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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(24)2022 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20239015

ABSTRACT

The effective antiviral agents that treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are urgently needed around the world. The 3C-like protease (3CLpro) of SARS-CoV-2 plays a pivotal role in virus replication; it also has become an important therapeutic target for the infection of SARS-CoV-2. In this work, we have identified Darunavir derivatives that inhibit the 3CLpro through a high-throughput screening method based on a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay in vitro. We found that the compounds 29# and 50# containing polyphenol and caffeine derivatives as the P2 ligand, respectively, exhibited favorable anti-3CLpro potency with EC50 values of 6.3 µM and 3.5 µM and were shown to bind to SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro in vitro. Moreover, we analyzed the binding mode of the DRV in the 3CLpro through molecular docking. Importantly, 29# and 50# exhibited a similar activity against the protease in Omicron variants. The inhibitory effect of compounds 29# and 50# on the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro warrants that they are worth being the template to design functionally improved inhibitors for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Darunavir , Protease Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Darunavir/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors
2.
J Biol Chem ; 299(6): 104831, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315850

ABSTRACT

Viral proteases play key roles in viral replication, and they also facilitate immune escape by proteolyzing diverse target proteins. Deep profiling of viral protease substrates in host cells is beneficial for understanding viral pathogenesis and for antiviral drug discovery. Here, we utilized substrate phage display coupled with protein network analysis to identify human proteome substrates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral proteases, including papain-like protease (PLpro) and 3C-like protease (3CLpro). We first performed peptide substrates selection of PLpro and 3CLpro, and we then used the top 24 preferred substrate sequences to identify a total of 290 putative protein substrates. Protein network analysis revealed that the top clusters of PLpro and 3CLpro substrate proteins contain ubiquitin-related proteins and cadherin-related proteins, respectively. We verified that cadherin-6 and cadherin-12 are novel substrates of 3CLpro, and CD177 is a novel substrate of PLpro using in vitro cleavage assays. We thus demonstrated that substrate phage display coupled with protein network analysis is a simple and high throughput method to identify human proteome substrates of SARS-CoV-2 viral proteases for further understanding of virus-host interactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteases , Humans , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Proteome , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
3.
J Biol Chem ; 299(6): 104787, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2308970

ABSTRACT

Understanding the functional properties of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 nonstructural proteins is essential for defining their roles in the viral life cycle, developing improved therapeutics and diagnostics, and countering future variants. Coronavirus nonstructural protein Nsp15 is a hexameric U-specific endonuclease whose functions, substrate specificity, mechanism, and dynamics are not fully defined. Previous studies report that Nsp15 requires Mn2+ ions for optimal activity; however, the effects of divalent ions on Nsp15 reaction kinetics have not been investigated in detail. Here, we analyzed the single- and multiple-turnover kinetics for model ssRNA substrates. Our data confirm that divalent ions are dispensable for catalysis and show that Mn2+ activates Nsp15 cleavage of two different ssRNA oligonucleotide substrates but not a dinucleotide. Biphasic kinetics of ssRNA substrates demonstrates that Mn2+ stabilizes alternative enzyme states that have faster substrate cleavage on the enzyme. However, we did not detect Mn2+-induced conformational changes using CD and fluorescence spectroscopy. The pH-rate profiles in the presence and absence of Mn2+ reveal active-site ionizable groups with similar pKas of ca. 4.8 to 5.2. An Rp stereoisomer phosphorothioate modification at the scissile phosphate had minimal effect on catalysis supporting a mechanism involving an anionic transition state. However, the Sp stereoisomer is inactive because of weak binding, consistent with models that position the nonbridging phosphoryl oxygen deep in the active site. Together, these data demonstrate that Nsp15 employs a conventional acid-base catalytic mechanism passing through an anionic transition state, and that divalent ion activation is substrate dependent.


