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1.
Drug Des Devel Ther ; 16: 2463-2478, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1978914

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 disease has reached everywhere in the world and has affected every aspect of our lives. As of the current data, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 300 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 5 million deaths. Mpro is an enzyme that plays a key role in the life cycle of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and it is vital for the disease progression. The Mpro enzyme seems to have several allosteric sites that can hinder the enzyme catalytic activity. Furthermore, some of these allosteric sites are located at or nearby the dimerization interface which is essential for the overall Mpro activity. In this review paper, we investigate the potential of the Mpro allosteric site to act as a drug target, especially since they interestingly appear to be resistant to mutation. The work is illustrated through three subsequent sections: First, the two main categories of Mpro allosteric sites have been explained and discussed. Second, a total of six pockets have been studied and evaluated for their druggability and cavity characteristics. Third, the experimental and computational attempts for the discovery of new allosteric inhibitors have been illustrated and discussed. To sum up, this review paper gives a detailed insight into the feasibility of developing new Mpro inhibitors to act as a potential treatment for the COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Allosteric Site , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
2.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 261, 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1967592

ABSTRACT

Apolipoprotein E (APOE) plays a pivotal role in lipid including cholesterol metabolism. The APOE ε4 (APOE4) allele is a major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's and cardiovascular diseases. Although APOE has recently been associated with increased susceptibility to infections of several viruses, whether and how APOE and its isoforms affect SARS-CoV-2 infection remains unclear. Here, we show that serum concentrations of APOE correlate inversely with levels of cytokine/chemokine in 73 COVID-19 patients. Utilizing multiple protein interaction assays, we demonstrate that APOE3 and APOE4 interact with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2; and APOE/ACE2 interactions require zinc metallopeptidase domain of ACE2, a key docking site for SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. In addition, immuno-imaging assays using confocal, super-resolution, and transmission electron microscopies reveal that both APOE3 and APOE4 reduce ACE2/Spike-mediated viral entry into cells. Interestingly, while having a comparable binding affinity to ACE2, APOE4 inhibits viral entry to a lesser extent compared to APOE3, which is likely due to APOE4's more compact structure and smaller spatial obstacle to compete against Spike binding to ACE2. Furthermore, APOE ε4 carriers clinically correlate with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection and elevated serum inflammatory factors in 142 COVID-19 patients assessed. Our study suggests a regulatory mechanism underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection through APOE interactions with ACE2, which may explain in part increased COVID-19 infection and disease severity in APOE ε4 carriers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Apolipoprotein E3/metabolism , Apolipoprotein E4/genetics , Apolipoprotein E4/metabolism , Apolipoproteins E/genetics , Apolipoproteins E/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Inflammation/genetics , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0268156, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962996

ABSTRACT

Despite using effective drugs and vaccines for Covid 19, due to some limitations of current strategies and the high rate of coronavirus mutation, the development of medicines with effective inhibitory activity against this infection is essential. The SARS-CoV-2 enters the cell by attaching its receptor-binding domain (RBD) of Spike to angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). According to previous studies, the natural peptide Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) exhibited an antiviral effect on SARS-CoV, but its mechanism has not precisely been elucidated. Here, we studied the interaction between UDA and RBD of Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. So, protein-protein docking of RBD-UDA was performed using Cluspro 2.0. To further confirm the stability of the complex, the RBD-UDA docked complex with higher binding affinity was studied using Molecular Dynamic simulation (via Gromacs 2020.2), and MM-PBSA calculated the binding free energy of the system. In addition, ELISA assay was used to examine the binding of UDA with RBD protein. Results were compared to ELISA of RBD-bound samples of convalescent serum IgG (from donors who recovered from Covid 19). Finally, the toxicity of UDA is assessed by using MTT assay. The docking results show UDA binds to the RBD binding site. MD simulation illustrates the UDA-RBD complex is stable during 100 ns of simulation, and the average binding energy was calculated to be -47.505 kJ/mol. ELISA and, MTT results show that UDA binds to RBD like IgG-RBD binding and may be safe in human cells. Data presented here indicate UDA interaction with S-protein inhibits the binding sites of RBD, it can prevent the virus from attaching to ACE2 and entering the host cell.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Plant Lectins , Plant Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(16)2020 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934101

