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1.
Mar Drugs ; 20(3)2022 Feb 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715534

ABSTRACT

Several natural products recovered from a marine-derived Aspergillus niger were tested for their inhibitory activity against SARS CoV-2 in vitro. Aurasperone A (3) was found to inhibit SARS CoV-2 efficiently (IC50 = 12.25 µM) with comparable activity with the positive control remdesivir (IC50 = 10.11 µM). Aurasperone A exerted minimal cytotoxicity on Vero E6 cells (CC50 = 32.36 mM, SI = 2641.5) and it was found to be much safer than remdesivir (CC50 = 415.22 µM, SI = 41.07). To putatively highlight its molecular target, aurasperone A was subjected to molecular docking against several key-viral protein targets followed by a series of molecular dynamics-based in silico experiments that suggested Mpro to be its primary viral protein target. More potent anti-SARS CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors can be developed according to our findings presented in the present investigation.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Chromones/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/isolation & purification , Aspergillus niger/chemistry , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chromones/isolation & purification , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/isolation & purification , RNA Helicases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
2.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 414(5): 1773-1785, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653430

ABSTRACT

Nucleic acid tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been performed worldwide since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the quality assessment of testing laboratories and the performance evaluation of molecular diagnosis products, reference materials (RMs) are required. In this work, we report the production of a lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM containing approximately 12 kilobases of its genome including common diagnostics targets such as RdRp, N, E, and S genes. The RM was measured with multiple assays using two different digital PCR platforms. To measure the homogeneity and stability of the lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM, reverse transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) was used with in-house duplex assays. The copy number concentration of each target gene in the extracted RNA solution was then converted to that of the RM solution. Their copy number values are measured to be from 1.5 × 105 to 2.0 × 105 copies/mL. The RM has a between-bottle homogeneity of 4.80-8.23% and is stable at 4 °C for 1 week and at -70 °C for 6 months. The lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM closely mimics real samples that undergo identical pre-analytical processes for SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing. By offering accurate reference values for the absolute copy number of viral target genes, the developed RM can be used to improve the reliability of SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Genome, Viral , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Gene Dosage , Gene Expression , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Lentivirus/genetics , Lentivirus/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA, Viral/standards , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/supply & distribution , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Genome Packaging
3.
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
4.
Science ; 375(6577): 161-167, 2022 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648160

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for broad-spectrum therapeutics against respiratory viruses. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major threat to pediatric patients and older adults. We describe 4'-fluorouridine (4'-FlU, EIDD-2749), a ribonucleoside analog that inhibits RSV, related RNA viruses, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with high selectivity index in cells and human airway epithelia organoids. Polymerase inhibition within in vitro RNA-dependent RNA polymerase assays established for RSV and SARS-CoV-2 revealed transcriptional stalling after incorporation. Once-daily oral treatment was highly efficacious at 5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) in RSV-infected mice or 20 mg/kg in ferrets infected with different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, initiated 24 or 12 hours after infection, respectively. These properties define 4'-FlU as a broad-spectrum candidate for the treatment of RSV, SARS-CoV-2, and related RNA virus infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Uracil Nucleotides/pharmacology , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Mononegavirales/drug effects , Mononegavirales/physiology , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/genetics , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Transcription, Genetic , Uracil Nucleotides/administration & dosage , Uracil Nucleotides/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
Virology ; 567: 1-14, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1628759

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein comprises two RNA-binding domains connected by a central spacer, which contains a serine- and arginine-rich (SR) region. The SR region engages the largest subunit of the viral replicase-transcriptase, nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3), in an interaction that is essential for efficient initiation of infection by genomic RNA. We carried out an extensive genetic analysis of the SR region of the N protein of mouse hepatitis virus in order to more precisely define its role in RNA synthesis. We further examined the N-nsp3 interaction through construction of nsp3 mutants and by creation of an interspecies N protein chimera. Our results indicate a role for the central spacer as an interaction hub of the N molecule that is partially regulated by phosphorylation. These findings are discussed in relation to the recent discovery that nsp3 forms a molecular pore in the double-membrane vesicles that sequester the coronavirus replicase-transcriptase.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Intracellular Membranes/metabolism , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs , Animals , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Mice , Murine hepatitis virus , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/chemistry , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/genetics , Viral Replication Compartments/metabolism
6.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 50(3): 1484-1500, 2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1624985

