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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(1)2021 Dec 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580698

ABSTRACT

In this review, we collected 1765 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) M-pro inhibitors from the bibliography and other sources, such as the COVID Moonshot project and the ChEMBL database. This set of inhibitors includes only those compounds whose inhibitory capacity, mainly expressed as the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value, against M-pro from SARS-CoV-2 has been determined. Several covalent warheads are used to treat covalent and non-covalent inhibitors separately. Chemical space, the variation of the IC50 inhibitory activity when measured by different methods or laboratories, and the influence of 1,4-dithiothreitol (DTT) are discussed. When available, we have collected the values of inhibition of viral replication measured with a cellular antiviral assay and expressed as half maximal effective concentration (EC50) values, and their possible relationship to inhibitory potency against M-pro is analyzed. Finally, the most potent covalent and non-covalent inhibitors that simultaneously inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 M-pro and the virus replication in vitro are discussed.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Databases, Pharmaceutical , Enzyme Assays/methods , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
Molecules ; 26(17)2021 Sep 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390702

ABSTRACT

Human neutrophil elastase (HNE) is a uniquely destructive serine protease with the ability to unleash a wave of proteolytic activity by destroying the inhibitors of other proteases. Although this phenomenon forms an important part of the innate immune response to invading pathogens, it is responsible for the collateral host tissue damage observed in chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and in more acute disorders such as the lung injuries associated with COVID-19 infection. Previously, a combinatorially selected activity-based probe revealed an unexpected substrate preference for oxidised methionine, which suggests a link to oxidative pathogen clearance by neutrophils. Here we use oxidised model substrates and inhibitors to confirm this observation and to show that neutrophil elastase is specifically selective for the di-oxygenated methionine sulfone rather than the mono-oxygenated methionine sulfoxide. We also posit a critical role for ordered solvent in the mechanism of HNE discrimination between the two oxidised forms methionine residue. Preference for the sulfone form of oxidised methionine is especially significant. While both host and pathogens have the ability to reduce methionine sulfoxide back to methionine, a biological pathway to reduce methionine sulfone is not known. Taken together, these data suggest that the oxidative activity of neutrophils may create rapidly cleaved elastase "super substrates" that directly damage tissue, while initiating a cycle of neutrophil oxidation that increases elastase tissue damage and further neutrophil recruitment.


Subject(s)
Immunity, Innate , Leukocyte Elastase/metabolism , Methionine/analogs & derivatives , Neutrophils/immunology , Biocatalysis , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain/genetics , Enzyme Assays , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Leukocyte Elastase/antagonists & inhibitors , Leukocyte Elastase/genetics , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Methionine/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Neutrophil Infiltration , Neutrophils/enzymology , Oxidation-Reduction/drug effects , Proteolysis/drug effects , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/immunology , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Substrate Specificity/immunology
3.
J Nat Med ; 75(4): 1080-1085, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375679

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contains a cleavage motif R-X-X-R for furin-like enzymes at the boundary of the S1/S2 subunits. The cleavage of the site by cellular proteases is essential for S protein activation and virus entry. We screened the inhibitory effects of crude drugs on in vitro furin-like enzymatic activities using a fluorogenic substrate with whole-cell lysates. Of the 124 crude drugs listed in the Japanese Pharmacopeia, aqueous ethanolic extract of Cnidii Monnieris Fructus, which is the dried fruit of Cnidium monnieri Cussion, significantly inhibited the furin-like enzymatic activities. We further fractionated the plant extract and isolated the two active compounds with the inhibitory activity, namely, imperatorin and osthole, whose IC50 values were 1.45 mM and 9.45 µM, respectively. Our results indicated that Cnidii Monnieris Fructus might exert inhibitory effects on furin-like enzymatic activities, and that imperatorin and osthole of the crude drug could be potential inhibitors of the motif cleavage.


