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1.
Science ; 371(6536): 1379-1382, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476374

ABSTRACT

Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires reducing viral transmission. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, which is mediated by the viral spike protein. We have designed lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that block this critical first step of infection and, on the basis of in vitro efficacy and in vivo biodistribution, selected a dimeric form for evaluation in an animal model. Daily intranasal administration to ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour cohousing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and thus may readily translate into safe and effective intranasal prophylaxis to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Lipopeptides/administration & dosage , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Ferrets , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Lipopeptides/pharmacokinetics , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Mice , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Distribution , Vero Cells , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacology
2.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 5558, 2021 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125779

ABSTRACT

The recent COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to global public health, thus there is an urgent need to define the molecular mechanisms involved in SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein-mediated virus entry that is essential for preventing and/or treating this emerging infectious disease. In this study, we examined the blocking activity of human COVID-19 convalescent plasma by cell-cell fusion assays using SARS-CoV-2-S-transfected 293 T as effector cells and ACE2-expressing 293 T as target cells. We demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 S protein exhibits a very high capacity for membrane fusion and is efficient in mediating virus fusion and entry into target cells. Importantly, we find that COVID-19 convalescent plasma with high titers of IgG neutralizing antibodies can block cell-cell fusion and virus entry by interfering with the SARS-CoV-2-S/ACE2 or SARS-CoV-S/ACE2 interactions. These findings suggest that COVID-19 convalescent plasma may not only inhibit SARS-CoV-2-S but also cross-neutralize SARS-CoV-S-mediated membrane fusion and virus entry, supporting its potential as a preventive and/or therapeutic agent against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other SARS-CoV infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cell Fusion/methods , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Male , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Plasma/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
3.
Science ; 371(6536): 1379-1382, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1088184

ABSTRACT

Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires reducing viral transmission. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, which is mediated by the viral spike protein. We have designed lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that block this critical first step of infection and, on the basis of in vitro efficacy and in vivo biodistribution, selected a dimeric form for evaluation in an animal model. Daily intranasal administration to ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour cohousing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and thus may readily translate into safe and effective intranasal prophylaxis to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Lipopeptides/administration & dosage , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Design , Ferrets , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Lipopeptides/pharmacokinetics , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Mice , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Distribution , Vero Cells , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacology
4.
Eur J Pharmacol ; 894: 173836, 2021 Mar 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1002500

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly and poses an unprecedented threat to the global economy and human health. Broad-spectrum antivirals are currently being administered to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). China's prevention and treatment guidelines suggest the use of an anti-influenza drug, arbidol, for the clinical treatment of COVID-19. Reports indicate that arbidol could neutralize SARS-CoV-2. Monotherapy with arbidol is superior to lopinavir-ritonavir or favipiravir for treating COVID-19. In SARS-CoV-2 infection, arbidol acts by interfering with viral binding to host cells. However, the detailed mechanism by which arbidol induces the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 is not known. Here, we present atomistic insights into the mechanism underlying membrane fusion inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by arbidol. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation-based analyses demonstrate that arbidol binds and stabilizes at the receptor-binding domain (RBD)/ACE2 interface with a high affinity. It forms stronger intermolecular interactions with the RBD than ACE2. Analyses of the detailed decomposition of energy components and binding affinities revealed a substantial increase in the affinity between the RBD and ACE2 in the arbidol-bound RBD/ACE2 complex, suggesting that arbidol generates favorable interactions between them. Based on our MD simulation results, we propose that the binding of arbidol induces structural rigidity in the viral glycoprotein, thus restricting the conformational rearrangements associated with membrane fusion and virus entry. Furthermore, key residues of the RBD and ACE2 that interact with arbidol were identified, opening the door for developing therapeutic strategies and higher-efficacy arbidol derivatives or lead drug candidates.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Indoles/metabolism , Indoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , Computer Simulation , Glycoproteins/drug effects , Glycoproteins/metabolism , Humans , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Models, Molecular , Molecular Conformation , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Domains
5.
Molecules ; 25(23)2020 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-948908

