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      Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 main protease: a repurposing study that targets the dimer interface of the protein

      a , b , c , b , d

      Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics

      Taylor & Francis

      COVID-19, drug repurposing, main protease, novel target site, molecular dynamics

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          Abstract

          Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) was firstly reported in Wuhan, China, towards the end of 2019, and emerged as a pandemic. The spread and lethality rates of the COVID-19 have ignited studies that focus on the development of therapeutics for either treatment or prophylaxis purposes. In parallel, drug repurposing studies have also come into prominence. Herein, we aimed at having a holistic understanding of conformational and dynamical changes induced by an experimentally characterized inhibitor on main protease (M pro) which would enable the discovery of novel inhibitors. To this end, we performed molecular dynamics simulations using crystal structures of apo and α-ketoamide 13b-bound M pro homodimer. Analysis of trajectories pertaining to apo M pro revealed a new target site, which is located at the homodimer interface, next to the catalytic dyad. Thereafter, we performed ensemble-based virtual screening by exploiting the ZINC and DrugBank databases and identified three candidate molecules, namely eluxadoline, diosmin, and ZINC02948810 that could invoke local and global conformational rearrangements which were also elicited by α-ketoamide 13b on the catalytic dyad of M pro. Furthermore, ZINC23881687 stably interacted with catalytically important residues Glu166 and Ser1 and the target site throughout the simulation. However, it gave positive binding energy, presumably, due to displaying higher flexibility that might dominate the entropic term, which is not included in the MM-PBSA method. Finally, ZINC20425029, whose mode of action was different, modulated dynamical properties of catalytically important residue, Ala285. As such, this study presents valuable findings that might be used in the development of novel therapeutics against M pro.

          Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma

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          Most cited references 89

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          A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin

          Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 18 years ago, a large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) have been discovered in their natural reservoir host, bats 1–4 . Previous studies have shown that some bat SARSr-CoVs have the potential to infect humans 5–7 . Here we report the identification and characterization of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which caused an epidemic of acute respiratory syndrome in humans in Wuhan, China. The epidemic, which started on 12 December 2019, had caused 2,794 laboratory-confirmed infections including 80 deaths by 26 January 2020. Full-length genome sequences were obtained from five patients at an early stage of the outbreak. The sequences are almost identical and share 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, we show that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus. Pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins domains show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV. In addition, 2019-nCoV virus isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient could be neutralized by sera from several patients. Notably, we confirmed that 2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV.
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            SARS-CoV-2 Cell Entry Depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and Is Blocked by a Clinically Proven Protease Inhibitor

            Summary The recent emergence of the novel, pathogenic SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in China and its rapid national and international spread pose a global health emergency. Cell entry of coronaviruses depends on binding of the viral spike (S) proteins to cellular receptors and on S protein priming by host cell proteases. Unravelling which cellular factors are used by SARS-CoV-2 for entry might provide insights into viral transmission and reveal therapeutic targets. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 uses the SARS-CoV receptor ACE2 for entry and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for S protein priming. A TMPRSS2 inhibitor approved for clinical use blocked entry and might constitute a treatment option. Finally, we show that the sera from convalescent SARS patients cross-neutralized SARS-2-S-driven entry. Our results reveal important commonalities between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infection and identify a potential target for antiviral intervention.
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              A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China

               Fan Wu,  Su Zhao,  Bin Yu (2020)
              Emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Zika virus disease, present a major threat to public health 1–3 . Despite intense research efforts, how, when and where new diseases appear are still a source of considerable uncertainty. A severe respiratory disease was recently reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. As of 25 January 2020, at least 1,975 cases had been reported since the first patient was hospitalized on 12 December 2019. Epidemiological investigations have suggested that the outbreak was associated with a seafood market in Wuhan. Here we study a single patient who was a worker at the market and who was admitted to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on 26 December 2019 while experiencing a severe respiratory syndrome that included fever, dizziness and a cough. Metagenomic RNA sequencing 4 of a sample of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the patient identified a new RNA virus strain from the family Coronaviridae, which is designated here ‘WH-Human 1’ coronavirus (and has also been referred to as ‘2019-nCoV’). Phylogenetic analysis of the complete viral genome (29,903 nucleotides) revealed that the virus was most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) that had previously been found in bats in China 5 . This outbreak highlights the ongoing ability of viral spill-over from animals to cause severe disease in humans.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Biomol Struct Dyn
                J Biomol Struct Dyn
                Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics
                Taylor & Francis
                0739-1102
                1538-0254
                13 April 2021
                2021
                : 1-16
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Pharmacy Services, Vocational School of Health Services, Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                [b ]Regenerative and Restorative Medicine Research Center (REMER), Research Institute for Health Sciences and Technologies (SABITA), Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                [c ]Graduate School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                [d ]Department of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                Author notes
                [*]

                These authors equally contributed.

                Supplemental data for this article can be accessed online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07391102.2021.1910571

                CONTACT Ozge Sensoy osensoy@ 123456medipol.edu.tr Department of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                Article
                1910571
                10.1080/07391102.2021.1910571
                8054500
                33847241
                © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                Page count
                Figures: 14, Tables: 1, Pages: 16, Words: 10669
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