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1.
Molecules ; 27(19)2022 Oct 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066287

ABSTRACT

The main protease enzyme (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is one of the most promising targets for COVID-19 treatment. Accordingly, in this work, a structure-based virtual screening of 3.8 million ligand libraries was carried out. After rigorous filtering, docking, and post screening assessments, 78 compounds were selected for biological evaluation, 3 of which showed promising inhibition of the Mpro enzyme. The obtained hits (CB03, GR04, and GR20) had reasonable potencies with Ki values in the medium to high micromolar range. Interestingly, while our most potent hit, GR20, was suggested to act via a reversible covalent mechanism, GR04 was confirmed as a noncompetitive inhibitor that seems to be one of a kind when compared to the other allosteric inhibitors discovered so far. Moreover, all three compounds have small sizes (~300 Da) with interesting fittings in their relevant binding sites, and they possess lead-like characteristics that can introduce them as very attractive candidates for the future development of COVID-19 treatments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Humans , Ligands , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry
2.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 976, 2022 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2036926

ABSTRACT

The monomeric catalytic domain (residues 1-199) of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro1-199) fused to 25 amino acids of its flanking nsp4 region mediates its autoprocessing at the nsp4-MPro1-199 junction. We report the catalytic activity and the dissociation constants of MPro1-199 and its analogs with the covalent inhibitors GC373 and nirmatrelvir (NMV), and the estimated monomer-dimer equilibrium constants of these complexes. Mass spectrometry indicates the presence of the accumulated adduct of NMV bound to MProWT and MPro1-199 and not of GC373. A room temperature crystal structure reveals a native-like fold of the catalytic domain with an unwound oxyanion loop (E state). In contrast, the structure of a covalent complex of the catalytic domain-GC373 or NMV shows an oxyanion loop conformation (E* state) resembling the full-length mature dimer. These results suggest that the E-E* equilibrium modulates autoprocessing of the main protease when converting from a monomeric polyprotein precursor to the mature dimer.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Amino Acids , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases , Polyproteins , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
J Chem Inf Model ; 62(17): 4261-4269, 2022 09 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2000846

ABSTRACT

Viral infection relies on the hijacking of cellular machineries to enforce the reproduction of the infecting virus and its subsequent diffusion. In this context, the replication of the viral genome is a key step performed by specific enzymes, i.e., polymerases. The replication of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemics, is based on the duplication of its RNA genome, an action performed by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In this contribution, by using highly demanding DFT/MM-MD computations coupled to 2D-umbrella sampling techniques, we have determined the chemical mechanisms leading to the inclusion of a nucleotide in the nascent viral RNA strand. These results highlight the high efficiency of the polymerase, which lowers the activation free energy to less than 10 kcal/mol. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase active site is slightly different from those usually found in other similar enzymes, and in particular, it lacks the possibility to enforce a proton shuttle via a nearby histidine. Our simulations show that this absence is partially compensated by lysine whose proton assists the reaction, opening up an alternative, but highly efficient, reactive channel. Our results present the first mechanistic resolution of SARS-CoV-2 genome replication at the DFT/MM-MD level and shed light on its unusual enzymatic reactivity paving the way for the future rational design of antivirals targeting emerging RNA viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Catalytic Domain , Humans , Protons , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Virus Replication
4.
Nature ; 609(7928): 793-800, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984402

ABSTRACT

The RNA genome of SARS-CoV-2 contains a 5' cap that facilitates the translation of viral proteins, protection from exonucleases and evasion of the host immune response1-4. How this cap is made in SARS-CoV-2 is not completely understood. Here we reconstitute the N7- and 2'-O-methylated SARS-CoV-2 RNA cap (7MeGpppA2'-O-Me) using virally encoded non-structural proteins (nsps). We show that the kinase-like nidovirus RdRp-associated nucleotidyltransferase (NiRAN) domain5 of nsp12 transfers the RNA to the amino terminus of nsp9, forming a covalent RNA-protein intermediate (a process termed RNAylation). Subsequently, the NiRAN domain transfers the RNA to GDP, forming the core cap structure GpppA-RNA. The nsp146 and nsp167 methyltransferases then add methyl groups to form functional cap structures. Structural analyses of the replication-transcription complex bound to nsp9 identified key interactions that mediate the capping reaction. Furthermore, we demonstrate in a reverse genetics system8 that the N terminus of nsp9 and the kinase-like active-site residues in the NiRAN domain are required for successful SARS-CoV-2 replication. Collectively, our results reveal an unconventional mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 caps its RNA genome, thus exposing a new target in the development of antivirals to treat COVID-19.