Subject(s)
Endonucleases , Ions , RNA Cleavage , SARS-CoV-2 , Catalysis , COVID-19/microbiology , Endonucleases/genetics , Endonucleases/metabolism , Kinetics , Metals/chemistry , RNA Cleavage/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Ions/metabolism , Enzyme Activation , Manganese/chemistry , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Animals , Mice , Escherichia coli/genetics
4.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(22): 13019-13030, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2285864

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense RNA virus responsible for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which continues to cause significant morbidity, mortality and economic strain. SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe respiratory disease and death in humans, highlighting the need for effective antiviral therapies. The RNA synthesis machinery of SARS-CoV-2 is an ideal drug target and consists of non-structural protein 12 (nsp12), which is directly responsible for RNA synthesis, and numerous co-factors involved in RNA proofreading and 5' capping of viral RNAs. The formation of the 5' 7-methylguanosine (m7G) cap structure is known to require a guanylyltransferase (GTase) as well as a 5' triphosphatase and methyltransferases; however, the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 RNA capping remains poorly understood. Here we find that SARS-CoV-2 nsp12 is involved in viral RNA capping as a GTase, carrying out the addition of a GTP nucleotide to the 5' end of viral RNA via a 5' to 5' triphosphate linkage. We further show that the nsp12 NiRAN (nidovirus RdRp-associated nucleotidyltransferase) domain performs this reaction, and can be inhibited by remdesivir triphosphate, the active form of the antiviral drug remdesivir. These findings improve understanding of coronavirus RNA synthesis and highlight a new target for novel or repurposed antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Triphosphate/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Adenosine Triphosphate/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Genome, Viral/genetics , Guanosine/analogs & derivatives , Guanosine/metabolism , Humans , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Caps/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccinia virus/enzymology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism , COVID-19 Drug Treatment
5.
J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 40(13): 6039-6051, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2272318

ABSTRACT

RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), also called nsp12, is considered a promising but challenging drug target for inhibiting replication and hence, the growth of various RNA-viruses. In this report, a computational study is performed to offer insights on the binding of Remdesivir and Galidesivir with SARS-CoV2 RdRp with natural substrate, ATP, as the control. It was observed that Remdesivir and Galidesivir exhibited similar binding energies for their best docked poses, -6.6 kcal/mole and -6.2 kcal/mole, respectively. ATP also displayed comparative and strong binding free energy of -6.3 kcal/mole in the catalytic site of RdRp. However, their binding locations within the active site are distinct. Further, the interaction of catalytic site residues (Asp760, Asp761, and Asp618) with Remdesivir and Galidesivir is comprehensively examined. Conformational changes of RdRp and bound molecules are demonstrated using 100 ns explicit solvent simulation of the protein-ligand complex. Simulation suggests that Galidesivir binds at the non-catalytic location and its binding strength is relatively weaker than ATP and Remdesivir. Remdesivir also binds at the catalytic site and showed high potency to inhibit the function of RdRp. Binding of co-factor units nsp7 and nsp8 with RdRp (nsp12) complexed with Remdesivir and Galidesivir was also examined. MMPBSA binding energy for all three complexes has been computed across the 100 ns simulation trajectory. Overall, this study suggests, Remdesivir has anti-RdRp activity via binding at a catalytic site. In contrast, Galidesivir may not have direct anti-RdRp activity but it can induce a conformational change in the RNA polymerase.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , SARS-CoV-2 , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology
6.
Bioorg Chem ; 129: 106185, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2268978