ABSTRACT

The recently discovered 340-cavity in influenza neuraminidase (NA) N6 and N7 subtypes has introduced new possibilities for rational structure-based drug design. However, the plasticity of the 340-loop (residues 342-347) and the role of the 340-loop in NA activity and substrate binding have not been deeply exploited. Here, we investigate the mechanism of 340-cavity formation and demonstrate for the first time that seven of nine NA subtypes are able to adopt an open 340-cavity over 1.8 µs total molecular dynamics simulation time. The finding that the 340-loop plays a role in the sialic acid binding pathway suggests that the 340-cavity can function as a druggable pocket. Comparing the open and closed conformations of the 340-loop, the side chain orientation of residue 344 was found to govern the formation of the 340-cavity. Additionally, the conserved calcium ion was found to substantially influence the stability of the 340-loop. Our study provides dynamical evidence supporting the 340-cavity as a druggable hotspot at the atomic level and offers new structural insight in designing antiviral drugs.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Development , Neuraminidase/chemistry , Orthomyxoviridae/enzymology , Binding Sites , Calcium/chemistry , Ions , Models, Molecular , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid/chemistry , Principal Component Analysis , Protein Structure, Secondary , Thermodynamics
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(13)2022 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934117

ABSTRACT

RNA-protein complexes regulate a variety of biological functions. Thus, it is essential to explore and visualize RNA-protein structural interaction features, especially pocket interactions. In this work, we develop an easy-to-use bioinformatics resource: RPpocket. This database provides RNA-protein complex interactions based on sequence, secondary structure, and pocket topology analysis. We extracted 793 pockets from 74 non-redundant RNA-protein structures. Then, we calculated the binding- and non-binding pocket topological properties and analyzed the binding mechanism of the RNA-protein complex. The results showed that the binding pockets were more extended than the non-binding pockets. We also found that long-range forces were the main interaction for RNA-protein recognition, while short-range forces strengthened and optimized the binding. RPpocket could facilitate RNA-protein engineering for biological or medical applications.


Subject(s)
Proteins , RNA , Binding Sites , Databases, Protein , Ligands , Models, Molecular , Proteins/chemistry
6.
J Am Chem Soc ; 144(29): 13060-13065, 2022 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1931308

ABSTRACT

We have used chemical shift perturbation (CSP) and saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR experiments to identify and characterize the binding of selected ligands to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike glycoprotein (S-protein) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We also subjected full-length S-protein to STD NMR experiments, allowing correlations with RBD-based results. CSPs reveal the binding sites for heparin and fondaparinux, and affinities were measured using CSP titrations. We then show that α-2,3-sialyllactose binds to the S-protein but not to the RBD. Finally, combined CSP and STD NMR experiments show that lifitegrast, a compound used for the treatment of dry eye, binds to the linoleic acid (LA) binding pocket with a dissociation constant in the µM range. This is an interesting finding, as lifitegrast lends itself well as a blueprint for medicinal chemistry, eventually furnishing novel entry inhibitors targeting the highly conserved LA binding site.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Ligands , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
7.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 5896, 2022 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921687

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the quality of life and economic systems all over the world, as the virus can be transmitted from human to human via air-droplets. Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first identified in 2019, the virus has naturally mutated over time. Southeast Asia is one of the areas in the world that has implemented various procedures and measures to slow down the disease outbreaks. The first cluster of COVID-19 was identified from the tourist-travel history, and then the diversity of coronavirus victims has posed a serious issue of human security on a massive scale. To evaluate whether or not naturally occurring mutations have strengthened the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, we computed in silico the structural dynamics of the RBD-spike protein mutation enhancing ACE2-binding. When considering emerging variations in Southeast Asia, 14 dominant mutations were analyzed by applying the structural and energetic characterization using MD simulations. The ones in the RBD region displayed higher affinity to ACE2 due to the improved interfacial stability of the RBD ß-strand surrounding the ACE2 across salt bridge hotspots. The binding hotspots and structurally conserved conformational-epitopes have been identified, which are deleterious for RBD mutation and ACE2 binding. We present an interactive visualization to facilitate the development of effective neutralizing agents for vaccination, prevention and treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Pandemics , Protein Binding , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(13)2022 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1917518

