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J Fluor Chem ; 250: 109865, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406296


World is witnessing one of the worst pandemics of this century caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus which has affected millions of individuals. Despite rapid efforts to develop vaccines and drugs for COVID-19, the disease is still not under control. Chloroquine (CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are two very promising inhibitors which have shown positive effect in combating the disease in preliminary experimental studies, but their use was reduced due to severe side-effects. Here, we performed a theoretical investigation of the same by studying the binding of the molecules with SARS-COV-2 Spike protein, the complex formed by Spike and ACE2 human receptor and a human serine protease TMPRSS2 which aids in cleavage of the Spike protein to initiate the viral activation in the body. Both the molecules had shown very good docking energies in the range of -6kcal/mol. Subsequently, we did a high throughput screening for other potential quinoline candidates which could be used as inhibitors. From the large pool of ligand candidates, we shortlisted the top three ligands (binding energy -8kcal/mol). We tested the stability of the docked complexes by running Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations where we observed the stability of the quinoline analogues with the Spike-ACE2 and TMPRSS2 nevertheless the quinolines were not stable with the Spike protein alone. Thus, although the inhibitors bond very well with the protein molecules their intrinsic binding affinity depends on the protein dynamics. Moreover, the quinolines were stable when bound to electronegative pockets of Spike-ACE2 or TMPRSS2 but not with Viral Spike protein. We also observed that a Fluoride based compound: 3-[3-(Trifluoromethyl)phenyl]quinoline helps the inhibitor to bind with both Spike-ACE2 and TMPRSS2 with equal probability. The molecular details presented in this study would be very useful for developing quinoline based drugs for COVID-19 treatment.

Res Sq ; 2020 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-729814


Dysfunctional immune responses contribute critically to the progression of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) from mild to severe stages including fatality, with pro-inflammatory macrophages as one of the main mediators of lung hyper-inflammation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the interactions among SARS-CoV-2 permissive cells, macrophage, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby offering important insights into new therapeutic strategies. Here, we used directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to establish a lung and macrophage co-culture system and model the host-pathogen interaction and immune response caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among the hPSC-derived lung cells, alveolar type II and ciliated cells are the major cell populations expressing the viral receptor ACE2 and co-effector TMPRSS2, and both were highly permissive to viral infection. We found that alternatively polarized macrophages (M2) and classically polarized macrophages (M1) had similar inhibitory effects on SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, only M1 macrophages significantly up-regulated inflammatory factors including IL-6 and IL-18, inhibiting growth and enhancing apoptosis of lung cells. Inhibiting viral entry into target cells using an ACE2 blocking antibody enhanced the activity of M2 macrophages, resulting in nearly complete clearance of virus and protection of lung cells. These results suggest a potential therapeutic strategy, in that by blocking viral entrance to target cells while boosting anti-inflammatory action of macrophages at an early stage of infection, M2 macrophages can eliminate SARS-CoV-2, while sparing lung cells and suppressing the dysfunctional hyper-inflammatory response mediated by M1 macrophages.