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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(10)2023 May 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244460

ABSTRACT

The papain-like protease (PLpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a critical role in the proteolytic processing of viral polyproteins and the dysregulation of the host immune response, providing a promising therapeutic target. Here, we report the structure-guide design of novel peptidomimetic inhibitors covalently targeting SARS-CoV-2 PLpro. The resulting inhibitors demonstrate submicromolar potency in the enzymatic assay (IC50 = 0.23 µM) and significant inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro in the HEK293T cells using a cell-based protease assay (EC50 = 3.61 µM). Moreover, an X-ray crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro in complex with compound 2 confirms the covalent binding of the inhibitor to the catalytic residue cysteine 111 (C111) and emphasizes the importance of interactions with tyrosine 268 (Y268). Together, our findings reveal a new scaffold of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro inhibitors and provide an attractive starting point for further optimization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidomimetics , Humans , Peptidomimetics/pharmacology , HEK293 Cells , SARS-CoV-2 , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
2.
Chem Sci ; 14(18): 4681-4696, 2023 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2319196

ABSTRACT

Papain-like protease (PLpro) is a promising therapeutic target against SARS-CoV-2, but its restricted S1/S2 subsites pose an obstacle in developing active site-directed inhibitors. We have recently identified C270 as a novel covalent allosteric site for SARS-CoV-2 PLpro inhibitors. Here we present a theoretical investigation of the proteolysis reaction catalyzed by the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 PLpro as well as the C270R mutant. Enhanced sampling MD simulations were first performed to explore the influence of C270R mutation on the protease dynamics, and sampled thermodynamically favorable conformations were then submitted to MM/PBSA and QM/MM MD simulations for thorough characterization of the protease-substrate binding and covalent reactions. The disclosed proteolysis mechanism of PLpro, as characterized by the occurrence of proton transfer from the catalytic C111 to H272 prior to the substrate binding and with deacylation being the rate-determining step of the whole proteolysis process, is not completely identical to that of the 3C-like protease, another key cysteine protease of coronaviruses. The C270R mutation alters the structural dynamics of the BL2 loop that indirectly impairs the catalytic function of H272 and reduces the binding of the substrate with the protease, ultimately showing an inhibitory effect on PLpro. Together, these results provide a comprehensive understanding at the atomic level of the key aspects of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro proteolysis, including the catalytic activity allosterically regulated by C270 modification, which is crucial to the follow-up inhibitor design and development.

3.
Eur J Med Chem ; 231: 114130, 2022 Mar 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654357

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) 3CL protease (3CLpro) has been regarded as an extremely promising antiviral target for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we carried out a virtual screening based on commercial compounds database to find novel covalent non-peptidomimetic inhibitors of this protease. It allowed us to identify 3 hit compounds with potential covalent binding modes, which were evaluated through an enzymatic activity assay of the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro. Moreover, an X-ray crystal structure of the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro in complex with compound 8, the most potent hit with an IC50 value of 8.50 µM, confirmed the covalent binding of the predicted warhead to the catalytic residue C145, as well as portrayed interactions of the compound with S1' and S2 subsites at the ligand binding pocket. Overall, the present work not merely provided an experiment-validated covalent hit targeting the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro, but also displayed a prime example to seeking new covalent small molecules by a feasible and effective computational approach.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology
4.
Med Res Rev ; 41(4): 1965-1998, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1032327

ABSTRACT

The emergence of a variety of coronaviruses (CoVs) in the last decades has posed huge threats to human health. Especially, the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to more than 70 million infections and over 1.6 million of deaths worldwide in the past few months. None of the efficacious antiviral agents against human CoVs have been approved yet. 3C-like protease (3CLpro ) is an attractive target for antiviral intervention due to its essential role in processing polyproteins translated from viral RNA, and its conserved structural feature and substrate specificity among CoVs in spite of the sequence variation. This review focuses on all available crystal structures of 12 CoV 3CLpro s and their inhibitors, and intends to provide a comprehensive understanding of this protease from multiple aspects including its structural features, substrate specificity, inhibitor binding modes, and more importantly, to recapitulate the similarity and diversity among different CoV 3CLpro s and the structure-activity relationship of various types of inhibitors. Such an attempt could gain a deep insight into the inhibition mechanisms and drive future structure-based drug discovery targeting 3CLpro s.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Drug Discovery , Binding Sites , Drug Design , Humans , Protein Conformation , Protein Structure, Quaternary , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Structure-Activity Relationship , Substrate Specificity , COVID-19 Drug Treatment
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