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1.
Molecules ; 27(1)2022 Jan 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580563

ABSTRACT

Before entering the cell, the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) binds to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor. Hence, this RBD is a critical target for the development of antiviral agents. Recent studies have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in the RBD have spread globally. The purpose of this in silico study was to determine the potential of a fruit bromelain-derived peptide. DYGAVNEVK. to inhibit the entry of various SARS-CoV-2 variants into human cells by targeting the hACE binding site within the RBD. Molecular docking analysis revealed that DYGAVNEVK interacts with several critical RBD binding residues responsible for the adhesion of the RBD to hACE2. Moreover, 100 ns MD simulations revealed stable interactions between DYGAVNEVK and RBD variants derived from the trajectory of root-mean-square deviation (RMSD), radius of gyration (Rg), and root-mean-square fluctuation (RMSF) analysis, as well as free binding energy calculations. Overall, our computational results indicate that DYGAVNEVK warrants further investigation as a candidate for preventing SARS-CoV-2 due to its interaction with the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bromelains , Computer Simulation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bromelains/chemistry , Bromelains/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
2.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260283, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523456

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 viral attachment and entry into host cells is mediated by a direct interaction between viral spike glycoproteins and membrane bound angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The receptor binding motif (RBM), located within the S1 subunit of the spike protein, incorporates the majority of known ACE2 contact residues responsible for high affinity binding and associated virulence. Observation of existing crystal structures of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (SRBD)-ACE2 interface, combined with peptide array screening, allowed us to define a series of linear native RBM-derived peptides that were selected as potential antiviral decoy sequences with the aim of directly binding ACE2 and attenuating viral cell entry. RBM1 (16mer): S443KVGGNYNYLYRLFRK458, RBM2A (25mer): E484GFNCYFPLQSYGFQPTNGVGYQPY508, RBM2B (20mer): F456NCYFPLQSYGFQPTNGVGY505 and RBM2A-Sc (25mer): NYGLQGSPFGYQETPYPFCNFVQYG. Data from fluorescence polarisation experiments suggested direct binding between RBM peptides and ACE2, with binding affinities ranging from the high nM to low µM range (Kd = 0.207-1.206 µM). However, the RBM peptides demonstrated only modest effects in preventing SRBD internalisation and showed no antiviral activity in a spike protein trimer neutralisation assay. The RBM peptides also failed to suppress S1-protein mediated inflammation in an endogenously expressing ACE2 human cell line. We conclude that linear native RBM-derived peptides are unable to outcompete viral spike protein for binding to ACE2 and therefore represent a suboptimal approach to inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 viral cell entry. These findings reinforce the notion that larger biologics (such as soluble ACE2, 'miniproteins', nanobodies and antibodies) are likely better suited as SARS-CoV-2 cell-entry inhibitors than short-sequence linear peptides.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Internalization , A549 Cells , Humans , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6343, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500461

ABSTRACT

Peptide secondary metabolites are common in nature and have diverse pharmacologically-relevant functions, from antibiotics to cross-kingdom signaling. Here, we present a method to design large libraries of modified peptides in Escherichia coli and screen them in vivo to identify those that bind to a single target-of-interest. Constrained peptide scaffolds were produced using modified enzymes gleaned from microbial RiPP (ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide) pathways and diversified to build large libraries. The binding of a RiPP to a protein target leads to the intein-catalyzed release of an RNA polymerase σ factor, which drives the expression of selectable markers. As a proof-of-concept, a selection was performed for binding to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike receptor binding domain. A 1625 Da constrained peptide (AMK-1057) was found that binds with similar affinity (990 ± 5 nM) as an ACE2-derived peptide. This demonstrates a generalizable method to identify constrained peptides that adhere to a single protein target, as a step towards "molecular glues" for therapeutics and diagnostics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Drug Design , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Kinetics , Models, Molecular , Peptides/genetics , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488613

