Ebselen derivatives inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by inhibition of its essential proteins: PLpro and Mpro proteases, and nsp14 guanine N7-methyltransferase

Mikolaj Zmudzinski, Wioletta Rut, Kamila Olech, Jarosław Granda, Mirosław Giurg, Małgorzata Burda-Grabowska, Rafał Kaleta, Michala Zgarbova, Renata Kasprzyk, Linlin Zhang, Xinyuanyuan Sun, Zongyang Lv, Digant Nayak, Malgorzata Kesik-Brodacka, Shaun K. Olsen, Jan Weber, Rolf Hilgenfeld, Jacek Jemielity, Marcin Drag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Proteases encoded by SARS-CoV-2 constitute a promising target for new therapies against COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro, 3CLpro) and papain-like protease (PLpro) are responsible for viral polyprotein cleavage—a process crucial for viral survival and replication. Recently it was shown that 2-phenylbenzisoselenazol-3(2H)-one (ebselen), an organoselenium anti-inflammatory small-molecule drug, is a potent, covalent inhibitor of both the proteases and its potency was evaluated in enzymatic and antiviral assays. In this study, we screened a collection of 34 ebselen and ebselen diselenide derivatives for SARS-CoV-2 PLpro and Mpro inhibitors. Our studies revealed that ebselen derivatives are potent inhibitors of both the proteases. We identified three PLpro and four Mpro inhibitors superior to ebselen. Independently, ebselen was shown to inhibit the N7-methyltransferase activity of SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 protein involved in viral RNA cap modification. Hence, selected compounds were also evaluated as nsp14 inhibitors. In the second part of our work, we employed 11 ebselen analogues—bis(2-carbamoylaryl)phenyl diselenides—in biological assays to evaluate their anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in Vero E6 cells. We present their antiviral and cytoprotective activity and also low cytotoxicity. Our work shows that ebselen, its derivatives, and diselenide analogues constitute a promising platform for development of new antivirals targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9161
JournalScientific reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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