Subject(s)
Cnidium/chemistry , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Assays , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Furin/metabolism , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , A549 Cells , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Molecules ; 26(17)2021 Aug 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374472

ABSTRACT

This study aims to identify and isolate the secondary metabolites of Zingiber officinale using GC-MS, preparative TLC, and LC-MS/MS methods, to evaluate the inhibitory potency on SARS-CoV-2 3 chymotrypsin-like protease enzyme, as well as to study the molecular interaction and stability by using docking and molecular dynamics simulations. GC-MS analysis suggested for the isolation of terpenoids compounds as major compounds on methanol extract of pseudostems and rhizomes. Isolation and LC-MS/MS analysis identified 5-hydro-7, 8, 2'-trimethoxyflavanone (9), (E)-hexadecyl-ferulate (1), isocyperol (2), N-isobutyl-(2E,4E)-octadecadienamide (3), and nootkatone (4) from the rhizome extract, as well as from the leaves extract with the absence of 9. Three known steroid compounds, i.e., spinasterone (7), spinasterol (8), and 24-methylcholesta-7-en-3ß-on (6), were further identified from the pseudostem extract. Molecular docking showed that steroids compounds 7, 8, and 6 have lower predictive binding energies (MMGBSA) than other metabolites with binding energy of -87.91, -78.11, and -68.80 kcal/mole, respectively. Further characterization on the single isolated compound by NMR showed that 6 was identified and possessed 75% inhibitory activity on SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease enzyme that was slightly different with the positive control GC376 (77%). MD simulations showed the complex stability with compound 6 during 100 ns simulation time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Ginger/chemistry , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/ultrastructure , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Crystallography, X-Ray , Enzyme Assays , Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Plant Extracts/chemistry , Plant Extracts/isolation & purification , Plant Extracts/therapeutic use , Pyrrolidines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Structure-Activity Relationship , Sulfonic Acids/pharmacology
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367851

ABSTRACT

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a threat to humankind and has a dramatic impact on human health, social life, the world economy, and food security. With the limited number of suggested therapies under clinical trials, the discovery of novel therapeutic agents is essential. Here, a previously identified anti-SARS-CoV-2 compound named Compound 13 (1,2,5-Oxadiazole-3-carboximidic acid, 4,4'-(methylenediimino) bis,bis[[(2-hydroxyphenyl)methylene]hydrazide) was subjected to an iterated virtual screening against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro using a combination of Ligand Designer and PathFinder. PathFinder, a computational reaction enumeration tool, was used for the rapid generation of enumerated structures via default reaction library. Ligand designer was employed for the computerized lead optimization and selection of the best structural modification that resulted in a favorable ligand-protein complex. The obtained compounds that showed the best binding to Mpro were re-screened against TMPRSS2, leading to the identification of 20 shared compounds. The compounds were further visually inspected, which resulted in the identification of five shared compounds M1-5 with dual binding affinity. In vitro evaluation and enzyme inhibition assay indicated that M3, an analogue of Compound 13 afforded by replacing the phenolic moiety with pyridinyl, possesses an improved antiviral activity and safety. M3 displayed in vitro antiviral activity with IC50 0.016 µM and Mpro inhibition activity with IC50 0.013 µM, 7-fold more potent than the parent Compound 13 and potent than the antivirals drugs that are currently under clinical trials. Moreover, M3 showed potent activity against human TMPRSS2 and furin enzymes with IC50 0.05, and 0.08 µM, respectively. Molecular docking, WaterMap analysis, molecular dynamics simulation, and R-group analysis confirmed the superiority of the binding fit to M3 with the target enzymes. WaterMap analysis calculated the thermodynamic properties of the hydration site in the binding pocket that significantly affects the biological activity. Loading M3 on zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) increased the antiviral activity of the compound 1.5-fold, while maintaining a higher safety profile. In conclusion, lead optimized discovery following an iterated virtual screening in association with molecular docking and biological evaluation revealed a novel compound named M3 with promising dual activity against SARS-CoV-2. The compound deserves further investigation for potential clinical-based studies.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Discovery/methods , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
6.
ACS Chem Biol ; 16(9): 1692-1700, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366786