ABSTRACT

The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is a key regulator of blood pressure and hypertension. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and angiotensin-converting enzyme I (ACE) are two main components of the RAS that play a major role in blood pressure homeostasis. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses ACE2 as a receptor to enter cells. Despite some controversies, numerous studies have reported a significant association between the use of ACE inhibitors and reduced risk of COVID-19. In our previous studies, we produced and identified peptide sequences present in whey hydrolysates exhibiting high ACE inhibitory activity. Therefore, the aim of this work is to obtain an improved understanding of the function of these natural peptides as RAS inhibitors and investigate their potential therapeutic role in the COVID-19 pandemic. The molecular interactions between peptides IPP, LIVTQ, IIAE, LVYPFP, and human ACE2 were assessed by employing a molecular docking approach. The results show that natural whey-derived peptides have a dual inhibitory action against both ACE and ACE2. This dual activity distinguishes these ACE inhibitory peptides from synthetic drugs, such as Captopril and Lisinopril which were not shown to inhibit ACE2 activity, and may represent a potential strategy in the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19 , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Whey Proteins/chemistry
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488610

ABSTRACT

The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor used by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses to attach to cells via the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of their viral spike protein. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several structures of protein complexes involving ACE2 and RBD as well as monoclonal antibodies and nanobodies have become available. We have leveraged the structural data to design peptides to target the interaction between the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 and SARS-CoV and ACE2, as contrasting exemplar, as well as the dimerization surface of ACE2 monomers. The peptides were modelled using our original method: PiPreD that uses native elements of the interaction between the targeted protein and cognate partner(s) that are subsequently included in the designed peptides. These peptides recapitulate stretches of residues present in the native interface plus novel and highly diverse conformations surrogating key interactions at the interface. To facilitate the access to this information we have created a freely available and dedicated web-based repository, PepI-Covid19 database, providing convenient access to this wealth of information to the scientific community with the view of maximizing its potential impact in the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic agents.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Peptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Databases, Factual , Humans , Models, Molecular , Peptide Library , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Engineering , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(20)2021 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470894

ABSTRACT

Infection caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in many cases is accompanied by the release of a large amount of proinflammatory cytokines in an event known as "cytokine storm", which is associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and high mortality. The excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines is linked, inter alia, to the enhanced activity of receptors capable of recognizing the conservative regions of pathogens and cell debris, namely TLRs, TREM-1 and TNFR1. Here we report that peptides derived from innate immunity protein Tag7 inhibit activation of TREM-1 and TNFR1 receptors during acute inflammation. Peptides from the N-terminal fragment of Tag7 bind only to TREM-1, while peptides from the C-terminal fragment interact solely with TNFR1. Selected peptides are capable of inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokines both in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors and in vivo in the mouse model of acute lung injury (ALI) by diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Treatment with peptides significantly decreases the infiltration of mononuclear cells to lungs in animals with DAD. Our findings suggest that Tag7-derived peptides might be beneficial in terms of the therapy or prevention of acute lung injury, e.g., for treating COVID-19 patients with severe pulmonary lesions.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/pathology , Cytokines/chemistry , Peptides/metabolism , Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I/metabolism , Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1/metabolism , Acute Lung Injury/metabolism , Animals , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/cytology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/drug effects , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lymphocyte Activation/drug effects , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred ICR , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I/antagonists & inhibitors , Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1/antagonists & inhibitors
7.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 13(41): 48469-48477, 2021 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1461961

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of developing surfaces and coatings with antiviral activity. Here, we present, for the first time, peptide-based assemblies that can kill viruses. The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the assemblies is in the range tens of micrograms per milliliter. This value is 2 orders of magnitude smaller than the MIC of metal nanoparticles. When applied on a surface, by drop casting, the peptide spherical assemblies adhere to the surface and form an antiviral coating against both RNA- and DNA-based viruses including coronavirus. Our results show that the coating reduced the number of T4 bacteriophages (DNA-based virus) by 3 log, compared with an untreated surface and 6 log, when compared with a stock solution. Importantly, we showed that this coating completely inactivated canine coronavirus (RNA-based virus). This peptide-based coating can be useful wherever sterile surfaces are needed to reduce the risk of viral transmission.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Peptides/chemistry , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Bacteriophages/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Dihydroxyphenylalanine/chemistry , Dog Diseases/drug therapy , Dog Diseases/virology , Dogs , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Peptides/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Virus Inactivation/drug effects
8.
J Comput Chem ; 42(32): 2283-2293, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441999

