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Rxivist combines biology preprints from bioRxiv and medRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 212,235 papers from 844,985 authors.

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in category pharmacology and toxicology

1,870 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.

1: Toxicity of JUUL Fluids and Aerosols Correlates Strongly with Nicotine and Some Flavor Chemical Concentrations
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Posted 09 Dec 2018

Toxicity of JUUL Fluids and Aerosols Correlates Strongly with Nicotine and Some Flavor Chemical Concentrations
29,231 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Esther E. Omaiye, Kevin J McWhirter, Wentai Luo, James F Pankow, Prue Talbot

While JUUL electronic cigarettes (ECs) have captured the majority of the EC market with a large fraction of their sales going to adolescents, little is known about their cytotoxicity and potential effects on health. The purpose of this study was to determine flavor chemical and nicotine concentrations in the eight currently marketed pre-filled JUUL EC cartridges (pods) and to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the different variants (e.g., Cool Mint and Creme Brulee) using in vitro assays. Nicotine and flavor chemicals were analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in pod fluid before and after vaping and in the corresponding aerosols. 59 flavor chemicals were identified in JUUL pod fluids, and three were >1 mg/mL. Duplicate pods were similar in flavor chemical composition and concentration. Nicotine concentrations (average 60.9 mg/mL) were significantly higher than any EC products we have analyzed previously. Transfer efficiency of individual flavor chemicals that were >1mg/mL and nicotine from the pod fluid into aerosols was generally 35 - 80%. All pod fluids were cytotoxic at a 1:10 dilution (10%) in the MTT and neutral red uptake assays when tested with BEAS-2B lung epithelial cells. Most aerosols were cytotoxic in these assays at concentrations >1%. The cytotoxicity of aerosols was highly correlated with nicotine and ethyl maltol concentrations and moderately to weakly correlated with total flavor chemical concentration and menthol concentration. Our study demonstrates that: (1) some JUUL flavor pods have high concentrations of flavor chemicals that may make them attractive to youth, and (2) the concentrations of nicotine and some flavor chemicals (e.g. ethyl maltol) are high enough to be cytotoxic in acute in vitro assays, emphasizing the need to determine if JUUL products will lead to adverse health effects with chronic use.

2: Discovery of a Novel Inhibitor of Coronavirus 3CL Protease as a Clinical Candidate for the Potential Treatment of COVID-19
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Posted 13 Sep 2020

Discovery of a Novel Inhibitor of Coronavirus 3CL Protease as a Clinical Candidate for the Potential Treatment of COVID-19
14,758 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Britton Boras, Rhys M Jones, Brandon J Anson, Dan Arenson, Lisa Aschenbrenner, Malina A Bakowski, Nathan Beutler, Joseph Binder, Emily Chen, Heather Eng, Jennifer Hammond, Robert Hoffman, Eugene P. Kadar, Robert Kania, Emi Kimoto, Melanie G. Kirkpatrick, Lorraine Lanyon, Emma K. Lendy, Jonathan R. Lillis, Suman A. Luthra, Chunlong Ma, Stephen Noell, R. Scott Obach, Matthew N O'Brien, Rebecca O'Connor, Kevin Ogilvie, Dafydd R Owen, Martin Pettersson, Mattew R. Reese, Thomas Rogers, Michelle I. Rossulek, Jean G. Sathish, Claire M Steppan, Martyn Ticehurst, Lawrence W. Updyke, Yuao Zhu, Jun Wang, Arnab K Chatterjee, Andrew D Mesecar, Annaliesa S. Anderson, Charlotte Allerton, Matthew Frieman, Stuart Weston, Marisa E. McGrath, James Logue, Robert E. Haupt, Holly Hammond, Stephen Mason, Norimitsu Shirai

COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become a global pandemic. 3CL protease is a virally encoded protein that is essential across a broad spectrum of coronaviruses with no close human analogs. The designed phosphate prodrug PF-07304814 is metabolized to PF-00835321 which is a potent inhibitor in vitro of the coronavirus family 3CL pro, with selectivity over human host protease targets. Furthermore, PF-00835231 exhibits potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 as a single agent and it is additive/synergistic in combination with remdesivir. We present the ADME, safety, in vitro, and in vivo antiviral activity data that supports the clinical evaluation of this compound as a potential COVID-19 treatment.

3: Iota carrageenan and xylitol inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cell culture
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Posted 21 Aug 2020

Iota carrageenan and xylitol inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cell culture
13,853 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Julio Cesar Vega, Shruti Bansal, Colleen B Jonsson, Shannon L. Taylor, Juan M Figueroa, Andrea V. Dugour, Carlos Palacios

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2) infection affecting millions of persons around the world. There is an urgent unmet need to provide an easy-to-produce, affordable medicine to prevent transmission and provide early treatment for this disease. The nasal cavity and the rhinopharynx are the sites of initial replication of SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, a nasal spray may be a suitable dosage form for this purpose. The main objective of our study was to test the antiviral action of three candidate nasal spray formulations against SARS-CoV-2. We have found that iota-carrageenan in concentrations as low as 6 mcg/ mL inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vero cell cultures. The concentrations found to be active in vitro against SARS-CoV-2 may be easily achieved by the application of nasal sprays already marketed in several countries. Xylitol at a concentration of 5 % m/V has proved to be viricidal on its own and the association with iota-carrageenan may be beneficial, as well. ### Competing Interest Statement The study has been funded by Amcyte Pharma Inc. (US) Juan Manuel Figueroa, Andrea Dugour and Carlos Palacios receive funding from Fundacion Pablo Cassara (Argentina) Julio Cesar Vega receives salary from Laboratorio Pablo Cassara and is inventor of a US patent application related to this manuscript.

4: LSD impairs working memory, executive functions, and cognitive flexibility, but not risk-based decision making
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Posted 28 Jan 2019

LSD impairs working memory, executive functions, and cognitive flexibility, but not risk-based decision making
11,499 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Thomas Pokorny, Patricia Duerler, Erich Seifritz, Franz X Vollenweider, Katrin Preller

Psychiatric and neurodegenerative illnesses are characterized by cognitive impairments, in particular deficits in working memory, decision making, and executive functions including cognitive flexibility. However, the neuropharmacology of these cognitive functions is poorly understood. The serotonin (5-HT) 2A receptor might be a promising candidate for the modulation of cognitive processes. However, pharmacological studies investigating the role of this receptor system in humans are rare. Recent evidence demonstrates that the effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are mediated via agonistic action at the 5-HT2A receptor. Yet, the effects of LSD on specific cognitive domains using standardized neuropsychological test have not been studied. Therefore, we examined the acute effects of LSD (100 micrograms) alone and in combination with the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin (40mg) on cognition, employing a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, within-subject design in 25 healthy participants. Executive functions, cognitive flexibility, spatial working memory, and risk-based decision-making were examined by the Intra/Extra-Dimensional shift task (IED), Spatial Working Memory task (SWM), and Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT) of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Compared to placebo, LSD significantly impaired executive functions, cognitive flexibility, and working memory on the IED and SWM, but did not influence quality of decision-making and risk-taking on the CGT. Pretreatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin normalized all LSD-induced cognitive deficits. The present findings highlight the role of the 5-HT2A receptor system in executive functions and working memory and suggest that specific 5-HT2A antagonists may be relevant for improving cognitive dysfunctions in psychiatric disorders.

5: Fatal toxicity of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with metformin in mice
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Posted 04 Apr 2020

Fatal toxicity of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with metformin in mice
11,259 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

N.V Rajeshkumar, Shinichi Yabuuchi, Shweta G Pai, Anirban Maitra, Manuel Hidalgo, Chi V Dang

Guided by the principle of primum non nocere (first do no harm), we report a cautionary note on the potential fatal toxicity of chloroquine (CQ) or hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in combination with anti-diabetic drug metformin. We observed that the combination of CQ or HCQ and metformin, which were used in our studies as potential anti-cancer drugs, killed 30-40% of mice. While our observations in mice may not translate to toxicity in humans, the reports that CQ or HCQ has anti-COVID-19 activity, the use of CQ resulting in toxicity and at least one death, and the recent Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for CQ and HCQ by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prompted our report. Here we report the lethality of CQ or HCQ in combination with metformin as a warning of its potential serious clinical toxicity. We hope that our report will be helpful to stimulate pharmacovigilance and monitoring of adverse drug reactions with the use of CQ or HCQ, particularly in combination with metformin.

6: Nelfinavir was predicted to be a potential inhibitor of 2019 nCov main protease by an integrative approach combining homology modelling, molecular docking and binding free energy calculation
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Posted 28 Jan 2020

Nelfinavir was predicted to be a potential inhibitor of 2019 nCov main protease by an integrative approach combining homology modelling, molecular docking and binding free energy calculation
10,696 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Zhijian Xu, Cheng Peng, Yulong Shi, Zhengdan Zhu, Kaijie Mu, Xiaoyu Wang, Weiliang Zhu

2019-nCov has caused more than 80 deaths as of 27 January 2020 in China, and infection cases have been reported in more than 10 countries. However, there is no approved drug to treat the disease. 2019-nCov Mpro is a potential drug target to combat the virus. We built homology models based on SARS Mpro structures, and docked 1903 small molecule drugs to the models. Based on the docking score and the 3D similarity of the binding mode to the known Mpro ligands, 4 drugs were selected for binding free energy calculations. Both MM/GBSA and SIE methods voted for nelfinavir, with the binding free energy of -24.69±0.52 kcal/mol and -9.42±0.04 kcal/mol, respectively. Therefore, we suggested that nelfinavir might be a potential inhibitor against 2019-nCov Mpro.

7: Garcinia cambogia extract removes calcium oxalate kidney stones in both genetic and non-genetic Drosophila models of nephrolithiasis
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Posted 27 Nov 2018

Garcinia cambogia extract removes calcium oxalate kidney stones in both genetic and non-genetic Drosophila models of nephrolithiasis
8,797 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Qiuxia Fan, Xiaoming Feng, Xizhen Hong, Siqiao Gong, Jianwei Tian, Fanfan Hou, Fujian Zhang

Kidney stone formers with family history have a high rate of stone recurrence after kidney stone removal surgery and there is no effective medication available for treatment. Here, we show that Garcinia cambogia extract (GCE) efficiently removes calcium oxalate kidney stones from Malpighian tubules in both genetic and non-genetic Drosophila models of nephrolithiasis, and hydroxycitrate -a major component of GCE, directly dissolves calcium oxalate stones in Drosophila Malpighian tubules ex vivo. Our study discovers a potential novel therapeutic strategy for the clinical treatment of nephrolithiasis and suggests that clinical-grade Garcinia cambogia extract could be used to treat patients with nephrolithiasis in the future.

8: Effective buprenorphine use and tapering strategies: Endorsements and insights by people in recovery from opioid use disorder on a Reddit forum
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Posted 11 Dec 2019

Effective buprenorphine use and tapering strategies: Endorsements and insights by people in recovery from opioid use disorder on a Reddit forum
7,487 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Rachel L Graves, Abeed Sarker, Mohammed Ali Al-Garadi, Yuan-chi Yang, Jennifer S Love, Karen O'Connor, Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez, Jeanmarie Perrone

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a public health emergency in the United States. Over 47,000 overdose-related deaths in 2017 involved opioids. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in particular, buprenorphine and buprenorphine combination products such as Suboxone®, is the most effective, evidence-based treatment for OUD. However, there are a limited number of conclusive scientific studies that provide guidance to medical professionals about strategies for using buprenorphine to achieve stable recovery. In this study, we used data-driven natural language processing methods to mine a total of 16,146 posts about buprenorphine from 1933 unique users on the anonymous social network Reddit. Analysis of a sample of these posts showed that 74% of the posts described users’ personal experiences and that the top three topics included advice on using Suboxone® (55.0%), Suboxone® dosage information (35.5%) and information about Suboxone® tapering (32.0%). Based on two models, one that incorporated ‘upvoting’ by other members and one that did not, we found that Reddit users reported more successful recovery with longer tapering schedules, particularly from 2.0 mg to 0.0 mg (median: 93 days; mean: 95 days), as compared to shorter tapering schedules investigated in past clinical trials. Diarrhea, insomnia, restlessness, and fatigue were commonly reported adverse events. Physical exercise, clonidine, and Imodium® were frequently reported to help during the recovery process. Due to the difficulties of conducting longer-term clinical trials involving patients with OUD, clinicians should consider other information sources including peer discussions from the abundant, real-time information available on Reddit. Significance Statement Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a national crisis in the United States and buprenorphine is one of the most effective evidence-based treatments. However, few studies have explored successful strategies for using and tapering buprenorphine to achieve stable recovery, particularly due to the difficulties of conducting long-term studies involving patients with OUD. In this study, we show that discussions on the anonymous social network Reddit may be leveraged, via automatic text mining methods, to discover successful buprenorphine use and tapering strategies. We discovered that longer tapering schedules, compared to those investigated in past clinical trials, may lead to (self-reported) sustained recovery. Furthermore, Reddit posts also provide key information regarding buprenorphine withdrawal, cravings, adjunct medications for withdrawal symptoms and relapse prevention strategies.

9: Therapeutic Drugs Targeting 2019-nCoV Main Protease by High-Throughput Screening
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Posted 29 Jan 2020

Therapeutic Drugs Targeting 2019-nCoV Main Protease by High-Throughput Screening
7,340 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Yan Li, Jinyong Zhang, Wei Wang, Haibo Li, Yun Shi, Gang Guo, Kaiyun Liu, Hao Zeng, Quanming Zou

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus identified as the cause of the outbreak of pneumonia first detected in Wuhan, China. Investigations on the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with this virus are ongoing. Currently, there is no vaccine or therapeutic antibody to prevent the infection, and more time is required to develop an effective immune strategy against the pathogen. In contrast, specific inhibitors targeting the key protease involved in replication and proliferation of the virus are the most effective means to alleviate the epidemic. The main protease of SARS-CoV is essential for the life cycle of the virus, which showed 96.1% of similarity with the main proteaseof 2019-nCoV, is considered to be an attractive target for drug development. In this study, we have identified 4 small molecular drugs with high binding capacity with SARS-CoV main protease by high-throughput screening based on the 8,000 clinical drug libraries, all these drugs have been widely used in clinical applications with guaranteed safety, which may serve as promising candidates to treat the infection of 2019-nCoV.

10: AI-aided design of novel targeted covalent inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2
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Posted 08 Mar 2020

AI-aided design of novel targeted covalent inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2
6,192 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Bowen Tang, Fengming He, Dongpeng Liu, Meijuan Fang, Zhen Wu, Dong Xu

The focused drug repurposing of known approved drugs (such as lopinavir/ritonavir) has been reported failed for curing SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. It is urgent to generate new chemical entities against this virus. As a key enzyme in the life-cycle of coronavirus, the 3C-like main protease (3CLpro or Mpro) is the most attractive for antiviral drug design. Based on a recently solved structure (PDB ID: 6LU7), we developed a novel advanced deep Q-learning network with the fragment-based drug design (ADQN-FBDD) for generating potential lead compounds targeting SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro. We obtained a series of derivatives from those lead compounds by our structure-based optimization policy (SBOP). All the 47 lead compounds directly from our AI-model and related derivatives based on SBOP are accessible in our molecular library at https://github.com/tbwxmu/2019-nCov. These compounds can be used as potential candidates for researchers in their development of drugs against SARS-CoV-2.

11: Vapor exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) slows locomotion of the Maine Lobster (Homarus americanus)
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Posted 25 May 2021

Vapor exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) slows locomotion of the Maine Lobster (Homarus americanus)
6,183 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Arnold Gutierrez, Kevin M Creehan, Mitchell L. Turner, Rachelle N Tran, Tony M Kerr, Jacques D Nguyen, Michael A Taffe

Rationale: Despite a long history of use in synaptic physiology, the lobster has been a neglected model for behavioral pharmacology. A restauranteur proposed that exposing lobster to cannabis smoke reduces anxiety and pain during the cooking process. It is unknown if lobster gill respiration in air would result in significant {Delta}9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) uptake and whether this would have any detectable behavioral effects. Objective: The primary goal was to determine tissue THC levels in the lobster after exposure to THC vapor. Secondary goals were to determine if THC vapor altered locomotor behavior or nociception. Methods: Tissue samples were collected from muscle, brain and hemolymph of Homarus americanus (N=3 per group) following 30 or 60 minutes of exposure to vapor generated by an e-cigarette device using THC (100 mg/mL in a propylene glycol vehicle). Separate experiments assessed locomotor behavior and hot water nociceptive responses following THC vapor exposure. Results: THC vapor produced duration-related THC levels in all tissues examined. Locomotor activity was decreased (distance, speed, time-mobile) by 30 min inhalation of THC. Lobsters exhibit a temperature-dependent withdrawal response to immersion of tail, antennae or claws in warm water; this is novel evidence of thermal nociception for this species. THC exposure for 60 minutes had only marginal effect on nociception under the conditions assessed. Conclusions: Vapor exposure of lobsters, using an e-cigarette based model, produces dose-dependent THC levels in all tissues and reduces locomotor activity. Hot water nociception is temperature dependent in the lobster, but no clear effects of THC inhalation were confirmed.

12: A small-molecule oral agonist of the human glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor
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Posted 30 Sep 2020

A small-molecule oral agonist of the human glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor
5,609 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

David A. Griffith, David J. Edmonds, Jean-Philippe Fortin, Amit S. Kalgutkar, J. Brent Kuzmiski, Paula M. Loria, Aditi R. Saxena, Scott W. Bagley, Clare Buckeridge, John M. Curto, David R. Derksen, João M. Dias, Matthew C. Griffor, Seungil Han, V. Margaret Jackson, Margaret S. Landis, Daniel J. Lettiere, Chris Limberakis, Yuhang Liu, Alan M. Mathiowetz, David W. Piotrowski, David A. Price, Roger B. Ruggeri, David A. Tess

Peptide agonists of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) have revolutionized diabetes therapy, but their use has been limited by the requirement for injection. Here we describe the first effective, orally bioavailable small molecule GLP-1R agonists. A sensitized high-throughput screen identified a series of small molecule GLP-1R agonists that were optimized to promote endogenous GLP-1R signaling with nM potency. These small molecule agonists increased insulin levels in primates but not rodents, which is explained by a cryo-EM structure that revealed a binding pocket requiring primate-specific tryptophan 33. Importantly, oral administration of agonist PF-06882961 to healthy humans produced dose-dependent declines in serum glucose ([NCT03309241][1]). This opens the door to a new era of oral small molecule therapies that target the well-validated GLP-1R pathway for metabolic health. One Sentence Summary PF-06882961 is an orally administered small molecule that activates the GLP-1 receptor to lower blood glucose in humans. ### Competing Interest Statement ASK, AMM, MCG, JMD, CB, CL, SWB, DJL, PML, DRD, JMC, JPF, YL, ARS, DAT, DWP, SH, RBR, MSL, and DAG are employees and stockholders of Pfizer Inc. DAP, DJE, JBK and VMJ are stockholders of Pfizer Inc. [1]: /lookup/external-ref?link_type=CLINTRIALGOV&access_num=NCT03309241&atom=%2Fbiorxiv%2Fearly%2F2020%2F09%2F30%2F2020.09.29.319483.atom

13: Novel Natural Product Discovery from Marine Sponges and their Obligate Symbiotic Organisms
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Posted 24 May 2014

Novel Natural Product Discovery from Marine Sponges and their Obligate Symbiotic Organisms
5,396 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Regina R. Monaco, Rena F. Quinlan

Abstract: Discovery of novel natural products is an accepted method for the elucidation of pharmacologically active molecules and drug leads. Best known sources for such discovery have been terrestrial plants and microbes, accounting for about 85% of the approved natural products in pharmaceutical use (1), and about 60% of approved pharmaceuticals and new drug applications annually (2). Discovery in the marine environment has lagged due to the difficulty of exploration in this ecological niche. Exploration began in earnest in the 1950’s, after technological advances such as scuba diving allowed collection of marine organisms, primarily at a depth to about 15m. Natural products from filter feeding marine invertebrates and in particular, sponges, have proven to be a rich source of structurally unique pharmacologically active compounds, with over 16,000 molecules isolated thus far (3, 1) and a continuing pace of discovery at hundreds of novel bioactive molecules per year. All classes of pharmaceuticals have been represented in this discovery process, including antiprotazoals, pesticides, TGF-beta inhibitors, cationic channel blockers, anticancer, cytotoxic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. Important biosynthetic pathways found in sponges which give rise to these compounds include the terpenoid (4), fatty acid, polyketoid, quinone reductase, alkaloid, isoprenoid (5), and non-ribosomal protein synthase pathways. Keywords: natural products; marine sponges; drug discovery; terpenoids; carotenoids; polyketides; marine drug discovery

14: PyVOL: a PyMOL plugin for visualization, comparison, and volume calculation of drug-binding sites
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Posted 24 Oct 2019

PyVOL: a PyMOL plugin for visualization, comparison, and volume calculation of drug-binding sites
5,238 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Ryan H.B. Smith, Arvin Dar, Avner Schlessinger

Motivation: Binding pocket volumes are a simple yet important predictor of small molecule binding; however, generating visualizations of pocket topology and performing meaningful volume comparisons can be difficult with available tools. Current programs for accurate volume determination rely on extensive user input to define bulk solvent boundaries and to partition cavities into subpockets, increasing inter-user variability in measurements as well as time demands. Results: We developed PyVOL, a python package with a PyMOL interface and GUI, to visualize, to characterize, and to compare binding pockets. PyVOLs pocket identification algorithm is designed to maximize reproducibility through minimization of user-provided parameters, avoidance of grid-based methods, and automated sub-pocket identification. This approach permits efficient, scalable volume calculations. Availability: PyVOL is released under the MIT License. Source code and documentation are available through github (https://github.com/schlessingerlab/pyvol/) with distribution through PyPI (bio-pyvol). Contact: avner.schlessinger@mssm.edu, arvin.dar@mssm.edu

15: Melatonin drugs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry into the brain and virus-induced damage of cerebral small vessels
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Posted 03 Jan 2022

Melatonin drugs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry into the brain and virus-induced damage of cerebral small vessels
5,030 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Erika Cecon, Daniela Fernandois, Nicolas Renault, Caio Fernando Ferreira Coelho, Jan Wenzel, Corentin Bedart, Charlotte Izabelle, Sarah Gallet, Sophie Le Poder, Bernard Klonjkowski, Markus Schwaninger, Vincent PREVOT, Julie Dam, Ralf Jockers

COVID-19 is a complex disease with short- and long-term respiratory, inflammatory and neurological symptoms that are triggered by the infection with SARS-CoV-2. Invasion of the brain by SARS-CoV-2 has been observed in humans and is postulated to be involved in post COVID condition. Brain infection is particularly pronounced in the K18-hACE2 mouse model of COVID-19. Here, we show that treatment of K18-hACE2 mice with melatonin and two melatonin-derived marketed drugs, agomelatine and ramelteon, prevent SARS-CoV-2 entry in the brain thereby reducing virus-induced damage of small cerebral vessels, immune cell infiltration and brain inflammation. Brain entry of SARS-CoV-2 through endothelial cells is prevented by melatonin through allosteric binding to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which interferes with the cell entry receptor function of ACE2 for SARS-CoV-2. Our findings open new perspectives for the repurposing of melatonergic drugs in the prevention of brain infection by SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19-related long-term neurological symptoms.

16: Scutellaria baicalensis extract and baicalein inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 and its 3C-like protease in vitro
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Posted 12 Apr 2020

Scutellaria baicalensis extract and baicalein inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 and its 3C-like protease in vitro
5,004 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Hongbo Liu, Fei Ye, Qi Sun, Hao Liang, Chunmei Li, Roujian Lu, Baoying Huang, Wenjie Tan, Luhua Lai

COVID-19 has become a global pandemic that threatens millions of people worldwide. There is an urgent call for developing effective drugs against the virus (SARS-CoV-2) causing this disease. The main protease of SARS-CoV-2, 3C-like protease (3CLpro), is highly conserved across coronaviruses and is essential for the maturation process of viral polyprotein. Scutellariae radix (Huangqin in Chinese), the root of Scutellaria baicalensis has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat viral infection related symptoms. The extracts of S. baicalensis have exhibited broad spectrum antiviral activities. We studied the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of S. baicalensis and its ingredient compounds. We found that the ethanol extract of S. baicalensis inhibits SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro activity in vitro and the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells with an EC50 of 0.74 μg/ml. Among the major components of S. baicalensis, baicalein strongly inhibits SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro activity with an IC50 of 0.39 μM. We further identified four baicalein analogue compounds from other herbs that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro activity at microM concentration. Our study demonstrates that the extract of S. baicalensis has effective anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and baicalein and analogue compounds are strong SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitors. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

17: Effector membrane translocation biosensors reveal G protein and β-arrestin coupling profiles of 100 therapeutically relevant GPCRs
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Posted 24 Apr 2020

Effector membrane translocation biosensors reveal G protein and β-arrestin coupling profiles of 100 therapeutically relevant GPCRs
4,651 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Charlotte Avet, Arturo Mancini, Billy Breton, Christian Le Gouill, Alexander S. Hauser, Claire Normand, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Florence Gross, Mireille Hogue, Viktoriya Lukasheva, Stephane St-Onge, Marilyn Carrier, Madeleine Heroux, Sandra Morissette, Eric B. Fauman, Jean-Philippe Fortin, Stephan Schann, Xavier Leroy, David Gloriam, Michel Bouvier

The recognition that individual GPCR can activate multiple signaling pathways has raised the possibility of developing drugs selectively targeting therapeutically relevant ones. This requires tools to determine which G proteins and {beta}arrestins are activated by a given receptor. Here, we present a set of BRET sensors monitoring the activation of the 12 G protein subtypes based on the translocation of their effectors to the plasma membrane (EMTA). Unlike most of the existing detection systems, EMTA does not require modification of receptors or G proteins (except for Gs). EMTA was found to be suitable for the detection of constitutive activity, inverse agonism, biased signaling and polypharmacology. Profiling of 100 therapeutically relevant human GPCRs resulted in 1,500 pathway-specific concentration-response curves and revealed a great diversity of coupling profiles ranging from exquisite selectivity to broad promiscuity. Overall, this work describes unique resources for studying the complexities underlying GPCR signaling and pharmacology.

18: Human ACE2 peptide mimics block SARS-CoV-2 Pulmonary Cells Infection
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Posted 24 Aug 2020

Human ACE2 peptide mimics block SARS-CoV-2 Pulmonary Cells Infection
4,575 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Philippe Karoyan, Vincent Vieillard, Estelle Odile, Alexis Denis, Amélie Guihot, Charles-Edouard Luyt, Luis Gómez-Morales, Pascal Grondin, Olivier Lequin

In the light of the recent accumulated knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and its mode of human cells invasion, the binding of viral spike glycoprotein to human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor plays a central role in cell entry. We designed a series of peptides mimicking the N-terminal helix of hACE2 protein which contains most of the contacting residues at the binding site and have a high helical folding propensity in aqueous solution. Our best peptide mimics bind to the virus spike protein with high affinity and are able to block SARS-CoV-2 human pulmonary cell infection with an inhibitory concentration (IC50) in the nanomolar range. These first in class blocking peptide mimics represent powerful tools that might be used in prophylactic and therapeutic approaches to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). ### Competing Interest Statement The authors declare the following competing financial interest(s): The patent application EP20305449.9 included results from this paper. The authors declare that no other competing interests exist.

19: Boceprevir, GC-376, and calpain inhibitors II, XII inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication by targeting the viral main protease
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Posted 20 Apr 2020

Boceprevir, GC-376, and calpain inhibitors II, XII inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication by targeting the viral main protease
4,573 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Chunlong Ma, Michael D. Sacco, Brett Hurst, Julia A Townsend, Yanmei Hu, Tommy Szeto, Xiujun Zhang, Bart Tarbet, Michael T Marty, Yu Chen, Jun Wang

A novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, also called novel coronavirus 2019 (nCoV-19), started to circulate among humans around December 2019, and it is now widespread as a global pandemic. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus is called COVID-19, which is highly contagious and has an overall mortality rate of 6.96% as of May 4, 2020. There is no vaccine or antiviral available for SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we report our discovery of inhibitors targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). Using the FRET-based enzymatic assay, several inhibitors including boceprevir, GC-376, and calpain inhibitors II, and XII were identified to have potent activity with single-digit to submicromolar IC50 values in the enzymatic assay. The mechanism of action of the hits was further characterized using enzyme kinetic studies, thermal shift binding assays, and native mass spectrometry. Significantly, four compounds (boceprevir, GC-376, calpain inhibitors II and XII) inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication in cell culture with EC50 values ranging from 0.49 to 3.37 μM. Notably, boceprevir, calpain inhibitors II and XII represent novel chemotypes that are distinct from known Mpro inhibitors. A complex crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro with GC-376, determined at 2.15 Å resolution with three monomers per asymmetric unit, revealed two unique binding configurations, shedding light on the molecular interactions and protein conformational flexibility underlying substrate and inhibitor binding by Mpro. Overall, the compounds identified herein provide promising starting points for the further development of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics. ### Competing Interest Statement J. W. and C. M. are inventors of a pending patent that claims the use of the identified compounds for COVID-19.

20: Nucleotide Analogues as Inhibitors of Viral Polymerases
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Posted 31 Jan 2020

Nucleotide Analogues as Inhibitors of Viral Polymerases
4,452 downloads bioRxiv pharmacology and toxicology

Jingyue Ju, Shiv Kumar, Xiaoxu Li, Steffen Jockusch, James J. Russo

Coronaviruses such as the newly discovered virus from Wuhan, China, 2019-nCoV, and the viruses that cause SARS and MERS, have resulted in regional and global public health emergencies. Based on our molecular insight that the hepatitis C virus and the coronavirus use a similar viral genome replication mechanism, we reasoned that the FDA-approved drug EPCLUSA (Sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir) for the treatment of hepatitis C will also inhibit the above coronaviruses, including 2019-nCoV. To develop broad spectrum anti-viral agents, we further describe a novel strategy to design and synthesize viral polymerase inhibitors, by combining the ProTide Prodrug approach used in the development of Sofosbuvir with the use of 3′-blocking groups that we have previously built into nucleotide analogues that function as polymerase terminators.

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