ABSTRACT

The pro-protein convertase furin is a highly specific serine protease involved in the proteolytic maturation of many proteins in the secretory pathway. It also activates surface proteins of many viruses including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Furin inhibitors effectively suppress viral replication and thus are promising antiviral therapeutics with broad application potential. Polybasic substrate-like ligands typically trigger conformational changes shifting furin's active site cleft from the OFF-state to the ON-state. Here, we solved the X-ray structures of furin in complex with four different arginine mimetic compounds with reduced basicity. These guanylhydrazone-based inhibitor complexes showed for the first time an active site-directed binding mode to furin's OFF-state conformation. The compounds undergo unique interactions within the S1 pocket, largely different compared to substrate-like ligands. A second binding site was identified at the S4/S5 pocket of furin. Crystallography-based titration experiments confirmed the S1 site as the primary binding pocket. We also tested the proprotein convertases PC5/6 and PC7 for inhibition by guanylhydrazones and found an up to 7-fold lower potency for PC7. Interestingly, the observed differences in the Ki values correlated with the sequence conservation of the PCs at the allosteric sodium binding site. Therefore, OFF-state-specific targeting of furin can serve as a valuable strategy for structure-based development of PC-selective small-molecule inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Guanidines/metabolism , Hydrazones/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Catalytic Domain , Crystallography, X-Ray , Enzyme Assays , Furin/chemistry , Furin/metabolism , Guanidines/chemistry , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hydrazones/chemistry , Kinetics , Proprotein Convertase 5/antagonists & inhibitors , Proprotein Convertase 5/chemistry , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Subtilisins/antagonists & inhibitors , Subtilisins/chemistry
7.
Bioorg Chem ; 115: 105265, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356144

ABSTRACT

In spite of possessing a wide range of pharmacological properties the anti-inflammatory activities of isoquinolin-1(2H)-ones were rarely known or explored earlier. PDE4 inhibitors on the other hand in addition to their usefulness in treating inflammatory diseases have been suggested to attenuate the cytokine storm in COVID-19 especially TNF-α. In our effort, a new class of isoquinolin-1(2H)-ones derivatives containing an aminosulfonyl moiety were designed and explored as potential inhibitors of PDE4. Accordingly, for the first time a CuCl2-catalyzed inexpensive, faster and ligand/additive free approach has been developed for the synthesis of these predesigned isoquinolin-1(2H)-one derivatives via the coupling-cyclization strategy. Thus, the CuCl2-catalyzed reaction of 2-iodobenzamides with appropriate terminal alkynes proceeded with high chemo and regioselectivity affording the desired compounds in 77-84% yield within 1-1.5 h. The methodology also afforded simpler isoquinolin-1(2H)-ones devoid of aminosulfonyl moiety showing a broader generality and scope of this approach. Several of the synthesized compounds especially 3c, 3k and 3s showed impressive inhibition (83-90%) of PDE4B when tested at 10 µM in vitro whereas compounds devoid of aminosulfonyl moiety was found to be less active. In spite of high inhibition showed at 10 µM these compounds did not show proper concertation dependent inhibition below 1 µM that was reflected in their IC50 values e.g. 2.43 ± 0.32, 3.26 ± 0.24 and 3.63 ± 0.80 µM for 3k, 3o and 3s respectively. The anti-inflammatory potential of these compounds was indicated by their TNF-α inhibition (60-50% at 10 µM). The in silico docking studies of these molecules suggested good interactions with PDE4B and selective inhibition of PDE4B by 3k over PDE4D that was supported by in vitro assay results. These observations together with the favorable ADME and safety predicted for 3kin silico not only suggested 3k as an interesting hit molecule for further studies but also reveal the first example of isoquinolin-1(2H)-one based inhibitor of PDE4B.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemistry , Copper/chemistry , Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4/chemistry , Isoquinolines/chemistry , Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors/chemistry , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemical synthesis , Catalysis , Cyclization , Enzyme Assays , Humans , Isoquinolines/chemical synthesis , Mice , Molecular Structure , Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors/chemical synthesis , RAW 264.7 Cells , Structure-Activity Relationship , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/antagonists & inhibitors
8.
Chembiochem ; 22(23): 3236-3253, 2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320063

ABSTRACT

In eukaryotes, mRNA is modified by the addition of the 7-methylguanosine (m7 G) 5' cap to protect mRNA from premature degradation, thereby enhancing translation and enabling differentiation between self (endogenous) and non-self RNAs (e. g., viral ones). Viruses often develop their own mRNA capping pathways to augment the expression of their proteins and escape host innate immune response. Insights into this capping system may provide new ideas for therapeutic interventions and facilitate drug discovery, e. g., against viruses that cause pandemic outbreaks, such as beta-coronaviruses SARS-CoV (2002), MARS-CoV (2012), and the most recent SARS-CoV-2. Thus, proper methods for the screening of large compound libraries are required to identify lead structures that could serve as a basis for rational antiviral drug design. This review summarizes the methods that allow the monitoring of the activity and inhibition of enzymes involved in mRNA capping.