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is continuously evolving. Although several vaccines were approved, this pandemic is still a major threat to public life. Till date, no established therapies are available against SARS-CoV-2. Peptide inhibitors hold great promise for this viral pathogen due to their efficacy, safety, and specificity. In this study, seventeen antiviral peptides which were known to inhibit SARS-CoV-1 are collected and computationally screened against heptad repeat 1 (HR1) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S2). Out of 17 peptides, Fp13 and Fp14 showed better binding affinity toward HR1 compared to a control peptide EK1 (a modified pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor) in molecular docking. To explore the time-dependent interactions of the fusion peptide with HR1, molecular dynamics simulation was performed incorporating lipid membrane. During 100 ns MD simulation, structural and energy parameters of Fp13-HR1 and Fp14-HR1 complexes demonstrated lower fluctuations compared to the control EK1-HR1 complex. Furthermore, principal component analysis and free energy landscape study revealed that these two peptides (Fp13 and Fp14) strongly bind to the HR1 with higher affinity than that of control EK1. Tyr917, Asn919, Gln926, lys933, and Gln949 residues in HR1 protein were found to be crucial residues for peptide interaction. Notably, Fp13, Fp14 showed reasonably better binding free energy and hydrogen bond contribution than that of EK1. Taken together, Fp13 and Fp14 peptides may be highly specific for HR1 which can potentially prevent the formation of the fusion core and could be further developed as therapeutics for treatment or prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Peptides/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
9.
Bioorg Chem ; 116: 105362, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432980

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a serious threat to global health. One attractive antiviral target is the membrane fusion mechanism employed by the virus to gain access to the host cell. Here we report a robust protein-based fluorescent polarization assay, that mimicking the formation of the six-helix bundle (6-HB) process during the membrane fusion, for the evaluation and screening of SARS-CoV-2 fusion Inhibitors. The IC50 of known inhibitors, HR2P, EK1, and Salvianolic acid C (Sal-C) were measured to be 6.1 nM, 2.5 nM, and 8.9 µM respectively. In addition, we found Sal-A has a slightly lower IC50 (3.9 µM) than Sal-C. Interestingly, simple caffeic acid can also disrupt the formation of 6-HB with a sub-mM concentration. Pilot high throughput screening (HTS) of a small marine natural product library validates the assay with a Z' factor close to 0.8. We envision the current assay provides a convenient way to screen SARS-CoV-2 fusion inhibitors and assess their binding affinity.


Subject(s)
Alkenes/analysis , Antiviral Agents/analysis , Fluorescence Polarization , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Peptides/analysis , Polyphenols/analysis , Alkenes/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Molecular Structure , Peptides/pharmacology , Polyphenols/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects
10.
J Med Chem ; 64(19): 14887-14894, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428719

ABSTRACT

Antiviral treatments of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been extensively pursued to conquer the pandemic. To inhibit the viral entry to the host cell, we designed and obtained three peptide sequences via quartz crystal microbalance measurement screening, which showed high affinity at nanomole to the S1 subunit of the spike protein and wild-type SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. Circular dichroism spectroscopy measurements revealed significant conformation changes of the S1 protein upon encounter with the three peptides. The peptides were able to effectively block the infection of a pseudovirus to 50% by inhibiting the host cell lines binding with the S1 protein, evidenced by the results from Western blotting and pseudovirus luciferase assay. Moreover, the combination of the three peptides could increase the inhibitory rate to 75%. In conclusion, the three chemically synthetic neutralizing peptides and their combinations hold promising potential as effective therapeutics in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Peptides/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Circular Dichroism , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Internalization/drug effects
11.
Biomed Res Int ; 2021: 9998420, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398744

