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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2268, 2022 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815534

ABSTRACT

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to threaten the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and small-molecule antivirals can provide an important therapeutic treatment option. The viral main protease (Mpro) is critical for virus replication and thus is considered an attractive drug target. We performed the design and characterization of three covalent hybrid inhibitors BBH-1, BBH-2 and NBH-2 created by splicing components of hepatitis C protease inhibitors boceprevir and narlaprevir, and known SARS-CoV-1 protease inhibitors. A joint X-ray/neutron structure of the Mpro/BBH-1 complex demonstrates that a Cys145 thiolate reaction with the inhibitor's keto-warhead creates a negatively charged oxyanion. Protonation states of the ionizable residues in the Mpro active site adapt to the inhibitor, which appears to be an intrinsic property of Mpro. Structural comparisons of the hybrid inhibitors with PF-07321332 reveal unconventional F···O interactions of PF-07321332 with Mpro which may explain its more favorable enthalpy of binding. BBH-1, BBH-2 and NBH-2 exhibit comparable antiviral properties in vitro relative to PF-07321332, making them good candidates for further design of improved antivirals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Cyclopropanes , Humans , Lactams , Leucine/analogs & derivatives , Nitriles , Proline/analogs & derivatives , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Sulfones , Urea
2.
J Med Chem ; 64(8): 4991-5000, 2021 04 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574766

ABSTRACT

The main protease (3CL Mpro) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, is an essential enzyme for viral replication with no human counterpart, making it an attractive drug target. To date, no small-molecule clinical drugs are available that specifically inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. To aid rational drug design, we determined a neutron structure of Mpro in complex with the α-ketoamide inhibitor telaprevir at near-physiological (22 °C) temperature. We directly observed protonation states in the inhibitor complex and compared them with those in the ligand-free Mpro, revealing modulation of the active-site protonation states upon telaprevir binding. We suggest that binding of other α-ketoamide covalent inhibitors can lead to the same protonation state changes in the Mpro active site. Thus, by studying the protonation state changes induced by inhibitors, we provide crucial insights to help guide rational drug design, allowing precise tailoring of inhibitors to manipulate the electrostatic environment of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Oligopeptides/chemistry , Binding Sites , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Crystallography/methods , Crystallography, X-Ray , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Neutrons , Oligopeptides/metabolism , Protein Conformation , Protons
3.
J Med Chem ; 64(23): 17366-17383, 2021 12 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493002

ABSTRACT

Creating small-molecule antivirals specific for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) proteins is crucial to battle coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) is an established drug target for the design of protease inhibitors. We performed a structure-activity relationship (SAR) study of noncovalent compounds that bind in the enzyme's substrate-binding subsites S1 and S2, revealing structural, electronic, and electrostatic determinants of these sites. The study was guided by the X-ray/neutron structure of Mpro complexed with Mcule-5948770040 (compound 1), in which protonation states were directly visualized. Virtual reality-assisted structure analysis and small-molecule building were employed to generate analogues of 1. In vitro enzyme inhibition assays and room-temperature X-ray structures demonstrated the effect of chemical modifications on Mpro inhibition, showing that (1) maintaining correct geometry of an inhibitor's P1 group is essential to preserve the hydrogen bond with the protonated His163; (2) a positively charged linker is preferred; and (3) subsite S2 prefers nonbulky modestly electronegative groups.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protease Inhibitors , Orotic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Piperazines , Protein Conformation , Static Electricity
4.
Biophys J ; 120(15): 3152-3165, 2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385180

ABSTRACT

The replication transcription complex (RTC) from the virus SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for recognizing and processing RNA for two principal purposes. The RTC copies viral RNA for propagation into new virus and for ribosomal transcription of viral proteins. To accomplish these activities, the RTC mechanism must also conform to a large number of imperatives, including RNA over DNA base recognition, basepairing, distinguishing viral and host RNA, production of mRNA that conforms to host ribosome conventions, interfacing with error checking machinery, and evading host immune responses. In addition, the RTC will discontinuously transcribe specific sections of viral RNA to amplify certain proteins over others. Central to SARS-CoV-2 viability, the RTC is therefore dynamic and sophisticated. We have conducted a systematic structural investigation of three components that make up the RTC: Nsp7, Nsp8, and Nsp12 (also known as RNA-dependent RNA polymerase). We have solved high-resolution crystal structures of the Nsp7/8 complex, providing insight into the interaction between the proteins. We have used small-angle x-ray and neutron solution scattering (SAXS and SANS) on each component individually as pairs and higher-order complexes and with and without RNA. Using size exclusion chromatography and multiangle light scattering-coupled SAXS, we defined which combination of components forms transient or stable complexes. We used contrast-matching to mask specific complex-forming components to test whether components change conformation upon complexation. Altogether, we find that individual Nsp7, Nsp8, and Nsp12 structures vary based on whether other proteins in their complex are present. Combining our crystal structure, atomic coordinates reported elsewhere, SAXS, SANS, and other biophysical techniques, we provide greater insight into the RTC assembly, mechanism, and potential avenues for disruption of the complex and its functions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Models, Molecular , RNA, Viral/genetics , Scattering, Small Angle , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Virus Replication , X-Ray Diffraction
5.
Biophys J ; 120(15): 3152-3165, 2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1316407

