective against SARS-CoV-2. This knowledge will be key at a time when treatments against COVID-19 are still lacking, and may be needed to protect against new variants and future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Nucleotides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Nucleotides/metabolism , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Stochastic Processes , Virus Replication/drug effects
4.
J Virol Methods ; 288: 114013, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912400

ABSTRACT

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) emergence in 2003 introduced the first serious human coronavirus pathogen to an unprepared world. To control emerging viruses, existing successful anti(retro)viral therapies can inspire antiviral strategies, as conserved viral enzymes (eg., viral proteases and RNA-dependent RNA polymerases) represent targets of choice. Since 2003, much effort has been expended in the characterization of the SARS-CoV replication/transcription machinery. Until recently, a pure and highly active preparation of SARS-CoV recombinant RNA synthesis machinery was not available, impeding target-based high throughput screening of drug candidates against this viral family. The current Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic revealed a new pathogen whose RNA synthesis machinery is highly (>96 % aa identity) homologous to SARS-CoV. This phylogenetic relatedness highlights the potential use of conserved replication enzymes to discover inhibitors against this significant pathogen, which in turn, contributes to scientific preparedness against emerging viruses. Here, we report the use of a purified and highly active SARS-CoV replication/transcription complex (RTC) to set-up a high-throughput screening of Coronavirus RNA synthesis inhibitors. The screening of a small (1520 compounds) chemical library of FDA-approved drugs demonstrates the robustness of our assay and will allow to speed-up drug discovery against the SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Fluorescent Dyes , High-Throughput Screening Assays , RNA, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS Virus/genetics , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Activation , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , High-Throughput Screening Assays/standards , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Templates, Genetic
5.
NAR Genom Bioinform ; 2(1): lqz022, 2020 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-824972

ABSTRACT

The order Nidovirales is a diverse group of (+)RNA viruses, classified together based on their common genome organisation and conserved replicative enzymes, despite drastic differences in size and complexity. One such difference pertains to the mechanisms and enzymes responsible for generation of the proposed viral 5' RNA cap. Within the Coronaviridae family, two separate methytransferases (MTase), nsp14 and nsp16, perform the RNA-cap N7-guanine and 2'-OH methylation respectively for generation of the proposed m7GpppNm type I cap structure. For the majority of other families within the Nidovirales order, the presence, structure and key enzymes involved in 5' capping are far less clear. These viruses either lack completely an RNA MTase signature sequence, or lack an N7-guanine methyltransferase signature sequence, obscuring our understanding about how RNA-caps are N7-methylated for these families. Here, we report the discovery of a putative Rossmann fold RNA methyltransferase in 10 Tobaniviridae members in Orf1a, an unusual genome locus for this gene. Multiple sequence alignments and structural analyses lead us to propose this novel gene as a typical RNA-cap N7-guanine MTase with substrate specificity and active-site organization similar to the canonical eukaryotic RNA-cap N7-guanine MTase.

6.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 4682, 2020 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-779999

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has emphasized the urgent need for antiviral therapeutics. The viral RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp) is a promising target with polymerase inhibitors successfully used for the treatment of several viral diseases. We demonstrate here that Favipiravir predominantly exerts an antiviral effect through lethal mutagenesis. The SARS-CoV RdRp complex is at least 10-fold more active than any other viral RdRp known. It possesses both unusually high nucleotide incorporation rates and high-error rates allowing facile insertion of Favipiravir into viral RNA, provoking C-to-U and G-to-A transitions in the already low cytosine content SARS-CoV-2 genome. The coronavirus RdRp complex represents an Achilles heel for SARS-CoV, supporting nucleoside analogues as promising candidates for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Amides/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pyrazines/pharmacology , Amides/pharmacokinetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Models, Molecular , Mutagenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Pyrazines/pharmacokinetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
Rev Med Virol ; 30(6): 1-10, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-707429

ABSTRACT

The health emergency caused by the recent Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need to identify effective treatments against the virus causing this disease (SARS-CoV-2). The first clinical trials have been testing repurposed drugs that show promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in cultured cells. Although more than 2400 clinical trials are already under way, the actual number of tested compounds is still limited to approximately 20, alone or in combination. In addition, knowledge on their mode of action (MoA) is currently insufficient. Their first results reveal some inconsistencies and contradictory results and suggest that cohort size and quality of the control arm are two key issues for obtaining rigorous and conclusive results. Moreover, the observed discrepancies might also result from differences in the clinical inclusion criteria, including the possibility of early treatment that may be essential for therapy efficacy in patients with Covid-19. Importantly, efforts should also be made to test new compounds with a documented MoA against SARS-CoV-2 in clinical trials. Successful treatment will probably be based on multitherapies with antiviral compounds that target different steps of the virus life cycle. Moreover, a multidisciplinary approach that combines artificial intelligence, compound docking, and robust in vitro and in vivo assays will accelerate the development of new antiviral molecules. Finally, large retrospective studies on hospitalized patients are needed to evaluate the different treatments with robust statistical tools and to identify the best treatment for each Covid-19 stage. This review describes different candidate antiviral strategies for Covid-19, by focusing on their mechanism of action.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Combined Modality Therapy , Disease Management , Disease Susceptibility , Drug Development , Drug Repositioning , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Treatment Outcome
8.
Antiviral Res ; 178: 104793, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-53718

ABSTRACT

The rapid global emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has been the cause of significant health concern, highlighting the immediate need for antivirals. Viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRp) play essential roles in viral RNA synthesis, and thus remains the target of choice for the prophylactic or curative treatment of several viral diseases, due to high sequence and structural conservation. To date, the most promising broad-spectrum class of viral RdRp inhibitors are nucleoside analogues (NAs), with over 25 approved for the treatment of several medically important viral diseases. However, Coronaviruses stand out as a particularly challenging case for NA drug design due to the presence of an exonuclease (ExoN) domain capable of excising incorporated NAs and thus providing resistance to many of these available antivirals. Here we use the available structures of the SARS-CoV RdRp and ExoN proteins, as well as Lassa virus N exonuclease to derive models of catalytically competent SARS-CoV-2 enzymes. We then map a promising NA candidate, GS-441524 (the active metabolite of Remdesivir) to the nucleoside active site of both proteins, identifying the residues important for nucleotide recognition, discrimination, and excision. Interestingly, GS-441524 addresses both enzyme active sites in a manner consistent with significant incorporation, delayed chain termination, and altered excision due to the ribose 1'-CN group, which may account for the increased antiviral effect compared to other available analogues. Additionally, we propose structural and function implications of two previously identified RdRp resistance mutations in relation to resistance against Remdesivir. This study highlights the importance of considering the balance between incorporation and excision properties of NAs between the RdRp and ExoN.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antimetabolites/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Exoribonucleases/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Adenosine Monophosphate/chemistry , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/chemistry , Alanine/pharmacology , Antimetabolites/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Drug Resistance, Viral , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Conformation , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
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