ABSTRACT

The global burden of viral infection, especially the current pandemics of SARS-CoV-2, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis, is a very risky one. Additionally, HCV expresses the necessity for antiviral therapeutic elements. Venoms are known to contain an array of bioactive peptides that are commonly used in the treatment of various medical issues. Several peptides isolated from scorpion venom have recently been proven to possess an antiviral activity against several viral families. The aim of this review is to provide an up-to-date overview of scorpion antiviral peptides and to discuss their modes of action and potential biomedical application against different viruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , Scorpion Venoms/chemistry , Virus Diseases/drug therapy , Animals , Coronavirus/drug effects , HIV-1/drug effects , Hepatitis Viruses/drug effects , Herpesvirus 1, Human/drug effects , Humans , Measles virus/drug effects , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/isolation & purification , Virus Diseases/virology
12.
Virulence ; 12(1): 2214-2227, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398027

ABSTRACT

An oral antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 that also attenuates inflammatory instigators of severe COVID-19 is not available to date. Herein, we show that the apoA-I mimetic peptide 4 F inhibits Spike mediated viral entry and has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in human lung epithelial Calu3 and Vero-E6 cells. In SARS-CoV-2 infected Calu3 cells, 4 F upregulated inducers of the interferon pathway such as MX-1 and Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and downregulated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mito-ROS) and CD147, a host protein that mediates viral entry. 4 F also reduced associated cellular apoptosis and secretion of IL-6 in both SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero-E6 and Calu3 cells. Thus, 4 F attenuates in vitro SARS-CoV-2 replication, associated apoptosis in epithelial cells and secretion of IL-6, a major cytokine related to COVID-19 morbidity. Given established safety of 4 F in humans, clinical studies are warranted to establish 4 F as therapy for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antioxidants/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , Basigin/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Epithelial Cells , Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation , Interferons/metabolism , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects
13.
Molecules ; 26(2)2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389464

ABSTRACT

Peptides are fragments of proteins that carry out biological functions. They act as signaling entities via all domains of life and interfere with protein-protein interactions, which are indispensable in bio-processes. Short peptides include fundamental molecular information for a prelude to the symphony of life. They have aroused considerable interest due to their unique features and great promise in innovative bio-therapies. This work focusing on the current state-of-the-art short peptide-based therapeutical developments is the first global review written by researchers from all continents, as a celebration of 100 years of peptide therapeutics since the commencement of insulin therapy in the 1920s. Peptide "drugs" initially played only the role of hormone analogs to balance disorders. Nowadays, they achieve numerous biomedical tasks, can cross membranes, or reach intracellular targets. The role of peptides in bio-processes can hardly be mimicked by other chemical substances. The article is divided into independent sections, which are related to either the progress in short peptide-based theranostics or the problems posing challenge to bio-medicine. In particular, the SWOT analysis of short peptides, their relevance in therapies of diverse diseases, improvements in (bio)synthesis platforms, advanced nano-supramolecular technologies, aptamers, altered peptide ligands and in silico methodologies to overcome peptide limitations, modern smart bio-functional materials, vaccines, and drug/gene-targeted delivery systems are discussed.


Subject(s)
Anti-Infective Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , Peptides/therapeutic use , Amino Acids/chemistry , Anti-Infective Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Computer Simulation , Cosmeceuticals/chemistry , Cosmeceuticals/therapeutic use , Dietary Supplements , Gene Transfer Techniques , Humans , Lactoferrin/chemistry , Lipid Bilayers , Nanostructures/administration & dosage , Nanostructures/chemistry , Peptides/administration & dosage , Stem Cells , Vaccines, Subunit/chemistry , Vaccines, Subunit/pharmacology
14.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 926, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387497

ABSTRACT

Patients with cardiovascular comorbidities are more susceptible to severe infection with SARS-CoV-2, known to directly cause pathological damage to cardiovascular tissue. We outline a screening platform using human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, confirmed to express the protein machinery critical for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and a SARS-CoV-2 spike-pseudotyped virus system. The method has allowed us to identify benztropine and DX600 as novel inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a clinically relevant stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte line. Discovery of new medicines will be critical for protecting the heart in patients with SARS-CoV-2, and for individuals where vaccination is contraindicated.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Human Embryonic Stem Cells/cytology , Myocytes, Cardiac/drug effects , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Benztropine/pharmacology , Humans , Myocytes, Cardiac/cytology , Peptides/pharmacology
15.
mBio ; 11(6)2020 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388458