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is the causal agent of the current global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 belongs to an order, Nidovirales, with very large RNA genomes. It is proposed that the fidelity of coronavirus (CoV) genome replication is aided by an RNA nuclease complex, comprising the non-structural proteins 14 and 10 (nsp14-nsp10), an attractive target for antiviral inhibition. Our results validate reports that the SARS-CoV-2 nsp14-nsp10 complex has RNase activity. Detailed functional characterization reveals nsp14-nsp10 is a versatile nuclease capable of digesting a wide variety of RNA structures, including those with a blocked 3'-terminus. Consistent with a role in maintaining viral genome integrity during replication, we find that nsp14-nsp10 activity is enhanced by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex (RdRp) consisting of nsp12-nsp7-nsp8 (nsp12-7-8) and demonstrate that this stimulation is mediated by nsp8. We propose that the role of nsp14-nsp10 in maintaining replication fidelity goes beyond classical proofreading by purging the nascent replicating RNA strand of a range of potentially replication-terminating aberrations. Using our developed assays, we identify drug and drug-like molecules that inhibit nsp14-nsp10, including the known SARS-CoV-2 major protease (Mpro) inhibitor ebselen and the HIV integrase inhibitor raltegravir, revealing the potential for multifunctional inhibitors in COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomic Instability , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Genome, Viral/drug effects , Genomic Instability/drug effects , Genomic Instability/genetics , HIV Integrase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Isoindoles/pharmacology , Multienzyme Complexes/antagonists & inhibitors , Multienzyme Complexes/metabolism , Organoselenium Compounds/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Raltegravir Potassium/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/genetics
7.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(22): 13019-13030, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546008

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense RNA virus responsible for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which continues to cause significant morbidity, mortality and economic strain. SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe respiratory disease and death in humans, highlighting the need for effective antiviral therapies. The RNA synthesis machinery of SARS-CoV-2 is an ideal drug target and consists of non-structural protein 12 (nsp12), which is directly responsible for RNA synthesis, and numerous co-factors involved in RNA proofreading and 5' capping of viral RNAs. The formation of the 5' 7-methylguanosine (m7G) cap structure is known to require a guanylyltransferase (GTase) as well as a 5' triphosphatase and methyltransferases; however, the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 RNA capping remains poorly understood. Here we find that SARS-CoV-2 nsp12 is involved in viral RNA capping as a GTase, carrying out the addition of a GTP nucleotide to the 5' end of viral RNA via a 5' to 5' triphosphate linkage. We further show that the nsp12 NiRAN (nidovirus RdRp-associated nucleotidyltransferase) domain performs this reaction, and can be inhibited by remdesivir triphosphate, the active form of the antiviral drug remdesivir. These findings improve understanding of coronavirus RNA synthesis and highlight a new target for novel or repurposed antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Triphosphate/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Adenosine Triphosphate/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Genome, Viral/genetics , Guanosine/analogs & derivatives , Guanosine/metabolism , Humans , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Caps/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccinia virus/enzymology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism
8.
Infect Genet Evol ; 97: 105153, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521407

ABSTRACT

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly important to monitor the mutations that arise in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, to prepare public health strategies and guide the further development of vaccines and therapeutics. The spike (S) protein and the proteins comprising the RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase (RdRP) are key vaccine and drug targets, respectively, making mutation surveillance of these proteins of great importance. Full protein sequences were downloaded from the GISAID database, aligned, and the variants identified. 437,006 unique viral genomes were analyzed. Polymorphisms in the protein sequence were investigated and examined longitudinally to identify sequence and strain variants appearing between January 5th, 2020 and January 16th, 2021. A structural analysis was also performed to investigate mutations in the receptor binding domain and the N-terminal domain of the spike protein. Within the spike protein, there were 766 unique mutations observed in the N-terminal domain and 360 in the receptor binding domain. Four residues that directly contact ACE2 were mutated in more than 100 sequences, including positions K417, Y453, S494, and N501. Within the furin cleavage site of the spike protein, a high degree of conservation was observed, but the P681H mutation was observed in 10.47% of sequences analyzed. Within the RNA dependent RNA polymerase complex proteins, 327 unique mutations were observed in Nsp8, 166 unique mutations were observed in Nsp7, and 1157 unique mutations were observed in Nsp12. Only 4 sequences analyzed contained mutations in the 9 residues that directly interact with the therapeutic Remdesivir, suggesting limited mutations in drug interacting residues. The identification of new variants emphasizes the need for further study on the effects of the mutations and the implications of increased prevalence, particularly for vaccine or therapeutic efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Genome, Viral , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/chemistry , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Africa/epidemiology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/chemistry , Alanine/pharmacology , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Asia/epidemiology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Databases, Factual , Epidemiological Monitoring , Europe/epidemiology , Evolution, Molecular , Furin/genetics , Furin/metabolism , Gene Expression , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , United States/epidemiology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
9.
ChemMedChem ; 16(22): 3418-3427, 2021 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525425

