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1.
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
2.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(45): 18827-18831, 2021 11 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483090

ABSTRACT

Despite the importance of rapid and accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, current diagnostic methods are static and unable to distinguish between viable/nonviable virus or directly reflect viral replication activity. Real-time imaging of protease activity specific to SARS-CoV-2 can overcome these issues but remains lacking. Herein, we report a near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) activatable molecular probe (SARS-CyCD) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 protease in living mice. The probe comprises a hemicyanine fluorophore caged with a protease peptide substrate and a cyclodextrin unit, which function as an NIRF signaling moiety and a renal-clearable enabler, respectively. The peptide substrate of SARS-CyCD can be specifically cleaved by SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro), resulting in NIRF signal activation and liberation of the renal-clearable fluorescent fragment (CyCD). Such a design not only allows sensitive detection of Mpro in the lungs of living mice after intratracheal administration but also permits optical urinalysis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, this study presents an in vivo sensor that holds potential in preclinical high-throughput drug screening and clinical diagnostics for respiratory viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Kidney/metabolism , Molecular Probes/metabolism , Optical Imaging/methods , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Fluorescent Dyes/analysis , Fluorescent Dyes/metabolism , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Mice , Molecular Probes/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared , Urinalysis , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
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
7.
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
8.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 12(17): 4195-4202, 2021 May 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387119

ABSTRACT

The catalytic reaction in SARS-CoV-2 main protease is activated by a proton transfer (PT) from Cys145 to His41. The same PT is likely also required for the covalent binding of some inhibitors. Here we use a multiscale computational approach to investigate the PT thermodynamics in the apo enzyme and in complex with two potent inhibitors, N3 and the α-ketoamide 13b. We show that with the inhibitors the free energy cost to reach the charge-separated state of the active-site dyad is lower, with N3 inducing the most significant reduction. We also show that a few key sites (including specific water molecules) significantly enhance or reduce the thermodynamic feasibility of the PT reaction, with selective desolvation of the active site playing a crucial role. The approach presented is a cost-effective procedure to identify the enzyme regions that control the activation of the catalytic reaction and is thus also useful to guide the design of inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Drug Design , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Biocatalysis , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protons , Quantum Theory , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Thermodynamics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
9.
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
10.
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
11.
Bioengineered ; 12(1): 4407-4419, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373615

ABSTRACT

Widespread infection due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) has led to a global pandemic. Currently, various approaches are being taken up to develop vaccines and therapeutics to treat SARS-CoV2 infection. Consequently, the S protein has become an important target protein for developing vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV2. However, the highly infective nature of SARS-CoV2 restricts experimentation with the virus to highly secure BSL3 facilities. The availability of fusion-enabled, nonreplicating, and nonbiohazardous mimics of SARS-CoV2 virus fusion, containing the viral S or S and M protein in their native conformation on mammalian cells, can serve as a useful substitute for studying viral fusion for testing various inhibitors of viral fusion. This would avoid the use of the BSL3 facility for fusion studies required to develop therapeutics. In the present study, we have developed SARS-CoV2 virus fusion mimics (SCFMs) using mammalian cells transfected with constructs coding for S or S and M protein. The fusogenic property of the mimic(s) and their interaction with the functional human ACE2 receptors was confirmed experimentally. We have also shown that such mimics can easily be used in an inhibition assay. These mimic(s) can be easily prepared on a large scale, and such SCFMs can serve as an invaluable resource for viral fusion inhibition assays and in vitro screening of antiviral agents, which can be shared/handled between labs/facilities without worrying about any biohazard while working under routine laboratory conditions, avoiding the use of BSL3 laboratory.Abbreviations :SCFM: SARS-CoV2 Virus Fusion Mimic; ACE2: Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2; hACE2: Human Angiotensin-Converting enzyme 2; MEF: Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts; HBSS: Hanks Balanced Salt Solution; FBS: Fetal Bovine Serum.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Containment of Biohazards/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Embryo, Mammalian , Fibroblasts/drug effects , Fibroblasts/virology , Gene Expression , Genes, Reporter , Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics , Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Luminescent Proteins/genetics , Luminescent Proteins/metabolism , MCF-7 Cells , Mice , Molecular Mimicry , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Primary Cell Culture , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Transfection , Vero Cells , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
12.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367852