Subject(s)
RNA Caps , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Guanosine Diphosphate/metabolism , Humans , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/chemistry , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , Protein Domains , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism
5.
J Virol ; 96(16): e0067122, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973790

ABSTRACT

Positive-strand RNA viruses replicate their genomes using virally encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRP) with a common active-site structure and closure mechanism upon which replication speed and fidelity can evolve to optimize virus fitness. Coronaviruses (CoV) form large multicomponent RNA replication-transcription complexes containing a core RNA synthesis machine made of the nsp12 RdRP protein with one nsp7 and two nsp8 proteins as essential subunits required for activity. We show that assembly of this complex can be accelerated 5-fold by preincubation of nsp12 with nsp8 and further optimized with the use of a novel nsp8L7 heterodimer fusion protein construct. Using rapid kinetics methods, we measure elongation rates of up to 260 nucleotides (nt)/s for the core replicase, a rate that is unusually fast for a viral polymerase. To address the origin of this fast rate, we examined the roles of two CoV-specific residues in the RdRP active site: Ala547, which replaces a conserved glutamate above the bound NTP, and Ser759, which mutates the palm domain GDD sequence to SDD. Our data show that Ala547 allows for a doubling of replication rate, but this comes at a fidelity cost that is mitigated by using a SDD sequence in the palm domain. Our biochemical data suggest that fixation of mutations in polymerase motifs F and C played a key role in nidovirus evolution by tuning replication rate and fidelity to accommodate their large genomes. IMPORTANCE Replicating large genomes represents a challenge for RNA viruses because fast RNA synthesis is needed to escape innate immunity defenses, but faster polymerases are inherently low-fidelity enzymes. Nonetheless, the coronaviruses replicate their ≈30-kb genomes using the core polymerase structure and mechanism common to all positive-strand RNA viruses. The classic explanation for their success is that the large-genome nidoviruses have acquired an exonuclease-based repair system that compensates for the high polymerase mutation rate. In this work, we establish that the nidoviral polymerases themselves also play a key role in maintaining genome integrity via mutations at two key active-site residues that enable very fast replication rates while maintaining typical mutation rates. Our findings further demonstrate the evolutionary plasticity of the core polymerase platform by showing how it has adapted during the expansion from short-genome picornaviruses to long-genome nidoviruses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , SARS Virus , Catalytic Domain , Genome, Viral , RNA/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , SARS Virus/physiology , Virus Replication
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(13)2022 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934135

ABSTRACT

Thimet oligopeptidase (TOP) is a metallopeptidase involved in the metabolism of oligopeptides inside and outside cells of various tissues. It has been proposed that substrate or inhibitor binding in the TOP active site induces a large hinge-bending movement leading to a closed structure, in which the bound ligand is enclosed. The main goal of the present work was to study this conformational change, and fluorescence techniques were used. Four active TOP mutants were created, each equipped with a single-Trp residue (fluorescence donor) and a p-nitro-phenylalanine (pNF) residue as fluorescence acceptor at opposite sides of the active site. pNF was biosynthetically incorporated with high efficiency using the amber codon suppression technology. Inhibitor binding induced shorter Donor-Acceptor (D-A) distances in all mutants, supporting the view that a hinge-like movement is operative in TOP. The activity of TOP is known to be dependent on the ionic strength of the assay buffer and D-A distances were measured at different ionic strengths. Interestingly, a correlation between the D-A distance and the catalytic activity of TOP was observed: the highest activities corresponded to the shortest D-A distances. In this study for the first time the hinge-bending motion of a metallopeptidase in solution could be studied, yielding insight about the position of the equilibrium between the open and closed conformation. This information will contribute to a more detailed understanding of the mode of action of these enzymes, including therapeutic targets like neurolysin and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).