ABSTRACT

Currently, limited therapeutic options are available for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). We have developed a set of pyrazine-based small molecules. A series of pyrazine conjugates was synthesized by microwave-assisted click chemistry and benzotriazole chemistry. All the synthesized conjugates were screened against the SAR-CoV-2 virus and their cytotoxicity was determined. Computational studies were carried out to validate the biological data. Some of the pyrazine-triazole conjugates (5 d-g) and (S)-N-(1-(benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl)-2-phenylethyl)pyrazine-2-carboxamide 12 i show significant potency against SARS-CoV-2 among the synthesized conjugates. The selectivity index (SI) of potent conjugates indicates significant efficacy compared to the reference drug (Favipiravir).


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Pyrazines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/toxicity , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Pyrazines/chemical synthesis , Pyrazines/metabolism , Pyrazines/toxicity , Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells
10.
Cell Res ; 31(12): 1230-1243, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475291

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the ongoing global pandemic that poses substantial challenges to public health worldwide. A subset of COVID-19 patients experience systemic inflammatory response, known as cytokine storm, which may lead to death. Receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) is an important mediator of inflammation and cell death. Here, we examined the interaction of RIPK1-mediated innate immunity with SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found evidence of RIPK1 activation in human COVID-19 lung pathological samples, and cultured human lung organoids and ACE2 transgenic mice infected by SARS-CoV-2. Inhibition of RIPK1 using multiple small-molecule inhibitors reduced the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in human lung organoids. Furthermore, therapeutic dosing of the RIPK1 inhibitor Nec-1s reduced mortality and lung viral load, and blocked the CNS manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 in ACE2 transgenic mice. Mechanistically, we found that the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of SARS-CoV-2, NSP12, a highly conserved central component of coronaviral replication and transcription machinery, promoted the activation of RIPK1. Furthermore, NSP12 323L variant, encoded by the SARS-CoV-2 C14408T variant first detected in Lombardy, Italy, that carries a Pro323Leu amino acid substitution in NSP12, showed increased ability to activate RIPK1. Inhibition of RIPK1 downregulated the transcriptional induction of proinflammatory cytokines and host factors including ACE2 and EGFR that promote viral entry into cells. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may have an unexpected and unusual ability to hijack the RIPK1-mediated host defense response to promote its own propagation and that inhibition of RIPK1 may provide a therapeutic option for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Down-Regulation/drug effects , ErbB Receptors/metabolism , Humans , Imidazoles/pharmacology , Imidazoles/therapeutic use , Indoles/pharmacology , Indoles/therapeutic use , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Mutation , Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Survival Rate , Transcriptome/drug effects , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Internalization
11.
Elife ; 102021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456505

ABSTRACT

The absence of 'shovel-ready' anti-coronavirus drugs during vaccine development has exceedingly worsened the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Furthermore, new vaccine-resistant variants and coronavirus outbreaks may occur in the near future, and we must be ready to face this possibility. However, efficient antiviral drugs are still lacking to this day, due to our poor understanding of the mode of incorporation and mechanism of action of nucleotides analogs that target the coronavirus polymerase to impair its essential activity. Here, we characterize the impact of remdesivir (RDV, the only FDA-approved anti-coronavirus drug) and other nucleotide analogs (NAs) on RNA synthesis by the coronavirus polymerase using a high-throughput, single-molecule, magnetic-tweezers platform. We reveal that the location of the modification in the ribose or in the base dictates the catalytic pathway(s) used for its incorporation. We show that RDV incorporation does not terminate viral RNA synthesis, but leads the polymerase into backtrack as far as 30 nt, which may appear as termination in traditional ensemble assays. SARS-CoV-2 is able to evade the endogenously synthesized product of the viperin antiviral protein, ddhCTP, though the polymerase incorporates this NA well. This experimental paradigm is essential to the discovery and development of therapeutics targeting viral polymerases.


