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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(13): e2025607119, 2022 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758459

ABSTRACT

SignificanceAlthough the need for a universal influenza vaccine has long been recognized, only a handful of candidates have been identified so far, with even fewer advancing in the clinical pipeline. The 24-amino acid ectodomain of M2 protein (M2e) has been developed over the past two decades. However, M2e-based vaccine candidates have shortcomings, including the need for several administrations and the lack of sustained antibody titers over time. We report here a vaccine targeting strategy that has the potential to confer sustained and strong protection upon a single shot of a small amount of M2e antigen. The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of developing versatile, powerful platforms for the rapid deployment of vaccines against any incoming threat.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A virus , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Viral Matrix Proteins , Viroporin Proteins , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Humans , Influenza A virus/immunology , Influenza Vaccines/administration & dosage , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology , Viroporin Proteins/immunology
2.
Protein J ; 39(3): 198-216, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718840

ABSTRACT

The devastating effects of the recent global pandemic (termed COVID-19 for "coronavirus disease 2019") caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2) are paramount with new cases and deaths growing at an exponential rate. In order to provide a better understanding of SARS CoV-2, this article will review the proteins found in the SARS CoV-2 that caused this global pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Drug Discovery/methods , Genome, Viral , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Polyproteins , Protein Interaction Maps/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Alignment , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins
3.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 12(51): 12249-12255, 2021 Dec 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586057

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses pose major threats to global health, yet computational efforts to understand them have largely overlooked the process of budding, a key part of the coronavirus life cycle. When expressed together, coronavirus M and E proteins are sufficient to facilitate budding into the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). To help elucidate budding, we ran atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using the Feig laboratory's refined structural models of the SARS-CoV-2 M protein dimer and E protein pentamer. Our MD simulations consisted of M protein dimers and E protein pentamers in patches of membrane. By examining where these proteins induced membrane curvature in silico, we obtained insights around how the budding process may occur. Multiple M protein dimers acted together to induce global membrane curvature through protein-lipid interactions while E protein pentamers kept the membrane planar. These results could eventually help guide development of antiviral therapeutics that inhibit coronavirus budding.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Golgi Apparatus/metabolism , Humans , Protein Multimerization , Protein Transport , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry
4.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488757

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the research community to develop a better understanding of viruses, in particular their modes of infection and replicative lifecycles, to aid in the development of novel vaccines and much needed anti-viral therapeutics. Several viruses express proteins capable of forming pores in host cellular membranes, termed "Viroporins". They are a family of small hydrophobic proteins, with at least one amphipathic domain, which characteristically form oligomeric structures with central hydrophilic domains. Consequently, they can facilitate the transport of ions through the hydrophilic core. Viroporins localise to host membranes such as the endoplasmic reticulum and regulate ion homeostasis creating a favourable environment for viral infection. Viroporins also contribute to viral immune evasion via several mechanisms. Given that viroporins are often essential for virion assembly and egress, and as their structural features tend to be evolutionarily conserved, they are attractive targets for anti-viral therapeutics. This review discusses the current knowledge of several viroporins, namely Influenza A virus (IAV) M2, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-1 Viral protein U (Vpu), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) p7, Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-16 E5, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) Open Reading Frame (ORF)3a and Polyomavirus agnoprotein. We highlight the intricate but broad immunomodulatory effects of these viroporins and discuss the current antiviral therapies that target them; continually highlighting the need for future investigations to focus on novel therapeutics in the treatment of existing and future emergent viruses.


Subject(s)
Immunomodulation , Ion Channels/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism , Virus Diseases/drug therapy , Viruses/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Autophagy , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Human Immunodeficiency Virus Proteins/chemistry , Human Immunodeficiency Virus Proteins/metabolism , Immune Evasion , Inflammasomes/immunology , Oncogene Proteins, Viral/chemistry , Oncogene Proteins, Viral/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/chemistry , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism , Viral Structural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Structural Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/chemistry , Virus Diseases/immunology , Virus Diseases/virology , Viruses/drug effects , Viruses/immunology , Viruses/pathogenicity
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20383, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1469988