ABSTRACT

The evolving SARS-CoV-2 epidemic buffets the world, and the concerted efforts are needed to explore effective drugs. Mpro is an intriguing antiviral target for interfering with viral RNA replication and transcription. In order to get potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents, we established an enzymatic assay using a fluorogenic substrate to screen the inhibitors of Mpro. Fortunately, Acriflavine (ACF) and Proflavine Hemisulfate (PRF) with the same acridine scaffold were picked out for their good inhibitory activity against Mpro with IC50 of 5.60 ± 0.29 µM and 2.07 ± 0.01 µM, respectively. Further evaluation of MST assay and enzymatic kinetics experiment in vitro showed that they had a certain affinity to SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and were both non-competitive inhibitors. In addition, they inhibited about 90 % HCoV-OC43 replication in BHK-21 cells at 1 µM. Both compounds showed nano-molar activities against SARS-CoV-2 virus, which were superior to GC376 for anti-HCoV-43, and equivalent to the standard molecule remdesivir. Our study demonstrated that ACF and PRF were inhibitors of Mpro, and ACF has been previously reported as a PLpro inhibitor. Taken together, ACF and PRF might be dual-targeted inhibitors to provide protection against infections of coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Acriflavine , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors , Proflavine , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Protease Inhibitors , Acriflavine/pharmacology , Proflavine/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Mesocricetus , Animals , Cricetinae , Cell Line , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(5)2023 Feb 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2267326

ABSTRACT

We report synthesis of a novel 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinazoline derivative, named 2-(6,8-dibromo-3-(4-hydroxycyclohexyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinazolin-2-yl)phenol (1), which was obtained from the hydrochloride of 4-((2-amino-3,5-dibromobenzyl)amino)cyclohexan-1-ol (ambroxol hydrochloride) and salicylaldehyde in EtOH. The resulting compound was produced in the form of colorless crystals of the composition 1∙0.5EtOH. The formation of the single product was confirmed by the IR and 1H spectroscopy, single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction, and elemental analysis. The molecule of 1 contains a chiral tertiary carbon of the 1,2,3,4-tetrahydropyrimidine fragment and the crystal structure of 1∙0.5EtOH is a racemate. Optical properties of 1∙0.5EtOH were revealed by UV-vis spectroscopy in MeOH and it was established that the compound absorbs exclusively in the UV region up to about 350 nm. 1∙0.5EtOH in MeOH exhibits dual emission and the emission spectra contains bands at about 340 and 446 nm upon excitation at 300 and 360 nm, respectively. The DFT calculations were performed to verify the structure as well as electronic and optical properties of 1. ADMET properties of the R-isomer of 1 were evaluated using the SwissADME, BOILED-Egg, and ProTox-II tools. As evidenced from the blue dot position in the BOILED-Egg plot, both human blood-brain barrier penetration and gastrointestinal absorption properties are positive with the positive PGP effect on the molecule. Molecular docking was applied to examine the influence of the structures of both R-isomer and S-isomer of 1 on a series of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins. According to the docking analysis results, both isomers of 1 were found to be active against all the applied SARS-CoV-2 proteins with the best binding affinities with Papain-like protease (PLpro) and nonstructural protein 3 (Nsp3_range 207-379-AMP). Ligand efficiency scores for both isomers of 1 inside the binding sites of the applied proteins were also revealed and compared with the initial ligands. Molecular dynamics simulations were also applied to evaluate the stability of complexes of both isomers with Papain-like protease (PLpro) and nonstructural protein 3 (Nsp3_range 207-379-AMP). The complex of the S-isomer with Papain-like protease (PLpro) was found to be highly unstable, while the other complexes are stable.


Subject(s)
Ambroxol , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases , Quinazolines , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Ambroxol/analogs & derivatives , Ambroxol/pharmacokinetics , Ambroxol/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Quinazolines/chemistry , Quinazolines/pharmacokinetics , Quinazolines/pharmacology , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry
8.
J Med Chem ; 66(4): 3088-3105, 2023 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2265584

