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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(24)2021 Dec 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580690

ABSTRACT

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, pharmaceutical companies and research groups have focused on the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2. Here, we apply a drug repurposing strategy to identify drug candidates that are able to block the entrance of the virus into human cells. By combining virtual screening with in vitro pseudovirus assays and antiviral assays in Human Lung Tissue (HLT) cells, we identify entrectinib as a potential antiviral drug.


Subject(s)
Benzamides/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Indazoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzamides/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning/methods , Humans , Indazoles/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment/drug effects
2.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1576965

ABSTRACT

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), an enteric coronavirus, causes neonatal pig acute gastrointestinal infection with a characterization of severe diarrhea, vomiting, high morbidity, and high mortality, resulting in tremendous damages to the swine industry. Neither specific antiviral drugs nor effective vaccines are available, posing a high priority to screen antiviral drugs. The aim of this study is to investigate anti-PEDV effects of carbazole alkaloid derivatives. Eighteen carbazole derivatives (No.1 to No.18) were synthesized, and No.5, No.7, and No.18 were identified to markedly reduce the replication of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) inserted-PEDV, and the mRNA level of PEDV N. Flow cytometry assay, coupled with CCK8 assay, confirmed No.7 and No.18 carbazole derivatives displayed high inhibition effects with low cell toxicity. Furthermore, time course analysis indicated No.7 and No.18 carbazole derivatives exerted inhibition at the early stage of the viral life cycle. Collectively, the analysis underlines the benefit of carbazole derivatives as potential inhibitors of PEDV, and provides candidates for the development of novel therapeutic agents.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Carbazoles/pharmacology , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Carbazoles/chemistry , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Molecular Structure , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
3.
mBio ; 12(2)2021 03 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522913

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a recently emerged virus that causes coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, like SARS-CoV-1, uses the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a cellular receptor to initiate infection. Compounds that interfere with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain protein (RBD)-ACE2 receptor interaction may function as entry inhibitors. Here, we used a dual strategy of molecular docking and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) screening of compound libraries to identify those that bind to human ACE2 or the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD). Molecular modeling screening interrogated 57,641 compounds and focused on the region of ACE2 that is engaged by RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and vice versa. SPR screening used immobilized human ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein to evaluate the binding of these proteins to a library of 3,141 compounds. These combined screens identified compounds from these libraries that bind at KD (equilibrium dissociation constant) <3 µM affinity to their respective targets, 17 for ACE2 and 6 for SARS-CoV-2 RBD. Twelve ACE2 binders and six of the RBD binders compete with the RBD-ACE2 interaction in an SPR-based competition assay. These compounds included registered drugs and dyes used in biomedical applications. A Vero-E6 cell-based SARS-CoV-2 infection assay was used to evaluate infection blockade by candidate entry inhibitors. Three compounds demonstrated dose-dependent antiviral in vitro potency-Evans blue, sodium lifitegrast, and lumacaftor. This study has identified potential drugs for repurposing as SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors or as chemical scaffolds for drug development.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has caused more than 60 million cases worldwide with almost 1.5 million deaths as of November 2020. Repurposing existing drugs is the most rapid path to clinical intervention for emerging diseases. Using an in silico screen of 57,641 compounds and a biophysical screen of 3,141 compounds, we identified 22 compounds that bound to either the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and/or the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD). Nine of these drugs were identified by both screening methods. Three of the identified compounds, Evans blue, sodium lifitegrast, and lumacaftor, were found to inhibit viral replication in a Vero-E6 cell-based SARS-CoV-2 infection assay and may have utility as repurposed therapeutics. All 22 identified compounds provide scaffolds for the development of new chemical entities for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Aminopyridines/pharmacology , Animals , Benzodioxoles/pharmacology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Evans Blue/pharmacology , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phenylalanine/analogs & derivatives , Phenylalanine/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sulfones/pharmacology , Surface Plasmon Resonance , Vero Cells
4.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009542, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468184

