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1.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524167

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread despite the global efforts taken to control it. The 3C-like protease (3CLpro), the major protease of SARS-CoV-2, is one of the most interesting targets for antiviral drug development because it is highly conserved among SARS-CoVs and plays an important role in viral replication. Herein, we developed high throughput screening for SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitor based on AlphaScreen. We screened 91 natural product compounds and found that all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), an FDA-approved drug, inhibited 3CLpro activity. The 3CLpro inhibitory effect of ATRA was confirmed in vitro by both immunoblotting and AlphaScreen with a 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) of 24.7 ± 1.65 µM. ATRA inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu-3 cells, with IC50 = 2.69 ± 0.09 µM in the former and 0.82 ± 0.01 µM in the latter. Further, we showed the anti-SARS-CoV-2 effect of ATRA on the currently circulating variants of concern (VOC); alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. These results suggest that ATRA may be considered as a potential therapeutic agent against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Animals , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256141, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1362089

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 requires serine protease, transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), and cysteine proteases, cathepsins B, L (CTSB/L) for entry into host cells. These host proteases activate the spike protein and enable SARS-CoV-2 entry. We herein performed genomic-guided gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) to identify upstream regulatory elements altering the expression of TMPRSS2 and CTSB/L. Further, medicinal compounds were identified based on their effects on gene expression signatures of the modulators of TMPRSS2 and CTSB/L genes. Using this strategy, estradiol and retinoic acid have been identified as putative SARS-CoV-2 alleviation agents. Next, we analyzed drug-gene and gene-gene interaction networks using 809 human targets of SARS-CoV-2 proteins. The network results indicate that estradiol interacts with 370 (45%) and retinoic acid interacts with 251 (31%) human proteins. Interestingly, a combination of estradiol and retinoic acid interacts with 461 (56%) of human proteins, indicating the therapeutic benefits of drug combination therapy. Finally, molecular docking analysis suggests that both the drugs bind to TMPRSS2 and CTSL with the nanomolar to low micromolar affinity. The results suggest that these drugs can simultaneously target both the entry pathways of SARS-CoV-2 and thus can be considered as a potential treatment option for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cathepsin B/genetics , Cathepsin L/genetics , Estradiol/pharmacology , Genomics/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Cathepsin B/chemistry , Cathepsin L/chemistry , Databases, Genetic , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic/drug effects , Gene Regulatory Networks/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Maps/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
3.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(11): 4174-4184, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281023

ABSTRACT

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, represents the greatest global health threat. Most people infected by the virus present mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and recover with supportive treatments. However, certain susceptible hosts develop an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), associated with an inflammatory "cytokine storm", leading to lung damage. Despite the current availability of different COVID-19 vaccines, the new emerging SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants represent a major concern worldwide, due to their increased transmissibility and rapid spread. Indeed, it seems that some mutations or combinations of mutations might confer selective advantages to the virus, such as the ability to evade the host immune responses elicited by COVID-19 vaccines. Several therapeutic approaches have been investigated but, to date, a unique and fully effective therapeutic protocol has not yet been achieved. In addition, steroid-based therapies, aimed to reduce inflammation in patients with severe COVID-19 disease, may increase the risk of opportunistic infections, increasing the hospitalization time and mortality rate of these patients. Hence, there is an unmet need to develop more effective therapeutic options. Here, we discuss the potential use of natural immunomodulators such as Thymosin α1 (Tα1), all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), and lactoferrin (LF), as adjunctive or preventive treatment of severe COVID-19 disease. These agents are considered to be multifunctional molecules because of their ability to enhance antiviral host immunity and restore the immune balance, depending on the host immune status. Furthermore, they are able to exert a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity by means of direct interactions with cellular or molecular targets of pathogens or indirectly by increasing the host immune response. Thus, due to the aforementioned properties, these agents might have a great potential in a clinical setting, not only to counteract SARS-CoV-2 infection, but also to prevent opportunistic infections in critically ill COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Factors/immunology , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cytokine Release Syndrome/drug therapy , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Lactoferrin/immunology , Lactoferrin/pharmacology , Lactoferrin/therapeutic use , Tretinoin/immunology , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Tretinoin/therapeutic use
4.
PLoS One ; 15(12): e0242536, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965821