ABSTRACT

Interest in covalent enzyme inhibitors as therapeutic agents has seen a recent resurgence. Covalent enzyme inhibitors typically possess an organic functional group that reacts with a key feature of the target enzyme, often a nucleophilic cysteine residue. Herein, the application of small, modular ReV complexes as inorganic cysteine-targeting warheads is described. These metal complexes were found to react with cysteine residues rapidly and selectively. To demonstrate the utility of these ReV complexes, their reactivity with SARS-CoV-2-associated cysteine proteases is presented, including the SARS-CoV-2 main protease and papain-like protease and human enzymes cathepsin B and L. As all of these proteins are cysteine proteases, these enzymes were found to be inhibited by the ReV complexes through the formation of adducts. These findings suggest that these ReV complexes could be used as a new class of warheads for targeting surface accessible cysteine residues in disease-relevant target proteins.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cysteine Proteases , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors , Cysteine , Rhenium , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Cysteine Proteases/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use
9.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 1545, 2023 03 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2274434

ABSTRACT

The main protease from SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) is responsible for cleavage of the viral polyprotein. Mpro self-processing is called maturation, and it is crucial for enzyme dimerization and activity. Here we use C145S Mpro to study the structure and dynamics of N-terminal cleavage in solution. Native mass spectroscopy analysis shows that mixed oligomeric states are composed of cleaved and uncleaved particles, indicating that N-terminal processing is not critical for dimerization. A 3.5 Å cryo-EM structure provides details of Mpro N-terminal cleavage outside the constrains of crystal environment. We show that different classes of inhibitors shift the balance between oligomeric states. While non-covalent inhibitor MAT-POS-e194df51-1 prevents dimerization, the covalent inhibitor nirmatrelvir induces the conversion of monomers into dimers, even with intact N-termini. Our data indicates that the Mpro dimerization is triggered by induced fit due to covalent linkage during substrate processing rather than the N-terminal processing.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry
10.
J Biol Chem ; 299(2): 102790, 2023 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2238444

ABSTRACT

3-Chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) is a promising drug target for coronavirus disease 2019 and related coronavirus diseases because of the essential role of this protease in processing viral polyproteins after infection. Understanding the detailed catalytic mechanism of 3CLpro is essential for designing effective inhibitors of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Molecular dynamics studies have suggested pH-dependent conformational changes of 3CLpro, but experimental pH profiles of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and analyses of the conserved active-site histidine residues have not been reported. In this work, pH-dependence studies of the kinetic parameters of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro revealed a bell-shaped pH profile with 2 pKa values (6.9 ± 0.1 and 9.4 ± 0.1) attributable to ionization of the catalytic dyad His41 and Cys145, respectively. Our investigation of the roles of conserved active-site histidines showed that different amino acid substitutions of His163 produced inactive enzymes, indicating a key role of His163 in maintaining catalytically active SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro. By contrast, the H164A and H172A mutants retained 75% and 26% of the activity of WT, respectively. The alternative amino acid substitutions H172K and H172R did not recover the enzymatic activity, whereas H172Y restored activity to a level similar to that of the WT enzyme. The pH profiles of H164A, H172A, and H172Y were similar to those of the WT enzyme, with comparable pKa values for the catalytic dyad. Taken together, the experimental data support a general base mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and indicate that the neutral states of the catalytic dyad and active-site histidine residues are required for maximum enzyme activity.


Subject(s)
Biocatalysis , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Histidine , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Histidine/genetics , Histidine/metabolism , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Catalytic Domain , Kinetics , Amino Acid Substitution
11.
Molecules ; 28(1)2022 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2244344

