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1.
Cell Chem Biol ; 29(2): 215-225.e5, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1664751

ABSTRACT

Coagulation cofactors profoundly regulate hemostasis and are appealing targets for anticoagulants. However, targeting such proteins has been challenging because they lack an active site. To address this, we isolate an RNA aptamer termed T18.3 that binds to both factor V (FV) and FVa with nanomolar affinity and demonstrates clinically relevant anticoagulant activity in both plasma and whole blood. The aptamer also shows synergy with low molecular weight heparin and delivers potent anticoagulation in plasma collected from patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Moreover, the aptamer's anticoagulant activity can be rapidly and efficiently reversed using protamine sulfate, which potentially allows fine-tuning of aptamer's activity post-administration. We further show that the aptamer achieves its anticoagulant activity by abrogating FV/FVa interactions with phospholipid membranes. Our success in generating an anticoagulant aptamer targeting FV/Va demonstrates the feasibility of using cofactor-binding aptamers as therapeutic protein inhibitors and reveals an unconventional working mechanism of an aptamer by interrupting protein-membrane interactions.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/pharmacology , Aptamers, Nucleotide/pharmacology , Blood Coagulation/drug effects , Factor V/antagonists & inhibitors , Factor Va/antagonists & inhibitors , Amino Acid Sequence , Anticoagulants/chemistry , Anticoagulants/metabolism , Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/metabolism , Base Pairing , Binding Sites , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Membrane/chemistry , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Factor V/chemistry , Factor V/genetics , Factor V/metabolism , Factor Va/chemistry , Factor Va/genetics , Factor Va/metabolism , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/chemistry , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/metabolism , Humans , Immune Sera/chemistry , Immune Sera/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protamines , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SELEX Aptamer Technique , Substrate Specificity
2.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(18): 10604-10617, 2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406489

ABSTRACT

RNA hydrolysis presents problems in manufacturing, long-term storage, world-wide delivery and in vivo stability of messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines and therapeutics. A largely unexplored strategy to reduce mRNA hydrolysis is to redesign RNAs to form double-stranded regions, which are protected from in-line cleavage and enzymatic degradation, while coding for the same proteins. The amount of stabilization that this strategy can deliver and the most effective algorithmic approach to achieve stabilization remain poorly understood. Here, we present simple calculations for estimating RNA stability against hydrolysis, and a model that links the average unpaired probability of an mRNA, or AUP, to its overall hydrolysis rate. To characterize the stabilization achievable through structure design, we compare AUP optimization by conventional mRNA design methods to results from more computationally sophisticated algorithms and crowdsourcing through the OpenVaccine challenge on the Eterna platform. We find that rational design on Eterna and the more sophisticated algorithms lead to constructs with low AUP, which we term 'superfolder' mRNAs. These designs exhibit a wide diversity of sequence and structure features that may be desirable for translation, biophysical size, and immunogenicity. Furthermore, their folding is robust to temperature, computer modeling method, choice of flanking untranslated regions, and changes in target protein sequence, as illustrated by rapid redesign of superfolder mRNAs for B.1.351, P.1 and B.1.1.7 variants of the prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Increases in in vitro mRNA half-life by at least two-fold appear immediately achievable.


Subject(s)
Algorithms , RNA, Double-Stranded/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Base Pairing , Base Sequence , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Hydrolysis , RNA Stability , RNA, Double-Stranded/genetics , RNA, Double-Stranded/immunology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/immunology , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Thermodynamics
4.
Biochemistry ; 60(24): 1869-1875, 2021 06 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387102

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug initially designed against the Ebola virus. The results obtained with it both in biochemical studies in vitro and in cell line assays in vivo were very promising, but it proved to be ineffective in clinical trials. Remdesivir exhibited far better efficacy when repurposed against SARS-CoV-2. The chemistry that accounts for this difference is the subject of this study. Here, we examine the hypothesis that remdesivir monophosphate (RMP)-containing RNA functions as a template at the polymerase site for the second run of RNA synthesis, and as mRNA at the decoding center for protein synthesis. Our hypothesis is supported by the observation that RMP can be incorporated into RNA by the RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) of both viruses, although some of the incorporated RMPs are subsequently removed by exoribonucleases. Furthermore, our hypothesis is consistent with the fact that RdRp of SARS-CoV-2 selects RMP for incorporation over AMP by 3-fold in vitro, and that RMP-added RNA can be rapidly extended, even though primer extension is often paused when the added RMP is translocated at the i + 3 position (with i the nascent base pair at an initial insertion site of RMP) or when the concentrations of the subsequent nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) are below their physiological concentrations. These observations have led to the hypothesis that remdesivir might be a delayed chain terminator. However, that hypothesis is challenged under physiological concentrations of NTPs by the observation that approximately three-quarters of RNA products efficiently overrun the pause.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Ebolavirus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/genetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/metabolism , Alanine/genetics , Alanine/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Base Pairing , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , RNA/genetics , RNA/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism
5.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 545: 75-80, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385064