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus is a commonly used strategy that mimics certain biological functions of the authentic virus by relying on biological legitimacy at the molecular level. Despite the fact that spike (S), envelope (E), and membrane (M) proteins together wrap up the SARS-CoV-2 virion, most of the reported pseudotype viruses consist of only the S protein. Here, we report that the presence of E and M increased the virion infectivity by promoting the S protein priming. The S, E, and M (SEM)-coated pseudovirion is spherical, containing crown-like spikes on the surface. Both S and SEM pseudoviruses packaged the same amounts of viral RNA, but the SEM virus bound more efficiently to cells stably expressing the viral receptor human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (hACE2) and became more infectious. Using this SEM pseudovirus, we examined the infectivity and antigenic properties of the natural SARS-CoV-2 variants. We showed that some variants have higher infectivity than the original virus and that some render the neutralizing plasma with lower potency. These studies thus revealed possible mechanisms of the dissemination advantage of these variants. Hence, the SEM pseudovirion provides a useful tool to evaluate the viral infectivity and capability of convalescent sera in neutralizing specific SARS-CoV-2 S dominant variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/ultrastructure , Cricetinae , Humans , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology , Viral Matrix Proteins/ultrastructure , Virion/genetics , Virion/immunology , Virion/metabolism , Virion/ultrastructure
13.
Eur J Med Chem ; 225: 113789, 2021 Dec 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364001

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 as a positive-sense single-stranded RNA coronavirus caused the global outbreak of COVID-19. The main protease (Mpro) of the virus as the major enzyme processing viral polyproteins contributed to the replication and transcription of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells, and has been characterized as an attractive target in drug discovery. Herein, a set of 1,4-naphthoquinones with juglone skeleton were prepared and evaluated for the inhibitory efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. More than half of the tested naphthoquinones could effectively inhibit the target enzyme with an inhibition rate of more than 90% at the concentration of 10 µM. In the structure-activity relationships (SARs) analysis, the characteristics of substituents and their position on juglone core scaffold were recognized as key ingredients for enzyme inhibitory activity. The most active compound, 2-acetyl-8-methoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (15), which exhibited much higher potency in enzyme inhibitions than shikonin as the positive control, displayed an IC50 value of 72.07 ± 4.84 nM towards Mpro-mediated hydrolysis of the fluorescently labeled peptide. It fit well into the active site cavity of the enzyme by forming hydrogen bonds with adjacent amino acid residues in molecular docking studies. The results from in vitro antiviral activity evaluation demonstrated that the most potent Mpro inhibitor could significantly suppress the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells within the low micromolar concentrations, with its EC50 value of about 4.55 µM. It was non-toxic towards the host Vero E6 cells under tested concentrations. The present research work implied that juglone skeleton could be a primary template for the development of potent Mpro inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Naphthoquinones/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Design , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Docking Simulation , Naphthoquinones/metabolism , Naphthoquinones/pharmacology , Naphthoquinones/therapeutic use , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
14.
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
15.
Mol Inform ; 40(8): e2100028, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345038

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 has mobilized scientific attention in search of a treatment. The cysteine-proteases, main protease (Mpro) and papain-like protease (PLpro) are important targets for antiviral drugs. In this work, we simulate the interactions between the Mpro and PLpro with Ebselen, its metabolites and derivatives with the aim of finding molecules that can potentially inhibit these enzymes. The docking data demonstrate that there are two main interactions between the thiol (-SH) group of Cys (from the protease active sites) and the electrophilic centers of the organoselenium molecules, i. e. the interaction with the carbonyl group (O=C… SH) and the interaction with the Se moiety (Se… SH). Both interactions may lead to an adduct formation and enzyme inhibition. Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations with Ebselen indicate that the energetics of the thiol nucleophilic attack is more favorable on Se than on the carbonyl group, which is in accordance with experimental data (Jin et al. Nature, 2020, 582, 289-293). Therefore, organoselenium molecules should be further explored as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 proteases. Furthermore, we suggest that some metabolites of Ebselen (e. g. Ebselen diselenide and methylebselenoxide) and derivatives ethaselen and ebsulfur should be tested in vitro as inhibitors of virus replication and its proteases.