Subject(s)
Metalloendopeptidases , Oligopeptides , Catalytic Domain , Ligands , Metalloendopeptidases/chemistry , Oligopeptides/metabolism , Substrate Specificity
7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(9)2022 May 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1847347

ABSTRACT

3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2 is a promising target for developing anti-COVID19 agents. In order to evaluate the catalytic activity of 3CLpros according to the presence or absence of the dimerization domain, two forms had been purified and tested. Enzyme kinetic studies with a FRET method revealed that the catalytic domain alone presents enzymatic activity, despite it being approximately 8.6 times less than that in the full domain. The catalytic domain was crystallized and its X-ray crystal structure has been determined to 2.3 Å resolution. There are four protomers in the asymmetric unit. Intriguingly, they were packed as a dimer though the dimerization domain was absent. The RMSD of superimposed two catalytic domains was 0.190 for 182 Cα atoms. A part of the long hinge loop (LH-loop) from Gln189 to Asp197 was not built in the model due to its flexibility. The crystal structure indicates that the decreased proteolytic activity of the catalytic domain was due to the incomplete construction of the substrate binding part built by the LH-loop. A structural survey with other 3CLpros showed that SARS-CoV families do not have interactions between DM-loop due to the conformational difference at the last turn of helix α7 compared with others. Therefore, we can conclude that the monomeric form contains nascent enzyme activity and that its efficiency increases by dimerization. This new insight may contribute to understanding the behavior of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and thus be useful in developing anti-COVID-19 agents.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Dimerization , Humans , Kinetics , X-Rays
8.
Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol ; 78(Pt 3): 363-378, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758984

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) has a pivotal role in mediating viral genome replication and transcription of the coronavirus, making it a promising target for drugs against the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, a crystal structure is presented in which Mpro adopts an inactive state that has never been observed before, called new-inactive. It is shown that the oxyanion loop, which is involved in substrate recognition and enzymatic activity, adopts a new catalytically incompetent conformation and that many of the key interactions of the active conformation of the enzyme around the active site are lost. Solvation/desolvation energetic contributions play an important role in the transition from the inactive to the active state, with Phe140 moving from an exposed to a buried environment and Asn142 moving from a buried environment to an exposed environment. In new-inactive Mpro a new cavity is present near the S2' subsite, and the N-terminal and C-terminal tails, as well as the dimeric interface, are perturbed, with partial destabilization of the dimeric assembly. This novel conformation is relevant both for comprehension of the mechanism of action of Mpro within the catalytic cycle and for the successful structure-based drug design of antiviral drugs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , Protein Multimerization
9.
Molecules ; 27(6)2022 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742559

ABSTRACT

The persistency of COVID-19 in the world and the continuous rise of its variants demand new treatments to complement vaccines. Computational chemistry can assist in the identification of moieties able to lead to new drugs to fight the disease. Fullerenes and carbon nanomaterials can interact with proteins and are considered promising antiviral agents. Here, we propose the possibility to repurpose fullerenes to clog the active site of the SARS-CoV-2 protease, Mpro. Through the use of docking, molecular dynamics, and energy decomposition techniques, it is shown that C60 has a substantial binding energy to the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Mpro, higher than masitinib, a known inhibitor of the protein. Furthermore, we suggest the use of C70 as an innovative scaffold for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. At odds with masitinib, both C60 and C70 interact more strongly with SARS-CoV-2 Mpro when different protonation states of the catalytic dyad are considered. The binding of fullerenes to Mpro is due to shape complementarity, i.e., vdW interactions, and is aspecific. As such, it is not sensitive to mutations that can eliminate or invert the charges of the amino acids composing the binding pocket. Fullerenic cages should therefore be more effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus than the available inhibitors such as masinitib, where the electrostatic term plays a crucial role in the binding.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fullerenes , COVID-19/drug therapy , Catalytic Domain , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Drug Repositioning , Fullerenes/pharmacology , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins/metabolism
10.
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
11.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 160, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1721596

ABSTRACT

The role of dimer formation for the onset of catalytic activity of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MProWT) was assessed using a predominantly monomeric mutant (MProM). Rates of MProWT and MProM catalyzed hydrolyses display substrate saturation kinetics and second-order dependency on the protein concentration. The addition of the prodrug GC376, an inhibitor of MProWT, to MProM leads to an increase in the dimer population and catalytic activity with increasing inhibitor concentration. The activity reaches a maximum corresponding to a dimer population in which one active site is occupied by the inhibitor and the other is available for catalytic activity. This phase is followed by a decrease in catalytic activity due to the inhibitor competing with the substrate. Detailed kinetics and equilibrium analyses are presented and a modified Michaelis-Menten equation accounts for the results. These observations provide conclusive evidence that dimer formation is coupled to catalytic activity represented by two equivalent active sites.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Catalysis , Catalytic Domain , Circular Dichroism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Pyrrolidines/chemistry , Sulfonic Acids/chemistry , Thermodynamics
12.
Molecules ; 27(5)2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715570