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the primary receptor to enter host cells and initiate the infection. The critical binding region of ACE2 is an ∼30-amino-acid (aa)-long helix. Here, we report the design of four stapled peptides based on the ACE2 helix, which is expected to bind to SARS-CoV-2 and prevent the binding of the virus to the ACE2 receptor and disrupt the infection. All stapled peptides showed high helical contents (50 to 94% helicity). In contrast, the linear control peptide NYBSP-C showed no helicity (19%). We have evaluated the peptides in a pseudovirus-based single-cycle assay in HT1080/ACE2 cells and human lung cell line A549/ACE2, overexpressing ACE2. Three of the four stapled peptides showed potent antiviral activity in HT1080/ACE2 (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50]: 1.9 to 4.1 µM) and A549/ACE2 (IC50: 2.2 to 2.8 µM) cells. The linear peptide NYBSP-C and the double-stapled peptide StRIP16, used as controls, showed no antiviral activity. Most significantly, none of the stapled peptides show any cytotoxicity at the highest dose tested. We also evaluated the antiviral activity of the peptides by infecting Vero E6 cells with the replication-competent authentic SARS-CoV-2 (US_WA-1/2020). NYBSP-1 was the most efficient, preventing the complete formation of cytopathic effects (CPEs) at an IC100 of 17.2 µM. NYBSP-2 and NYBSP-4 also prevented the formation of the virus-induced CPE with an IC100 of about 33 µM. We determined the proteolytic stability of one of the most active stapled peptides, NYBSP-4, in human plasma, which showed a half-life (T 1/2) of >289 min.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus with many unknowns. No vaccine or specific therapy is available yet to prevent and treat this deadly virus. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutics. Structural studies revealed critical interactions between the binding site helix of the ACE2 receptor and SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD). Therefore, targeting the entry pathway of SARS-CoV-2 is ideal for both prevention and treatment as it blocks the first step of the viral life cycle. We report the design of four double-stapled peptides, three of which showed potent antiviral activity in HT1080/ACE2 cells and human lung carcinoma cells, A549/ACE2. Most significantly, the active stapled peptides with antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 showed high α-helicity (60 to 94%). The most active stapled peptide, NYBSP-4, showed substantial resistance to degradation by proteolytic enzymes in human plasma. The lead stapled peptides are expected to pave the way for further optimization of a clinical candidate.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Attachment/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Peptides/chemical synthesis , Protein Binding , Vero Cells
16.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(17)2021 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379977

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
17.
Peptides ; 145: 170638, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364399

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a global concern and necessitates efficient drug antagonists. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) is the main receptor of SARS-CoV-2 spike 1 (S1), which mediates viral invasion into host cells. Herein, we designed and prepared short peptide inhibitors containing 4-6 critical residues of ACE2 that contribute to the interaction with SARS-CoV-2 S1. Among the candidates, a peptide termed GK-7 (GKGDFRI), which was designed by extracting residues ranging from Gly353 to Ile359 in the ligand-binding domain of ACE2, exhibited the highest binding affinity (25.1 nM) with the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD). GK-7 bound to the RBD and decreased SARS-CoV-2 S1 attachment to A549 human alveolar epithelial cells. Owing to spike blockade, GK-7 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudovirion infection in a dose-dependent manner, with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration of 2.96 µg/mL. Inspiringly, pulmonary delivery of GK-7 by intranasal administration did not result in toxicity in mice. This study revealed an easy-to-produce peptide inhibitor for SARS-CoV-2 spike blockade, thus providing a promising candidate for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/chemistry , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
Molecules ; 26(16)2021 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1355016