Subject(s)
Azoles/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Organoselenium Compounds/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Azoles/chemistry , Azoles/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Catalytic Domain/drug effects , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Discovery , Humans , Isoindoles , Molecular Docking Simulation , Organoselenium Compounds/chemistry , Organoselenium Compounds/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
17.
J Chem Inf Model ; 61(8): 4011-4022, 2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327180

ABSTRACT

Target-based design and repositioning are mainstream strategies of drug discovery. Numerous drug design and repositioning projects have been launched to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting drug candidates have often failed due to the misprediction of their target-bound structures. The determination of water positions of such structures is particularly challenging due to the large number of possible drugs and the diversity of their hydration patterns. To answer this challenge and help correct predictions, we introduce a new protocol HydroDock, which can build hydrated drug-target complexes from scratch. HydroDock requires only the dry target and drug structures and produces their complexes with appropriately positioned water molecules. As a test application of the protocol, we built the structures of amantadine derivatives in complex with the influenza M2 transmembrane ion channel. The repositioning of amantadine derivatives from this influenza target to the SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein was also investigated. Excellent agreement was observed between experiments and the structures determined by HydroDock. The atomic resolution complex structures showed that water plays a similar role in the binding of amphipathic amantadine derivatives to transmembrane ion channels of both influenza A and SARS-CoV-2. While the hydrophobic regions of the channels capture the bulky hydrocarbon group of the ligand, the surrounding waters direct its orientation parallel with the axes of the channels via bridging interactions with the ionic ligand head. As HydroDock supplied otherwise undetermined structural details, it can be recommended to improve the reliability of future design and repositioning of antiviral drug candidates and many other ligands with an influence of water structure on their mechanism of action.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Design , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Ion Channels , Ligands , Pandemics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
18.
Front Immunol ; 12: 700926, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305649

ABSTRACT

RIG-I-like receptors (RLR), RIG-I and MDA5, are cytoplasmic viral RNA sensors that recognize viral double-stranded RNAs and trigger signals to induce antiviral responses, including type I interferon production. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. However, the RLR role in innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 has not been fully elucidated. Here, we studied the roles of RLR in cytokine expression responding to SARS-CoV-2 and found that not only MDA5 but also RIG-I are involved in innate immune responses in some types of human cells. Transfection of total RNAs extracted from SARS-CoV-2-infected cells into epithelial cells induced IFN-ß, IP-10, and Ccl5 mRNA expression. The cytokine expression was reduced by knockout of either RIG-I or MDA5, suggesting that both proteins are required for appropriate innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Two viral genomic RNA regions strongly induced type I IFN expression, and a 200-base fragment of viral RNA preferentially induced type I IFN in a RIG-I-dependent manner. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infectious particles hardly induced cytokine expression, suggesting viral escape from the host response. Viral 9b protein inhibited RIG-I and MAVS interaction, and viral 7a protein destabilized the TBK1 protein, leading to attenuated IRF-3 phosphorylation required for type I IFN expression. Our data elucidated the mechanism underlying RLR-mediated response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral escape from the host innate immune response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/metabolism , Receptors, Retinoic Acid/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Gene Knockdown Techniques , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunity, Innate , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/genetics , Phosphorylation , RNA, Viral/immunology , Receptors, Retinoic Acid/genetics , Signal Transduction , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism
19.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(13)2021 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288904

ABSTRACT

The development of new antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 is a valuable long-term strategy to protect the global population from the COVID-19 pandemic complementary to the vaccination. Considering this, the viral main protease (Mpro) is among the most promising molecular targets in light of its importance during the viral replication cycle. The natural flavonoid quercetin 1 has been recently reported to be a potent Mpro inhibitor in vitro, and we explored the effect produced by the introduction of organoselenium functionalities in this scaffold. In particular, we report here a new synthetic method to prepare previously inaccessible C-8 seleno-quercetin derivatives. By screening a small library of flavonols and flavone derivatives, we observed that some compounds inhibit the protease activity in vitro. For the first time, we demonstrate that quercetin (1) and 8-(p-tolylselenyl)quercetin (2d) block SARS-CoV-2 replication in infected cells at non-toxic concentrations, with an IC50 of 192 µM and 8 µM, respectively. Based on docking experiments driven by experimental evidence, we propose a non-covalent mechanism for Mpro inhibition in which a hydrogen bond between the selenium atom and Gln189 residue in the catalytic pocket could explain the higher Mpro activity of 2d and, as a result, its better antiviral profile.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Quercetin/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Selenium/chemistry , Viral Matrix Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Quercetin/metabolism , Quercetin/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Selenium/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
20.
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
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