To multiply and spread from cell to cell, the virus responsible for COVID-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2) must first replicate its genetic information. This process involves a 'polymerase' protein complex making a faithful copy by assembling a precise sequence of building blocks, or nucleotides. The only drug approved against SARS-CoV-2 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), remdesivir, consists of a nucleotide analog, a molecule whose structure is similar to the actual building blocks needed for replication. If the polymerase recognizes and integrates these analogs into the growing genetic sequence, the replication mechanism is disrupted, and the virus cannot multiply. Most approaches to study this process seem to indicate that remdesivir works by stopping the polymerase and terminating replication altogether. Yet, exactly how remdesivir and other analogs impair the synthesis of new copies of the virus remains uncertain. To explore this question, Seifert, Bera et al. employed an approach called magnetic tweezers which uses a magnetic field to manipulate micro-particles with great precision. Unlike other methods, this technique allows analogs to be integrated under conditions similar to those found in cells, and to be examined at the level of a single molecule. The results show that contrary to previous assumptions, remdesivir does not terminate replication; instead, it causes the polymerase to pause and backtrack (which may appear as termination in other techniques). The same approach was then applied to other nucleotide analogs, some of which were also found to target the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase. However, these analogs are incorporated differently to remdesivir and with less efficiency. They also obstruct the polymerase in distinct ways. Taken together, the results by Seifert, Bera et al. suggest that magnetic tweezers can be a powerful approach to reveal how analogs interfere with replication. This information could be used to improve currently available analogs as well as develop new antiviral drugs that are more effective against SARS-CoV-2. This knowledge will be key at a time when treatments against COVID-19 are still lacking, and may be needed to protect against new variants and future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Nucleotides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Nucleotides/metabolism , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Stochastic Processes , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19161, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440480

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is associated with fatal pulmonary fibrosis. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) can be developed to induce RNA interference against SARS-CoV-2, and their susceptible target sites can be inferred by Argonaute crosslinking immunoprecipitation sequencing (AGO CLIP). Here, by reanalysing AGO CLIP data in RNA viruses, we delineated putative AGO binding in the conserved non-structural protein 12 (nsp12) region encoding RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) in SARS-CoV-2. We utilised the inferred AGO binding to optimise the local RNA folding parameter to calculate target accessibility and predict all potent siRNA target sites in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, avoiding sequence variants. siRNAs loaded onto AGO also repressed seed (positions 2-8)-matched transcripts by acting as microRNAs (miRNAs). To utilise this, we further screened 13 potential siRNAs whose seed sequences were matched to known antifibrotic miRNAs and confirmed their miRNA-like activity. A miR-27-mimicking siRNA designed to target the nsp12 region (27/RdRP) was validated to silence a synthesised nsp12 RNA mimic in lung cell lines and function as an antifibrotic miR-27 in regulating target transcriptomes related to TGF-ß signalling. siRNA sequences with an antifibrotic miRNA-like activity that could synergistically treat COVID-19 are available online ( http://clip.korea.ac.kr/covid19 ).


Subject(s)
Argonaute Proteins/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , MicroRNAs/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Argonaute Proteins/metabolism , Base Sequence , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , HeLa Cells , Humans , Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , RNA Interference , RNA-Seq/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 18851, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434149

ABSTRACT

In this pandemic SARS-CoV-2 crisis, any attempt to contain and eliminate the virus will also stop its spread and consequently decrease the risk of severe illness and death. While ozone treatment has been suggested as an effective disinfection process, no precise mechanism of action has been previously reported. This study aimed to further investigate the effect of ozone treatment on SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, virus collected from nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab and sputum samples from symptomatic patients was exposed to ozone for different exposure times. The virus morphology and structure were monitored and analyzed through Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), and ATR-FTIR. The obtained results showed that ozone treatment not only unsettles the virus morphology but also alters the virus proteins' structure and conformation through amino acid disturbance and Zn ion release from the virus non-structural proteins. These results could provide a clearer pathway for virus elimination and therapeutics preparation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Ozone/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Protein Structure, Secondary/drug effects , Protein Structure, Tertiary/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Time Factors , Viral Envelope/chemistry , Viral Envelope/drug effects , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Zinc/chemistry , Zinc/metabolism
14.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(9): e1009384, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405333