ABSTRACT

Electrostatics is an important part of virus life. Understanding the detailed distribution of charges over the surface of a virus is important to predict its interactions with host cells, antibodies, drugs, and different materials. Using a coarse-grained model of the entire viral envelope developed by D. Korkin and S.-J. Marrink's scientific groups, we created an electrostatic map of the external surface of SARS-CoV-2 and found a highly heterogeneous distribution of the electrostatic potential field of the viral envelope. Numerous negative patches originate mainly from negatively charged lipid domains in the viral membrane and negatively charged areas on the "stalks" of the spike (S) proteins. Membrane (M) and envelope (E) proteins with the total positive charge tend to colocalize with the negatively charged lipids. In the E protein pentamer exposed to the outer surface, negatively charged glutamate residues and surrounding lipids form a negative electrostatic potential ring around the channel entrance. We simulated the interaction of the antiviral octacationic photosensitizer octakis(cholinyl)zinc phthalocyanine with the surface structures of the entire model virion using the Brownian dynamics computational method implemented in ProKSim software (version r661). All mentioned negatively charged envelope components attracted the photosensitizer molecules and are thus potential targets for reactive oxygen generated in photosensitized reactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , Cations , Humans , Lipids , Photosensitizing Agents/chemistry , Static Electricity , Virion
9.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 14(25): 28527-28536, 2022 Jun 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900420

ABSTRACT

Rapid antigen detection tests are urgently needed for the early diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The discovery of a binder with high affinity and selectivity for the biomarkers presented by SARS-CoV-2 is crucial to the development of the rapid antigen detection method. We utilized the surface biopanning to identify a peptide binder R1 from a phage-displayed peptide library consisting of 109 independent phage recombinants. The R1 peptide exhibited high-affinity for specific binding with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with a dissociation constant KD of (7.5 ± 1.9) × 10-10 M, which maintained high binding affinity with the RBD derived from Gamma, Lambda, Delta, and Omicron variants. The composition and sequence dependence of binding characteristics in R1-RBD interactions was revealed by the binding affinity fluctuations between RBD and the scrambled sequences or single-site mutants of R1. The R1-functionalized gold nanoparticles possessed concentration-dependent response to RBD and selectivity over bovine serum albumin and human serum albumin. The peptide binder R1 shows the potential to be used for constructing a rapid detection method for the early-stage diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Metal Nanoparticles , Antibodies, Viral , Binding Sites , COVID-19/diagnosis , Gold , Humans , Peptide Library , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
10.
Comput Biol Med ; 146: 105660, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1894904

ABSTRACT

Homologous to E6AP carboxyl-terminus (HECT)-type E3 ligase performs ubiquitin (Ub)-proteasomal protein degradation via forming a complex with E2∼Ub. Enveloped viruses including SARS-CoV-2 escape from the infected cells by harnessing the E-class vacuolar protein-sorting (ESCRT) machinery and mimic the cellular system through PPAY motif-based linking to HECT Ub ligase activity. In the present study, we have characterized the binding pattern of E2UbcH5B to HECT domains of NEDD4L, WWP1, WWP2, HECW1, and HECW2 through in silico analysis to isolate the E2UbcH5B-specific peptide inhibitors that may target SARS-CoV-2 viral egression. Molecular dynamics analysis revealed more opening of E2UbcH5B-binding pocket upon binding to HECTNEDD4L, HECTWWP1, HECTWWP2, HECTHECW1, and HECTHECW2. We observed similar binding pattern for E2UbcH5B and mentioned HECT domains as previously reported for HECTNEDD4L where Trp762, Trp709, and Trp657 residues of HECTNEDD4L, HECTWWP1, and HECTWWP2 are involved in making contacts with Ser94 residue of E2UbcH5B. Similarly, corresponding to HECTNEDD4L Tyr756 residue, HECTWWP1, HECTWWP2, HECTHECW1, and HECTHECW2-specific Phe703, Phe651, Phe1387, and Phe1353 residues execute interaction with E2UbcH5B. Our analysis suggests that corresponding to Cys942 of HECTNEDD4L, Cys890, Cys838, Cys1574, and Cys1540 residues of HECTWWP1, HECTWWP2, HECTHECW1, and HECTHECW2, respectively are involved in E2-to-E3 Ub transfer. Furthermore, MM-PBSA free energy calculations revealed favorable energy values for E2UbcH5B-HECT complexes along with the individual residue contributions. Subsequently, two E2UbcH5B-derived peptides (His55-Phe69 and Asn81-Ala96) were tested for their binding abilities against HECT domains of NEDD4L, WWP1, WWP2, HECW1, and HECW2. Their binding was validated through substitution of Phe62, Pro65, Ile84, and Cys85 residues into Ala, which revealed an impaired binding, suggesting that the proposed peptide ligands may selectively target E2-HECT binding and Ub-transfer. Collectively, we propose that peptide-driven blocking of E2-to-HECT Ub loading may limit SARS-CoV-2 egression and spread in the host cells.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ubiquitin , Binding Sites , Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport/metabolism , Humans , Ligands , Nerve Tissue Proteins , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Ubiquitin/chemistry , Ubiquitin/metabolism , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/chemistry
11.
Nat Methods ; 19(6): 730-739, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873535

