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Structural characterization of cocktail-like targeting polysaccharides from Ecklonia kurome Okam and their anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities in vitro

By Kan Ding, Bo Zhang, Xinwen Chen, Yechun Xu, Chunfan Huang, Can Jin, Zhenyun Du, Xia Chen, Yaqi Ding, Hao Sun, Meixia Li, Rongjuan Pei, Shihai Zhang, Minbo Su, Yi Zhang, Jia Li

Posted 15 Jan 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.14.426521

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent responsible for the worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Investigation has confirmed that polysaccharide heparan sulfate can bind to the spike protein and block SARS-CoV-2 infection. Theoretically, similar structure of nature polysaccharides may also have the impact on the virus. Indeed, some marine polysaccharide has been reported to inhibit SARS-Cov-2 infection in vitro, however the convinced targets and mechanism are still vague. By high throughput screening to target 3CLpro enzyme, a key enzyme that plays a pivotal role in the viral replication and transcription using nature polysaccharides library, we discover the mixture polysaccharide 375 from seaweed Ecklonia kurome completely block 3CLpro enzymatic activity (IC50, 0.48 M). Further, the homogeneous polysaccharide 37502 from the 375 may bind to 3CLpro molecule well (kD value: 4.23x10-6). Very interestingly, 37502 also can potently disturb Spike protein binding to ACE2 receptor (EC50, 2.01 M). Importantly, polysaccharide 375 shows good anti-SARS-CoV-2 infection activity in cell culture with EC50 values of 27 nM (99.9 % inhibiting rate at the concentration of 20 g/mL), low toxicity (LD50: 136 mg/Kg on mice). By DEAE ion-exchange chromatography, 37501, 37502 and 37503 polysaccharides are purified from native 375. Bioactivity test show that 37501 and 37503 may impede SARS-Cov-2 infection and virus replication, however their individual impact on the virus is significantly less that of 375. Surprisingly, 37502 polysaccharide has no inhibition effect on SARS-Cov-2. The structure study based on monosaccharide composition, methylation, NMR spectrum analysis suggest that 375 contains guluronic acid, mannuronic acid, mannose, rhamnose, glucouronic acid, galacturonic acid, glucose, galactose, xylose and fucose with ratio of 1.86 : 9.56 : 6.81 : 1.69 : 1.00 : 1.75 : 1.19 : 11.06 : 4.31 : 23.06. However, 37502 is an aginate which composed of mannuronic acid (89.3 %) and guluronic acid (10.7 %), with the molecular weight (Mw) of 27.9 kDa. These results imply that mixture polysaccharides 375 works better than the individual polysaccharide on SARS-Cov-2 may be the cocktail-like polysaccharide synergistic function through targeting multiple key molecules implicated in the virus infection and replication. The results also suggest that 375 may be a potential drug candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

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