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 continues to infect an ever-expanding number of people, resulting in an increase in the number of deaths globally. With the emergence of new variants, there is a corresponding decrease in the currently available vaccine efficacy, highlighting the need for greater insights into the viral epitope profile for both vaccine design and assessment. In this study, three immunodominant linear B cell epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) were identified by immunoinformatics prediction, and confirmed by ELISA with sera from Macaca fascicularis vaccinated with a SARS-CoV-2 RBD subunit vaccine. Further immunoinformatics analyses of these three epitopes gave rise to a method of linear B cell epitope prediction and selection. B cell epitopes in the spike (S), membrane (M), and envelope (E) proteins were subsequently predicted and confirmed using convalescent sera from COVID-19 infected patients. Immunodominant epitopes were identified in three regions of the S2 domain, one region at the S1/S2 cleavage site and one region at the C-terminus of the M protein. Epitope mapping revealed that most of the amino acid changes found in variants of concern are located within B cell epitopes in the NTD, RBD, and S1/S2 cleavage site. This work provides insights into B cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 as well as immunoinformatics methods for B cell epitope prediction, which will improve and enhance SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development against emergent variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Humans , Immunoassay , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Macaca , Models, Molecular , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry
6.
Mol Syst Biol ; 17(9): e10079, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406892

ABSTRACT

We modeled 3D structures of all SARS-CoV-2 proteins, generating 2,060 models that span 69% of the viral proteome and provide details not available elsewhere. We found that ˜6% of the proteome mimicked human proteins, while ˜7% was implicated in hijacking mechanisms that reverse post-translational modifications, block host translation, and disable host defenses; a further ˜29% self-assembled into heteromeric states that provided insight into how the viral replication and translation complex forms. To make these 3D models more accessible, we devised a structural coverage map, a novel visualization method to show what is-and is not-known about the 3D structure of the viral proteome. We integrated the coverage map into an accompanying online resource (https://aquaria.ws/covid) that can be used to find and explore models corresponding to the 79 structural states identified in this work. The resulting Aquaria-COVID resource helps scientists use emerging structural data to understand the mechanisms underlying coronavirus infection and draws attention to the 31% of the viral proteome that remains structurally unknown or dark.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/chemistry , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/genetics , Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology/methods , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/chemistry , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics , Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism , Models, Molecular , Molecular Mimicry , Neuropilin-1/chemistry , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Interaction Mapping/methods , Protein Multimerization , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/chemistry , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication
7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(3)2021 Jan 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389390

ABSTRACT

The synthesis of α-fluorinated methyl ketones has always been challenging. New methods based on the homologation chemistry via nucleophilic halocarbenoid transfer, carried out recently in our labs, allowed us to design and synthesize a target-directed dipeptidyl α,α-difluoromethyl ketone (DFMK) 8 as a potential antiviral agent with activity against human coronaviruses. The ability of the newly synthesized compound to inhibit viral replication was evaluated by a viral cytopathic effect (CPE)-based assay performed on MCR5 cells infected with one of the four human coronaviruses associated with respiratory distress, i.e., hCoV-229E, showing antiproliferative activity in the micromolar range (EC50 = 12.9 ± 1.22 µM), with a very low cytotoxicity profile (CC50 = 170 ± 3.79 µM, 307 ± 11.63 µM, and 174 ± 7.6 µM for A549, human embryonic lung fibroblasts (HELFs), and MRC5 cells, respectively). Docking and molecular dynamics simulations studies indicated that 8 efficaciously binds to the intended target hCoV-229E main protease (Mpro). Moreover, due to the high similarity between hCoV-229E Mpro and SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, we also performed the in silico analysis towards the second target, which showed results comparable to those obtained for hCoV-229E Mpro and promising in terms of energy of binding and docking pose.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus 229E, Human/metabolism , Dipeptides/chemistry , Ketones/chemistry , A549 Cells , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus M Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus M Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Thermodynamics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 502, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387327