ABSTRACT

A new flavonoid, Jusanin, (1) has been isolated from the aerial parts of Artemisia commutata. The chemical structure of Jusanin has been elucidated using 1D, 2D NMR, and HR-Ms spectroscopic methods to be 5,2',4'-trihydroxy-6,7,5'-trimethoxyflavone. Being new in nature, the inhibition potential of 1 has been estimated against SARS-CoV-2 using different in silico techniques. Firstly, molecular similarity and fingerprint studies have been conducted for Jusanin against co-crystallized ligands of eight different SARS-CoV-2 essential proteins. The studies indicated the similarity between 1 and X77, the co-crystallized ligand SARS-CoV-2 main protease (PDB ID: 6W63). To confirm the obtained results, a DFT study was carried out and indicated the similarity of (total energy, HOMO, LUMO, gap energy, and dipole moment) between 1 and X77. Accordingly, molecular docking studies of 1 against the target enzyme have been achieved and showed that 1 bonded correctly in the protein's active site with a binding energy of -19.54 Kcal/mol. Additionally, in silico ADMET in addition to the toxicity evaluation of Jusanin against seven models have been preceded and indicated the general safety and the likeness of Jusanin to be a drug. Finally, molecular dynamics simulation studies were applied to investigate the dynamic behavior of the Mpro-Jusanin complex and confirmed the correct binding at 100 ns. In addition to 1, three other metabolites have been isolated and identified to be сapillartemisin A (2), methyl-3-[S-hydroxyprenyl]-cumarate (3), and ß-sitosterol (4).


Subject(s)
Artemisia/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Flavonoids/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Animals , Artemisia/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Density Functional Theory , Flavonoids/isolation & purification , Flavonoids/metabolism , Flavonoids/pharmacology , Humans , Lethal Dose 50 , Male , Molecular Conformation , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Rats , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Skin/drug effects , Skin/pathology
13.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(4)2022 Feb 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715403

ABSTRACT

As the etiological agent for the coronavirus disease 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) challenges the ongoing efforts of vaccine development and drug design. Due to the accumulating cases of breakthrough infections, there are urgent needs for broad-spectrum antiviral medicines. Here, we designed and examined five new tetrapeptidomimetic anti-SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors targeting the 3C-Like protease (3CLPro), which is highly conserved among coronaviruses and essential for viral replications. We significantly improved the efficacy of a ketoamide lead compound based on high-resolution co-crystal structures, all-atom simulations, and binding energy calculations. The inhibitors successfully engaged the catalytic dyad histidine residue (H41) of 3CLPro as designed, and they exhibited nanomolar inhibitory capacity as well as mitigated the viral loads of SARS-CoV-2 in cellular assays. As a widely applicable design principle, our results revealed that the potencies of 3CLPro-specific drug candidates were determined by the interplay between 3CLPro H41 residue and the peptidomimetic inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Peptidomimetics/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Drug Design , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , Histidine/chemistry , Ligands , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptidomimetics/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells
14.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(9)2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684239

ABSTRACT

High-fidelity replication of the large RNA genome of coronaviruses (CoVs) is mediated by a 3'-to-5' exoribonuclease (ExoN) in nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14), which excises nucleotides including antiviral drugs misincorporated by the low-fidelity viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and has also been implicated in viral RNA recombination and resistance to innate immunity. Here, we determined a 1.6-Å resolution crystal structure of severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ExoN in complex with its essential cofactor, nsp10. The structure shows a highly basic and concave surface flanking the active site, comprising several Lys residues of nsp14 and the N-terminal amino group of nsp10. Modeling suggests that this basic patch binds to the template strand of double-stranded RNA substrates to position the 3' end of the nascent strand in the ExoN active site, which is corroborated by mutational and computational analyses. We also show that the ExoN activity can rescue a stalled RNA primer poisoned with sofosbuvir and allow RdRp to continue its extension in the presence of the chain-terminating drug, biochemically recapitulating proofreading in SARS-CoV-2 replication. Molecular dynamics simulations further show remarkable flexibility of multidomain nsp14 and suggest that nsp10 stabilizes ExoN for substrate RNA binding to support its exonuclease activity. Our high-resolution structure of the SARS-CoV-2 ExoN-nsp10 complex serves as a platform for future development of anticoronaviral drugs or strategies to attenuate the viral virulence.