ABSTRACT

Antiviral drug discovery continues to be an essential complement to vaccine development for overcoming the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. The genomic RNA of SARS-CoV-2 contains structural elements important for viral replication and/or pathogenesis making them potential therapeutic targets. Here we report on the stem-loop II motif, a highly conserved noncoding RNA element. Based on our homology model we determined that the G to U transversion in the SARS-CoV-2 stem-loop II motif (S2MG35U) forms a C-U base-pair isosteric to the C-G base-pair in the early 2000's SARS-CoV (S2M). In addition, chemo-enzymatic probing and molecular dynamics simulations indicate the S2MG35U conformational profile is altered compared to S2M in the apical loop region. We explored S2MG35U as a potential drug target by docking a library of FDA approved drugs. Enzymatic probing of the best docking ligands (aminoglycosides and polymyxins) indicated that polymyxin binding alters the conformational profile and/or secondary structure of the RNA. The SARS-CoV-2 stem-loop II motif conformational differences due to nucleotide transversion and ligand binding are highly significant and provide insight for future drug discovery efforts since the conformation of noncoding RNA elements affects their function.


Subject(s)
RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Base Pairing , Binding Sites , Ligands , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA, Untranslated/chemistry , RNA, Untranslated/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
6.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(13): 7267-7279, 2021 07 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298981

ABSTRACT

We performed in vitro selection experiments to identify DNA aptamers for the S1 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S1 protein). Using a pool of pre-structured random DNA sequences, we obtained over 100 candidate aptamers after 13 cycles of enrichment under progressively more stringent selection pressure. The top 10 sequences all exhibited strong binding to the S1 protein. Two aptamers, named MSA1 (Kd = 1.8 nM) and MSA5 (Kd = 2.7 nM), were assessed for binding to the heat-treated S1 protein, untreated S1 protein spiked into 50% human saliva and the trimeric spike protein of both the wildtype and the B.1.1.7 variant, demonstrating comparable affinities in all cases. MSA1 and MSA5 also recognized the pseudotyped lentivirus of SARS-CoV-2 with respective Kd values of 22.7 pM and 11.8 pM. Secondary structure prediction and sequence truncation experiments revealed that both MSA1 and MSA5 adopted a hairpin structure, which was the motif pre-designed into the original library. A colorimetric sandwich assay was developed using MSA1 as both the recognition element and detection element, which was capable of detecting the pseudotyped lentivirus in 50% saliva with a limit of detection of 400 fM, confirming the potential of these aptamers as diagnostic tools for COVID-19 detection.


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide , COVID-19/virology , Gene Library , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Aptamers, Nucleotide/genetics , Base Pairing , Base Sequence , COVID-19/diagnosis , Colorimetry/methods , Humans , Nucleic Acid Conformation , SELEX Aptamer Technique
7.
Biochemistry ; 60(24): 1869-1875, 2021 06 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263454

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug initially designed against the Ebola virus. The results obtained with it both in biochemical studies in vitro and in cell line assays in vivo were very promising, but it proved to be ineffective in clinical trials. Remdesivir exhibited far better efficacy when repurposed against SARS-CoV-2. The chemistry that accounts for this difference is the subject of this study. Here, we examine the hypothesis that remdesivir monophosphate (RMP)-containing RNA functions as a template at the polymerase site for the second run of RNA synthesis, and as mRNA at the decoding center for protein synthesis. Our hypothesis is supported by the observation that RMP can be incorporated into RNA by the RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) of both viruses, although some of the incorporated RMPs are subsequently removed by exoribonucleases. Furthermore, our hypothesis is consistent with the fact that RdRp of SARS-CoV-2 selects RMP for incorporation over AMP by 3-fold in vitro, and that RMP-added RNA can be rapidly extended, even though primer extension is often paused when the added RMP is translocated at the i + 3 position (with i the nascent base pair at an initial insertion site of RMP) or when the concentrations of the subsequent nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) are below their physiological concentrations. These observations have led to the hypothesis that remdesivir might be a delayed chain terminator. However, that hypothesis is challenged under physiological concentrations of NTPs by the observation that approximately three-quarters of RNA products efficiently overrun the pause.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Ebolavirus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/genetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/metabolism , Alanine/genetics , Alanine/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Base Pairing , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , RNA/genetics , RNA/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism
8.
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 22(48): 28115-28122, 2020 Dec 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-963795

