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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(23)2021 Nov 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542584


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major pathogenic herpesvirus that is prevalent worldwide and it is associated with a variety of clinical symptoms. Current antiviral therapy options do not fully satisfy the medical needs; thus, improved drug classes and drug-targeting strategies are required. In particular, host-directed antivirals, including pharmaceutical kinase inhibitors, might help improve the drug qualities. Here, we focused on utilizing PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACs), i.e., hetero-bifunctional molecules containing two elements, namely a target-binding molecule and a proteolysis-inducing element. Specifically, a PROTAC that was based on a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, i.e., CDK9-directed PROTAC THAL-SNS032, was analyzed and proved to possess strong anti-HCMV AD169-GFP activity, with values of EC50 of 0.030 µM and CC50 of 0.175 µM (SI of 5.8). Comparing the effect of THAL-SNS032 with its non-PROTAC counterpart SNS032, data indicated a 3.7-fold stronger anti-HCMV efficacy. This antiviral activity, as illustrated for further clinically relevant strains of human and murine CMVs, coincided with the mid-nanomolar concentration range necessary for a drug-induced degradation of the primary (CDK9) and secondary targets (CDK1, CDK2, CDK7). In addition, further antiviral activities were demonstrated, such as the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication, whereas other investigated human viruses (i.e., varicella zoster virus, adenovirus type 2, and Zika virus) were found insensitive. Combined, the antiviral quality of this approach is seen in its (i) mechanistic uniqueness; (ii) future options of combinatorial drug treatment; (iii) potential broad-spectrum activity; and (iv) applicability in clinically relevant antiviral models. These novel data are discussed in light of the current achievements of anti-HCMV drug development.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cytomegalovirus/drug effects , Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/pharmacology , Adenoviridae/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 9 , Drug Delivery Systems , Herpesvirus 3, Human/drug effects , Humans , Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/chemistry , Mice , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Zika Virus/drug effects
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(17)2021 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379977


A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been identified as the pathogen responsible for the outbreak of a severe, rapidly developing pneumonia (Coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19). The virus enzyme, called 3CLpro or main protease (Mpro), is essential for viral replication, making it a most promising target for antiviral drug development. Recently, we adopted the drug repurposing as appropriate strategy to give fast response to global COVID-19 epidemic, by demonstrating that the zonulin octapeptide inhibitor AT1001 (Larazotide acetate) binds Mpro catalytic domain. Thus, in the present study we tried to investigate the antiviral activity of AT1001, along with five derivatives, by cell-based assays. Our results provide with the identification of AT1001 peptide molecular framework for lead optimization step to develop new generations of antiviral agents of SARS-CoV-2 with an improved biological activity, expanding the chance for success in clinical trials.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Oligopeptides/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Cell Line , Cytomegalovirus/drug effects , Drug Repositioning , Herpesvirus 3, Human/drug effects , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptides/chemical synthesis , Peptides/pharmacology , Peptides/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
Eur J Med Chem ; 209: 112884, 2021 Jan 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-800277


A novel methodology to access alkynyl nucleoside analogues is elaborated. Highly fluorescent 5-alkynylfuropyrimidines were synthesized (97-46%) and their antiviral properties investigated in vitro. Regiochemistry of the functionalization was achieved with the aid of 5-endo-dig electrophilic halocyclization of acetyl 5-p-tolyl- or 5-p-pentylphenyl-2'-deoxyuridine. Structure of one of the resulting nucleosides, 6-p-tolyl-5-iodo-2'-deoxyribofuranosyl-furo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one, was confirmed by X-ray crystallography, and its conformation was compared to related nucleosides. Diverse alkynyl substituents were introduced at the heterobicyclic base C-5 position via Sonogashira coupling of 5-iodo-2'-deoxyribofuranosyl-furo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-ones. The resulting compounds had fluorescence emissions of 452-481 nm. High quantum yields of 0.53-0.60 were observed for 9-ethynyl-9-fluorenol and propargyl alcohol/methyl ether-modified furopyrimidines. These modified nucleosides, designed in the form of ribose acetyl esters, are potential tools for fluorescent tagging, studying nucleoside metabolism, 2'-deoxyribonucleoside kinase activity, and antiviral activity. Antiviral assays against a broad spectrum of DNA and RNA viruses showed that in human embryonic lung (HEL) cell cultures some of the compounds posess antiviral activity (EC50 1.3-13.2 µM) against varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The alkynyl furopyrimidine with two p-pentylphenyl substituents emerged as the best compound with reasonable and selective anti-VZV activity, confirming p-pentylphenyl potency as a pharmacophore.

Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Pyrimidine Nucleosides/chemistry , Pyrimidine Nucleosides/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Cell Line , Fluorescence , Halogenation , Herpesvirus 3, Human/drug effects , Humans , Models, Molecular , Pyrimidine Nucleosides/chemical synthesis , Varicella Zoster Virus Infection/drug therapy , Varicella Zoster Virus Infection/virology