The recent outbreak of the respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is stimulating an unprecedented scientific campaign to alleviate the burden of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). One line of research has focused on targeting SARS-CoV-2 proteins fundamental for its replication by repurposing drugs approved for other diseases. The first interaction between the virus and the host cell is mediated by the spike protein on the virus surface and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). Small molecules able to bind the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein and disrupt the binding to ACE2 would offer an important tool for slowing, or even preventing, the infection. Here, we screened 2421 approved small molecules in silico and validated the docking outcomes through extensive molecular dynamics simulations. Out of six drugs characterized as putative RBD binders, the cephalosporin antibiotic cefsulodin was further assessed for its effect on the binding between the RBD and ACE2, suggesting the importance of considering the dynamic formation of the heterodimer when judging any potential candidate.
|Publication status||Published - 26 Aug 2020|