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes the disease COVID-19 can lead to serious symptoms, such as severe pneumonia, in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. While vaccines are now available, they do not work for everyone and therapeutic drugs are still needed, particularly for treating life-threatening conditions. Here, we showed nasal delivery of a new, unmodified camelid single-domain antibody (VHH), termed K-874A, effectively inhibited SARS-CoV-2 titers in infected lungs of Syrian hamsters without causing weight loss and cytokine induction. In vitro studies demonstrated that K-874A neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in both VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and human lung-derived alveolar organoid cells. Unlike other drug candidates, K-874A blocks viral membrane fusion rather than viral attachment. Cryo-electron microscopy revealed K-874A bound between the receptor binding domain and N-terminal domain of the virus S protein. Further, infected cells treated with K-874A produced fewer virus progeny that were less infective. We propose that direct administration of K-874A to the lung could be a new treatment for preventing the reinfection of amplified virus in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Single-Domain Antibodies/administration & dosage , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
5.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444335

ABSTRACT

The causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, gains access to cells through interactions of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) on the viral S protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the surface of human host cells. Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) was used to generate aptamers (nucleic acids selected for high binding affinity to a target) to the RBD made from 2'-fluoro-arabinonucleic acid (FANA). The best selected ~79 nucleotide aptamers bound the RBD (Arg319-Phe541) and the larger S1 domain (Val16-Arg685) of the 1272 amino acid S protein with equilibrium dissociation constants (KD,app) of ~10-20 nM, and binding half-life for the RBD, S1 domain, and full trimeric S protein of 53 ± 18, 76 ± 5, and 127 ± 7 min, respectively. Aptamers inhibited the binding of the RBD to ACE2 in an ELISA assay. Inhibition, on a per weight basis, was similar to neutralizing antibodies that were specific for RBD. Aptamers demonstrated high specificity, binding with about 10-fold lower affinity to the related S1 domain from the original SARS virus, which also binds to ACE2. Overall, FANA aptamers show affinities comparable to previous DNA aptamers to RBD and S1 protein and directly block receptor interactions while using an alternative Xeno-nucleic acid (XNA) platform.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Aptamers, Nucleotide/pharmacology , Arabinonucleotides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Attachment/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Domains/drug effects , Protein Domains/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(14): 3786-3794, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417292

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, poses a serious global threat. It was first reported in 2019 in China and has now dramatically spread across the world. It is crucial to develop therapeutics to mitigate severe disease and viral spread. The receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in the spike protein of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have shown anti-viral activity in previous reports suggesting that this domain has high potential for development as therapeutics. To evaluate the potential antiviral activity of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD proteins, we determined the RBD residues of SARS-CoV-2 using a homology search with RBD of SARS-CoV. For efficient expression and purification, the signal peptide of spike protein was identified and used to generate constructs expressing recombinant RBD proteins. Highly purified RBD protein fused with the Fc domain of human IgG showed potent anti-viral efficacy, which was better than that of a protein fused with a histidine tag. Intranasally pre-administrated RBD protein also inhibited the attachment of SARS-COV-2 to mouse lungs. These findings indicate that RBD protein could be used for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/therapeutic use , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Administration, Intranasal , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Protein Domains , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/pharmacology , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology , Vero Cells
7.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0119921, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398600