ABSTRACT

The replication transcription complex (RTC) from the virus SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for recognizing and processing RNA for two principal purposes. The RTC copies viral RNA for propagation into new virus and for ribosomal transcription of viral proteins. To accomplish these activities, the RTC mechanism must also conform to a large number of imperatives, including RNA over DNA base recognition, basepairing, distinguishing viral and host RNA, production of mRNA that conforms to host ribosome conventions, interfacing with error checking machinery, and evading host immune responses. In addition, the RTC will discontinuously transcribe specific sections of viral RNA to amplify certain proteins over others. Central to SARS-CoV-2 viability, the RTC is therefore dynamic and sophisticated. We have conducted a systematic structural investigation of three components that make up the RTC: Nsp7, Nsp8, and Nsp12 (also known as RNA-dependent RNA polymerase). We have solved high-resolution crystal structures of the Nsp7/8 complex, providing insight into the interaction between the proteins. We have used small-angle x-ray and neutron solution scattering (SAXS and SANS) on each component individually as pairs and higher-order complexes and with and without RNA. Using size exclusion chromatography and multiangle light scattering-coupled SAXS, we defined which combination of components forms transient or stable complexes. We used contrast-matching to mask specific complex-forming components to test whether components change conformation upon complexation. Altogether, we find that individual Nsp7, Nsp8, and Nsp12 structures vary based on whether other proteins in their complex are present. Combining our crystal structure, atomic coordinates reported elsewhere, SAXS, SANS, and other biophysical techniques, we provide greater insight into the RTC assembly, mechanism, and potential avenues for disruption of the complex and its functions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Models, Molecular , RNA, Viral/genetics , Scattering, Small Angle , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Virus Replication , X-Ray Diffraction
6.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 12(23): 5608-5615, 2021 Jun 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263456

ABSTRACT

Papain-like protease (PLpro) from SARS-CoV-2 plays essential roles in the replication cycle of the virus. In particular, it preferentially interacts with and cleaves human interferon-stimulated gene 15 (hISG15) to suppress the innate immune response of the host. We used small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering combined with computational techniques to study the mechanism of interaction of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro with hISG15. We showed that hISG15 undergoes a transition from an extended to a compact state after binding to PLpro, a conformation that has not been previously observed in complexes of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro with ISG15 from other species. Furthermore, computational analysis showed significant conformational flexibility in the ISG15 N-terminal domain, suggesting that it is weakly bound to PLpro and supports a binding mechanism that is dominated by the C-terminal ISG15 domain. This study fundamentally improves our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 deISGylation complex that will help guide development of COVID-19 therapeutics targeting this complex.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Cytokines/chemistry , Cytokines/metabolism , Interferons/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Ubiquitins/chemistry , Ubiquitins/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/genetics , Cytokines/genetics , Humans , Neutron Diffraction , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Scattering, Small Angle , Ubiquitins/genetics , X-Ray Diffraction
7.
J Biol Chem ; 295(50): 17365-17373, 2020 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-872797

ABSTRACT

The main protease (3CL Mpro) from SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of COVID-19, is an essential enzyme for viral replication. 3CL Mpro possesses an unusual catalytic dyad composed of Cys145 and His41 residues. A critical question in the field has been what the protonation states of the ionizable residues in the substrate-binding active-site cavity are; resolving this point would help understand the catalytic details of the enzyme and inform rational drug development against this pernicious virus. Here, we present the room-temperature neutron structure of 3CL Mpro, which allowed direct determination of hydrogen atom positions and, hence, protonation states in the protease. We observe that the catalytic site natively adopts a zwitterionic reactive form in which Cys145 is in the negatively charged thiolate state and His41 is doubly protonated and positively charged, instead of the neutral unreactive state usually envisaged. The neutron structure also identified the protonation states, and thus electrical charges, of all other amino acid residues and revealed intricate hydrogen-bonding networks in the active-site cavity and at the dimer interface. The fine atomic details present in this structure were made possible by the unique scattering properties of the neutron, which is an ideal probe for locating hydrogen positions and experimentally determining protonation states at near-physiological temperature. Our observations provide critical information for structure-assisted and computational drug design, allowing precise tailoring of inhibitors to the enzyme's electrostatic environment.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Neutrons , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray
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