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Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-437323


Despite the recent availability of vaccines against the acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the search for inhibitory therapeutic agents has assumed importance especially in the context of emerging new viral variants. In this paper, we describe the discovery of a novel non-covalent small-molecule inhibitor, MCULE-5948770040, that binds to and inhibits the SARS-Cov-2 main protease (Mpro) by employing a scalable high throughput virtual screening (HTVS) framework and a targeted compound library of over 6.5 million molecules that could be readily ordered and purchased. Our HTVS framework leverages the U.S. supercomputing infrastructure achieving nearly 91% resource utilization and nearly 126 million docking calculations per hour. Downstream biochemical assays validate this Mpro inhibitor with an inhibition constant (Ki) of 2.9 {micro}M [95% CI 2.2, 4.0]. Further, using room-temperature X-ray crystallography, we show that MCULE-5948770040 binds to a cleft in the primary binding site of Mpro forming stable hydrogen bond and hydrophobic interactions. We then used multiple {micro}s-timescale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and machine learning (ML) techniques to elucidate how the bound ligand alters the conformational states accessed by Mpro, involving motions both proximal and distal to the binding site. Together, our results demonstrate how MCULE-5948770040 inhibits Mpro and offers a springboard for further therapeutic design. O_TEXTBOXSignificance StatementThe ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has prompted a global race towards finding effective therapeutics that can target the various viral proteins. Despite many virtual screening campaigns in development, the discovery of validated inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2 protein targets has been limited. We discover a novel inhibitor against the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. Our integrated platform applies downstream biochemical assays, X-ray crystallography, and atomistic simulations to obtain a comprehensive characterization of its inhibitory mechanism. Inhibiting Mpro can lead to significant biomedical advances in targeting SARS-CoV-2 treatment, as it plays a crucial role in viral replication. C_TEXTBOX

Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-251421


The genome of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus contains 29 proteins, of which 15 are nonstructural. Nsp10 and Nsp16 form a complex responsible for the capping of mRNA at the 5' terminus. In the methylation reaction the S-adenosyl-L-methionine serves as the donor of the methyl group that is transferred to Cap-0 at the first transcribed nucleotide to create Cap-1. The presence of Cap-1 makes viral RNAs mimic the host transcripts and prevents their degradation. To investigate the 2'-O methyltransferase activity of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp10/16, we applied fixed-target serial synchrotron crystallography (SSX) which allows for physiological temperature data collection from thousands of crystals, significantly reducing the x-ray dose while maintaining a biologically relevant temperature. We determined crystal structures of Nsp10/16 that revealed the states before and after the methylation reaction, for the first time illustrating coronavirus Nsp10/16 complexes with the m7GpppAm2'-O Cap-1, where 2'OH of ribose is methylated. We compare these structures with structures of Nsp10/16 at 297 K and 100 K collected from a single crystal. This data provide important mechanistic insight and can be used to design small molecules that inhibit viral RNA maturation making SARS-CoV-2 sensitive to host innate response.

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