Subject(s)
RNA Caps , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme Assays , RNA, Viral/genetics
9.
Bioorg Med Chem Lett ; 48: 128263, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309173

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has created an unprecedented global health emergency. As of July 2021, only three antiviral therapies have been approved by the FDA for treating infected patients, highlighting the urgent need for more antiviral drugs. The SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease (3CLpro) is deemed an attractive drug target due to its essential role in viral polyprotein processing and pathogenesis. Indeed, a number of peptidomimetic 3CLpro inhibitors armed with electrophilic warheads have been reported by various research groups that can potentially be developed for treating COVID-19. However, it is currently impossible to compare their relative potencies due to the different assays employed. To solve this, we conducted a head-to-head comparison of fifteen reported peptidomimetic inhibitors in a standard FRET-based SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibition assay to compare and identify potent inhibitors for development. Inhibitor design and the suitability of various warheads are also discussed.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Peptidomimetics/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Peptidomimetics/metabolism , Protein Binding
10.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2405-2423, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1292181

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a global public health challenge. While the efficacy of vaccines against emerging and future virus variants remains unclear, there is a need for therapeutics. Repurposing existing drugs represents a promising and potentially rapid opportunity to find novel antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. The virus encodes at least nine enzymatic activities that are potential drug targets. Here, we have expressed, purified and developed enzymatic assays for SARS-CoV-2 nsp13 helicase, a viral replication protein that is essential for the coronavirus life cycle. We screened a custom chemical library of over 5000 previously characterized pharmaceuticals for nsp13 inhibitors using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based high-throughput screening approach. From this, we have identified FPA-124 and several suramin-related compounds as novel inhibitors of nsp13 helicase activity in vitro. We describe the efficacy of these drugs using assays we developed to monitor SARS-CoV-2 growth in Vero E6 cells.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , RNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , RNA Helicases/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Suramin/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
11.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2499-2515, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1291175

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Animals , Azoles/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/isolation & purification , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Isoindoles , Leupeptins/pharmacology , Organoselenium Compounds/pharmacology , Peptidomimetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
12.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2517-2531, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290988

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as the biggest life-threatening disease of this century. Whilst vaccination should provide a long-term solution, this is pitted against the constant threat of mutations in the virus rendering the current vaccines less effective. Consequently, small molecule antiviral agents would be extremely useful to complement the vaccination program. The causative agent of COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which encodes at least nine enzymatic activities that all have drug targeting potential. The papain-like protease (PLpro) contained in the nsp3 protein generates viral non-structural proteins from a polyprotein precursor, and cleaves ubiquitin and ISG protein conjugates. Here we describe the expression and purification of PLpro. We developed a protease assay that was used to screen a custom compound library from which we identified dihydrotanshinone I and Ro 08-2750 as compounds that inhibit PLpro in protease and isopeptidase assays and also inhibit viral replication in cell culture-based assays.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Aniline Compounds/pharmacology , Animals , Benzamides/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Drug Synergism , Enzyme Assays , Flavins/pharmacology , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , Furans/pharmacology , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Naphthalenes/pharmacology , Phenanthrenes/pharmacology , Quinones/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
13.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2533-2535, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290318

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we began a project in March 2020 to identify small molecule inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 enzymes from a library of chemical compounds containing many established pharmaceuticals. Our hope was that inhibitors we found might slow the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in cells and ultimately be useful in the treatment of COVID-19. The seven accompanying manuscripts describe the results of these chemical screens. This overview summarises the main highlights from these screens and discusses the implications of our results and how our results might be exploited in future.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Enzyme Assays , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
14.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2445-2464, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290093

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that emerged in 2019 and rapidly spread across the world causing a deadly pandemic with tremendous social and economic costs. Healthcare systems worldwide are under great pressure, and there is an urgent need for effective antiviral treatments. The only currently approved antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is remdesivir, an inhibitor of viral genome replication. SARS-CoV-2 proliferation relies on the enzymatic activities of the non-structural proteins (nsp), which makes them interesting targets for the development of new antiviral treatments. With the aim to identify novel SARS-CoV-2 antivirals, we have purified the exoribonuclease/methyltransferase (nsp14) and its cofactor (nsp10) and developed biochemical assays compatible with high-throughput approaches to screen for exoribonuclease inhibitors. We have screened a library of over 5000 commercial compounds and identified patulin and aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA) as inhibitors of nsp14 exoribonuclease in vitro. We found that patulin and ATA inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 in a VERO E6 cell-culture model. These two new antiviral compounds will be valuable tools for further coronavirus research as well as potentially contributing to new therapeutic opportunities for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Aurintricarboxylic Acid/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Fluorescence , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Patulin/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
15.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2465-2479, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290092

