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1.
Thromb Haemost ; 122(6): 984-997, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915318

ABSTRACT

Two years since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) pandemic, there remain few clinically effective drugs to complement vaccines. One is the anticoagulant, heparin, which in 2004 was found able to inhibit invasion of SARS-CoV (CoV-1) and which has been employed during the current pandemic to prevent thromboembolic complications and moderate potentially damaging inflammation. Heparin has also been shown experimentally to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 attachment and infection in susceptible cells. At high therapeutic doses however, heparin increases the risk of bleeding and prolonged use can cause heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, a serious side effect. One alternative, with structural similarities to heparin, is the plant-derived, semi-synthetic polysaccharide, pentosan polysulfate (PPS). PPS is an established drug for the oral treatment of interstitial cystitis, is well-tolerated, and exhibits weaker anticoagulant effects than heparin. In an established Vero cell model, PPS and its fractions of varying molecular weights inhibited invasion by SARS-CoV-2. Intact PPS and its size-defined fractions were characterized by molecular weight distribution and chemical structure using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, then employed to explore the structural basis of interactions with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (S1 RBD) and the inhibition of Vero cell invasion. PPS was as effective as unfractionated heparin, but more effective in inhibiting cell infection than low-molecular-weight heparin (on a weight/volume basis). Isothermal titration calorimetry and viral plaque-forming assays demonstrated size-dependent binding to S1 RBD and inhibition of Vero cell invasion, suggesting the potential application of PPS as a novel inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Attachment , Animals , Anticoagulants/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Heparin/therapeutic use , Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment/drug effects
2.
ACS central science ; 8(5):527-545, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1871009

ABSTRACT

Heparan sulfate (HS) is a cell surface polysaccharide recently identified as a coreceptor with the ACE2 protein for the S1 spike protein on SARS-CoV-2 virus, providing a tractable new therapeutic target. Clinically used heparins demonstrate an inhibitory activity but have an anticoagulant activity and are supply-limited, necessitating alternative solutions. Here, we show that synthetic HS mimetic pixatimod (PG545), a cancer drug candidate, binds and destabilizes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain and directly inhibits its binding to ACE2, consistent with molecular modeling identification of multiple molecular contacts and overlapping pixatimod and ACE2 binding sites. Assays with multiple clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2 virus show that pixatimod potently inhibits the infection of monkey Vero E6 cells and physiologically relevant human bronchial epithelial cells at safe therapeutic concentrations. Pixatimod also retained broad potency against variants of concern (VOC) including B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.617.2 (Delta), and B.1.1.529 (Omicron). Furthermore, in a K18-hACE2 mouse model, pixatimod significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral titers in the upper respiratory tract and virus-induced weight loss. This demonstration of potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity tolerant to emerging mutations establishes proof-of-concept for targeting the HS–Spike protein–ACE2 axis with synthetic HS mimetics and provides a strong rationale for clinical investigation of pixatimod as a potential multimodal therapeutic for COVID-19. Heparan sulfate (HS) has emerged as a SARS-CoV-2 coreceptor. Pixatimod (PG545), an HS mimetic, inhibits infectivity of multiple variants offering a novel therapeutic approach against COVID-19.

3.
Br J Pharmacol ; 178(3): 626-635, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066635

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Currently, there are no licensed vaccines and limited antivirals for the treatment of COVID-19. Heparin (delivered systemically) is currently used to treat anticoagulant anomalies in COVID-19 patients. Additionally, in the United Kingdom, Brazil and Australia, nebulised unfractionated heparin (UFH) is being trialled in COVID-19 patients as a potential treatment. A systematic comparison of the potential antiviral effect of various heparin preparations on live wild type SARS-CoV-2, in vitro, is needed. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Seven different heparin preparations including UFH and low MW heparins (LMWH) of porcine or bovine origin were screened for antiviral activity against live SARS-CoV-2 (Australia/VIC01/2020) using a plaque inhibition assay with Vero E6 cells. Interaction of heparin with spike protein RBD was studied using differential scanning fluorimetry and the inhibition of RBD binding to human ACE2 protein using elisa assays was examined. KEY RESULTS: All the UFH preparations had potent antiviral effects, with IC50 values ranging between 25 and 41 µg·ml-1 , whereas LMWHs were less inhibitory by ~150-fold (IC50 range 3.4-7.8 mg·ml-1 ). Mechanistically, we observed that heparin binds and destabilizes the RBD protein and furthermore, we show heparin directly inhibits the binding of RBD to the human ACE2 protein receptor. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: This comparison of clinically relevant heparins shows that UFH has significantly stronger SARS-CoV-2 antiviral activity compared to LMWHs. UFH acts to directly inhibit binding of spike protein to the human ACE2 protein receptor. Overall, the data strongly support further clinical investigation of UFH as a potential treatment for patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Heparin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Heparin/metabolism , Heparin/therapeutic use , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Plaque Assay
4.
Thromb Haemost ; 120(12): 1700-1715, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-998020

ABSTRACT

The dependence of development and homeostasis in animals on the interaction of hundreds of extracellular regulatory proteins with the peri- and extracellular glycosaminoglycan heparan sulfate (HS) is exploited by many microbial pathogens as a means of adherence and invasion. Heparin, a widely used anticoagulant drug, is structurally similar to HS and is a common experimental proxy. Exogenous heparin prevents infection by a range of viruses, including S-associated coronavirus isolate HSR1. Here, we show that heparin inhibits severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) invasion of Vero cells by up to 80% at doses achievable through prophylaxis and, particularly relevant, within the range deliverable by nebulisation. Surface plasmon resonance and circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrate that heparin and enoxaparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin which is a clinical anticoagulant, bind and induce a conformational change in the spike (S1) protein receptor-binding domain (S1 RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. A library of heparin derivatives and size-defined fragments were used to probe the structural basis of this interaction. Binding to the RBD is more strongly dependent on the presence of 2-O or 6-O sulfate groups than on N-sulfation and a hexasaccharide is the minimum size required for secondary structural changes to be induced in the RBD. It is likely that inhibition of viral infection arises from an overlap between the binding sites of heparin/HS on S1 RBD and that of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. The results suggest a route for the rapid development of a first-line therapeutic by repurposing heparin and its derivatives as antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 and other members of the Coronaviridae.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Enoxaparin/pharmacology , Heparin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enoxaparin/therapeutic use , Heparin/therapeutic use , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nebulizers and Vaporizers , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization
5.
Front Microbiol ; 11: 581343, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-886174
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