ABSTRACT

The multifunctional nucleocapsid (N) protein in SARS-CoV-2 binds the ~30 kb viral RNA genome to aid its packaging into the 80-90 nm membrane-enveloped virion. The N protein is composed of N-terminal RNA-binding and C-terminal dimerization domains that are flanked by three intrinsically disordered regions. Here we demonstrate that the N protein's central disordered domain drives phase separation with RNA, and that phosphorylation of an adjacent serine/arginine rich region modulates the physical properties of the resulting condensates. In cells, N forms condensates that recruit the stress granule protein G3BP1, highlighting a potential role for N in G3BP1 sequestration and stress granule inhibition. The SARS-CoV-2 membrane (M) protein independently induces N protein phase separation, and three-component mixtures of N + M + RNA form condensates with mutually exclusive compartments containing N + M or N + RNA, including annular structures in which the M protein coats the outside of an N + RNA condensate. These findings support a model in which phase separation of the SARS-CoV-2 N protein contributes both to suppression of the G3BP1-dependent host immune response and to packaging genomic RNA during virion assembly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Helicases/genetics , DNA Helicases/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/genetics , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , RNA Helicases/genetics , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/genetics , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics
9.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 12(26): 6218-6226, 2021 Jul 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387122

ABSTRACT

Following our previous work ( Chem. Sci. 2021, 12, 4889-4907), we study the structural dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease dimerization interface (apo dimer) by means of microsecond adaptive sampling molecular dynamics simulations (50 µs) using the AMOEBA polarizable force field (PFF). This interface is structured by a complex H-bond network that is stable only at physiological pH. Structural correlations analysis between its residues and the catalytic site confirms the presence of a buried allosteric site. However, noticeable differences in allosteric connectivity are observed between PFFs and non-PFFs. Interfacial polarizable water molecules are shown to appear at the heart of this discrepancy because they are connected to the global interface H-bond network and able to adapt their dipole moment (and dynamics) to their diverse local physicochemical microenvironments. The water-interface many-body interactions appear to drive the interface volume fluctuations and to therefore mediate the allosteric interactions with the catalytic cavity.


Subject(s)
Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Water/chemistry , Allosteric Site , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Dimerization , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
10.
ChemMedChem ; 16(13): 2075-2081, 2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384144

ABSTRACT

Computational approaches supporting the early characterization of fragment molecular recognition mechanism represent a valuable complement to more expansive and low-throughput experimental techniques. In this retrospective study, we have investigated the geometric accuracy with which high-throughput supervised molecular dynamics simulations (HT-SuMD) can anticipate the experimental bound state for a set of 23 fragments targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. Despite the encouraging results herein reported, in line with those previously described for other MD-based posing approaches, a high number of incorrect binding modes still complicate HT-SuMD routine application. To overcome this limitation, fragment pose stability has been investigated and integrated as part of our in-silico pipeline, allowing us to prioritize only the more reliable predictions.


Subject(s)
Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Databases, Protein , Humans , Ligands , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
11.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(17)2021 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379978

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) is one of the molecular targets for drug design. Effective vaccines have been identified as a long-term solution but the rate at which they are being administered is slow in several countries, and mutations of SARS-CoV-2 could render them less effective. Moreover, remdesivir seems to work only with some types of COVID-19 patients. Hence, the continuous investigation of new treatments for this disease is pivotal. This study investigated the inhibitory role of natural products against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro as repurposable agents in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Through in silico approach, selected flavonoids were docked into the active site of Mpro. The free energies of the ligands complexed with Mpro were computationally estimated using the molecular mechanics-generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) method. In addition, the inhibition process of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro with these ligands was simulated at 100 ns in order to uncover the dynamic behavior and complex stability. The docking results showed that the selected flavonoids exhibited good poses in the binding domain of Mpro. The amino acid residues involved in the binding of the selected ligands correlated well with the residues involved with the mechanism-based inhibitor (N3) and the docking score of Quercetin-3-O-Neohesperidoside (-16.8 Kcal/mol) ranked efficiently with this inhibitor (-16.5 Kcal/mol). In addition, single-structure MM/GBSA rescoring method showed that Quercetin-3-O-Neohesperidoside (-87.60 Kcal/mol) is more energetically favored than N3 (-80.88 Kcal/mol) and other ligands (Myricetin 3-Rutinoside (-87.50 Kcal/mol), Quercetin 3-Rhamnoside (-80.17 Kcal/mol), Rutin (-58.98 Kcal/mol), and Myricitrin (-49.22 Kcal/mol). The molecular dynamics simulation (MDs) pinpointed the stability of these complexes over the course of 100 ns with reduced RMSD and RMSF. Based on the docking results and energy calculation, together with the RMSD of 1.98 ± 0.19 Å and RMSF of 1.00 ± 0.51 Å, Quercetin-3-O-Neohesperidoside is a better inhibitor of Mpro compared to N3 and other selected ligands and can be repurposed as a drug candidate for the treatment of COVID-19. In addition, this study demonstrated that in silico docking, free energy calculations, and MDs, respectively, are applicable to estimating the interaction, energetics, and dynamic behavior of molecular targets by natural products and can be used to direct the development of novel target function modulators.


