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Design and Evaluation of a Novel Peptide-Drug Conjugate Covalently Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Papain-like Protease.

ABSTRACT: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a global health threat, was caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The SARS-CoV-2 papain-like cysteine protease (PLpro) was recognized as a promising drug target because of multiple functions in virus maturation and antiviral immune responses. Inhibitor GRL0617 occupied the interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) C-terminus-binding pocket and showed an effective antiviral inhibition. Here, we described a novel peptide-drug conjugate (PDC), in which GRL0617 was linked to a sulfonium-tethered peptide derived from PLpro-specific substrate LRGG. The EM-C and EC-M PDCs showed a promising in vitro IC50 of 7.40 ± 0.37 and 8.63 ± 0.55 μM, respectively. EC-M could covalently label PLpro active site C111 and display anti-ISGylation activities in cellular assays. The results represent the first attempt to design PDCs composed of stabilized peptide inhibitors and GRL0617 to inhibit PLpro. These novel PDCs provide promising opportunities for antiviral drug design.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8753845 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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