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Nat Microbiol ; 7(5): 716-725, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852420


Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to cause waves of new infections globally. Developing effective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants is an urgent task. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive drug target because of its central role in viral replication and its conservation among variants. We herein report a series of potent α-ketoamide-containing Mpro inhibitors obtained using the Ugi four-component reaction. The prioritized compound, Y180, showed an IC50 of 8.1 nM against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and had oral bioavailability of 92.9%, 31.9% and 85.7% in mice, rats and dogs, respectively. Y180 protected against wild-type SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and P.3 (Theta), with EC50 of 11.4, 20.3, 34.4 and 23.7 nM, respectively. Oral treatment with Y180 displayed a remarkable antiviral potency and substantially ameliorated the virus-induced tissue damage in both nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-infected K18-human ACE2 (K18-hACE2) transgenic mice. Therapeutic treatment with Y180 improved the survival of mice from 0 to 44.4% (P = 0.0086) upon B.1.617.1 infection in the lethal infection model. Importantly, Y180 was also highly effective against the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant both in vitro and in vivo. Overall, our study provides a promising lead compound for oral drug development against SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Dogs , Humans , Mice , Rats
Cell Res ; 31(12): 1263-1274, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1414176


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is an important bioactive lipid molecule in cell membrane metabolism and binds to G protein-coupled S1P receptors (S1PRs) to regulate embryonic development, physiological homeostasis, and pathogenic processes in various organs. S1PRs are lipid-sensing receptors and are therapeutic targets for drug development, including potential treatment of COVID-19. Herein, we present five cryo-electron microscopy structures of S1PRs bound to diverse drug agonists and the heterotrimeric Gi protein. Our structural and functional assays demonstrate the different binding modes of chemically distinct agonists of S1PRs, reveal the mechanical switch that activates these receptors, and provide a framework for understanding ligand selectivity and G protein coupling.

Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors/agonists , Azetidines/chemistry , Azetidines/metabolism , Benzyl Compounds/chemistry , Benzyl Compounds/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Signal Transduction , Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors/genetics , Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors/metabolism
Science ; 371(6536): 1374-1378, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255508


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continually poses serious threats to global public health. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 plays a central role in viral replication. We designed and synthesized 32 new bicycloproline-containing Mpro inhibitors derived from either boceprevir or telaprevir, both of which are approved antivirals. All compounds inhibited SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity in vitro, with 50% inhibitory concentration values ranging from 7.6 to 748.5 nM. The cocrystal structure of Mpro in complex with MI-23, one of the most potent compounds, revealed its interaction mode. Two compounds (MI-09 and MI-30) showed excellent antiviral activity in cell-based assays. In a transgenic mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, oral or intraperitoneal treatment with MI-09 or MI-30 significantly reduced lung viral loads and lung lesions. Both also displayed good pharmacokinetic properties and safety in rats.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chemokine CXCL10/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Humans , Interferon-beta/metabolism , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Oligopeptides , Proline/analogs & derivatives , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Protease Inhibitors/toxicity , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Replication