ABSTRACT

Repurposed drugs are now considered as attractive therapeutics against COVID-19. It is shown that Remdesivir, a nucleoside drug that was originally invented for the Ebola virus, is effective in suppressing the replication of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Similarly, Galidesivir, Favipiravir, Ribavirin, N4-hydroxycytidine (EIDD-1931), and EIDD-2801 (a prodrug of EIDD-1931) were also found to be effective against COVID-19. However, the mechanisms of action of these drugs are not yet fully understood. For example, in some experimental studies, these drugs were proposed to act as a RNA-chain terminator, while in other studies, these were proposed to induce base-pair mutations above the error catastrophe limit to stall the replication of the viral RNA. To understand the mutagenic effects of these drugs, the role of different tautomers in their base-pairing abilities is studied here in detail by employing a reliable dispersion-corrected density functional theoretic method. It is found that Remdesivir and Galidesivir can adopt both amino and imino tautomeric conformations to base-pair with RNA bases. While the insertions of G and U are preferred against the amino tautomers of these drugs, the insertion of C is mainly possible against the imino tautomers. However, although Favipiravir and Ribavirin can make stable base pair interactions by using their keto and enol tautomers, the formation of the latter pairs would be less probable due to the endothermic nature of the products. Interestingly, the insertions of all of the RNA bases are found to be possible against the keto tautomer of Favipiravir, while the keto tautomer of Ribavirin has a clear preference for G. Remarkably, due to the negligible difference in the stability of EIDD-2801 and EIDD-1931, these tautomers would coexist in the biological environment. The insertion of G is found to be preferred against EIDD-1931 and the incorporations of U, A, and G are preferred opposite EIDD-2801. These findings suggest that base-pair mutations are the main causes of the antiviral properties of these drugs.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Base Pairing , Mutagens/chemistry , Nucleosides/chemistry , RNA/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Density Functional Theory , Isomerism , Models, Chemical , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thermodynamics
9.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(D1): D192-D200, 2021 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934919

ABSTRACT

Rfam is a database of RNA families where each of the 3444 families is represented by a multiple sequence alignment of known RNA sequences and a covariance model that can be used to search for additional members of the family. Recent developments have involved expert collaborations to improve the quality and coverage of Rfam data, focusing on microRNAs, viral and bacterial RNAs. We have completed the first phase of synchronising microRNA families in Rfam and miRBase, creating 356 new Rfam families and updating 40. We established a procedure for comprehensive annotation of viral RNA families starting with Flavivirus and Coronaviridae RNAs. We have also increased the coverage of bacterial and metagenome-based RNA families from the ZWD database. These developments have enabled a significant growth of the database, with the addition of 759 new families in Rfam 14. To facilitate further community contribution to Rfam, expert users are now able to build and submit new families using the newly developed Rfam Cloud family curation system. New Rfam website features include a new sequence similarity search powered by RNAcentral, as well as search and visualisation of families with pseudoknots. Rfam is freely available at https://rfam.org.


Subject(s)
Databases, Nucleic Acid , Metagenome , MicroRNAs/genetics , RNA, Bacterial/genetics , RNA, Untranslated/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Bacteria/genetics , Bacteria/metabolism , Base Pairing , Base Sequence , Humans , Internet , MicroRNAs/classification , MicroRNAs/metabolism , Molecular Sequence Annotation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA, Bacterial/classification , RNA, Bacterial/metabolism , RNA, Untranslated/classification , RNA, Untranslated/metabolism , RNA, Viral/classification , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Software , Viruses/genetics , Viruses/metabolism
10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(20)2020 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-905708

ABSTRACT

Among the natural bases, guanine is the most oxidizable base. The damage caused by oxidation of guanine, commonly referred to as oxidative guanine damage, results in the formation of several products, including 2,5-diamino-4H-imidazol-4-one (Iz), 2,2,4-triamino-5(2H)-oxazolone (Oz), guanidinoformimine (Gf), guanidinohydantoin/iminoallantoin (Gh/Ia), spiroiminodihydantoin (Sp), 5-carboxamido-5-formamido-2-iminohydantoin (2Ih), urea (Ua), 5-guanidino-4-nitroimidazole (NI), spirodi(iminohydantoin) (5-Si and 8-Si), triazine, the M+7 product, other products by peroxynitrite, alkylated guanines, and 8,5'-cyclo-2'-deoxyguanosine (cG). Herein, we summarize the present knowledge about base pairs containing the products of oxidative guanine damage and guanine. Of these products, Iz is involved in G-C transversions. Oz, Gh/Ia, and Sp form preferably Oz:G, Gh/Ia:G, and Sp:G base pairs in some cases. An involvement of Gf, 2Ih, Ua, 5-Si, 8-Si, triazine, the M+7 product, and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dioxo-imidazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (HICA) in G-C transversions requires further experiments. In addition, we describe base pairs that target the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses and describe implications for the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): When products of oxidative guanine damage are adapted for the ribonucleoside analogs, mimics of oxidative guanine damages, which can form base pairs, may become antiviral agents for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Base Pairing , Guanine/analogs & derivatives , Point Mutation , Animals , Betacoronavirus/genetics , DNA Damage , Guanine/metabolism , Humans , Oxidation-Reduction , SARS-CoV-2
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