ABSTRACT

The worldwide health emergency of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the absence of a specific treatment for this new coronavirus have led to the use of computational strategies (drug repositioning) to search for treatments. The aim of this work is to identify FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved drugs with the potential for binding to the spike structural glycoprotein at the hinge site, receptor binding motif (RBM), and fusion peptide (FP) using molecular docking simulations. Drugs that bind to amino acids are crucial for conformational changes, receptor recognition, and fusion of the viral membrane with the cell membrane. The results revealed some drugs that bind to hinge site amino acids (varenicline, or steroids such as betamethasone while other drugs bind to crucial amino acids in the RBM (naldemedine, atovaquone, cefotetan) or FP (azilsartan, maraviroc, and difluprednate); saquinavir binds both the RBM and the FP. Therefore, these drugs could inhibit spike glycoprotein and prevent viral entry as possible anti-COVID-19 drugs. Several drugs are in clinical studies; by focusing on other pharmacological agents (candesartan, atovaquone, losartan, maviroc and ritonavir) in this work we propose an additional target: the spike glycoprotein. These results can impact the proposed use of treatments that inhibit the first steps of the virus replication cycle.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Repositioning/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Computer Simulation , Ligands , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Conformation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Varenicline/chemistry , Varenicline/metabolism , Varenicline/pharmacology
6.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(50): 32105-32113, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-947594

ABSTRACT

Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is an interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene that shows broad antiviral activities against a wide range of enveloped viruses. Here, using an IFN-stimulated gene screen against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-SARS-CoV and VSV-SARS-CoV-2 chimeric viruses, we identified CH25H and its enzymatic product 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) as potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 replication. Internalized 25HC accumulates in the late endosomes and potentially restricts SARS-CoV-2 spike protein catalyzed membrane fusion via blockade of cholesterol export. Our results highlight one of the possible antiviral mechanisms of 25HC and provide the molecular basis for its therapeutic development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Endosomes/genetics , Hydroxycholesterols/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endosomes/metabolism , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/metabolism , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
mBio ; 11(5)2020 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-883314

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has erupted into a global pandemic that has led to tens of millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. The development of therapeutics to treat infection or as prophylactics to halt viral transmission and spread is urgently needed. SARS-CoV-2 relies on structural rearrangements within a spike (S) glycoprotein to mediate fusion of the viral and host cell membranes. Here, we describe the development of a lipopeptide that is derived from the C-terminal heptad repeat (HRC) domain of SARS-CoV-2 S that potently inhibits infection by SARS-CoV-2. The lipopeptide inhibits cell-cell fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-2 S and blocks infection by live SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cell monolayers more effectively than previously described lipopeptides. The SARS-CoV-2 lipopeptide exhibits broad-spectrum activity by inhibiting cell-cell fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-1 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and blocking infection by live MERS-CoV in cell monolayers. We also show that the SARS-CoV-2 HRC-derived lipopeptide potently blocks the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial (HAE) cultures, an ex vivo model designed to mimic respiratory viral propagation in humans. While viral spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection was widespread in untreated airways, those treated with SARS-CoV-2 HRC lipopeptide showed no detectable evidence of viral spread. These data provide a framework for the development of peptide therapeutics for the treatment of or prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other coronaviruses.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, continues to spread globally, placing strain on health care systems and resulting in rapidly increasing numbers of cases and mortalities. Despite the growing need for medical intervention, no FDA-approved vaccines are yet available, and treatment has been limited to supportive therapy for the alleviation of symptoms. Entry inhibitors could fill the important role of preventing initial infection and preventing spread. Here, we describe the design, synthesis, and evaluation of a lipopeptide that is derived from the HRC domain of the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein that potently inhibits fusion mediated by SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein and blocks infection by live SARS-CoV-2 in both cell monolayers (in vitro) and human airway tissues (ex vivo). Our results highlight the SARS-CoV-2 HRC-derived lipopeptide as a promising therapeutic candidate for SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/chemistry , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Protein Domains , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS Virus/chemistry , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
8.
J Med Virol ; 92(10): 2087-2095, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-763177

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2) is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Coronaviruses enter cells via fusion of the viral envelope with the plasma membrane and/or via fusion of the viral envelope with endosomal membranes after virion endocytosis. The spike (S) glycoprotein is a major determinant of virus infectivity. Herein, we show that the transient expression of the SARS CoV-2 S glycoprotein in Vero cells caused extensive cell fusion (formation of syncytia) in comparison to limited cell fusion caused by the SARS S glycoprotein. Both S glycoproteins were detected intracellularly and on transfected Vero cell surfaces. These results are in agreement with published pathology observations of extensive syncytia formation in lung tissues of patients with COVID-19. These results suggest that SARS CoV-2 is able to spread from cell-to-cell much more efficiently than SARS effectively avoiding extracellular neutralizing antibodies. A systematic screening of several drugs including cardiac glycosides and kinase inhibitors and inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) entry revealed that only the FDA-approved HIV protease inhibitor, nelfinavir mesylate (Viracept) drastically inhibited S-n- and S-o-mediated cell fusion with complete inhibition at a 10-µM concentration. In-silico docking experiments suggested the possibility that nelfinavir may bind inside the S trimer structure, proximal to the S2 amino terminus directly inhibiting S-n- and S-o-mediated membrane fusion. Also, it is possible that nelfinavir may act to inhibit S proteolytic processing within cells. These results warrant further investigations of the potential of nelfinavir mesylate to inhibit virus spread at early times after SARS CoV-2 symptoms appear.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/pharmacology , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Anti-HIV Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Fusion , Chlorocebus aethiops , Giant Cells/drug effects , Giant Cells/pathology , Giant Cells/virology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nelfinavir/chemistry , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , SARS Virus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virion/drug effects , Virion/pathogenicity , Virion/physiology
9.
Curr Protein Pept Sci ; 21(10): 938-947, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-750827