ABSTRACT

To control the COVID-19 pandemic, antivirals that specifically target the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are urgently required. The 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) is a promising drug target since it functions as a catalytic dyad in hydrolyzing polyprotein during the viral life cycle. Bioactive peptides, especially food-derived peptides, have a variety of functional activities, including antiviral activity, and also have a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19. In this study, the hemp seed trypsinized peptidome was subjected to computer-aided screening against the 3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2. Using predictive trypsinized products of the five major proteins in hemp seed (i.e., edestin 1, edestin 2, edestin 3, albumin, and vicilin), the putative hydrolyzed peptidome was established and used as the input dataset. To select the Cannabis sativa antiviral peptides (csAVPs), a predictive bioinformatic analysis was performed by three webserver screening programs: iAMPpred, AVPpred, and Meta-iAVP. The amino acid composition profile comparison was performed by COPid to screen for the non-toxic and non-allergenic candidates, ToxinPred and AllerTOP and AllergenFP, respectively. GalaxyPepDock and HPEPDOCK were employed to perform the molecular docking of all selected csAVPs to the 3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2. Only the top docking-scored candidate (csAVP4) was further analyzed by molecular dynamics simulation for 150 nanoseconds. Molecular docking and molecular dynamics revealed the potential ability and stability of csAVP4 to inhibit the 3CLpro catalytic domain with hydrogen bond formation in domain 2 with short bonding distances. In addition, these top ten candidate bioactive peptides contained hydrophilic amino acid residues and exhibited a positive net charge. We hope that our results may guide the future development of alternative therapeutics against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Cannabis , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors , Peptides , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Cannabis/chemistry , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Peptides/chemistry , Peptides/isolation & purification , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/isolation & purification
12.
Biochemistry ; 62(3): 747-758, 2023 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2229490

ABSTRACT

The main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) plays a critical role in viral replication; although it is relatively conserved, Mpro has nevertheless evolved over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we examine phenotypic changes in clinically observed variants of Mpro, relative to the originally reported wild-type enzyme. Using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, we examine effects of mutation on protein structure and dynamics. In addition to basic structural properties such as variation in surface area and torsion angles, we use protein structure networks and active site networks to evaluate functionally relevant characters related to global cohesion and active site constraint. Substitution analysis shows a continuing trend toward more hydrophobic residues that are dependent on the location of the residue in primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures. Phylogenetic analysis provides additional evidence for the impact of selective pressure on mutation of Mpro. Overall, these analyses suggest evolutionary adaptation of Mpro toward more hydrophobicity and a less-constrained active site in response to the selective pressures of a novel host environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics
13.
Nature ; 614(7949): 781-787, 2023 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2221840

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase coordinates viral RNA synthesis as part of an assembly known as the replication-transcription complex (RTC)1. Accordingly, the RTC is a target for clinically approved antiviral nucleoside analogues, including remdesivir2. Faithful synthesis of viral RNAs by the RTC requires recognition of the correct nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) for incorporation into the nascent RNA. To be effective inhibitors, antiviral nucleoside analogues must compete with the natural NTPs for incorporation. How the SARS-CoV-2 RTC discriminates between the natural NTPs, and how antiviral nucleoside analogues compete, has not been discerned in detail. Here, we use cryogenic-electron microscopy to visualize the RTC bound to each of the natural NTPs in states poised for incorporation. Furthermore, we investigate the RTC with the active metabolite of remdesivir, remdesivir triphosphate (RDV-TP), highlighting the structural basis for the selective incorporation of RDV-TP over its natural counterpart adenosine triphosphate3,4. Our results explain the suite of interactions required for NTP recognition, informing the rational design of antivirals. Our analysis also yields insights into nucleotide recognition by the nsp12 NiRAN (nidovirus RdRp-associated nucleotidyltransferase), an enigmatic catalytic domain essential for viral propagation5. The NiRAN selectively binds guanosine triphosphate, strengthening proposals for the role of this domain in the formation of the 5' RNA cap6.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Cryoelectron Microscopy , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/ultrastructure , COVID-19/virology , Nucleosides/metabolism , Nucleosides/pharmacology , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Substrate Specificity , Guanosine Triphosphate/metabolism , RNA Caps
14.
J Biol Chem ; 299(3): 102980, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2220926

