Molecules 2021, 26, 4961.
Autores/as: Bouback, T.A.; Pokhrel, S.; Albeshri, A.; Aljohani, A.M.; Samad, A.; Alam, R.; Hossen, M.S.; Al-Ghamdi, K.; Talukder, M.E.K.; Ahammad, F.; Qadri, I.; Simal-Gandara, J.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly infectious zoonotic virus first reported into the human population in September 2012 on the Arabian Peninsula. The virus causes severe and often lethal respiratory illness in humans with an unusually high fatality rate. The N-terminal domain (NTD) of receptor-binding S1 subunit of coronavirus spike (S) proteins can recognize a variety of host protein and mediates entry into human host cells. Blocking the entry by targeting the S1-NTD of the virus can facilitate the development of effective antiviral drug candidates against the pathogen. Therefore, the study has been designed to identify effective antiviral drug candidates against the MERS-CoV by targeting S1-NTD. Initially, a structure-based pharmacophore model (SBPM) to the active site (AS) cavity of the S1-NTD has been generated, followed by pharmacophore-based virtual screening of 11,295 natural compounds. Hits generated through the pharmacophore-based virtual screening have re-ranked by molecular docking and further evaluated through the ADMET properties. The compounds with the best ADME and toxicity properties have been retrieved, and a quantum mechanical (QM) based density-functional theory (DFT) has been performed to optimize the geometry of the selected compounds. Three optimized natural compounds, namely Taiwanhomoflavone B (Amb23604132), 2,3-Dihydrohinokiflavone (Amb23604659), and Sophoricoside (Amb1153724), have exhibited substantial docking energy >−9.00 kcal/mol, where analysis of frontier molecular orbital (FMO) theory found the low chemical reactivity correspondence to the bioactivity of the compounds. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation confirmed the stability of the selected natural compound to the binding site of the protein. Additionally, molecular mechanics generalized born surface area (MM/GBSA) predicted the good value of binding free energies (ΔG bind) of the compounds to the desired protein. Convincingly, all the results support the potentiality of the selected compounds as natural antiviral candidates against the MERS-CoV S1-NTD.