ABSTRACT

Infectious diseases caused by viruses have become a serious public health issue in the recent past, including the current pandemic situation of COVID-19. Enveloped viruses are most commonly known to cause emerging and recurring infectious diseases. Viral and cell membrane fusion is the major key event in the case of enveloped viruses that is required for their entry into the cell. Viral fusion proteins play an important role in the fusion process and in infection establishment. Because of this, the fusion process targeting antivirals become an interest to fight against viral diseases caused by the enveloped virus. Lower respiratory tract infections casing viruses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) are examples of such enveloped viruses that are at the top in public health issues. Here, we summarized the viral fusion protein targeted antiviral peptides along with their mechanism and specific design to combat the viral fusion process. The pandemic COVID-19, severe respiratory syndrome disease is an outbreak worldwide. There are no definitive drugs yet, but few are in on-going trials. Here, an approach of fragmentbased drug design (FBDD) methodology is used to identify the broad spectrum agent target to the conserved region of fusion protein of SARS CoV-2. Three dipeptides (DL, LQ and ID) were chosen from the library and designed by the systematic combination along with their possible modifications of amino acids to the target sites. Designed peptides were docked with targeted fusion protein after energy minimization. Results show strong and significant binding affinity (DL = -60.1 kcal/mol; LQ = - 62.8 kcal/mol; ID= -71.5 kcal/mol) during interaction. Anyone of the active peptides from the developed libraries may help to block the target sites competitively to successfully control COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Dipeptides/pharmacology , Drug Design , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Dipeptides/chemistry , Dipeptides/metabolism , Molecular Targeted Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
10.
J Membr Biol ; 253(5): 425-444, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-734824

ABSTRACT

The emerging and re-emerging viral infections are constant threats to human health and wellbeing. Several strategies have been explored to develop vaccines against these viral diseases. The main effort in the journey of development of vaccines is to neutralize the fusion protein using antibodies. However, significant efforts have been made in discovering peptides and small molecules that inhibit the fusion between virus and host cell, thereby inhibiting the entry of viruses. This class of inhibitors is called entry inhibitors, and they are extremely efficient in reducing viral infection as the entry of the virus is considered as the first step of infection. Nevertheless, these inhibitors are highly selective for a particular virus as antibody-based vaccines. The recent COVID-19 pandemic lets us ponder to shift our attention towards broad-spectrum antiviral agents from the so-called 'one bug-one drug' approach. This review discusses peptide and small molecule-based entry inhibitors against class I, II, and III viruses and sheds light on broad-spectrum antiviral agents.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Neurochem Int ; 138: 104779, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-436706

ABSTRACT

The brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) expressed in pre-synaptic nerve terminals regulate neurotransmitter release. However, there is no evidence for the expression of nAChRs in synaptic vesicles, which deliver neurotransmitter to synaptic cleft. The aim of this paper was to investigate the presence of nAChRs in synaptic vesicles purified from the rat brain and to study their possible involvement in vesicles life cycle. According to dynamic light scattering analysis, the antibody against extracellular domain (1-208) of α7 nAChR subunit inhibited synaptic vesicles clustering. Sandwich ELISA with nAChR subunit-specific antibodies demonstrated the presence of α4ß2, α7 and α7ß2nAChR subtypes in synaptic vesicles and showed that α7 and ß2 nAChR subunits are co-localized with synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A). Pre-incubation with either α7-selective agonist PNU282987 or nicotine did not affect synaptic vesicles clustering but delayed their Ca2+-dependent fusion with the plasma membranes. In contrast, nicotine but not PNU282987 stimulated acidification of isolated synaptic vesicles, indicating that α4ß2 but not α7-containing nAChRs are involved in regulation of proton influx and neurotransmitter refilling. Treatment of rats with levetiracetam, a specific modulator of SV2A, increased the content of α7 nAChRs in synaptic vesicles accompanied by increased clustering but decreased Ca2+-dependent fusion. These data for the first time demonstrate the presence of nAChRs in synaptic vesicles and suggest an active involvement of cholinergic regulation in neurotransmitter release. Synaptic vesicles may be an additional target of nicotine inhaled upon smoking and of α7-specific drugs widely discussed as anti-inflammatory and pro-cognitive tools.