ABSTRACT

Human angiotensin I-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) is a type I transmembrane glycoprotein that serves as the major cell entry receptor for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. The viral spike (S) protein is required for the attachment to ACE2 and subsequent virus-host cell membrane fusion. Previous work has demonstrated the presence of N-linked glycans in ACE2. N-glycosylation is implicated in many biological activities, including protein folding, protein activity, and cell surface expression of biomolecules. However, the contribution of N-glycosylation to ACE2 function is poorly understood. Here, we examined the role of N-glycosylation in the activity and localization of two species with different susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, porcine ACE2 (pACE2) and hACE2. The elimination of N-glycosylation by tunicamycin (TM) treatment, or mutagenesis, showed that N-glycosylation is critical for the proper cell surface expression of ACE2 but not for its carboxiprotease activity. Furthermore, nonglycosylable ACE2 was localized predominantly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and not at the cell surface. Our data also revealed that binding of SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 S protein to porcine or human ACE2 was not affected by deglycosylation of ACE2 or S proteins, suggesting that N-glycosylation does not play a role in the interaction between SARS coronaviruses and the ACE2 receptor. Impairment of hACE2 N-glycosylation decreased cell-to-cell fusion mediated by SARS-CoV S protein but not that mediated by SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Finally, we found that hACE2 N-glycosylation is required for an efficient viral entry of SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotyped viruses, which may be the result of low cell surface expression of the deglycosylated ACE2 receptor. IMPORTANCE Understanding the role of glycosylation in the virus-receptor interaction is important for developing approaches that disrupt infection. In this study, we showed that deglycosylation of both ACE2 and S had a minimal effect on the spike-ACE2 interaction. In addition, we found that the removal of N-glycans of ACE2 impaired its ability to support an efficient transduction of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotyped viruses. Our data suggest that the role of deglycosylation of ACE2 on reducing infection is likely due to a reduced expression of the viral receptor on the cell surface. These findings offer insight into the glycan structure and function of ACE2 and potentially suggest that future antiviral therapies against coronaviruses and other coronavirus-related illnesses involving inhibition of ACE2 recruitment to the cell membrane could be developed.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Tunicamycin/pharmacology , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/pathology , Carboxypeptidases/drug effects , Cell Line , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Glycosylation/drug effects , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Swine
8.
Virulence ; 12(1): 2214-2227, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398027

ABSTRACT

An oral antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 that also attenuates inflammatory instigators of severe COVID-19 is not available to date. Herein, we show that the apoA-I mimetic peptide 4 F inhibits Spike mediated viral entry and has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in human lung epithelial Calu3 and Vero-E6 cells. In SARS-CoV-2 infected Calu3 cells, 4 F upregulated inducers of the interferon pathway such as MX-1 and Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and downregulated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mito-ROS) and CD147, a host protein that mediates viral entry. 4 F also reduced associated cellular apoptosis and secretion of IL-6 in both SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero-E6 and Calu3 cells. Thus, 4 F attenuates in vitro SARS-CoV-2 replication, associated apoptosis in epithelial cells and secretion of IL-6, a major cytokine related to COVID-19 morbidity. Given established safety of 4 F in humans, clinical studies are warranted to establish 4 F as therapy for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antioxidants/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , Basigin/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Epithelial Cells , Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation , Interferons/metabolism , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects
9.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 07 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389550

ABSTRACT

Amino acids have been implicated with virus infection and replication. Here, we demonstrate the effects of two basic amino acids, arginine and lysine, and their ester derivatives on infection of two enveloped viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza A virus. We found that lysine and its ester derivative can efficiently block infection of both viruses in vitro. Furthermore, the arginine ester derivative caused a significant boost in virus infection. Studies on their mechanism of action revealed that the compounds potentially disturb virus uncoating rather than virus attachment and endosomal acidification. Our findings suggest that lysine supplementation and the reduction of arginine-rich food intake can be considered as prophylactic and therapeutic regimens against these viruses while also providing a paradigm for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals.


Subject(s)
Amino Acids, Basic/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Influenza A virus/drug effects , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , A549 Cells , Amino Acids, Basic/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Influenza, Human/complications , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
10.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253489, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388925