ABSTRACT

Apart from the canonical fingers, palm and thumb domains, the RNA dependent RNA polymerases (RdRp) from the viral order Nidovirales possess two additional domains. Of these, the function of the Nidovirus RdRp associated nucleotidyl transferase domain (NiRAN) remains unanswered. The elucidation of the 3D structure of RdRp from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), provided the first ever insights into the domain organisation and possible functional characteristics of the NiRAN domain. Using in silico tools, we predict that the NiRAN domain assumes a kinase or phosphotransferase like fold and binds nucleoside triphosphates at its proposed active site. Additionally, using molecular docking we have predicted the binding of three widely used kinase inhibitors and five well characterized anti-microbial compounds at the NiRAN domain active site along with their drug-likeliness. For the first time ever, using basic biochemical tools, this study shows the presence of a kinase like activity exhibited by the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp. Interestingly, a well-known kinase inhibitor- Sorafenib showed a significant inhibition and dampened viral load in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. In line with the current global COVID-19 pandemic urgency and the emergence of newer strains with significantly higher infectivity, this study provides a new anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug target and potential lead compounds for drug repurposing against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Catalytic Domain , Computer Simulation , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans
15.
Drug Res (Stuttg) ; 71(8): 462-472, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404894

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Replication of SARS-CoV-2 depends on viral RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp). Remdesivir, the broad-spectrum RdRp inhibitor acts as nucleoside-analogues (NAs). Remdesivir has initially been repurposed as a promising drug against SARS-CoV-2 infection with some health hazards like liver damage, allergic reaction, low blood-pressure, and breathing-shortness, throat-swelling. In comparison, theaflavin-3'-O-gallate (TFMG), the abundant black tea component has gained importance in controlling viral infection. TFMG is a non-toxic, non-invasive, antioxidant, anticancer and antiviral molecule. RESULTS: Here, we analyzed the inhibitory effect of theaflavin-3'-O-gallate on SARS CoV-2 RdRp in comparison with remdesivir by molecular-docking study. TFMG has been shown more potent in terms of lower Atomic-Contact-Energy (ACE) and higher occupancy of surface area; -393.97 Kcal/mol and 771.90 respectively, favoured with lower desolvation-energy; -9.2: Kcal/mol. TFMG forms more rigid electrostatic and H-bond than remdesivir. TFMG showed strong affinity to RNA primer and template and RNA passage-site of RdRp. CONCLUSIONS: TFMG can block the catalytic residue, NTP entry site, cation binding site, nsp7-nsp12 junction with binding energy of -6. 72 Kcal/mol with Ki value of 11.79, and interface domain with binding energy of -7.72 and -6.16 Kcal/mol with Ki value of 2.21 and 30.71 µM. And most importantly, TFMG shows antioxidant/anti-inflammatory/antiviral effect on human studies.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Biflavonoids/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Catechin/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Design , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Gallic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/chemistry , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/chemistry , Alanine/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Biflavonoids/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Catechin/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Gallic Acid/chemistry , Gallic Acid/pharmacology , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Structure-Activity Relationship
16.
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 23(36): 20117-20128, 2021 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404891

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 emphasizes the need for effective therapeutics. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) by nucleotide analogs provides a promising antiviral strategy. One common group of RdRp inhibitors, 2'-modified nucleotides, are reported to exhibit different behaviors in the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp transcription assay. Three of these analogs, 2'-O-methyl UTP, Sofosbuvir, and 2'-methyl CTP, act as effective inhibitors in previous biochemical experiments, while Gemcitabine and ara-UTP show no inhibitory activity. To understand the impact of the 2'-modification on their inhibitory effects, we conducted extensive molecular dynamics simulations and relative binding free energy calculations using the free energy perturbation method on SARS-CoV-2 replication-transcription complex (RTC) with these five nucleotide analogs. Our results reveal that the five nucleotide analogs display comparable binding affinities to SARS-CoV-2 RdRp and they can all be added to the nascent RNA chain. Moreover, we examine how the incorporation of these nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) analogs will impact the addition of the next nucleotide. Our results indicate that 2'-O-methyl UTP can weaken the binding of the subsequent NTP and consequently lead to partial chain termination. Additionally, Sofosbuvir and 2'-methyl CTP can cause immediate termination due to the strong steric hindrance introduced by their bulky 2'-methyl groups. In contrast, nucleotide analogs with smaller substitutions, such as the fluorine atoms and the ara-hydroxyl group in Gemcitabine and ara-UTP, have a marginal impact on the polymerization process. Our findings are consistent with experimental observations, and more importantly, shed light on the detailed molecular mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 RdRp inhibition by 2'-substituted nucleotide analogs, and may facilitate the rational design of antiviral agents to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 RdRp.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Nucleotides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Nucleotides/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology
17.
Cell ; 184(1): 184-193.e10, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385213

