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J Biomol Struct Dyn ; : 1-14, 2021 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165102


SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in China in December 2019 and its spread as worldwide pandemic has been a major global health crisis. Extremely high infection and mortality rate has severely affected all sectors of life and derailed the global economy. While drug and vaccine development have been prioritized and have made significant progression, use of phytochemicals and herbal constituents is deemed as a low-cost, safer and readily available alternative. We investigated therapeutic efficacy of eight withanolides (derived from Ashwagandha) against the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) proteins, a target cell surface receptor for SARS-CoV-2 and report results on the (i) computational analyses including binding affinity and stable interactions with ACE2, occupancy of ACE2 residues in making polar and nonpolar interactions with different withanolides/ligands and (2) in vitro mRNA and protein analyses using human cancer (A549, MCF7 and HSC3) cells. We found that among all withanolides, Withaferin-A, Withanone, Withanoside-IV and Withanoside-V significantly inhibited the ACE2 expression. Analysis of withanolides-rich aqueous extracts derived from Ashwagandha leaves and stem showed a higher ACE2 inhibitory potency of stem-derived extracts. Taken together, we demonstrated the inhibitory potency of Ashwagandha withanolides and its aqueous extracts against ACE2.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

J Biomol Struct Dyn ; 39(11): 3842-3854, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324383


The recent novel coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV) has caused a large number of deaths around the globe. There is an urgent need to understand this new virus and develop prophylactic and therapeutic drugs. Since drug development is an expensive, intense and time-consuming path, timely repurposing of the existing drugs is often explored wherein the research avenues including genomics, bioinformatics, molecular modeling approaches offer valuable strengths. Here, we have examined the binding potential of Withaferin-A (Wi-A), Withanone (Wi-N) (active withanolides of Ashwagandha) and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE, bioactive ingredient of propolis) to a highly conserved protein, Mpro of SARS-CoV-2. We found that Wi-N and CAPE, but not Wi-A, bind to the substrate-binding pocket of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro with efficacy and binding energies equivalent to an already claimed N3 protease inhibitor. Similar to N3 inhibitor, Wi-N and CAPE were interacting with the highly conserved residues of the proteases of coronaviruses. The binding stability of these molecules was further analyzed using molecular dynamics simulations. The binding free energies calculated using MM/GBSA for N3 inhibitor, CAPE and Wi-N were also comparable. Data presented here predicted that these natural compounds may possess the potential to inhibit the functional activity of SARS-CoV-2 protease (an essential protein for virus survival), and hence (i) may connect to save time and cost required for designing/development, and initial screening for anti-COVID drugs, (ii) may offer some therapeutic value for the management of novel fatal coronavirus disease, (iii) warrants prioritized further validation in the laboratory and clinical tests.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Caffeic Acids , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptide Hydrolases , Phenylethyl Alcohol/analogs & derivatives , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Withanolides