ABSTRACT

Replication of the 30-kilobase genome of SARS-CoV-2, responsible for COVID-19, is a key step in the coronavirus life cycle that requires a set of virally encoded nonstructural proteins such as the highly conserved Nsp13 helicase. However, the features that contribute to catalytic properties of Nsp13 are not well established. Here, we biochemically characterized the purified recombinant SARS-CoV-2 Nsp13 helicase protein, focusing on its catalytic functions, nucleic acid substrate specificity, nucleotide/metal cofactor requirements, and displacement of proteins from RNA molecules proposed to be important for its proofreading role during coronavirus replication. We determined that Nsp13 preferentially interacts with single-stranded DNA compared with single-stranded RNA to unwind a partial duplex helicase substrate. We present evidence for functional cooperativity as a function of Nsp13 concentration, which suggests that oligomerization is important for optimal activity. In addition, under single-turnover conditions, Nsp13 unwound partial duplex RNA substrates of increasing double-stranded regions (16-30 base pairs) with similar efficiency, suggesting the enzyme unwinds processively in this range. We also show Nsp13-catalyzed RNA unwinding is abolished by a site-specific neutralizing linkage in the sugar-phosphate backbone, demonstrating continuity in the helicase-translocating strand is essential for unwinding the partial duplex substrate. Taken together, we demonstrate for the first time that coronavirus helicase Nsp13 disrupts a high-affinity RNA-protein interaction in a unidirectional and ATP-dependent manner. Furthermore, sensitivity of Nsp13 catalytic functions to Mg2+ concentration suggests a regulatory mechanism for ATP hydrolysis, duplex unwinding, and RNA protein remodeling, processes implicated in SARS-CoV-2 replication and proofreading.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Humans , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , RNA , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism
15.
Protein Cell ; 14(1): 17-27, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2222718

ABSTRACT

The global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has infected over 109 million people, leading to over 2 million deaths up to date and still lacking of effective drugs for patient treatment. Here, we screened about 1.8 million small molecules against the main protease (Mpro) and papain like protease (PLpro), two major proteases in severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 genome, and identified 1851Mpro inhibitors and 205 PLpro inhibitors with low nmol/l activity of the best hits. Among these inhibitors, eight small molecules showed dual inhibition effects on both Mpro and PLpro, exhibiting potential as better candidates for COVID-19 treatment. The best inhibitors of each protease were tested in antiviral assay, with over 40% of Mpro inhibitors and over 20% of PLpro inhibitors showing high potency in viral inhibition with low cytotoxicity. The X-ray crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro in complex with its potent inhibitor 4a was determined at 1.8 Å resolution. Together with docking assays, our results provide a comprehensive resource for future research on anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Protease Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins
16.
Front Immunol ; 13: 1015355, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2198871

ABSTRACT

GS-441524, an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) inhibitor, is a 1'-CN-substituted adenine C-nucleoside analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity. However, the low oral bioavailability of GS-441524 poses a challenge to its anti-SARS-CoV-2 efficacy. Remdesivir, the intravenously administered version (version 1.0) of GS-441524, is the first FDA-approved agent for SARS-CoV-2 treatment. However, clinical trials have presented conflicting evidence on the value of remdesivir in COVID-19. Therefore, oral GS-441524 derivatives (VV116, ATV006, and GS-621763; version 2.0, targeting highly conserved viral RdRp) could be considered as game-changers in treating COVID-19 because oral administration has the potential to maximize clinical benefits, including decreased duration of COVID-19 and reduced post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as limited side effects such as hepatic accumulation. This review summarizes the current research related to the oral derivatives of GS-441524, and provides important insights into the potential factors underlying the controversial observations regarding the clinical efficacy of remdesivir; overall, it offers an effective launching pad for developing an oral version of GS-441524.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , COVID-19 , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors
17.
ACS Synth Biol ; 12(1): 83-94, 2023 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185541

