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Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-468228


In addition to its essential role in viral polyprotein processing, the SARS-CoV-2 3C-like (3CLpro) protease can cleave human immune signaling proteins, like NF-{kappa}B Essential Modulator (NEMO) and deregulate the host immune response. Here, in vitro assays show that SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro cleaves NEMO with fine-tuned efficiency. Analysis of the 2.14 [A] resolution crystal structure of 3CLpro C145S bound to NEMO226-235 reveals subsites that tolerate a range of viral and host substrates through main chain hydrogen bonds while also enforcing specificity using side chain hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic contacts. Machine learning- and physics-based computational methods predict that variation in key binding residues of 3CLpro- NEMO helps explain the high fitness of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. We posit that cleavage of NEMO is an important piece of information to be accounted for in the pathology of COVID-19.

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

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