Structural basis for the inhibition of the papain-like protease of SARS-CoV-2 by small molecules
Yong Juan Zhao,
Posted 18 Jul 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.17.208959
Posted 18 Jul 2020
SARS-CoV-2 is the pathogen responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 papain-like cysteine protease has been implicated in virus maturation, dysregulation of host inflammation and antiviral immune responses. We showed that PLpro preferably cleaves the K48-ubiquitin linkage while also being capable of cleaving ISG15 modification. The multiple functions of PLpro render it a promising drug target. Therefore, we screened an FDA-approved drug library and also examined available inhibitors against PLpro. Inhibitor GRL0617 showed a promising IC50 of 2.1 μM. The co-crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro-C111S in complex with GRL0617 suggests that GRL0617 is a non-covalent inhibitor. NMR data indicate that GRL0617 blocks the binding of ISG15 to PLpro. The antiviral activity of GRL0617 reveal that PLpro is a promising drug target for therapeutically treating COVID-19. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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