ABSTRACT

Proteases are an important class of drug targets that continue to drive inhibitor discovery. These enzymes are prone to resistance mutations, yet their promise for treating viral diseases and other disorders continues to grow. This study develops a general approach for detecting microbially synthesized protease inhibitors and uses it to screen terpenoid pathways for inhibitory compounds. The detection scheme relies on a bacterial two-hybrid (B2H) system that links protease inactivation to the transcription of a swappable reporter gene. This system, which can accomodate multiple biochemical outputs (i.e., luminescence and antibiotic resistance), permitted the facile incorporation of four disease-relevant proteases. A B2H designed to detect the inactivation of the main protease of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 enabled the identification of a terpenoid inhibitor of modest potency. An analysis of multiple pathways that make this terpenoid, however, suggested that its production was necessary but not sufficient to confer a survival advantage in growth-coupled assays. This finding highlights an important challenge associated with the use of genetic selection to search for inhibitors─notably, the influence of pathway toxicity─and underlines the value of including multiple pathways with overlapping product profiles in pathway screens. This study provides a detailed experimental framework for using microbes to screen libraries of biosynthetic pathways for targeted protease inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protease Inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors
18.
Anal Chem ; 95(2): 714-719, 2023 01 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185422

ABSTRACT

In this study, we described an easy-to-perform nano-luciferase (nLuc) sensor for the rapid detection of 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) encoded by SARS-CoV-2. The technology is based on the cleavage reaction of recombinant-nLuc via 3CLpro. The nLuc-based assay is a general, one-step method and is naturally specific in detection. The stability, sensitivity, detection range, and response time are fully characterized. The application of 3CLpro detection in artificial and human saliva as well as antiviral drug screening demonstrates that the method can quantify 3CLpro with high sensitivity in one step. With its unique features, the nLuc-based assay may find broad applications in the auxiliary diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, as well as other types of coronavirus infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology
19.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(23)2022 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2123704

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the pandemic that broke out in 2020 and continues to be the cause of massive global upheaval. Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses with a genome of ~30 kb. The genome is replicated and transcribed by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase together with accessory factors. One of the latter is the protein helicase (NSP13), which is essential for viral replication. The recently solved helicase structure revealed a tertiary structure composed of five domains. Here, we investigated NSP13 from a structural point of view, comparing its RNA-free form with the RNA-engaged form by using atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at the microsecond timescale. Structural analyses revealed conformational changes that provide insights into the contribution of the different domains, identifying the residues responsible for domain-domain interactions in both observed forms. The RNA-free system appears to be more flexible than the RNA-engaged form. This result underlies the stabilizing role of the nucleic acid and the functional core role of these domains.


Subject(s)
RNA Helicases , SARS-CoV-2 , RNA Helicases/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry
20.
Biomolecules ; 12(12)2022 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2123517

ABSTRACT

The recent global health emergency caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a heavy toll, both in terms of lives and economies. Vaccines against the disease have been developed, but the efficiency of vaccination campaigns worldwide has been variable due to challenges regarding production, logistics, distribution and vaccine hesitancy. Furthermore, vaccines are less effective against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and vaccination-induced immunity fades over time. These challenges and the vaccines' ineffectiveness for the infected population necessitate improved treatment options, including the inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). Drug repurposing to achieve inhibition could provide an immediate solution for disease management. Here, we used structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) to identify natural products (from NP-lib) and FDA-approved drugs (from e-Drug3D-lib and Drugs-lib) which bind to the Mpro active site with high-affinity and therefore could be designated as potential inhibitors. We prioritized nine candidate inhibitors (e-Drug3D-lib: Ciclesonide, Losartan and Telmisartan; Drugs-lib: Flezelastine, Hesperidin and Niceverine; NP-lib: three natural products) and predicted their half maximum inhibitory concentration using DeepPurpose, a deep learning tool for drug-target interactions. Finally, we experimentally validated Losartan and two of the natural products as in vitro Mpro inhibitors, using a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET)-based Mpro sensor. Our study suggests that existing drugs and natural products could be explored for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Biological Products , COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Biological Products/chemistry , Biological Products/pharmacology , Losartan/chemistry , Losartan/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Coronavirus Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors
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