Tetracycline as an inhibitor to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

13 Aug 2020  ·  Tom Y. Zhao, Neelesh A. Patankar ·

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 remains an extant threat against public health on a global scale. Cell infection begins when the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds with the cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)... Here, we address the role of Tetracycline as an inhibitor for the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. Targeted molecular investigation show that Tetracycline binds more favorably to the RBD (-9.40 kcal/mol) compared to Chloroquine (-6.31 kcal/mol) or Doxycycline (-8.08 kcal/mol) and inhibits attachment to ACE2 to a greater degree (binding efficiency of 2.98 $\frac{\text{kcal}}{\text{mol}\cdot \text{nm}^2}$ for Tetracycline-RBD, 5.59 $\frac{\text{kcal}}{\text{mol}\cdot \text{nm}^2}$ for Chloroquine-RBD, 5.16 $\frac{\text{kcal}}{\text{mol}\cdot \text{nm}^2}$ for Doxycycline-RBD). Stronger Tetracycline inhibition is verified with nonequilibrium PMF calculations, for which the Tetracycline-RBD complex exhibits the lowest free energy profile along the dissociation pathway from ACE2. Tetracycline appears to target viral residues that are usually involved in significant hydrogen bonding with ACE2; this inhibition of cellular infection complements the anti-inflammatory and cytokine suppressing capability of Tetracycline, and may further reduce the duration of ICU stays and mechanical ventilation induced by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. read more

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