ABSTRACT

Predicting the functional sites of a protein from its structure, such as the binding sites of small molecules, other proteins or antibodies, sheds light on its function in vivo. Currently, two classes of methods prevail: machine learning models built on top of handcrafted features and comparative modeling. They are, respectively, limited by the expressivity of the handcrafted features and the availability of similar proteins. Here, we introduce ScanNet, an end-to-end, interpretable geometric deep learning model that learns features directly from 3D structures. ScanNet builds representations of atoms and amino acids based on the spatio-chemical arrangement of their neighbors. We train ScanNet for detecting protein-protein and protein-antibody binding sites, demonstrate its accuracy-including for unseen protein folds-and interpret the filters learned. Finally, we predict epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, validating known antigenic regions and predicting previously uncharacterized ones. Overall, ScanNet is a versatile, powerful and interpretable model suitable for functional site prediction tasks. A webserver for ScanNet is available from http://bioinfo3d.cs.tau.ac.il/ScanNet/ .


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deep Learning , Binding Sites , Humans , Protein Binding , Proteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
12.
J Cell Biochem ; 123(7): 1207-1221, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1866542

ABSTRACT

The initial step of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) involves the binding of receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. Each successive wave of SARS-CoV-2 reports emergence of many new variants, which is associated with mutations in the RBD as well as other parts of the spike protein. These mutations are reported to have enhanced affinity towards the ACE2 receptor as well as are also crucial for the virus transmission. Many computational and experimental studies have demonstrated the effect of individual mutation on the RBD-ACE2 binding. However, the cumulative effect of mutations on the RBD and away from the RBD was not investigated in detail. We report here a comparative analysis on the structural communication and dynamics of the RBD and truncated S1 domain of spike protein in complex with the ACE2 receptor from SARS-CoV-2 wild type and its P.1 variant. Our integrative network and dynamics approaches highlighted a subtle conformational changes in the RBD as well as truncated S1 domain of spike protein at the protein contact level, responsible for the increased affinity with the ACE2 receptor. Moreover, our study also identified the commonalities and differences in the dynamics of the interactions between spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 wild type and its P.1 variant with the ACE2 receptor. Further, our investigation yielded an understanding towards identification of the unique RBD residues crucial for the interaction with the ACE2 host receptor. Overall, the study provides an insight for designing better therapeutics against the circulating P.1 variants as well as other future variants.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , COVID-19 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
13.
J Chem Inf Model ; 62(11): 2889-2898, 2022 06 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852366

ABSTRACT

The binding process of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-like coronavirus 2 spike protein was investigated using molecular dynamics simulation and the three-dimensional reference interaction-site model theory. The results suggested that the protein-binding process consists of a protein-protein approaching step, followed by a local structural rearrangement step. In the approaching step, the interprotein interaction energy decreased as the proteins approached each other, whereas the solvation free energy increased. As the proteins approached, the glycan of ACE2 first established a hydrogen bond with the RBD. Thereafter, the number of interprotein hydrogen bonds increased rapidly. The solvation free energy increased because of the desolvation of the protein as it approached its partner. The spatial distribution function of the solvent revealed the presence of hydrogen bonds bridged by water molecules on the RBD-ACE2 interface. Finally, principal component analysis revealed that ACE2 showed a pronounced conformational change, whereas there was no significant change in RBD.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Comput Biol Med ; 146: 105625, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850905

