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Molecules ; 26(23)2021 Dec 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555019


SARS-CoV-2 is highly homologous to SARS-CoV. To date, the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is regarded as an important drug target for the treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some experiments confirmed that several HIV protease inhibitors present the inhibitory effects on the replication of SARS-CoV-2 by inhibiting Mpro. However, the mechanism of action has still not been studied very clearly. In this work, the interaction mechanism of four HIV protease inhibitors Darunavir (DRV), Lopinavir (LPV), Nelfinavir (NFV), and Ritonavire (RTV) targeting SARS-CoV-2 Mpro was explored by applying docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and MM-GBSA methods using the broad-spectrum antiviral drug Ribavirin (RBV) as the negative and nonspecific control. Our results revealed that LPV, RTV, and NFV have higher binding affinities with Mpro, and they all interact with catalytic residues His41 and the other two key amino acids Met49 and Met165. Pharmacophore model analysis further revealed that the aromatic ring, hydrogen bond donor, and hydrophobic group are the essential infrastructure of Mpro inhibitors. Overall, this study applied computational simulation methods to study the interaction mechanism of HIV-1 protease inhibitors with SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, and the findings provide useful insights for the development of novel anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents for the treatment of COVID-19.

Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0135221, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526454


The emerging new lineages of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) have marked a new phase of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Understanding the recognition mechanisms of potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (NAbs) against the spike protein is pivotal for developing new vaccines and antibody drugs. Here, we isolated several monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) from the B cell receptor repertoires of a SARS-CoV-2 convalescent. Among these MAbs, the antibody nCoV617 demonstrates the most potent neutralizing activity against authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as prophylactic and therapeutic efficacies against the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) transgenic mouse model in vivo. The crystal structure of S-RBD in complex with nCoV617 reveals that nCoV617 mainly binds to the back of the "ridge" of RBD and shares limited binding residues with ACE2. Under the background of the S-trimer model, it potentially binds to both "up" and "down" conformations of S-RBD. In vitro mutagenesis assays show that mutant residues found in the emerging new lineage B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 do not affect nCoV617 binding to the S-RBD. These results provide a new human-sourced neutralizing antibody against the S-RBD and assist vaccine development. IMPORTANCE COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to global health and the economy, so it is necessary to find safe and effective antibody drugs and treatments. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is responsible for binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. It contains a variety of dominant neutralizing epitopes and is an important antigen for the development of new coronavirus antibodies. The significance of our research lies in the determination of new epitopes, the discovery of antibodies against RBD, and the evaluation of the antibodies' neutralizing effect. The identified antibodies here may be drug candidates for the development of clinical interventions for SARS-CoV-2.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs/immunology , Viral Load/drug effects