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for COVID-19, a human disease that has caused over 2 million deaths, stretched health systems to near-breaking point and endangered economies of countries and families around the world. Antiviral treatments to combat COVID-19 are currently lacking. Remdesivir, the only antiviral drug approved for the treatment of COVID-19, can affect disease severity, but better treatments are needed. SARS-CoV-2 encodes 16 non-structural proteins (nsp) that possess different enzymatic activities with important roles in viral genome replication, transcription and host immune evasion. One key aspect of host immune evasion is performed by the uridine-directed endoribonuclease activity of nsp15. Here we describe the expression and purification of nsp15 recombinant protein. We have developed biochemical assays to follow its activity, and we have found evidence for allosteric behaviour. We screened a custom chemical library of over 5000 compounds to identify nsp15 endoribonuclease inhibitors, and we identified and validated NSC95397 as an inhibitor of nsp15 endoribonuclease in vitro. Although NSC95397 did not inhibit SARS-CoV-2 growth in VERO E6 cells, further studies will be required to determine the effect of nsp15 inhibition on host immune evasion.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Allosteric Regulation , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Endoribonucleases/isolation & purification , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence , High-Throughput Screening Assays , In Vitro Techniques , Kinetics , Naphthoquinones/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Solutions , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
16.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2425-2443, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289982

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic has turned into the largest public health and economic crisis in recent history impacting virtually all sectors of society. There is a need for effective therapeutics to battle the ongoing pandemic. Repurposing existing drugs with known pharmacological safety profiles is a fast and cost-effective approach to identify novel treatments. The COVID-19 etiologic agent is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. Coronaviruses rely on the enzymatic activity of the replication-transcription complex (RTC) to multiply inside host cells. The RTC core catalytic component is the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) holoenzyme. The RdRp is one of the key druggable targets for CoVs due to its essential role in viral replication, high degree of sequence and structural conservation and the lack of homologues in human cells. Here, we have expressed, purified and biochemically characterised active SARS-CoV-2 RdRp complexes. We developed a novel fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based strand displacement assay for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 RdRp activity suitable for a high-throughput format. As part of a larger research project to identify inhibitors for all the enzymatic activities encoded by SARS-CoV-2, we used this assay to screen a custom chemical library of over 5000 approved and investigational compounds for novel SARS-CoV-2 RdRp inhibitors. We identified three novel compounds (GSK-650394, C646 and BH3I-1) and confirmed suramin and suramin-like compounds as in vitro SARS-CoV-2 RdRp activity inhibitors. We also characterised the antiviral efficacy of these drugs in cell-based assays that we developed to monitor SARS-CoV-2 growth.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Animals , Benzoates/pharmacology , Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Assays , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Holoenzymes/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Suramin/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
17.
Biochem J ; 478(13): 2481-2497, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289949

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented itself as one of the most critical public health challenges of the century, with SARS-CoV-2 being the third member of the Coronaviridae family to cause a fatal disease in humans. There is currently only one antiviral compound, remdesivir, that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19. To identify additional potential therapeutics, we investigated the enzymatic proteins encoded in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. In this study, we focussed on the viral RNA cap methyltransferases, which play key roles in enabling viral protein translation and facilitating viral escape from the immune system. We expressed and purified both the guanine-N7 methyltransferase nsp14, and the nsp16 2'-O-methyltransferase with its activating cofactor, nsp10. We performed an in vitro high-throughput screen for inhibitors of nsp14 using a custom compound library of over 5000 pharmaceutical compounds that have previously been characterised in either clinical or basic research. We identified four compounds as potential inhibitors of nsp14, all of which also showed antiviral capacity in a cell-based model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Three of the four compounds also exhibited synergistic effects on viral replication with remdesivir.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Caps/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Chlorobenzenes/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/isolation & purification , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Indazoles/pharmacology , Indenes/pharmacology , Indoles/pharmacology , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/isolation & purification , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phenothiazines/pharmacology , Purines/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Substrate Specificity , Trifluperidol/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
18.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282643

