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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(5)2022 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732066

ABSTRACT

The endogenous protease furin is a key protein in many different diseases, such as cancer and infections. For this reason, a wide range of studies has focused on targeting furin from a therapeutic point of view. Our main objective consisted of identifying new compounds that could enlarge the furin inhibitor arsenal; secondarily, we assayed their adjuvant effect in combination with a known furin inhibitor, CMK, which avoids the SARS-CoV-2 S protein cleavage by means of that inhibition. Virtual screening was carried out to identify potential furin inhibitors. The inhibition of physiological and purified recombinant furin by screening selected compounds, Clexane, and these drugs in combination with CMK was assayed in fluorogenic tests by using a specific furin substrate. The effects of the selected inhibitors from virtual screening on cell viability (293T HEK cell line) were assayed by means of flow cytometry. Through virtual screening, Zeaxanthin and Kukoamine A were selected as the main potential furin inhibitors. In fluorogenic assays, these two compounds and Clexane inhibited both physiological and recombinant furin in a dose-dependent way. In addition, these compounds increased physiological furin inhibition by CMK, showing an adjuvant effect. In conclusion, we identified Kukoamine A, Zeaxanthin, and Clexane as new furin inhibitors. In addition, these drugs were able to increase furin inhibition by CMK, so they could also increase its efficiency when avoiding S protein proteolysis, which is essential for SARS-CoV-2 cell infection.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Enoxaparin/pharmacology , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Spermine/analogs & derivatives , Zeaxanthins/pharmacology , Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/chemistry , Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/metabolism , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Cell Line, Tumor , Cell Survival/drug effects , Enoxaparin/chemistry , Enoxaparin/metabolism , Furin/chemistry , Furin/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spermine/chemistry , Spermine/metabolism , Spermine/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication , Zeaxanthins/chemistry , Zeaxanthins/metabolism
2.
Molecules ; 26(24)2021 Dec 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572567

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection that occurred in 2019. The virus-host-specific interactions, molecular targets on host cell deaths, and the involved signaling are crucial issues, which become potential targets for treatment. Spike protein, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), cathepsin L-cysteine peptidase, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), nonstructural protein 1 (Nsp1), open reading frame 7a (ORF7a), viral main protease (3C-like protease (3CLpro) or Mpro), RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) (Nsp12), non-structural protein 13 (Nsp13) helicase, and papain-like proteinase (PLpro) are molecules associated with SARS-CoV infection and propagation. SARS-CoV-2 can induce host cell death via five kinds of regulated cell death, i.e., apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, autophagy, and PANoptosis. The mechanisms of these cell deaths are well established and can be disrupted by synthetic small molecules or natural products. There are a variety of compounds proven to play roles in the cell death inhibition, such as pan-caspase inhibitor (z-VAD-fmk) for apoptosis, necrostatin-1 for necroptosis, MCC950, a potent and specific inhibitor of the NLRP3 inflammasome in pyroptosis, and chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, which can mitigate the corresponding cell death pathways. However, NF-κB signaling is another critical anti-apoptotic or survival route mediated by SARS-CoV-2. Such signaling promotes viral survival, proliferation, and inflammation by inducing the expression of apoptosis inhibitors such as Bcl-2 and XIAP, as well as cytokines, e.g., TNF. As a result, tiny natural compounds functioning as proteasome inhibitors such as celastrol and curcumin can be used to modify NF-κB signaling, providing a responsible method for treating SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. The natural constituents that aid in inhibiting viral infection, progression, and amplification of coronaviruses are also emphasized, which are in the groups of alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenoids, diarylheptanoids, and anthraquinones. Natural constituents derived from medicinal herbs have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, as well as inhibitory effects, on the viral life cycle, including viral entry, replication, assembly, and release of COVID-19 virions. The phytochemicals contain a high potential for COVID-19 treatment. As a result, SARS-CoV-2-infected cell death processes and signaling might be of high efficacy for therapeutic targeting effects and yielding encouraging outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Death/drug effects , Drug Discovery/methods , Molecular Targeted Therapy/methods , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , Furans/pharmacology , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Imidazoles/pharmacology , Indenes/pharmacology , Indoles/pharmacology , Necroptosis/drug effects , Phytochemicals/pharmacology , Pyroptosis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
3.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2499-2515, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1291175

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), spread around the world with unprecedented health and socio-economic effects for the global population. While different vaccines are now being made available, very few antiviral drugs have been approved. The main viral protease (nsp5) of SARS-CoV-2 provides an excellent target for antivirals, due to its essential and conserved function in the viral replication cycle. We have expressed, purified and developed assays for nsp5 protease activity. We screened the nsp5 protease against a custom chemical library of over 5000 characterised pharmaceuticals. We identified calpain inhibitor I and three different peptidyl fluoromethylketones (FMK) as inhibitors of nsp5 activity in vitro, with IC50 values in the low micromolar range. By altering the sequence of our peptidomimetic FMK inhibitors to better mimic the substrate sequence of nsp5, we generated an inhibitor with a subnanomolar IC50. Calpain inhibitor I inhibited viral infection in monkey-derived Vero E6 cells, with an EC50 in the low micromolar range. The most potent and commercially available peptidyl-FMK compound inhibited viral growth in Vero E6 cells to some extent, while our custom peptidyl FMK inhibitor offered a marked antiviral improvement.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Animals , Azoles/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/isolation & purification , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Isoindoles , Leupeptins/pharmacology , Organoselenium Compounds/pharmacology , Peptidomimetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
4.
Cell Rep ; 33(2): 108254, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-812312

ABSTRACT

Development of specific antiviral agents is an urgent unmet need for SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This study focuses on host proteases that proteolytically activate the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, critical for its fusion after binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as antiviral targets. We first validate cleavage at a putative furin substrate motif at SARS-CoV-2 spikes by expressing it in VeroE6 cells and find prominent syncytium formation. Cleavage and the syncytium are abolished by treatment with the furin inhibitors decanoyl-RVKR-chloromethylketone (CMK) and naphthofluorescein, but not by the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) inhibitor camostat. CMK and naphthofluorescein show antiviral effects on SARS-CoV-2-infected cells by decreasing virus production and cytopathic effects. Further analysis reveals that, similar to camostat, CMK blocks virus entry, but it further suppresses cleavage of spikes and the syncytium. Naphthofluorescein acts primarily by suppressing viral RNA transcription. Therefore, furin inhibitors may be promising antiviral agents for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Fluoresceins/pharmacology , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Replication , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
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