ABSTRACT

Retinoic acid (RA) has been shown to improve epithelial and endothelial barrier function and development and even suppress damage inflicted by inflammation on these barriers through regulating immune cell activity. This paper thus sought to determine whether RA could improve baseline barrier function and attenuate TNF-α-induced barrier leak in the human bronchial epithelial cell culture model, 16HBE14o- (16HBE). We show for the first time that RA increases baseline barrier function of these cell layers indicated by an 89% increase in transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and 22% decrease in 14C-mannitol flux. A simultaneous, RA-induced 70% increase in claudin-4 attests to RA affecting the tight junctional (TJ) complex itself. RA was also effective in alleviating TNF-α-induced 16HBE barrier leak, attenuating 60% of the TNF-α-induced leak to 14C-mannitol and 80% of the leak to 14C-inulin. Interleukin-6-induced barrier leak was also reduced by RA. Treatment of 16HBE cell layers with TNF-α resulted in dramatic decrease in immunostaining for occludin and claudin-4, as well as a downward "band-shift" in occludin Western immunoblots. The presence of RA partially reversed TNF-α's effects on these select TJ proteins. Lastly, RA completely abrogated the TNF-α-induced increase in ERK-1,2 phosphorylation without significantly decreasing the TNF-driven increase in total ERK-1,2. This study suggests RA could be effective as a prophylactic agent in minimizing airway barrier leak and as a therapeutic in preventing leak triggered by inflammatory cascades. Given the growing literature suggesting a "cytokine storm" may be related to COVID-19 morbidity, RA may be a useful adjuvant for use with anti-viral therapies.


Subject(s)
Bronchi/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/metabolism , Cell Line , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/metabolism , Permeability/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Tight Junctions/drug effects , Tight Junctions/metabolism
5.
Comput Biol Med ; 127: 104063, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880431

ABSTRACT

Viroporins are oligomeric, pore forming, viral proteins that play critical roles in the life cycle of pathogenic viruses. Viroporins like HIV-1 Vpu, Alphavirus 6 K, Influenza M2, HCV p7, and Picornavirus 2B, form discrete aqueous passageways which mediate ion and small molecule transport in infected cells. The alterations in host membrane structures induced by viroporins is essential for key steps in the virus life cycle like entry, replication and egress. Any disruption in viroporin functionality severely compromises viral pathogenesis. The envelope (E) protein encoded by coronaviruses is a viroporin with ion channel activity and has been shown to be crucial for the assembly and pathophysiology of coronaviruses. We used a combination of virtual database screening, molecular docking, all-atom molecular dynamics simulation and MM-PBSA analysis to test four FDA approved drugs - Tretinoin, Mefenamic Acid, Ondansetron and Artemether - as potential inhibitors of ion channels formed by SARS-CoV-2 E protein. Interaction and binding energy analysis showed that electrostatic interactions and polar solvation energy were the major driving forces for binding of the drugs, with Tretinoin being the most promising inhibitor. Tretinoin bound within the lumen of the channel formed by E protein, which is lined by hydrophobic residues like Phe, Val and Ala, indicating its potential for blocking the channel and inhibiting the viroporin functionality of E. In control simulations, tretinoin demonstrated a lower binding energy with a known target as compared to SARS-CoV-2 E protein. This work thus highlights the possibility of exploring Tretinoin as a potential SARS-CoV-2 E protein ion channel blocker and virus assembly inhibitor, which could be an important therapeutic strategy in the treatment for coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Viral Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Computer Simulation , Databases, Chemical , Ligands , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism
6.
J Infect Dis ; 221(4): 647-659, 2020 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-326851

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) poses an ongoing threat to public health worldwide. The studies of MERS patients with severe disease and experimentally infected animals showed that robust viral replication and intensive proinflammatory response in lung tissues contribute to high pathogenicity of MERS-CoV. We sought to identify pattern recognition receptor (PRR) signaling pathway(s) that mediates the inflammatory cascade in human macrophages upon MERS-CoV infection. METHODS: The potential signaling pathways were manipulated individually by pharmacological inhibition, small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) depletion, and antibody blocking. The MERS-CoV-induced proinflammatory response was evaluated by measuring the expression levels of key cytokines and/or chemokines. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay, flow cytometry analysis, and Western blotting were applied to evaluate the activation of related PRRs and engagement of adaptors. RESULTS: MERS-CoV replication significantly upregulated C-type lectin receptor (CLR) macrophage-inducible Ca2+-dependent lectin receptor (Mincle). The role of Mincle for MERS-CoV-triggered cytokine/chemokine induction was established based on the results of antibody blockage, siRNA depletion of Mincle and its adaptor spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk), and Syk pharmacological inhibition. The cytokine and/or chemokine induction was significantly attenuated by siRNA depletion of retinoic acid-inducible-I-like receptors (RLR) or adaptor, indicating that RLR signaling also contributed to MERS-CoV-induced proinflammatory response. CONCLUSIONS: The CLR and RLR pathways are activated and contribute to the proinflammatory response in MERS-CoV-infected macrophages.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , DEAD Box Protein 58/metabolism , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/virology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins , Chemokines/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , DEAD Box Protein 58/genetics , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Humans , Lectins, C-Type/genetics , Lung/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , Receptors, Immunologic/genetics , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Transcriptome , Tretinoin/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
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