ABSTRACT

Proteolytic enzymes have great significance in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry and are applied in multiple fields of life sciences. Therefore, cost-efficient, reliable and sensitive real-time monitoring methods are highly desirable to measure protease activity. In this paper, we describe the development of a new experimental approach for investigation of proteolytic enzymes. The method was designed by the combination of recombinant fusion protein substrates and bio-layer interferometry (BLI). The protease (PR) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was applied as model enzyme to set up and test the method. The principle of the assay is that the recombinant protein substrates immobilized to the surface of biosensor are specifically cleaved by the PR, and the substrate processing can be followed by measuring change in the layer thickness by optical measurement. We successfully used this method to detect the HIV-1 PR activity in real time, and the initial rate of the signal decrease was found to be proportional to the enzyme activity. Substrates representing wild-type and modified cleavage sites were designed to study HIV-1 PR's specificity, and the BLI-based measurements showed differential cleavage efficiency of the substrates, which was proven by enzyme kinetic measurements. We applied this BLI-based assay to experimentally confirm the existence of extended binding sites at the surface of HIV-1 PR. We found the measurements may be performed using lysates of cells expressing the fusion protein, without primary purification of the substrate. The designed BLI-based protease assay is high-throughput-compatible and enables real-time and small-volume measurements, thus providing a new and versatile approach to study proteolytic enzymes.


Subject(s)
Enzyme Assays/methods , HIV Protease/metabolism , HIV-1/enzymology , Interferometry/methods , Biosensing Techniques , Cloning, Molecular , HIV Protease/genetics , HIV Protease/isolation & purification , Humans , Kinetics , Proteolysis , Recombinant Proteins , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Substrate Specificity
19.
SLAS Discov ; 26(6): 757-765, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194439

ABSTRACT

Frequent outbreaks of novel coronaviruses (CoVs), highlighted by the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, necessitate the development of therapeutics that could be easily and effectively administered worldwide. The conserved mRNA-capping process enables CoVs to evade their host immune system and is a target for antiviral development. Nonstructural protein (nsp) 16 in complex with nsp10 catalyzes the final step of coronaviral mRNA capping through its 2'-O-methylation activity. Like other methyltransferases, the SARS-CoV-2 nsp10-nsp16 complex is druggable. However, the availability of an optimized assay for high-throughput screening (HTS) is an unmet need. Here, we report the development of a radioactivity-based assay for the methyltransferase activity of the nsp10-nsp16 complex in a 384-well format, kinetic characterization, and optimization of the assay for HTS (Z' factor = 0.83). Considering the high conservation of nsp16 across known CoV species, the potential inhibitors targeting the SARS-CoV-2 nsp10-nsp16 complex may also be effective against other emerging pathogenic CoVs.


Subject(s)
Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , High-Throughput Screening Assays , RNA Caps/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA, Viral/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Adenosine/chemistry , Adenosine/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular , Enzyme Assays , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/metabolism , Humans , Kinetics , Methylation , Methyltransferases , Models, Molecular , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Tritium , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
20.
SLAS Discov ; 26(6): 766-774, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192708

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nonstructural protein 14 (NSP14), which features exonuclease (ExoN) and guanine N7 methyltransferase activity, is a critical player in SARS-CoV-2 replication and fidelity and represents an attractive antiviral target. Initiating drug discovery efforts for nucleases such as NSP14 remains a challenge due to a lack of suitable high-throughput assay methodologies. This report describes the combination of self-assembled monolayers and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry to enable the first label-free and high-throughput assay for NSP14 ExoN activity. The assay was used to measure NSP14 activity and gain insight into substrate specificity and the reaction mechanism. Next, the assay was optimized for kinetically balanced conditions and miniaturized, while achieving a robust assay (Z factor > 0.8) and a significant assay window (signal-to-background ratio > 200). Screening 10,240 small molecules from a diverse library revealed candidate inhibitors, which were counterscreened for NSP14 selectivity and RNA intercalation. The assay methodology described here will enable, for the first time, a label-free and high-throughput assay for NSP14 ExoN activity to accelerate drug discovery efforts and, due to the assay flexibility, can be more broadly applicable for measuring other enzyme activities from other viruses or implicated in various pathologies.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Exonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , High-Throughput Screening Assays , RNA, Viral/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular , Enzyme Assays , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Exonucleases/genetics , Exonucleases/metabolism , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Gene Expression , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/metabolism , Humans , Kinetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization/methods , Substrate Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
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