Title

A molecular modelling approach for identifying antiviral selenium-containing heterocyclic compounds that inhibit the main protease of SARS-CoV-2: an in silico investigation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-22-2021

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the situation worsens daily, associated with acute increases in case fatality rates. The main protease (Mpro) enzyme produced by SARS-CoV-2 was recently demonstrated to be responsible for not only viral reproduction but also impeding host immune responses. The element selenium (Se) plays a vital role in immune functions, both directly and indirectly. Thus, we hypothesised that Se-containing heterocyclic compounds might curb the activity of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. We performed a molecular docking analysis and found that several of the selected selenocompounds showed potential binding affinities for SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, especially ethaselen (49), which exhibited a docking score of −6.7 kcal/mol compared with the −6.5 kcal/mol score for GC376 (positive control). Drug-likeness calculations suggested that these compounds are biologically active and possess the characteristics of ideal drug candidates. Based on the binding affinity and drug-likeness results, we selected the 16 most effective selenocompounds as potential anti-COVID-19 drug candidates. We also validated the structural integrity and stability of the drug candidate through molecular dynamics simulation. Using further in vitro and in vivo experiments, we believe that the targeted compound identified in this study (ethaselen) could pave the way for the development of prospective drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2 infections and trigger specific host immune responses.

Comments

Copyright © 2021, Oxford University Press

Publication Title

Briefings in Bioinformatics

DOI

10.1093/bib/bbab045

Academic Level

faculty

Mentor/PI Department

Immunology and Microbiology

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