The identification of novel therapeutics against the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 infection is an indispensable new address of current scientific research. In the search for anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents as alternatives to the vaccine or immune therapeutics whose efficacy naturally degrades with the occurrence of new variants, the salts of Bi3+ have been found to decrease the activity of the Zn2+-dependent non-structural protein 13 (nsp13) helicase, a key component of the SARS-CoV-2 molecular tool kit. Here, we present a multilevel computational investigation based on the articulation of DFT calculations, classical MD simulations, and MIF analyses, focused on the examination of the effects of Bi3+/Zn2+ exchange on the structure and molecular interaction features of the nsp13 protein. Our calculations confirmed that Bi3+ ions can replace Zn2+ in the zinc-finger metal centers and cause slight but appreciable structural modifications in the zinc-binding domain of nsp13. Nevertheless, by employing an in-house-developed ATOMIF tool, we evidenced that such a Bi3+/Zn2+ exchange may decrease the extension of a specific hydrophobic portion of nsp13, responsible for the interaction with the nsp12 protein. The present study provides for a detailed, atomistic insight into the potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of Bi3+ and, more generally, evidences the hampering of the nsp13-nsp12 interaction as a plausible therapeutic strategy.

Structural Reshaping of the Zinc-Finger Domain of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp13 Protein Using Bismuth(III) Ions: A Multilevel Computational Study

Storchi L.;Marrone A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

The identification of novel therapeutics against the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 infection is an indispensable new address of current scientific research. In the search for anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents as alternatives to the vaccine or immune therapeutics whose efficacy naturally degrades with the occurrence of new variants, the salts of Bi3+ have been found to decrease the activity of the Zn2+-dependent non-structural protein 13 (nsp13) helicase, a key component of the SARS-CoV-2 molecular tool kit. Here, we present a multilevel computational investigation based on the articulation of DFT calculations, classical MD simulations, and MIF analyses, focused on the examination of the effects of Bi3+/Zn2+ exchange on the structure and molecular interaction features of the nsp13 protein. Our calculations confirmed that Bi3+ ions can replace Zn2+ in the zinc-finger metal centers and cause slight but appreciable structural modifications in the zinc-binding domain of nsp13. Nevertheless, by employing an in-house-developed ATOMIF tool, we evidenced that such a Bi3+/Zn2+ exchange may decrease the extension of a specific hydrophobic portion of nsp13, responsible for the interaction with the nsp12 protein. The present study provides for a detailed, atomistic insight into the potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of Bi3+ and, more generally, evidences the hampering of the nsp13-nsp12 interaction as a plausible therapeutic strategy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/790522
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