Subject(s)
Biological Products/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Binding Sites , Biological Products/chemistry , Biological Products/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Drug Design , Humans , Ligands , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Quercetin/analogs & derivatives , Quercetin/chemistry , Quercetin/metabolism , Quercetin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry
12.
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
13.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(33): 12930-12934, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358340

ABSTRACT

The main protease from SARS-CoV-2 is a homodimer. Yet, a recent 0.1-ms-long molecular dynamics simulation performed by D. E. Shaw's research group shows that it readily undergoes a symmetry-breaking event on passing from the solid state to aqueous solution. As a result, the subunits present distinct conformations of the binding pocket. By analyzing this long simulation, we uncover a previously unrecognized role of water molecules in triggering the transition. Interestingly, each subunit presents a different collection of long-lived water molecules. Enhanced sampling simulations performed here, along with machine learning approaches, further establish that the transition to the asymmetric state is essentially irreversible.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Water/chemistry , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Crystallography, X-Ray , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Structure, Quaternary , Protein Subunits/chemistry , Protein Subunits/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
14.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300294

ABSTRACT

The emergence of novel viral infections of zoonotic origin and mutations of existing human pathogenic viruses represent a serious concern for public health. It warrants the establishment of better interventions and protective therapies to combat the virus and prevent its spread. Surface glycoproteins catalyzing the fusion of viral particles and host cells have proven to be an excellent target for antivirals as well as vaccines. This review focuses on recent advances for computational structure-based design of antivirals and vaccines targeting viral fusion machinery to control seasonal and emerging respiratory viruses.


Subject(s)
Computer Simulation , Viral Envelope Proteins/analysis , Viral Envelope Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/analysis , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Animals , Antiviral Agents , Clinical Trials as Topic , Humans , Mice , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Vaccinology/methods , Viral Vaccines/analysis , Viruses/chemistry , Viruses/classification
15.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(13)2021 Jun 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288896

ABSTRACT

Herein, we have generated ssRNA aptamers to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, a protease necessary for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus replication. Because there is no aptamer 3D structure currently available in the databanks for this protein, first, we modeled an ssRNA aptamer using an entropic fragment-based strategy. We refined the initial sequence and 3D structure by using two sequential approaches, consisting of an elitist genetic algorithm and an RNA inverse process. We identified three specific aptamers against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, called MAptapro, MAptapro-IR1, and MAptapro-IR2, with similar 3D conformations and that fall in the dimerization region of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro necessary for the enzymatic activity. Through the molecular dynamic simulation and binding free energy calculation, the interaction between the MAptapro-IR1 aptamer and the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro enzyme resulted in the strongest and the highest stable complex; therefore, the ssRNA MAptapro-IR1 aptamer was selected as the best potential candidate for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and a perspective therapeutic drug for the COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
Aptamers, Nucleotide/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Aptamers, Nucleotide/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , DNA, Single-Stranded/chemistry , Drug Design , Entropy , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry
16.
J Phys Chem B ; 125(24): 6501-6512, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267988

ABSTRACT

By the splendid advance in computation power realized with the Fugaku supercomputer, it has become possible to perform ab initio fragment molecular orbital (FMO) calculations for thousands of dynamic structures of protein-ligand complexes in a parallel way. We thus carried out electron-correlated FMO calculations for a complex of the 3C-like (3CL) main protease (Mpro) of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its inhibitor N3 incorporating the structural fluctuations sampled by classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in hydrated conditions. Along with a statistical evaluation of the interfragment interaction energies (IFIEs) between the N3 ligand and the surrounding amino-acid residues for 1000 dynamic structure samples, in this study we applied a novel approach based on principal component analysis (PCA) and singular value decomposition (SVD) to the analysis of IFIE data in order to extract the dynamically cooperative interactions between the ligand and the residues. We found that the relative importance of each residue is modified via the structural fluctuations and that the ligand is bound in the pharmacophore in a dynamic manner through collective interactions formed by multiple residues, thus providing new insight into structure-based drug discovery.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acids , Ligands , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation
17.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 184: 297-312, 2021 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265684

