UCI researchers develop novel molecule for COVID-19 treatment

UCI researchers develop novel molecule for COVID-19 treatment


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: University of California

  • Date: 06 Aug,2020

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, nearly everyone in the University of California, Irvine — and colleges across the country — had to abandon campus.

That’s because his laboratory, which designs and constructs chemical molecules, had the ideal equipment to aid in the international push to locate remedies for COVID-19.

Nowick’s group set to work in April, and now, on the preprint server bioRxiv, they characterize the growth of a ring-shaped molecule called a macrocycle that is intended to gum up the machines of this virus by blocking the action of an enzyme essential in order for it to reproduce.

But Kreutzer triumphed on his first try with the macrocycle that the team thought might work. “It’s a novel molecule that’s never been produced before,” he explained.

The researchers then tested the macrocycle to find out whether it might block the action of this coronavirus enzyme. The macrocycle binds to a molecule molecule known as the most important protease that’s necessary for the virus to operate.

The protease cleaves long strings of proteins the virus forces its host cell to create into different parts, which the virus then uses to maintain replicating.

The new macrocycle, Kreutzer stated,”stays there at the active site of the enzyme and makes it nonfunctional.”

The research goes hand-in-hand with work in the laboratory of Rachel Martin, also a UCI professor of chemistry, who’s determining the array of shapes that the coronavirus’s most important protease can shoot.

Identifying these various structures is what allowed Nowick’s laboratory to design a macrocycle that may lock onto the coronavirus.

This strategy for discontinuing the protease, Nowick mentioned, is precisely the same used in an integral category of drugs for treating human immunodeficiency virus. But since the germs are so different, the exact same inhibitors can’t be used for either.

Now that Nowick’s laboratory has a prototype called an”first strike,” researchers need to make additional molecules which are more successful in preventing the protease. Then they need to work out how to actually deliver the very best molecule to infected cells.

Journal reference:

Kreutzer, A. G., et al. (2020) Structure-Based Design of a Cyclic Peptide Inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease. bioRxⅳ. doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.03.234872.

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