Subject(s)
Brain/metabolism , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Membrane Fusion/physiology , Synaptic Vesicles/metabolism , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor/metabolism , Animals , Brain/drug effects , Cell Membrane/drug effects , Female , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Male , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Nicotinic Agonists/pharmacology , Nicotinic Antagonists/pharmacology , Rats , Rats, Wistar , Synaptic Vesicles/drug effects , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor/agonists , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor/antagonists & inhibitors
12.
J Virol ; 94(14)2020 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-197345

ABSTRACT

The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has posed serious threats to global public health and economic and social stabilities, calling for the prompt development of therapeutics and prophylactics. In this study, we first verified that SARS-CoV-2 uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a cell receptor and that its spike (S) protein mediates high membrane fusion activity. The heptad repeat 1 (HR1) sequence in the S2 fusion protein of SARS-CoV-2 possesses markedly increased α-helicity and thermostability, as well as a higher binding affinity with its corresponding heptad repeat 2 (HR2) site, than the HR1 sequence in S2 of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Then, we designed an HR2 sequence-based lipopeptide fusion inhibitor, termed IPB02, which showed highly potent activities in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 S protein-mediated cell-cell fusion and pseudovirus transduction. IPB02 also inhibited the SARS-CoV pseudovirus efficiently. Moreover, the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of IPB02 was characterized with a panel of truncated lipopeptides, revealing the amino acid motifs critical for its binding and antiviral capacities. Therefore, the results presented here provide important information for understanding the entry pathway of SARS-CoV-2 and the design of antivirals that target the membrane fusion step.IMPORTANCE The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, presents a serious global public health emergency in urgent need of prophylactic and therapeutic interventions. The S protein of coronaviruses mediates viral receptor binding and membrane fusion, thus being considered a critical target for antivirals. Herein, we report that the SARS-CoV-2 S protein has evolved a high level of activity to mediate cell-cell fusion, significantly differing from the S protein of SARS-CoV that emerged previously. The HR1 sequence in the fusion protein of SARS-CoV-2 adopts a much higher helical stability than the HR1 sequence in the fusion protein of SARS-CoV and can interact with the HR2 site to form a six-helical bundle structure more efficiently, underlying the mechanism of the enhanced fusion capacity. Also, importantly, the design of membrane fusion inhibitors with high potencies against both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV has provided potential arsenals to combat the pandemic and tools to exploit the fusion mechanism.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Drug Design , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lipopeptides/chemistry , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism
13.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 2070, 2020 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-116533

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019, and there are currently no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available. SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to use the same cell entry receptor as SARS-CoV, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In this report, we generate a recombinant protein by connecting the extracellular domain of human ACE2 to the Fc region of the human immunoglobulin IgG1. A fusion protein containing an ACE2 mutant with low catalytic activity is also used in this study. The fusion proteins are then characterized. Both fusion proteins have a high binding affinity for the receptor-binding domains of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 and exhibit desirable pharmacological properties in mice. Moreover, the fusion proteins neutralize virus pseudotyped with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins in vitro. As these fusion proteins exhibit cross-reactivity against coronaviruses, they have potential applications in the diagnosis, prophylaxis, and treatment of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , Neutralization Tests , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Binding, Competitive/drug effects , Cross Reactions , Drug Design , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/metabolism , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/pharmacology , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Immunoglobulin G/pharmacology , In Vitro Techniques , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mutation , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/genetics , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Peptide Fragments/pharmacology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/pharmacokinetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/pharmacology , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Stability , Receptors, Virus/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacokinetics , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Antiviral Res ; 178: 104792, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-34819

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has focused attention on the need to develop effective therapies against the causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, and also against other pathogenic coronaviruses (CoV) that have emerged in the past or might appear in future. Researchers are therefore focusing on steps in the CoV replication cycle that may be vulnerable to inhibition by broad-spectrum or specific antiviral agents. The conserved nature of the fusion domain and mechanism across the CoV family make it a valuable target to elucidate and develop pan-CoV therapeutics. In this article, we review the role of the CoV spike protein in mediating fusion of the viral and host cell membranes, summarizing the results of research on SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and recent peer-reviewed studies of SARS-CoV-2, and suggest that the fusion mechanism be investigated as a potential antiviral target. We also provide a supplemental file containing background information on the biology, epidemiology, and clinical features of all human-infecting coronaviruses, along with a phylogenetic tree of these coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Membrane Fusion/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
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