ABSTRACT

In the pursuit of suitable and effective solutions to SARS-CoV-2 infection, we investigated the efficacy of several phenolic compounds in controlling key cellular mechanisms involved in its infectivity. The way the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects the cell is a complex process and comprises four main stages: attachment to the cognate receptor, cellular entry, replication and cellular egress. Since, this is a multi-part process, it creates many opportunities to develop effective interventions. Targeting binding of the virus to the host receptor in order to prevent its entry has been of particular interest. Here, we provide experimental evidence that, among 56 tested polyphenols, including plant extracts, brazilin, theaflavin-3,3'-digallate, and curcumin displayed the highest binding with the receptor-binding domain of spike protein, inhibiting viral attachment to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, and thus cellular entry of pseudo-typed SARS-CoV-2 virions. Both, theaflavin-3,3'-digallate at 25 µg/ml and curcumin above 10 µg/ml concentration, showed binding with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor reducing at the same time its activity in both cell-free and cell-based assays. Our study also demonstrates that brazilin and theaflavin-3,3'-digallate, and to a still greater extent, curcumin, decrease the activity of transmembrane serine protease 2 both in cell-free and cell-based assays. Similar pattern was observed with cathepsin L, although only theaflavin-3,3'-digallate showed a modest diminution of cathepsin L expression at protein level. Finally, each of these three compounds moderately increased endosomal/lysosomal pH. In conclusion, this study demonstrates pleiotropic anti-SARS-CoV-2 efficacy of specific polyphenols and their prospects for further scientific and clinical investigations.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , Polyphenols/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects , A549 Cells , Benzopyrans/pharmacology , Biflavonoids/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Catechin/analogs & derivatives , Catechin/pharmacology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Curcumin/pharmacology , Humans , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virion/drug effects , Virion/metabolism , Virion/physiology , Virus Attachment/drug effects
11.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4584, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387354

ABSTRACT

Interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs 1, 2 and 3) can restrict viral pathogens, but pro- and anti-viral activities have been reported for coronaviruses. Here, we show that artificial overexpression of IFITMs blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, endogenous IFITM expression supports efficient infection of SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells. Our results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein interacts with IFITMs and hijacks them for efficient viral infection. IFITM proteins were expressed and further induced by interferons in human lung, gut, heart and brain cells. IFITM-derived peptides and targeting antibodies inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication in human lung cells, cardiomyocytes and gut organoids. Our results show that IFITM proteins are cofactors for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cell types representing in vivo targets for viral transmission, dissemination and pathogenesis and are potential targets for therapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antigens, Differentiation/genetics , Membrane Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antigens, Differentiation/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sequence Alignment , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment/drug effects
12.
mBio ; 11(6)2020 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388458

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the primary receptor to enter host cells and initiate the infection. The critical binding region of ACE2 is an ∼30-amino-acid (aa)-long helix. Here, we report the design of four stapled peptides based on the ACE2 helix, which is expected to bind to SARS-CoV-2 and prevent the binding of the virus to the ACE2 receptor and disrupt the infection. All stapled peptides showed high helical contents (50 to 94% helicity). In contrast, the linear control peptide NYBSP-C showed no helicity (19%). We have evaluated the peptides in a pseudovirus-based single-cycle assay in HT1080/ACE2 cells and human lung cell line A549/ACE2, overexpressing ACE2. Three of the four stapled peptides showed potent antiviral activity in HT1080/ACE2 (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50]: 1.9 to 4.1 µM) and A549/ACE2 (IC50: 2.2 to 2.8 µM) cells. The linear peptide NYBSP-C and the double-stapled peptide StRIP16, used as controls, showed no antiviral activity. Most significantly, none of the stapled peptides show any cytotoxicity at the highest dose tested. We also evaluated the antiviral activity of the peptides by infecting Vero E6 cells with the replication-competent authentic SARS-CoV-2 (US_WA-1/2020). NYBSP-1 was the most efficient, preventing the complete formation of cytopathic effects (CPEs) at an IC100 of 17.2 µM. NYBSP-2 and NYBSP-4 also prevented the formation of the virus-induced CPE with an IC100 of about 33 µM. We determined the proteolytic stability of one of the most active stapled peptides, NYBSP-4, in human plasma, which showed a half-life (T 1/2) of >289 min.IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus with many unknowns. No vaccine or specific therapy is available yet to prevent and treat this deadly virus. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutics. Structural studies revealed critical interactions between the binding site helix of the ACE2 receptor and SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD). Therefore, targeting the entry pathway of SARS-CoV-2 is ideal for both prevention and treatment as it blocks the first step of the viral life cycle. We report the design of four double-stapled peptides, three of which showed potent antiviral activity in HT1080/ACE2 cells and human lung carcinoma cells, A549/ACE2. Most significantly, the active stapled peptides with antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 showed high α-helicity (60 to 94%). The most active stapled peptide, NYBSP-4, showed substantial resistance to degradation by proteolytic enzymes in human plasma. The lead stapled peptides are expected to pave the way for further optimization of a clinical candidate.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Attachment/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , Binding Sites , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Peptides/chemical synthesis , Protein Binding , Vero Cells
13.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(29)2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307382

