Invalidation of dieckol and 1,2,3,4,6-pentagalloylglucose (PGG) as SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitors and the discovery of PGG as a papain-like protease inhibitor

Haozhou Tan, Chunlong Ma, Jun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a broad interest in antiviral drug discovery. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) and papain-like protease (PLpro) are attractive antiviral drug targets given their vital roles in viral replication and modulation of host immune response. Structurally disparate compounds were reported as Mpro and PLpro inhibitors from either drug repurposing or rational design. Two polyphenols dieckol and 1,2,3,4,6-pentagalloylglucose (PGG) were recently reported as SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. With our continuous interest in studying the mechanism of inhibition and resistance of Mpro inhibitors, we report herein our independent validation/invalidation of these two natural products. Our FRET-based enzymatic assay showed that neither dieckol nor PGG inhibited SARS-CoV-2 Mpro (IC50 > 20 µM), which is in contrary to previous reports. Serendipitously, PGG was found to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 PLpro with an IC50 of 3.90 µM. The binding of PGG to PLpro was further confirmed in the thermal shift assay. However, PGG was cytotoxic in 293T-ACE2 cells (CC50 = 7.7 µM), so its intracellular PLpro inhibitory activity could not be quantified by the cell-based Flip-GFP PLpro assay. In addition, we also invalidated ebselen, disulfiram, carmofur, PX12, and tideglusib as SARS-CoV-2 PLpro inhibitors using the Flip-GFP assay. Overall, our results call for stringent hit validation, and the serendipitous discovery of PGG as a putative PLpro inhibitor might worth further pursuing. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1153
Number of pages7
JournalMedicinal Chemistry Research
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antiviral
  • Coronavirus
  • Main protease
  • Papain-like protease
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Organic Chemistry

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