- Sacco MD, Ma C, Lagarias P, Gao A, Townsend JA, Meng X, Dube P, Zhang X, Hu Y, Kitamura N, Hurst B, Tarbet B, Marty MT, Kolocouris A, Xiang Y, Chen Y, Wang J
- Structure and inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease reveals strategy for developing dual inhibitors against M(pro) and cathepsin L.
- Sci Adv. 2020 Nov 6. pii: sciadv.abe0751. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abe0751.
- The main protease (M(pro)) of SARS-CoV-2 is a key antiviral drug target. While most M(pro) inhibitors have a gamma-lactam glutamine surrogate at the P1 position, we recently discovered several M(pro) inhibitors have hydrophobic moieties at the P1 site, including calpain inhibitors II and XII, which are also active against human cathepsin L, a host-protease that is important for viral entry. In this study, we solved X-ray crystal structures of M(pro) in complex with calpain inhibitors II and XII, and three analogs of GC-376 The structure of M(pro) with calpain inhibitor II confirmed the S1 pocket can accommodate a hydrophobic methionine side chain, challenging the idea that a hydrophilic residue is necessary at this position. Interestingly, the structure of calpain inhibitor XII revealed an unexpected, inverted binding pose. Taken together, the biochemical, computational, structural, and cellular data presented herein provide new directions for the development of dual inhibitors as SARS-CoV-2 antivirals.