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 corona virus has become a global pandemic. In the absence of drugs and vaccine, and premises of time, efforts and cost required for their development, natural resources such as herbs are anticipated to provide some help and may also offer a promising resource for drug development. Here, we have investigated the therapeutic prospective of Ashwagandha for the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine withanolides were tested in silico for their potential to target and inhibit (i) cell surface receptor protein (TMPRSS2) that is required for entry of virus to host cells and (ii) viral protein (the main protease Mpro) that is essential for virus replication. We report that the withanolides possess capacity to inhibit the activity of TMPRSS2 and Mpro. Furthermore, withanolide-treated cells showed downregulation of TMPRSS2 expression and inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro, suggesting that Ashwagandha may provide a useful resource for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Plant Extracts/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Withanolides/pharmacology , A549 Cells , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Computer Simulation , Down-Regulation , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , MCF-7 Cells , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Withanolides/chemistry
18.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(9)2021 May 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1224027

ABSTRACT

Diagnostic evaluation of specific antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mainly based on spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. Despite the critical functions in virus infection and contribution to the pattern of immunodominance in COVID-19, exploitation of the most abundant membrane (M) protein in the SARS-CoV-2 serology tests is minimal. This study investigated the recombinant M protein's immunoreactivity with the sera from COVID-19 convalescents. In silico designed protein was created from the outer N-terminal part (19 aa) and internal C-terminal tail (101-222 aa) of the M protein (YP_009724393.1) and was recombinantly produced and purified. The designed M protein (16,498.74 Da, pI 8.79) revealed both IgM and IgG reactivity with serum samples from COVID-19 convalescents in Western blot. In ELISA, more than 93% (28/30) of COVID-19 sera were positive for IgM detection, and more than 96% (29/30) were positive for specific IgG detection to M protein. Based on the capacity to provoke an immune response and its strong antigenic properties, as shown here, and the fact that it is also involved in the virion entry into host cells, the M protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a good antigen has the potential in diagnostic purposes and vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/isolation & purification
19.
ChemMedChem ; 16(13): 2075-2081, 2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1218991

ABSTRACT

Computational approaches supporting the early characterization of fragment molecular recognition mechanism represent a valuable complement to more expansive and low-throughput experimental techniques. In this retrospective study, we have investigated the geometric accuracy with which high-throughput supervised molecular dynamics simulations (HT-SuMD) can anticipate the experimental bound state for a set of 23 fragments targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. Despite the encouraging results herein reported, in line with those previously described for other MD-based posing approaches, a high number of incorrect binding modes still complicate HT-SuMD routine application. To overcome this limitation, fragment pose stability has been investigated and integrated as part of our in-silico pipeline, allowing us to prioritize only the more reliable predictions.


Subject(s)
Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Databases, Protein , Humans , Ligands , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
20.
J Bioinform Comput Biol ; 19(4): 2150011, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1208936

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global health crisis. Developing vaccines would need a good knowledge of genetic properties of SARS-CoV-2. The most fundamental approach is to look into the structures of its RNA, in particular, the nucleotides and amino acids. This motivates our research on this topic. We study the occurrence structures of nitrogenous bases and amino acids. To this aim, we devise a structural metric which could measure the structure differences for bases or amino acids. By analyzing various SARS-CoV-2 samples, we calculate the distance matrices for nitrogenous bases and amino acids. Based on the distance matrices, we find the average distance matrices for them, respectively. Then we identify the relations of all the minimal distances between bases and amino acids. The results also show that different substructures would yield much more diversified distances between amino acids. In the end, we also conduct the comparison of our structural metric with other frequently used metrics, in particular, Hausdorff metrics.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Amino Acids/genetics , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/chemistry
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