Subject(s)
Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Lysine/chemistry , Lysine/genetics , Lysine/metabolism , Mutation, Missense , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
15.
J Am Chem Soc ; 144(7): 2905-2920, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683927

ABSTRACT

Drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 could have saved millions of lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is now crucial to develop inhibitors of coronavirus replication in preparation for future outbreaks. We explored two virtual screening strategies to find inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease in ultralarge chemical libraries. First, structure-based docking was used to screen a diverse library of 235 million virtual compounds against the active site. One hundred top-ranked compounds were tested in binding and enzymatic assays. Second, a fragment discovered by crystallographic screening was optimized guided by docking of millions of elaborated molecules and experimental testing of 93 compounds. Three inhibitors were identified in the first library screen, and five of the selected fragment elaborations showed inhibitory effects. Crystal structures of target-inhibitor complexes confirmed docking predictions and guided hit-to-lead optimization, resulting in a noncovalent main protease inhibitor with nanomolar affinity, a promising in vitro pharmacokinetic profile, and broad-spectrum antiviral effect in infected cells.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Microsomes, Liver/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacokinetics , Vero Cells
16.
Comput Math Methods Med ; 2022: 9735626, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1677416

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Dec. 2019. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the cell membrane through spike proteins on its surface and infects the cell. Furin, a host-cell enzyme, possesses a binding site for the spike protein. Thus, molecules that block furin could potentially be a therapeutic solution. Defensins are antimicrobial peptides that can hypothetically inhibit furin because of their arginine-rich structure. Theta-defensins, a subclass of defensins, have attracted attention as drug candidates due to their small size, unique structure, and involvement in several defense mechanisms. Theta-defensins could be a potential treatment for COVID-19 through furin inhibition and an anti-inflammatory mechanism. Note that inflammatory events are a significant and deadly condition that could happen at the later stages of COVID-19 infection. Here, the potential of theta-defensins against SARS-CoV-2 infection was investigated through in silico approaches. Based on docking analysis results, theta-defensins can function as furin inhibitors. Additionally, a novel candidate peptide against COVID-19 with optimal properties regarding antigenicity, stability, electrostatic potential, and binding strength was proposed. Further in vitro/in vivo investigations could verify the efficiency of the designed novel peptide.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , Defensins/pharmacology , Drug Design , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Catalytic Domain , Cell Membrane/virology , Computer Simulation , Data Mining , Furin/chemistry , Humans , Inflammation , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/chemistry , Software , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Static Electricity
17.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 14(1): 191-200, 2022 Jan 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655440

ABSTRACT

At present, the most powerful new drugs for COVID-19 are antibody proteins. In addition, there are some star small molecule drugs. However, there are few studies on nanomaterials. Here, we study the intact graphene (IG), defective graphene (DG), and graphene oxide (GO) interacting with COVID-19 protein. We find that they show progressive inhibition of COVID-19 protein. By using molecular dynamics simulations, we study the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 3CL Mpro and graphene-related materials (GRMs): IG, DG, and GO. The results show that Mpro can be absorbed onto the surfaces of investigated materials. DG and GO interacted with Mpro more intensely, causing the decisive part of Mpro to become more flexible. Further analysis shows that compared to IG and GO, DG can inactivate Mpro and inhibit its expression effectively by destroying the active pocket of Mpro. Our work not only provides detailed and reliable theoretical guidance for the application of GRMs in treating with SARS-CoV-2 but also helps in developing new graphene-based anti-COVID-19 materials.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Graphite/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adsorption , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Graphite/metabolism , Humans , Ligands , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
18.
Molecules ; 27(3)2022 Jan 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648677

