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PLoS Pathog ; 18(6): e1010590, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1892333


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been transmitted across all over the world, in contrast to the limited epidemic of genetically- and virologically-related SARS-CoV. However, the molecular basis explaining the difference in the virological characteristics among SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV has been poorly defined. Here we identified that host sialoglycans play a significant role in the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection, while this was not the case with SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly inhibited by α2-6-linked sialic acid-containing compounds, but not by α2-3 analog, in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells. The α2-6-linked compound bound to SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 subunit to competitively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 attachment to cells. Enzymatic removal of cell surface sialic acids impaired the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 spike and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), and suppressed the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection over time, in contrast to its least effect on SARS-CoV spread. Our study provides a novel molecular basis of SARS-CoV-2 infection which illustrates the distinctive characteristics from SARS-CoV.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Polysaccharides/metabolism , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
J Nat Prod ; 85(1): 284-291, 2022 01 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596477


We have previously reported that neoechinulin B (1a), a prenylated indole diketopiperazine alkaloid, shows antiviral activities against hepatitis C virus (HCV) via the inactivation of the liver X receptors (LXRs) and the resultant disruption of double-membrane vesicles. In this study, a two-step synthesis of the diketopiperazine scaffold of 1a was achieved by the base-induced coupling of 1,4-diacetyl-3-{[(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)oxy]methyl}piperazine-2,5-dione with aldehydes, followed by the treatment of the resultant coupling products with tetra-n-butylammonium fluoride. Compound 1a and its 16 derivatives 1b-q were prepared using this method. Furthermore, variecolorin H, a related alkaloid, was obtained by the acid treatment of 1a in MeOH. The antiviral evaluation of 1a and its derivatives revealed that 1a, 1c, 1d, 1h, 1j, 1l, and 1o exhibited both anti-HCV and anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activities. The results of this study indicate that the exomethylene moiety on the diketopiperazine ring is important for the antiviral activities. The antiviral compounds can inhibit the production of HCV and SARS-CoV-2 by inactivating LXRs.

Alkaloids/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Hepacivirus/drug effects , Piperazines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Alkaloids/chemical synthesis , Alkaloids/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Line, Tumor , Diketopiperazines/chemistry , Diketopiperazines/pharmacology , Humans , Liver X Receptors/antagonists & inhibitors , Molecular Structure , Piperazines/chemical synthesis , Piperazines/chemistry , Structure-Activity Relationship , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects
Front Microbiol ; 12: 651403, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231355


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused serious public health, social, and economic damage worldwide and effective drugs that prevent or cure COVID-19 are urgently needed. Approved drugs including Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir or Interferon were reported to inhibit the infection or propagation of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), however, their clinical efficacies have not yet been well demonstrated. To identify drugs with higher antiviral potency, we screened approved anti-parasitic/anti-protozoal drugs and identified an anti-malarial drug, Mefloquine, which showed the highest anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity among the tested compounds. Mefloquine showed higher anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity than Hydroxychloroquine in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu-3 cells, with IC50 = 1.28 µM, IC90 = 2.31 µM, and IC99 = 4.39 µM in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells. Mefloquine inhibited viral entry after viral attachment to the target cell. Combined treatment with Mefloquine and Nelfinavir, a replication inhibitor, showed synergistic antiviral activity. Our mathematical modeling based on the drug concentration in the lung predicted that Mefloquine administration at a standard treatment dosage could decline viral dynamics in patients, reduce cumulative viral load to 7% and shorten the time until virus elimination by 6.1 days. These data cumulatively underscore Mefloquine as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitor.

Int J Mol Sci ; 22(6)2021 Mar 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143519


The development of effective antiviral drugs targeting the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is urgently needed to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have previously studied the use of semi-synthetic derivatives of oxysterols, oxidized derivatives of cholesterol as drug candidates for the inhibition of cancer, fibrosis, and bone regeneration. In this study, we screened a panel of naturally occurring and semi-synthetic oxysterols for anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity using a cell culture infection assay. We show that the natural oxysterols, 7-ketocholesterol, 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol, 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol, and 27-hydroxycholesterol, substantially inhibited SARS-CoV-2 propagation in cultured cells. Among semi-synthetic oxysterols, Oxy210 and Oxy232 displayed more robust anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities, reducing viral replication more than 90% at 10 µM and 99% at 15 µM, respectively. When orally administered in mice, peak plasma concentrations of Oxy210 fell into a therapeutically relevant range (19 µM), based on the dose-dependent curve for antiviral activity in our cell-based assay. Mechanistic studies suggest that Oxy210 reduced replication of SARS-CoV-2 by disrupting the formation of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs); intracellular membrane compartments associated with viral replication. Our study warrants further evaluation of Oxy210 and Oxy232 as a safe and reliable oral medication, which could help protect vulnerable populations with increased risk of developing COVID-19.

Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Oxysterols/chemistry , Oxysterols/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Mice , Nucleocapsid Proteins/drug effects , Oxysterols/administration & dosage , Oxysterols/pharmacokinetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Replication Compartments/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects