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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(11)2023 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20241072

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused more than six million deaths worldwide since 2019. Although vaccines are available, novel variants of coronavirus are expected to appear continuously, and there is a need for a more effective remedy for coronavirus disease. In this report, we isolated eupatin from Inula japonica flowers and showed that it inhibits the coronavirus 3 chymotrypsin-like (3CL) protease as well as viral replication. We showed that eupatin treatment inhibits SARS-CoV-2 3CL-protease, and computational modeling demonstrated that it interacts with key residues of 3CL-protease. Further, the treatment decreased the number of plaques formed by human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) infection and decreased viral protein and RNA levels in the media. These results indicate that eupatin inhibits coronavirus replication.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Peptide Hydrolases , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Flavonoids/pharmacology , Endopeptidases , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology
2.
Molecules ; 28(11)2023 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238192

ABSTRACT

Essential oils (Eos) have demonstrated antiviral activity, but their toxicity can hinder their use as therapeutic agents. Recently, some essential oil components have been used within safe levels of acceptable daily intake limits without causing toxicity. The "ImmunoDefender," a novel antiviral compound made from a well-known mixture of essential oils, is considered highly effective in treating SARS-CoV-2 infections. The components and doses were chosen based on existing information about their structure and toxicity. Blocking the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 with high affinity and capacity is critical for inhibiting the virus's pathogenesis and transmission. In silico studies were conducted to examine the molecular interactions between the main essential oil components in "ImmunoDefender" and SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. The screening results showed that six key components of ImmunoDefender formed stable complexes with Mpro via its active catalytic site with binding energies ranging from -8.75 to -10.30 kcal/mol, respectively for Cinnamtannin B1, Cinnamtannin B2, Pavetannin C1, Syzyginin B, Procyanidin C1, and Tenuifolin. Furthermore, three essential oil bioactive inhibitors, Cinnamtannin B1, Cinnamtannin B2, and Pavetannin C, had significant ability to bind to the allosteric site of the main protease with binding energies of -11.12, -10.74, and -10.79 kcal/mol; these results suggest that these essential oil bioactive compounds may play a role in preventing the attachment of the translated polyprotein to Mpro, inhibiting the virus's pathogenesis and transmission. These components also had drug-like characteristics similar to approved and effective drugs, suggesting that further pre-clinical and clinical studies are needed to confirm the generated in silico outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Oils, Volatile , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Oils, Volatile/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
3.
J Am Chem Soc ; 145(24): 13204-13214, 2023 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236265

ABSTRACT

We report the results of computational modeling of the reactions of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro) with four potential covalent inhibitors. Two of them, carmofur and nirmatrelvir, have shown experimentally the ability to inhibit MPro. Two other compounds, X77A and X77C, were designed computationally in this work. They were derived from the structure of X77, a non-covalent inhibitor forming a tight surface complex with MPro. We modified the X77 structure by introducing warheads capable of reacting with the catalytic cysteine residue in the MPro active site. The reaction mechanisms of the four molecules with MPro were investigated by quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulations. The results show that all four compounds form covalent adducts with the catalytic cysteine Cys 145 of MPro. From the chemical perspective, the reactions of these four molecules with MPro follow three distinct mechanisms. The reactions are initiated by a nucleophilic attack of the thiolate group of the deprotonated cysteine residue from the catalytic dyad Cys145-His41 of MPro. In the case of carmofur and X77A, the covalent binding of the thiolate to the ligand is accompanied by the formation of the fluoro-uracil leaving group. The reaction with X77C follows the nucleophilic aromatic substitution SNAr mechanism. The reaction of MPro with nirmatrelvir (which has a reactive nitrile group) leads to the formation of a covalent thioimidate adduct with the thiolate of the Cys145 residue in the enzyme active site. Our results contribute to the ongoing search for efficient inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 enzymes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Cysteine , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation
4.
J Chem Phys ; 158(21)2023 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235913

ABSTRACT

We present a hybrid, multi-method, computational scheme for protein/ligand systems well suited to be used on modern and forthcoming massively parallel computing systems. The scheme relies on a multi-scale polarizable molecular modeling, approach to perform molecular dynamics simulations, and on an efficient Density Functional Theory (DFT) linear scaling method to post-process simulation snapshots. We use this scheme to investigate recent α-ketoamide inhibitors targeting the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We assessed the reliability and the coherence of the hybrid scheme, in particular, by checking the ability of MM and DFT to reproduce results from high-end ab initio computations regarding such inhibitors. The DFT approach enables an a posteriori fragmentation of the system and an investigation into the strength of interaction among identified fragment pairs. We show the necessity of accounting for a large set of plausible protease/inhibitor conformations to generate reliable interaction data. Finally, we point out ways to further improve α-ketoamide inhibitors to more strongly interact with particular protease domains neighboring the active site.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Ligands , Reproducibility of Results , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Catalytic Domain , Molecular Docking Simulation
5.
J Chem Inf Model ; 63(11): 3601-3613, 2023 06 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20232259

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) is a crucial enzyme for viral replication and has been considered an attractive drug target for the treatment of COVID-19. In this study, virtual screening techniques and in vitro assays were combined to identify novel Mpro inhibitors starting from around 8000 FDA-approved drugs. The docking analysis highlighted 17 promising best hits, biologically characterized in terms of their Mpro inhibitory activity. Among them, 7 cephalosporins and the oral anticoagulant betrixaban were able to block the enzyme activity in the micromolar range with no cytotoxic effect at the highest concentration tested. After the evaluation of the degree of conservation of Mpro residues involved in the binding with the studied ligands, the ligands' activity on SARS-CoV-2 replication was assessed. The ability of betrixaban to affect SARS-CoV-2 replication associated to its antithrombotic effect could pave the way for its possible use in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Drug Repositioning , Ligands , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(10)2023 May 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244127

ABSTRACT

Previous studies indicated that natural-based chalcones have significant inhibitory effects on the coronavirus enzymes 3CLpro and PLpro as well as modulation of some host-based antiviral targets (HBATs). In this study, a comprehensive computational and structural study was performed to investigate the affinity of our compound library consisting of 757 chalcone-based structures (CHA-1 to CHA-757) for inhibiting the 3CLpro and PLpro enzymes and against twelve selected host-based targets. Our results indicated that CHA-12 (VUF 4819) is the most potent and multi-target inhibitor in our chemical library over all viral and host-based targets. Correspondingly, CHA-384 and its congeners containing ureide moieties were found to be potent and selective 3CLpro inhibitors, and benzotriazole moiety in CHA-37 was found to be a main fragment for inhibiting the 3CLpro and PLpro. Surprisingly, our results indicate that the ureide and sulfonamide moieties are integral fragments for the optimum 3CLpro inhibition while occupying the S1 and S3 subsites, which is fully consistent with recent reports on the site-specific 3CLpro inhibitors. Finding the multi-target inhibitor CHA-12, previously reported as an LTD4 antagonist for the treatment of inflammatory pulmonary diseases, prompted us to suggest it as a concomitant agent for relieving respiratory symptoms and suppressing COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chalcone , Chalcones , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Chalcones/pharmacology , Chalcone/pharmacology , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry
7.
Sci Rep ; 13(1): 9204, 2023 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20242518

ABSTRACT

The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has shown the necessity for fast and broad drug discovery methods to enable us to react quickly to novel and highly infectious diseases. A well-known SARS-CoV-2 target is the viral main 3-chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease (Mpro), known to control coronavirus replication, which is essential for the viral life cycle. Here, we applied an interaction-based drug repositioning algorithm on all protein-compound complexes available in the protein database (PDB) to identify Mpro inhibitors and potential novel compound scaffolds against SARS-CoV-2. The screen revealed a heterogeneous set of 692 potential Mpro inhibitors containing known ones such as Dasatinib, Amodiaquine, and Flavin mononucleotide, as well as so far untested chemical scaffolds. In a follow-up evaluation, we used publicly available data published almost two years after the screen to validate our results. In total, we are able to validate 17% of the top 100 predictions with publicly available data and can furthermore show that predicted compounds do cover scaffolds that are yet not associated with Mpro. Finally, we detected a potentially important binding pattern consisting of 3 hydrogen bonds with hydrogen donors of an oxyanion hole within the active side of Mpro. Overall, these results give hope that we will be better prepared for future pandemics and that drug development will become more efficient in the upcoming years.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Pandemics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Drug Discovery/methods
8.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(10)2023 May 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235368

ABSTRACT

The prediction of a ligand potency to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 main protease (M-pro) would be a highly helpful addition to a virtual screening process. The most potent compounds might then be the focus of further efforts to experimentally validate their potency and improve them. A computational method to predict drug potency, which is based on three main steps, is defined: (1) defining the drug and protein in only one 3D structure; (2) applying graph autoencoder techniques with the aim of generating a latent vector; and (3) using a classical fitting model to the latent vector to predict the potency of the drug. Experiments in a database of 160 drug-M-pro pairs, from which the pIC50 is known, show the ability of our method to predict their drug potency with high accuracy. Moreover, the time spent to compute the pIC50 of the whole database is only some seconds, using a current personal computer. Thus, it can be concluded that a computational tool that predicts, with high reliability, the pIC50 in a cheap and fast way is achieved. This tool, which can be used to prioritize which virtual screening hits, will be further examined in vitro.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Reproducibility of Results , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
9.
Eur J Med Chem ; 257: 115487, 2023 Sep 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327362

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 continues to pose a great threat to public health while various vaccines are available worldwide. Main protease (Mpro) has been validated as an effective anti-COVID-19 drug target. Using medicinal chemistry and rational drug design strategies, we identified a quinazolin-4-one series of nonpeptidic, noncovalent SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors based on baicalein, 5,6,7-trihydroxy-2-phenyl-4H-chromen-4-one. In particular, compound C7 exhibits superior inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro relative to baicalein (IC50 = 0.085 ± 0.006 and 0.966 ± 0.065 µM, respectively), as well as improved physicochemical and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) properties. In addition, C7 inhibits viral replication in SARS-CoV-2-infected Vero E6 cells more effectively than baicalein (EC50 = 1.10 ± 0.12 and 5.15 ± 1.64 µM, respectively) with low cytotoxicity (CC50 > 50 µM). An X-ray co-crystal structure reveals a non-covalent mechanism of action, and a noncanonical binding mode not observed by baicalein. These results suggest that C7 represents a promising lead for development of more effective SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors and anti-COVID-19 drugs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Peptide Hydrolases
10.
Eur J Med Chem ; 257: 115512, 2023 Sep 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327200

ABSTRACT

A series of peptidomimetic compounds containing benzothiazolyl ketone and [2.2.1] azabicyclic ring was designed, synthesized and evaluated in the hope of obtaining potent oral 3CLpro inhibitors with improved pharmacokinetic properties. Among the target compounds, 11b had the best enzymatic potency (IC50 = 0.110 µM) and 11e had the best microsomal stability (t1/2 > 120 min) and good enzyme activity (IC50 = 0.868 µM). Therefore, compounds 11b and 11e were chosen for further evaluation of pharmacokinetics in ICR mice. The results exhibited that the AUC(0-t) of 11e was 5143 h*ng/mL following single-dose oral administration of 20 mg/kg, and the F was 67.98%. Further structural modification was made to obtain compounds 11g-11j based on 11e. Among them, 11j exhibited the best enzyme inhibition activity against SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro (IC50 = 1.646 µM), the AUC(0-t) was 32473 h*ng/mL (20 mg/kg, po), and the F was 48.1%. In addition, 11j displayed significant anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity (EC50 = 0.18 µM) and low cytotoxicity (CC50 > 50 µM) in Vero E6 cells. All of the above results suggested that compound 11j was a promising lead compound in the development of oral 3CLpro inhibitors and deserved further research.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidomimetics , Animals , Mice , Peptidomimetics/pharmacology , Peptidomimetics/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Ketones , Mice, Inbred ICR , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
11.
Eur J Med Chem ; 257: 115491, 2023 Sep 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2325420

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 plays a central role in viral replication and transcription and represents an attractive drug target for fighting COVID-19. Many SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors have been reported, including covalent and noncovalent inhibitors. The SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitor PF-07321332 (Nirmatrelvir) designed by Pfizer has been put on the market. This paper briefly introduces the structural characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and summarizes the research progress of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors from the aspects of drug repurposing and drug design. These information will provide a basis for the drug development of treating the infection of SARS-CoV-2 and even other coronaviruses in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation
12.
Nat Chem ; 15(7): 998-1005, 2023 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2324972

ABSTRACT

γ-Amino acids can play important roles in the biological activities of natural products; however, the ribosomal incorporation of γ-amino acids into peptides is challenging. Here we report how a selection campaign employing a non-canonical peptide library containing cyclic γ2,4-amino acids resulted in the discovery of very potent inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). Two kinds of cyclic γ2,4-amino acids, cis-3-aminocyclobutane carboxylic acid (γ1) and (1R,3S)-3-aminocyclopentane carboxylic acid (γ2), were ribosomally introduced into a library of thioether-macrocyclic peptides. One resultant potent Mpro inhibitor (half-maximal inhibitory concentration = 50 nM), GM4, comprising 13 residues with γ1 at the fourth position, manifests a 5.2 nM dissociation constant. An Mpro:GM4 complex crystal structure reveals the intact inhibitor spans the substrate binding cleft. The γ1 interacts with the S1' catalytic subsite and contributes to a 12-fold increase in proteolytic stability compared to its alanine-substituted variant. Knowledge of interactions between GM4 and Mpro enabled production of a variant with a 5-fold increase in potency.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids , COVID-19 , Amino Acids/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Carboxylic Acids , Peptides/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
13.
J Chem Inf Model ; 63(11): 3438-3447, 2023 06 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2323668

ABSTRACT

A critical step in structure-based drug discovery is predicting whether and how a candidate molecule binds to a model of a therapeutic target. However, substantial protein side chain movements prevent current screening methods, such as docking, from accurately predicting the ligand conformations and require expensive refinements to produce viable candidates. We present the development of a high-throughput and flexible ligand pose refinement workflow, called "tinyIFD". The main features of the workflow include the use of specialized high-throughput, small-system MD simulation code mdgx.cuda and an actively learning model zoo approach. We show the application of this workflow on a large test set of diverse protein targets, achieving 66% and 76% success rates for finding a crystal-like pose within the top-2 and top-5 poses, respectively. We also applied this workflow to the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) inhibitors, where we demonstrate the benefit of the active learning aspect in this workflow.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Ligands , Workflow , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2 , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
14.
J Chem Inf Model ; 63(11): 3521-3533, 2023 06 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2322490

ABSTRACT

Nirmatrelvir is an orally available inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) and the main ingredient of Paxlovid, a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for high-risk COVID-19 patients. Recently, a rare natural mutation, H172Y, was found to significantly reduce nirmatrelvir's inhibitory activity. As the COVID-19 cases skyrocket in China and the selective pressure of antiviral therapy builds in the US, there is an urgent need to characterize and understand how the H172Y mutation confers drug resistance. Here, we investigated the H172Y Mpro's conformational dynamics, folding stability, catalytic efficiency, and inhibitory activity using all-atom constant pH and fixed-charge molecular dynamics simulations, alchemical and empirical free energy calculations, artificial neural networks, and biochemical experiments. Our data suggest that the mutation significantly weakens the S1 pocket interactions with the N-terminus and perturbs the conformation of the oxyanion loop, leading to a decrease in the thermal stability and catalytic efficiency. Importantly, the perturbed S1 pocket dynamics weaken the nirmatrelvir binding in the P1 position, which explains the decreased inhibitory activity of nirmatrelvir. Our work demonstrates the predictive power of the combined simulation and artificial intelligence approaches, and together with biochemical experiments, they can be used to actively surveil continually emerging mutations of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and assist the optimization of antiviral drugs. The presented approach, in general, can be applied to characterize mutation effects on any protein drug targets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Artificial Intelligence , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Drug Resistance , Molecular Docking Simulation
15.
J Chem Inf Model ; 63(11): 3404-3422, 2023 06 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2326028

ABSTRACT

To combat mischievous coronavirus disease followed by continuous upgrading of therapeutic strategy against the antibody-resistant variants, the molecular mechanistic understanding of protein-drug interactions is a prerequisite in the context of target-specific rational drug development. Herein, we attempt to decipher the structural basis for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) through the elemental analysis of potential energy landscape and the associated thermodynamic and kinetic properties of the enzyme-inhibitor complexes using automated molecular docking calculations in conjunction with classical force field-based molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The crux of the scalable all-atom MD simulations consummated in explicit solvent media is to capture the structural plasticity of the viral enzyme due to the binding of remdesivir analogues and ascertain the subtle interplay of noncovalent interactions in stabilizing specific conformational states of the receptor that controls the biomolecular processes related to the ligand binding and dissociation kinetics. To unravel the critical role of modulation of the ligand scaffold, we place further emphasis on the estimation of binding free energy as well as the energy decomposition analysis by employing the generalized Born and Poisson-Boltzmann models. The estimated binding affinities are found to vary between -25.5 and -61.2 kcal/mol. Furthermore, the augmentation of inhibitory efficacy of the remdesivir analogue crucially stems from the van der Waals interactions with the active site residues of the protease. The polar solvation energy contributes unfavorably to the binding free energy and annihilates the contribution of electrostatic interactions as derived from the molecular mechanical energies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Ligands , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry
16.
Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) ; 71(5): 360-367, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2317290

ABSTRACT

Computational screening is one of the fundamental techniques in drug discovery. Each compound in a chemical database is bound to the target protein in virtual, and candidate compounds are selected from the binding scores. In this work, we carried out combinational computation of docking simulation to generate binding poses and molecular mechanics calculation to estimate binding scores. The coronavirus infectious disease has spread worldwide, and effective chemotherapy is strongly required. The viral 3-chymotrypsin-like (3CL) protease is a good target of low molecular-weight inhibitors. Hence, computational screening was performed to search for inhibitory compounds acting on the 3CL protease. As a preliminary assessment of the performance of this approach, we used 51 compounds for which inhibitory activity had already been confirmed. Docking simulations and molecular mechanics calculations were performed to evaluate binding scores. The preliminary evaluation suggested that our approach successfully selected the inhibitory compounds identified by the experiments. The same approach was applied to 8820 compounds in a database consisting of approved and investigational chemicals. Hence, docking simulations, molecular mechanics calculations, and re-evaluation of binding scores including solvation effects were performed, and the top 200 poses were selected as candidates for experimental assays. Consequently, 25 compounds were chosen for in vitro measurement of the enzymatic inhibitory activity. From the enzymatic assay, 5 compounds were identified to have inhibitory activities against the 3CL protease. The present work demonstrated the feasibility of a combination of docking simulation and molecular mechanics calculation for practical use in computational virtual screening.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Cysteine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Molecular Docking Simulation , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
17.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(9)2023 May 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2313143

ABSTRACT

The viral main protease is one of the most attractive targets among all key enzymes involved in the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2. Considering its mechanism of action, both the catalytic and dimerization regions could represent crucial sites for modulating its activity. Dual-binding the SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitors could arrest the replication process of the virus by simultaneously preventing dimerization and proteolytic activity. To this aim, in the present work, we identified two series' of small molecules with a significant affinity for SARS-CoV-2 MPRO, by a hybrid virtual screening protocol, combining ligand- and structure-based approaches with multivariate statistical analysis. The Biotarget Predictor Tool was used to filter a large in-house structural database and select a set of benzo[b]thiophene and benzo[b]furan derivatives. ADME properties were investigated, and induced fit docking studies were performed to confirm the DRUDIT prediction. Principal component analysis and docking protocol at the SARS-CoV-2 MPRO dimerization site enable the identification of compounds 1b,c,i,l and 2i,l as promising drug molecules, showing favorable dual binding site affinity on SARS-CoV-2 MPRO.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Ligands , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
18.
Metallomics ; 15(5)2023 05 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2295772

ABSTRACT

The 3-chymotrypsin-like protease 3CLpro from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a potential target for antiviral drug development. In this work, three organometallic ferrocene-modified quinolinones and coumarins were compared to their benzoic acid ester analogues with regard to inhibition of 3CLpro using an HPLC-based assay with a 15mer model peptide as the substrate. In contrast to FRET-based assays, this allows direct identification of interference of buffer constituents with the inhibitors, as demonstrated by the complete abolishment of ebselen inhibitory activity in the presence of dithiothreitol as a redox protectant. The presence of the organometallic ferrocene moiety significantly increased the stability of the title compounds towards hydrolysis. Among the studied compounds, 4-ferrocenyloxy-1-methyl-quinol-2-one was identified as the most stable and potent inhibitor candidate. IC50 values determined for ebselen and this sandwich complex compound are (0.40 ± 0.07) and (2.32 ± 0.21) µM, respectively.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Metallocenes , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Coumarins/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation
19.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(8)2023 Apr 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294350

ABSTRACT

The latest monkeypox virus outbreak in 2022 showcased the potential threat of this viral zoonosis to public health. The lack of specific treatments against this infection and the success of viral protease inhibitors-based treatments against HIV, Hepatitis C, and SARS-CoV-2, brought the monkeypox virus I7L protease under the spotlight as a potential target for the development of specific and compelling drugs against this emerging disease. In the present work, the structure of the monkeypox virus I7L protease was modeled and thoroughly characterized through a dedicated computational study. Furthermore, structural information gathered in the first part of the study was exploited to virtually screen the DrugBank database, consisting of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and clinical-stage drug candidates, in search for readily repurposable compounds with similar binding features as TTP-6171, the only non-covalent I7L protease inhibitor reported in the literature. The virtual screening resulted in the identification of 14 potential inhibitors of the monkeypox I7L protease. Finally, based on data collected within the present work, some considerations on developing allosteric modulators of the I7L protease are reported.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Cysteine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Drug Repositioning/methods
20.
J Cell Biochem ; 124(6): 861-876, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294095

ABSTRACT

The spread of different severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants underscores the need for insights into the structural properties of its structural and non-structural proteins. The highly conserved homo-dimeric chymotrypsin-like protease (3CL MPRO ), belonging to the class of cysteine hydrolases, plays an indispensable role in processing viral polyproteins that are involved in viral replication and transcription. Studies have successfully demonstrated the role of MPRO as an attractive drug target for designing antiviral treatments because of its importance in the viral life cycle. Herein, we report the structural dynamics of six experimentally solved structures of MPRO (i.e., 6LU7, 6M03, 6WQF, 6Y2E, 6Y84, and 7BUY including both ligand-free and ligand-bound states) at different resolutions. We have employed a structure-based balanced forcefield, CHARMM36m through state-of-the-art all-atoms molecular dynamics simulations at µ-seconds scale at room temperature (303K) and pH 7.0 to explore their structure-function relationship. The helical domain-III responsible for dimerization mostly contributes to the altered conformational states and destabilization of MPRO . A keen observation of the high degree of flexibility in the P5 binding pocket adjoining domain II-III highlights the reason for observation of conformational heterogeneity among the structural ensembles of MPRO . We also observe a differential dynamics of the catalytic pocket residues His41, Cys145, and Asp187, which may lead to catalytic impairment of the monomeric proteases. Among the highly populated conformational states of the six systems, 6LU7 and 7M03 forms the most stable and compact MPRO conformation with intact catalytic site and structural integrity. Altogether, our findings from this extensive study provides a benchmark to identify physiologically relevant structures of such promising drug targets for structure-based drug design and discovery of potent drug-like compounds having clinical potential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Protein Conformation , Cysteine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Antiviral Agents/chemistry
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