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      Mulberry Component Kuwanon C Exerts Potent Therapeutic Efficacy In Vitro against COVID-19 by Blocking the SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 RBD:ACE2 Receptor Interaction

      , , , , , ,
      International Journal of Molecular Sciences
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          There has been an immense effort by global pharmaceutical companies to develop anti-COVID-19 drugs, including small molecule-based RNA replication inhibitors via drug repositioning and antibody-based spike protein blockers related to cell entry by SARS-CoV-2. However, several limitations to their clinical use have emerged in addition to a lack of progress in the development of small molecule-based cell entry inhibitors from natural products. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of kuwanon C (KC), which has mainly been researched using in silico docking simulation and can serve as an effective building block for developing anti-COVID-19 drugs, in blocking the spike S1 RBD:ACE2 receptor interaction. KC is a natural product derived from Morus alba L., commonly known as mulberry, which has known antiviral efficacy. Molecular interaction studies using competitive ELISA and the BLItz system revealed that KC targets both the spike S1 RBD and the ACE2 receptor, successfully disrupting their interaction, as supported by the in silico docking simulation. Furthermore, we established a mechanism of action by observing how KC prevents the infection of SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped virus in ACE2/TPRSS2-overexpressing HEK293T cells. Finally, we demonstrated that KC inhibits clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells. Future combinations of small molecule-based cell entry inhibitors, such as KC, with the currently prescribed RNA replication inhibitors are anticipated to significantly enhance the efficacy of COVID-19 therapies.

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          Most cited references55

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          Structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain bound to the ACE2 receptor

          A new and highly pathogenic coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2, SARS-CoV-2) caused an outbreak in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China, starting from December 2019 that quickly spread nationwide and to other countries around the world1-3. Here, to better understand the initial step of infection at an atomic level, we determined the crystal structure of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 bound to the cell receptor ACE2. The overall ACE2-binding mode of the SARS-CoV-2 RBD is nearly identical to that of the SARS-CoV RBD, which also uses ACE2 as the cell receptor4. Structural analysis identified residues in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD that are essential for ACE2 binding, the majority of which either are highly conserved or share similar side chain properties with those in the SARS-CoV RBD. Such similarity in structure and sequence strongly indicate convergent evolution between the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV RBDs for improved binding to ACE2, although SARS-CoV-2 does not cluster within SARS and SARS-related coronaviruses1-3,5. The epitopes of two SARS-CoV antibodies that target the RBD are also analysed for binding to the SARS-CoV-2 RBD, providing insights into the future identification of cross-reactive antibodies.
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            SwissADME: a free web tool to evaluate pharmacokinetics, drug-likeness and medicinal chemistry friendliness of small molecules

            To be effective as a drug, a potent molecule must reach its target in the body in sufficient concentration, and stay there in a bioactive form long enough for the expected biologic events to occur. Drug development involves assessment of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) increasingly earlier in the discovery process, at a stage when considered compounds are numerous but access to the physical samples is limited. In that context, computer models constitute valid alternatives to experiments. Here, we present the new SwissADME web tool that gives free access to a pool of fast yet robust predictive models for physicochemical properties, pharmacokinetics, drug-likeness and medicinal chemistry friendliness, among which in-house proficient methods such as the BOILED-Egg, iLOGP and Bioavailability Radar. Easy efficient input and interpretation are ensured thanks to a user-friendly interface through the login-free website http://www.swissadme.ch. Specialists, but also nonexpert in cheminformatics or computational chemistry can predict rapidly key parameters for a collection of molecules to support their drug discovery endeavours.
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              Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus

              Summary A SARS-CoV-2 variant carrying the Spike protein amino acid change D614G has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic. Dynamic tracking of variant frequencies revealed a recurrent pattern of G614 increase at multiple geographic levels: national, regional and municipal. The shift occurred even in local epidemics where the original D614 form was well established prior to the introduction of the G614 variant. The consistency of this pattern was highly statistically significant, suggesting that the G614 variant may have a fitness advantage. We found that the G614 variant grows to higher titer as pseudotyped virions. In infected individuals G614 is associated with lower RT-PCR cycle thresholds, suggestive of higher upper respiratory tract viral loads, although not with increased disease severity. These findings illuminate changes important for a mechanistic understanding of the virus, and support continuing surveillance of Spike mutations to aid in the development of immunological interventions.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                IJMCFK
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                IJMS
                MDPI AG
                1422-0067
                October 2022
                October 19 2022
                : 23
                : 20
                : 12516
                Article
                10.3390/ijms232012516
                0609cb47-ce6a-407f-be09-a8380b3f538a
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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