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), presents an urgent health crisis. More recently, an increasing number of mutated strains of SARS-CoV-2 have been identified globally. Such mutations, especially those on the spike glycoprotein to render its higher binding affinity to human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (hACE2) receptors, not only resulted in higher transmission of SARS-CoV-2 but also raised serious concerns regarding the efficacies of vaccines against mutated viruses. Since ACE2 is the virus-binding protein on human cells regardless of viral mutations, we design hACE2-containing nanocatchers (NCs) as the competitor with host cells for virus binding to protect cells from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The hACE2-containing NCs, derived from the cellular membrane of genetically engineered cells stably expressing hACE2, exhibited excellent neutralization ability against pseudoviruses of both wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the D614G variant. To prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections in the lung, the most vulnerable organ for COVID-19, we develop an inhalable formulation by mixing hACE2-containing NCs with mucoadhesive excipient hyaluronic acid, the latter of which could significantly prolong the retention of NCs in the lung after inhalation. Excitingly, inhalation of our formulation could lead to potent pseudovirus inhibition ability in hACE2-expressing mouse model, without imposing any appreciable side effects. Importantly, our inhalable hACE2-containing NCs in the lyophilized formulation would allow long-term storage, facilitating their future clinical use. Thus, this work may provide an alternative tactic to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infections even with different mutations, exhibiting great potential for treatment of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanostructures/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adhesives/administration & dosage , Adhesives/chemistry , Adhesives/pharmacokinetics , Administration, Inhalation , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cryoprotective Agents/chemistry , Drug Storage , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Excipients/administration & dosage , Excipients/chemistry , Excipients/pharmacokinetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hyaluronic Acid/administration & dosage , Hyaluronic Acid/chemistry , Hyaluronic Acid/pharmacokinetics , Lung/drug effects , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Nanostructures/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Attachment/drug effects
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12787, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275960

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in a pandemic affecting the most vulnerable in society, triggering a public health crisis and economic collapse around the world. Effective treatments to mitigate this viral infection are needed. Since the eye is a route of virus entrance, we use an in vivo rat model of corneal inflammation as well as human corneal epithelial cells (HCEC) in culture challenged with IFNγ as models of the eye surface to study this issue. We explore ways to block the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). We found that the lipid mediators, elovanoid (ELV)-N32 or Resolvin D6-isomer (RvD6i) decreased the expression of the ACE2 receptor, furin, and integrins in damaged corneas or IFNγ-stimulated HCEC. There was also a concomitant decrease in the binding of Spike RBD with the lipid treatments. Using RNA-seq analysis, we uncovered that the lipid mediators also attenuated the expression of pro-inflammatoy cytokines participating in hyper-inflammation and senescence programming. Thus, the bioactivity of these lipid mediators will contribute to open therapeutic avenues to counteract virus attachment and entrance to the body.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Corneal Injuries/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Docosahexaenoic Acids/analogs & derivatives , Docosahexaenoic Acids/pharmacology , Drug Discovery/methods , Protein Domains , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelium, Corneal/cytology , Humans , Lipoxins/pharmacology , Male , Protein Binding , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects
15.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(12)2021 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1273456