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in millions of deaths. Despite all attempts that have been made to combat the pandemic, the re-emergence of new variants complicated SARS-CoV-2 eradication. The ongoing global spread of COVID-19 demands the incessant development of novel agents in vaccination, diagnosis, and therapeutics. Targeting receptor-binding domain (RBD) of spike protein by which the virus identifies host receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2), is a promising strategy for curbing viral infection. This study aims to discover novel peptide inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 entry using computational approaches. The RBD binding domain of ACE2 was extracted and docked against the RBD. MMPBSA calculations revealed the binding energies of each residue in the template. The residues with unfavorable binding energies were considered as mutation spots by OSPREY. Binding energies of the residues in RBD-ACE2 interface was determined by molecular docking. Peptide inhibitors were designed by the mutation of RBD residues in the virus-receptors complex which had unfavorable energies. Peptide tendency for RBD binding, safety, and allergenicity were the criteria based on which the final hits were screened among the initial library. Molecular dynamics simulations also provided information on the mechanisms of inhibitory action in peptides. The results were finally validated by molecular docking simulations to make sure the peptides are capable of hindering virus-host interaction. Our results introduce three peptides P7 (RAWTFLDKFNHEAEDLRYQSSLASWN), P13 (RASTFLDKFNHEAEDLRYQSSLASWN), and P19 (RADTFLDKFNHEAEDLRYQSSLASWN) as potential effective inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 entry which could be considered in drug development for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Peptides/metabolism , Peptides/pharmacology , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
15.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250780, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1833531

ABSTRACT

The spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 is the molecular target for many vaccines and antibody-based prophylactics aimed at bringing COVID-19 under control. Such a narrow molecular focus raises the specter of viral immune evasion as a potential failure mode for these biomedical interventions. With the emergence of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 with altered transmissibility and immune evasion potential, a critical question is this: how easily can the virus escape neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) targeting the spike RBD? To answer this question, we combined an analysis of the RBD structure-function with an evolutionary modeling framework. Our structure-function analysis revealed that epitopes for RBD-targeting nAbs overlap one another substantially and can be evaded by escape mutants with ACE2 affinities comparable to the wild type, that are observed in sequence surveillance data and infect cells in vitro. This suggests that the fitness cost of nAb-evading mutations is low. We then used evolutionary modeling to predict the frequency of immune escape before and after the widespread presence of nAbs due to vaccines, passive immunization or natural immunity. Our modeling suggests that SARS-CoV-2 mutants with one or two mildly deleterious mutations are expected to exist in high numbers due to neutral genetic variation, and consequently resistance to vaccines or other prophylactics that rely on one or two antibodies for protection can develop quickly -and repeatedly- under positive selection. Predicted resistance timelines are comparable to those of the decay kinetics of nAbs raised against vaccinal or natural antigens, raising a second potential mechanism for loss of immunity in the population. Strategies for viral elimination should therefore be diversified across molecular targets and therapeutic modalities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Epitopes/immunology , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Immune Evasion/immunology , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests/methods , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship
16.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2564, 2022 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830056

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants illustrates the urgent need to better understand the molecular details of the virus binding to its host cell and to develop anti-viral strategies. While many studies focused on the role of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor in the infection, others suggest the important role of cell attachment factors such as glycans. Here, we use atomic force microscopy to study these early binding events with the focus on the role of sialic acids (SA). We show that SARS-CoV-2 binds specifically to 9-O-acetylated-SA with a moderate affinity, supporting its role as an attachment factor during virus landing to cell host surfaces. For therapeutic purposes and based on this finding, we have designed novel blocking molecules with various topologies and carrying a controlled number of SA residues, enhancing affinity through a multivalent effect. Inhibition assays show that the AcSA-derived glycoclusters are potent inhibitors of cell binding and infectivity, offering new perspectives in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , N-Acetylneuraminic Acid , Protein Binding , Sialic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
17.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3860, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799576

ABSTRACT

Non-structural protein 15 (Nsp15) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) forms a homo hexamer and functions as an endoribonuclease. Here, we propose that Nsp15 activity may be inhibited by preventing its hexamerization through drug binding. We first explored the stable conformation of the Nsp15 monomer as the global free energy minimum conformation in the free energy landscape using a combination of parallel cascade selection molecular dynamics (PaCS-MD) and the Markov state model (MSM), and found that the Nsp15 monomer forms a more open conformation with larger druggable pockets on the surface. Targeting the pockets with high druggability scores, we conducted ligand docking and identified compounds that tightly bind to the Nsp15 monomer. The top poses with Nsp15 were subjected to binding free energy calculations by dissociation PaCS-MD and MSM (dPaCS-MD/MSM), indicating the stability of the complexes. One of the identified pockets, which is distinctively bound by inosine analogues, may be an alternative binding site to stabilize viral RNA binding and/or an alternative catalytic site. We constructed a stable RNA structure model bound to both UTP and alternative binding sites, providing a reasonable proposed model of the Nsp15/RNA complex.


