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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(43)2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493345


The host cell serine protease TMPRSS2 is an attractive therapeutic target for COVID-19 drug discovery. This protease activates the Spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and of other coronaviruses and is essential for viral spread in the lung. Utilizing rational structure-based drug design (SBDD) coupled to substrate specificity screening of TMPRSS2, we have discovered covalent small-molecule ketobenzothiazole (kbt) TMPRSS2 inhibitors which are structurally distinct from and have significantly improved activity over the existing known inhibitors Camostat and Nafamostat. Lead compound MM3122 (4) has an IC50 (half-maximal inhibitory concentration) of 340 pM against recombinant full-length TMPRSS2 protein, an EC50 (half-maximal effective concentration) of 430 pM in blocking host cell entry into Calu-3 human lung epithelial cells of a newly developed VSV-SARS-CoV-2 chimeric virus, and an EC50 of 74 nM in inhibiting cytopathic effects induced by SARS-CoV-2 virus in Calu-3 cells. Further, MM3122 blocks Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cell entry with an EC50 of 870 pM. MM3122 has excellent metabolic stability, safety, and pharmacokinetics in mice, with a half-life of 8.6 h in plasma and 7.5 h in lung tissue, making it suitable for in vivo efficacy evaluation and a promising drug candidate for COVID-19 treatment.

Benzothiazoles/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Oligopeptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Animals , Benzamidines/chemistry , Benzothiazoles/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Drug Design , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Esters/chemistry , Guanidines/chemistry , Humans , Lung/drug effects , Lung/virology , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Oligopeptides/pharmacokinetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/ultrastructure , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Substrate Specificity/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(13)2021 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288905


Positively charged groups that mimic arginine or lysine in a natural substrate of trypsin are necessary for drugs to inhibit the trypsin-like serine protease TMPRSS2 that is involved in the viral entry and spread of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Based on this assumption, we identified a set of 13 approved or clinically investigational drugs with positively charged guanidinobenzoyl and/or aminidinobenzoyl groups, including the experimentally verified TMPRSS2 inhibitors Camostat and Nafamostat. Molecular docking using the C-I-TASSER-predicted TMPRSS2 catalytic domain model suggested that the guanidinobenzoyl or aminidinobenzoyl group in all the drugs could form putative salt bridge interactions with the side-chain carboxyl group of Asp435 located in the S1 pocket of TMPRSS2. Molecular dynamics simulations further revealed the high stability of the putative salt bridge interactions over long-time (100 ns) simulations. The molecular mechanics/generalized Born surface area-binding free energy assessment and per-residue energy decomposition analysis also supported the strong binding interactions between TMPRSS2 and the proposed drugs. These results suggest that the proposed compounds, in addition to Camostat and Nafamostat, could be effective TMPRSS2 inhibitors for COVID-19 treatment by occupying the S1 pocket with the hallmark positively charged groups.

Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Benzamidines/chemistry , Benzamidines/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Esters/chemistry , Esters/metabolism , Guanidines/chemistry , Guanidines/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Thermodynamics
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(6)2021 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125145


In order to treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), we predicted and implemented a drug delivery system (DDS) that can provide stable drug delivery through a computational approach including a clustering algorithm and the Schrödinger software. Six carrier candidates were derived by the proposed method that could find molecules meeting the predefined conditions using the molecular structure and its functional group positional information. Then, just one compound named glycyrrhizin was selected as a candidate for drug delivery through the Schrödinger software. Using glycyrrhizin, nafamostat mesilate (NM), which is known for its efficacy, was converted into micelle nanoparticles (NPs) to improve drug stability and to effectively treat COVID-19. The spherical particle morphology was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the particle size and stability of 300-400 nm were evaluated by measuring DLSand the zeta potential. The loading of NM was confirmed to be more than 90% efficient using the UV spectrum.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Computational Biology/methods , Drug Delivery Systems/methods , A549 Cells , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemistry , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Benzamidines/chemistry , Benzamidines/therapeutic use , Cell Survival/drug effects , Cluster Analysis , Computer Simulation , Databases, Pharmaceutical , Drug Carriers/chemistry , Drug Repositioning , Drug Stability , Glycyrrhizic Acid/chemistry , Glycyrrhizic Acid/therapeutic use , Guanidines/chemistry , Guanidines/therapeutic use , Humans , Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions , Micelles , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Molecular Structure , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Particle Size