ABSTRACT

Although the approved vaccines are proving to be of utmost importance in containing the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat, they will hardly be resolutive as new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, a single-stranded RNA virus) variants might be insensitive to the immune response they induce. In this scenario, developing an effective therapy is still a dire need. Different targets for therapeutic antibodies and diagnostics have been identified, among which the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein, particularly its receptor-binding domain, has been defined as crucial. In this context, we aim to focus attention also on the role played by the S N-terminal domain (S1-NTD) in the virus attachment, already recognized as a valuable target for neutralizing antibodies, in particular, building on a cavity mapping indicating the presence of two druggable pockets and on the recent literature hypothesizing the presence of a ganglioside-binding domain. In this perspective, we aim at proposing S1-NTD as a putative target for designing small molecules hopefully able to hamper the SARS-CoV-2 attachment to host cells.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/analogs & derivatives , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/metabolism , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/pharmacology , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/therapeutic use , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Small Molecule Libraries/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Small Molecule Libraries/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virus Attachment/drug effects
16.
ChemMedChem ; 16(15): 2345-2353, 2021 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1248684

ABSTRACT

The C-type lectin receptor DC-SIGN mediates interactions with envelope glycoproteins of many viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, ebola, and HIV and contributes to virus internalization and dissemination. In the context of the recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, involvement of DC-SIGN has been linked to severe cases of COVID-19. Inhibition of the interaction between DC-SIGN and viral glycoproteins has the potential to generate broad spectrum antiviral agents. Here, we demonstrate that mannose-functionalized poly-l-lysine glycoconjugates efficiently inhibit the attachment of viral glycoproteins to DC-SIGN-presenting cells with picomolar affinity. Treatment of these cells leads to prolonged receptor internalization and inhibition of virus binding for up to 6 h. Furthermore, the polymers are fully bio-compatible and readily cleared by target cells. The thermodynamic analysis of the multivalent interactions reveals enhanced enthalpy-driven affinities and promising perspectives for the future development of multivalent therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Adhesion Molecules/antagonists & inhibitors , Glycoconjugates/pharmacology , Lectins, C-Type/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Cell Surface/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Glycoconjugates/chemical synthesis , Glycoconjugates/metabolism , Humans , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Mannose/analogs & derivatives , Mannose/metabolism , Mannose/pharmacology , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Polylysine/analogs & derivatives , Polylysine/metabolism , Polylysine/pharmacology , Protein Binding/drug effects , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , THP-1 Cells , Thermodynamics , Viral Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Envelope Proteins/metabolism
17.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1227-1240, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1246665

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has severely impacted the global public health and socio-economic stability, calling for effective vaccines and therapeutics. In this study, we continued our efforts to develop more efficient SARS-CoV-2 fusion inhibitors and achieved significant findings. First, we found that the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) sequence of SARS-CoV-2 spike fusion protein plays a critical role in viral infectivity and can serve as an ideal template for design of fusion-inhibitory peptides. Second, a panel of novel lipopeptides was generated with greatly improved activity in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 fusion and infection. Third, we showed that the new inhibitors maintained the potent inhibitory activity against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including those with the major mutations of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 strains circulating in the United Kingdom and South Africa, respectively. Fourth, the new inhibitors also cross-inhibited other human CoVs, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-NL63. Fifth, the structural properties of the new inhibitors were characterized by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and crystallographic approach, which revealed the mechanisms underlying the high binding and inhibition. Combined, our studies provide important information for understanding the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 fusion and a framework for the development of peptide therapeutics for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and other CoVs.


Subject(s)
Drug Design , Lipopeptides/chemical synthesis , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Attachment/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cell Fusion , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , Protein Conformation , Vero Cells
18.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1065-1076, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236184