ABSTRACT

The human population is still facing appalling conditions due to several outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. The absence of specific drugs, appropriate vaccines for mutants, and knowledge of potential therapeutic agents makes this situation more difficult. Several 1, 2, 4-triazolo [1, 5-a] pyrimidine (TP)-derivative compounds were comprehensively studied for antiviral activities against RNA polymerase of HIV, HCV, and influenza viruses, and showed immense pharmacological interest. Therefore, TP-derivative compounds can be repurposed against the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) protein of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, a meta-analysis was performed to ensure the genomic variability and stability of the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp protein. The molecular docking of natural and synthetic TP compounds to RdRp and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations were performed to analyse the dynamic behaviour of TP compounds at the active site of the RdRp protein. TP compounds were also docked against other non-structural proteins (NSP1, NSP2, NSP3, NSP5, NSP8, NSP13, and NSP15) of SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, the inhibition potential of TP compounds was compared with Remdesivir and Favipiravir drugs as a positive control. Additionally, TP compounds were analysed for inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV RdRp protein. This study demonstrates that TP analogues (monomethylated triazolopyrimidine and essramycin) represent potential lead molecules for designing an effective inhibitor to control viral replication. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo studies will strengthen the use of these inhibitors as suitable drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/drug effects , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Pyrimidines/pharmacology , Triazoles/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Amides/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Catalytic Domain/drug effects , Computational Biology/methods , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pyrazines/pharmacology , Pyrimidines/chemistry , RNA, Viral/drug effects , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/drug effects , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Triazoles/chemistry , Virus Replication/drug effects
19.
J Virol ; 96(1): e0125321, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639525

ABSTRACT

Over the past 20 years, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV), and SARS-CoV-2 emerged, causing severe human respiratory diseases throughout the globe. Developing broad-spectrum drugs would be invaluable in responding to new, emerging coronaviruses and to address unmet urgent clinical needs. Main protease (Mpro; also known as 3CLpro) has a major role in the coronavirus life cycle and is one of the most important targets for anti-coronavirus agents. We show that a natural product, noncovalent inhibitor, shikonin, is a pan-main protease inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, human coronavirus (HCoV)-HKU1, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-229E with micromolar half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values. Structures of the main protease of different coronavirus genus, SARS-CoV from the betacoronavirus genus and HCoV-NL63 from the alphacoronavirus genus, were determined by X-ray crystallography and revealed that the inhibitor interacts with key active site residues in a unique mode. The structure of the main protease inhibitor complex presents an opportunity to discover a novel series of broad-spectrum inhibitors. These data provide substantial evidence that shikonin and its derivatives may be effective against most coronaviruses as well as emerging coronaviruses of the future. Given the importance of the main protease for coronavirus therapeutic indication, insights from these studies should accelerate the development and design of safer and more effective antiviral agents. IMPORTANCE The current pandemic has created an urgent need for broad-spectrum inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. The main protease is relatively conservative compared to the spike protein and, thus, is one of the most promising targets in developing anti-coronavirus agents. We solved the crystal structures of the main protease of SARS-CoV and HCoV-NL63 that bound to shikonin. The structures provide important insights, have broad implications for understanding the structural basis underlying enzyme activity, and can facilitate rational design of broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus ligands as new therapeutic agents.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Catalytic Domain , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Crystallography, X-Ray , Molecular Docking Simulation , Naphthoquinones/chemistry , Protein Binding
20.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 717, 2022 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621280

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is currently a big concern around the world. Recent reports show that the disease severity and mortality of COVID-19 infected patients may vary from gender to gender with a very high risk of death for seniors. In addition, some steroid structures have been reported to affect coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, function and activity. The entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells depends on the binding of coronavirus spike protein to angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Viral main protease is essential for the replication of SARS-CoV-2. It was hypothesized that steroid molecules (e.g., estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone and calcitriol) could occupy the active site of the protease and could alter the interaction of spike protein with ACE2. Computational data showed that estradiol interacted more strongly with the main protease active site. In the presence of calcitriol, the binding energy of the spike protein to ACE2 was increased, and transferring Apo to Locked S conformer of spike trimer was facilitated. Together, the interaction between spike protein and ACE2 can be disrupted by calcitriol. Potential use of estradiol and calcitriol to reduce virus invasion and replication needs clinical investigation.


Subject(s)
Calcitriol/pharmacology , Estradiol/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain/drug effects , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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