Subject(s)
Endoribonucleases/metabolism , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Markov Chains , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nucleic Acid Conformation , Protein Multimerization , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Static Electricity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
18.
Org Biomol Chem ; 20(17): 3605-3618, 2022 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788327

ABSTRACT

The Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) assists the regulation of blood pressure and is the main target of the coronaviruses responsible for SARS and COVID19. The catalytic function of ACE2 relies on the opening and closing motion of its peptidase domain (PD). In this study, we investigated the possibility of allosterically controlling the ACE2 PD functional dynamics. After confirming that ACE2 PD binding site opening-closing motion is dominant in characterizing its conformational landscape, we observed that few mutations in the viral receptor binding domain fragments were able to impart different effects on the binding site opening of ACE2 PD. This showed that binding to the solvent exposed area of ACE2 PD can effectively alter the conformational profile of the protein, and thus likely its catalytic function. Using a targeted machine learning model and relative entropy-based statistical analysis, we proposed the mechanism for the allosteric perturbation that regulates the ACE2 PD binding site dynamics at atomistic level. The key residues and the source of the allosteric regulation of ACE PD dynamics are also presented.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Binding Sites , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
19.
Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 24(15): 8724-8737, 2022 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774006

ABSTRACT

The continuous spread of the newly emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has become an important reason for the surge in COVID-19 infections. Its numerous mutated residues containing key sites on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) undoubtedly pose new challenges for epidemic control. Although the preventive measures are becoming more sophisticated, the effects of mutations on the binding of the virus to the receptor protein remain to be elucidated. Here, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the differences in the binding mode between the Omicron variant and the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) compared to the wild-type strain (WT). Multi-point mutations in the Omicron variant RBD could cause the conformation shift in the large Loop (where T478K and E484A are located), which makes it easier to wrap the N-terminal helix of ACE2 and form tighter contacts. The stronger electrostatic interaction was the main reason for its enhanced binding affinity as compared to WT. This was due to the large number of positively charged patches (N440K, T478K, Q493R, Q498R, and Y505H) formed by the substitution of neutral amino acids at multiple sites. The appearance of these highly polar hydrophilic amino acids may cause local perturbations and affect the electrostatic complementarity of RBD with the ACE2, and further mediate conformational changes. Thus, a more extensive interaction network was found in the mutation system and the complex interaction cluster was formed near E37@ACE2, which was essential for the stable binding of the two. In addition, we speculated that these mutations may affect the electrostatic complementarity with the four potential antibodies to reduce the sensitivity of the virus to antibodies. This study reveals the key details of the Omicron variant binding to ACE2 and provides important theoretical views for the enhanced infectivity of this variant. We hope that these observations can provide timely molecular insights for responding to the Omicron variant pandemic.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Mutation , Point Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
20.
Biol Chem ; 403(5-6): 615-624, 2022 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770796

ABSTRACT

The pathogenic agent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) enters into human cells through the interaction between the receptor binding domain (RBD) of its spike glycoprotein and the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. Efforts have been made towards finding antivirals that block this interaction, therefore preventing infection. Here, we determined the binding affinity of ACE2-derived peptides to the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 experimentally and performed MD simulations in order to understand key characteristics of their interaction. One of the peptides, p6, binds to the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 with nM affinity. Although the ACE2-derived peptides retain conformational flexibility when bound to SARS-CoV-2 RBD, we identified residues T27 and K353 as critical anchors mediating the interaction. New ACE2-derived peptides were developed based on the p6-RBD interface analysis and expecting the native conformation of the ACE2 to be maintained. Furthermore, we found a correlation between the helicity in trifluoroethanol and the binding affinity to RBD of the new peptides. Under the hypothesis that the conservation of peptide secondary structure is decisive to the binding affinity, we developed a cyclized version of p6 which had more helicity than p6 and approximately half of its K D value.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , Humans , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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