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly spread on a global scale, affecting the economy and public health systems throughout the world. In recent years, peptide-based therapeutics have been widely studied and developed to treat infectious diseases, including viral infections. Herein, the antiviral effects of the lysine linked dimer des-Cys11, Lys12,Lys13-(pBthTX-I)2K ((pBthTX-I)2K)) and derivatives against SARS-CoV-2 are reported. The lead peptide (pBthTX-I)2K and derivatives showed attractive inhibitory activities against SARS-CoV-2 (EC50 = 28-65 µM) and mostly low cytotoxic effect (CC50 > 100 µM). To shed light on the mechanism of action underlying the peptides' antiviral activity, the Main Protease (Mpro) and Papain-Like protease (PLpro) inhibitory activities of the peptides were assessed. The synthetic peptides showed PLpro inhibition potencies (IC50s = 1.0-3.5 µM) and binding affinities (Kd = 0.9-7 µM) at the low micromolar range but poor inhibitory activity against Mpro (IC50 > 10 µM). The modeled binding mode of a representative peptide of the series indicated that the compound blocked the entry of the PLpro substrate toward the protease catalytic cleft. Our findings indicated that non-toxic dimeric peptides derived from the Bothropstoxin-I have attractive cellular and enzymatic inhibitory activities, thereby suggesting that they are promising prototypes for the discovery and development of new drugs against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Crotalid Venoms/chemistry , Dimerization , Papain/antagonists & inhibitors , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Papain/chemistry , Papain/metabolism , Peptides/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects
19.
Drugs R D ; 21(3): 273-283, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330440

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Coronavirus disease 2019 is a novel disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 virus. It was first detected in December 2019 and has since been declared a pandemic causing millions of deaths worldwide. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop effective therapeutics against coronavirus disease 2019. A critical step in the crosstalk between the virus and the host cell is the binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the peptidase domain of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor present on the surface of host cells. METHODS: An in silico approach was employed to design a 13-amino acid peptide inhibitor (13AApi) against the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Its binding specificity for RBD was confirmed by molecular docking using pyDockWEB, ClusPro 2.0, and HDOCK web servers. The stability of 13AApi and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein complex was determined by molecular dynamics simulation using the GROMACS program while the physicochemical and ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity) properties of 13AApi were determined using the ExPASy tool and pkCSM server. Finally, in vitro validation of the inhibitory activity of 13AApi against the spike protein was performed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: In silico analyses indicated that the 13AApi could bind to the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at the ACE2 binding site with high affinity. In vitro experiments validated the in silico findings, showing that 13AApi could significantly block the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. CONCLUSIONS: Blockage of binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with ACE2 in the presence of the 13AApi may prevent virus entry into host cells. Therefore, the 13AApi can be utilized as a promising therapeutic agent to combat coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/toxicity , Binding Sites , Computer Simulation , Drug Design , Humans , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Molecular Structure , Peptides/pharmacokinetics , Peptides/toxicity , Protein Binding/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Substrate Specificity
20.
Interdiscip Sci ; 13(3): 521-534, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330422

ABSTRACT

The prolific spread of COVID-19 caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from its epicenter in Wuhan, China, to every nook and cranny of the world after December 2019, jeopardize the prevailing health system in the world and has raised serious concerns about human safety. Multi-directional efforts are made to design small molecule inhibitors, and vaccines and many other therapeutic options are practiced, but their final therapeutic potential is still to be tested. Using the old drug or vaccine or peptides could aid this process to avoid such long experimental procedures. Hence, here, we have repurposed a small peptide (ATLQAIAS) from the previous study, which reported the inhibitory effects of this peptide. We used in silico mutagenesis approach to design more peptides from the native wild peptide, which revealed that substitutions (T2W, T2Y, L3R, and A5W) could increase the binding affinity of the peptide towards the 3CLpro. Furthermore, using MD simulation and free energy calculation confirmed its dynamics stability and stronger binding affinities. Per-residue energy decomposition analysis revealed that the specified substitution significantly increased the binding affinity at the residue level. Our wide-ranging analyses of binding affinities disclosed that our designed peptide owns the potential to hinder the SARS-CoV-2 and will reduce the progression of SARS-CoV-2-borne pneumonia. Our research strongly suggests the experimental and clinical validation of these peptides to curtail the recent corona outbreak.


Subject(s)
Computer Simulation , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutagenesis , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS Virus , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/genetics , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS Virus/chemistry , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Thermodynamics
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