ABSTRACT

A main clinical parameter of COVID-19 pathophysiology is hypoxia. Here we show that hypoxia decreases the attachment of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and the S1 subunit (S1) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to epithelial cells. In Vero E6 cells, hypoxia reduces the protein levels of ACE2 and neuropilin-1 (NRP1), which might in part explain the observed reduction of the infection rate. In addition, hypoxia inhibits the binding of the spike to NCI-H460 human lung epithelial cells by decreasing the cell surface levels of heparan sulfate (HS), a known attachment receptor of SARS-CoV-2. This interaction is also reduced by lactoferrin, a glycoprotein that blocks HS moieties on the cell surface. The expression of syndecan-1, an HS-containing proteoglycan expressed in lung, is inhibited by hypoxia on a HIF-1α-dependent manner. Hypoxia or deletion of syndecan-1 results in reduced binding of the RBD to host cells. Our study indicates that hypoxia acts to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting that the hypoxia signalling pathway might offer therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cell Hypoxia/physiology , Heparitin Sulfate/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/physiology , Syndecan-1/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Heparitin Sulfate/genetics , Humans , Neuropilin-1/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Syndecan-1/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment/drug effects
19.
ACS Infect Dis ; 7(6): 1519-1534, 2021 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225490

ABSTRACT

Inhibitors of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and human ACE2 (hACE2), which acts as a ligand-receptor pair that initiates the viral attachment and cellular entry of this coronavirus causing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, are of considerable interest as potential antiviral agents. While blockade of such PPIs with small molecules is more challenging than that with antibodies, small-molecule inhibitors (SMIs) might offer alternatives that are less strain- and mutation-sensitive, suitable for oral or inhaled administration, and more controllable/less immunogenic. Here, we report the identification of SMIs of this PPI by screening our compound library focused around the chemical space of organic dyes. Among promising candidates identified, several dyes (Congo red, direct violet 1, Evans blue) and novel druglike compounds (DRI-C23041, DRI-C91005) inhibited the interaction of hACE2 with the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 as well as SARS-CoV with low micromolar activity in our cell-free ELISA-type assays (IC50's of 0.2-3.0 µM), whereas control compounds, such as sunset yellow FCF, chloroquine, and suramin, showed no activity. Protein thermal shift assays indicated that the SMIs of interest identified here bind SARS-CoV-2-S and not hACE2. While dyes seemed to be promiscuous inhibitors, DRI-C23041 showed some selectivity and inhibited the entry of two different SARS-CoV-2-S expressing pseudoviruses into hACE2-expressing cells in a concentration-dependent manner with low micromolar IC50's (6-7 µM). This provides proof-of-principle evidence for the feasibility of small-molecule inhibition of PPIs critical for SARS-CoV-2 attachment/entry and serves as a first guide in the search for SMI-based alternative antiviral therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by coronaviruses in general and COVID-19 in particular.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Virus Attachment , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Virus Attachment/drug effects
20.
Theranostics ; 11(13): 6193-6213, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1224320

ABSTRACT

Rationale: The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is advancing rapidly. In particular, the number of severe courses of the disease is still dramatically high. An efficient drug therapy that helps to improve significantly the fatal combination of damages in the airway epithelia, in the extensive pulmonary microvascularization and finally multiorgan failure, is missing. The physiological, inorganic polymer, polyphosphate (polyP) is a molecule which could prevent the initial phase of the virus life cycle, the attachment of the virus to the target cells, and improve the epithelial integrity as well as the mucus barrier. Results: Surprisingly, polyP matches perfectly with the cationic groove on the RBD. Subsequent binding studies disclosed that polyP, with a physiological chain length of 40 phosphate residues, abolishes the binding propensity of the RBD to the ACE2 receptor. In addition to this first mode of action of polyP, this polymer causes in epithelial cells an increased gene expression of the major mucins in the airways, of MUC5AC and MUC1, as well as a subsequent glycoprotein production. MUC5AC forms a gel-like mucus layer trapping inhaled particles which are then transported out of the airways, while MUC1 constitutes the periciliary liquid layer and supports ciliary beating. As a third mode of action, polyP undergoes enzymatic hydrolysis of the anhydride bonds in the airway system by alkaline phosphatase, releasing metabolic energy. Conclusions: This review summarizes the state of the art of the biotherapeutic potential of the polymer polyP and the findings from basic research and outlines future biomedical applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polyphosphates/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Mice , Mucins/metabolism , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Polyphosphates/chemistry , Polyphosphates/therapeutic use , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Attachment/drug effects
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