ABSTRACT

Transcription of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA requires sequential reactions facilitated by the replication and transcription complex (RTC). Here, we present a structural snapshot of SARS-CoV-2 RTC as it transitions toward cap structure synthesis. We determine the atomic cryo-EM structure of an extended RTC assembled by nsp7-nsp82-nsp12-nsp132-RNA and a single RNA-binding protein, nsp9. Nsp9 binds tightly to nsp12 (RdRp) NiRAN, allowing nsp9 N terminus inserting into the catalytic center of nsp12 NiRAN, which then inhibits activity. We also show that nsp12 NiRAN possesses guanylyltransferase activity, catalyzing the formation of cap core structure (GpppA). The orientation of nsp13 that anchors the 5' extension of template RNA shows a remarkable conformational shift, resulting in zinc finger 3 of its ZBD inserting into a minor groove of paired template-primer RNA. These results reason an intermediate state of RTC toward mRNA synthesis, pave a way to understand the RTC architecture, and provide a target for antiviral development.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Cryoelectron Microscopy , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Viral Replicase Complex Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Coronavirus/chemistry , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/enzymology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Models, Molecular , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/chemistry , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Sequence Alignment , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
18.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(6)2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389394

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 currently lacks effective first-line drug treatment. We present promising data from in silico docking studies of new Methisazone compounds (modified with calcium, Ca; iron, Fe; magnesium, Mg; manganese, Mn; or zinc, Zn) designed to bind more strongly to key proteins involved in replication of SARS-CoV-2. In this in silico molecular docking study, we investigated the inhibiting role of Methisazone and the modified drugs against SARS-CoV-2 proteins: ribonucleic acid (RNA)-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), spike protein, papain-like protease (PlPr), and main protease (MPro). We found that the highest binding interactions were found with the spike protein (6VYB), with the highest overall binding being observed with Mn-bound Methisazone at -8.3 kcal/mol, followed by Zn and Ca at -8.0 kcal/mol, and Fe and Mg at -7.9 kcal/mol. We also found that the metal-modified Methisazone had higher affinity for PlPr and MPro. In addition, we identified multiple binding pockets that could be singly or multiply occupied on all proteins tested. The best binding energy was with Mn-Methisazone versus spike protein, and the largest cumulative increases in binding energies were found with PlPr. We suggest that further studies are warranted to identify whether these compounds may be effective for treatment and/or prophylaxis.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Metals/chemistry , Methisazone/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Calcium/chemistry , Calcium/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Drug Design , Humans , Iron/chemistry , Iron/metabolism , Magnesium/chemistry , Magnesium/metabolism , Manganese/chemistry , Manganese/metabolism , Metals/metabolism , Methisazone/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Zinc/chemistry , Zinc/metabolism
19.
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
20.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0074721, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356909

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is bringing an unprecedented health crisis to the world. To date, our understanding of the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and host innate immunity is still limited. Previous studies reported that SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein 12 (NSP12) was able to suppress interferon-ß (IFN-ß) activation in IFN-ß promoter luciferase reporter assays, which provided insights into the pathogenesis of COVID-19. In this study, we demonstrated that IFN-ß promoter-mediated luciferase activity was reduced during coexpression of NSP12. However, we could show NSP12 did not affect IRF3 or NF-κB activation. Moreover, IFN-ß production induced by Sendai virus (SeV) infection or other stimulus was not affected by NSP12 at mRNA or protein level. Additionally, the type I IFN signaling pathway was not affected by NSP12, as demonstrated by the expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Further experiments revealed that different experiment systems, including protein tags and plasmid backbones, could affect the readouts of IFN-ß promoter luciferase assays. In conclusion, unlike as previously reported, our study showed SARS-CoV-2 NSP12 protein is not an IFN-ß antagonist. It also rings the alarm on the general usage of luciferase reporter assays in studying SARS-CoV-2. IMPORTANCE Previous studies investigated the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins and interferon signaling and proposed that several SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins, including NSP12, could suppress IFN-ß activation. However, most of these results were generated from IFN-ß promoter luciferase reporter assay and have not been validated functionally. In our study, we found that, although NSP12 could suppress IFN-ß promoter luciferase activity, it showed no inhibitory effect on IFN-ß production or its downstream signaling. Further study revealed that contradictory results could be generated from different experiment systems. On one hand, we demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 NSP12 could not suppress IFN-ß signaling. On the other hand, our study suggests that caution needs to be taken with the interpretation of SARS-CoV-2-related luciferase assays.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Interferon-beta , Promoter Regions, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2 , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferon-beta/antagonists & inhibitors , Interferon-beta/biosynthesis , Interferon-beta/genetics , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
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