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Remdesivir Strongly Binds to RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase, Membrane Protein, and Main Protease of SARS-CoV-2: Indication from Molecular Modeling and Simulations

Khan, F.I.; Kang, T.; Ali, H.; Lai, D.

Frontiers in Pharmacology 12: 710778

2021


ISSN/ISBN: 1663-9812
PMID: 34305617
Accession: 072451272

Development of new drugs is a time-taking and expensive process. Comprehensive efforts are being made globally toward the search of therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2. Several drugs such as remdesivir, favipiravir, ritonavir, and lopinavir have been included in the treatment regimen and shown effective results in several cases. Among the existing broad-spectrum antiviral drugs, remdesivir is found to be more effective against SARS-CoV-2. Remdesivir has broad-spectrum antiviral action against many single-stranded RNA viruses including pathogenic SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). In this study, we proposed that remdesivir strongly binds to membrane protein (Mprotein), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDRP), and main protease (Mprotease) of SARS-CoV-2. It might show antiviral activity by inhibiting more than one target. It has been found that remdesivir binds to Mprotease, Mprotein, and RDRP with -7.8, -7.4, and -7.1 kcal/mol, respectively. The structure dynamics study suggested that binding of remdesivir leads to unfolding of RDRP. It has been found that strong binding of remdesivir to Mprotein leads to decrease in structural deviations and gyrations. Additionally, the average solvent-accessible surface area of Mprotein decreases from 127.17 to 112.12 nm2, respectively. Furthermore, the eigenvalues and the trace of the covariance matrix were found to be low in case of Mprotease-remdesivir, Mprotein-remdesivir, and RDRP-remdesivir. Binding of remdesivir to Mprotease, Mprotein, and RDRP reduces the average motions in protein due to its strong binding. The MMPBSA calculations also suggested that remdesivir has strong binding affinity with Mprotein, Mprotease, and RDRP. The detailed analysis suggested that remdesivir has more than one target of SARS-CoV-2.

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