The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 represents a global public health emergency. The entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells requires the activation of its spike protein by host cell proteases. The serine protease, TMPRSS2, and cysteine proteases, Cathepsins B/L, activate spike protein and enable SARS-CoV-2 entry to the host cell through two completely different and independent pathways. Therefore, inhibiting either TMPRSS2 or cathepsin B/L may not sufficiently block the virus entry. We here hypothesized that simultaneous targeting of both the entry pathways would be more efficient to block the virus entry rather than targeting the entry pathways individually. To this end, we utilized the network-based drug repurposing analyses to identify the possible common drugs that can target both the entry pathways. This study, for the first time, reports the molecules like cyclosporine, calcitriol, and estradiol as candidate drugs with the binding ability to the host proteases, TMPRSS2, and cathepsin B/L. Next, we analyzed drug–gene and gene–gene interaction networks using 332 human targets of SARS-CoV-2 proteins. The network results indicate that, out of 332 human proteins, cyclosporine interacts with 216 (65%) proteins. Furthermore, we performed molecular docking and all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to explore the binding of drug with TMPRSS2 and cathepsin L. The molecular docking and MD simulation results showed strong and stable binding of cyclosporine A (CsA) with TMPRSS2 and CTSL genes. The above results indicate cyclosporine as a potential drug molecule, as apart from interacting with SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors, it also interacts with most of SARS-CoV-2 target host genes; thus it could potentially interfere with functions of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in human cells. We here also suggest that these antiviral drugs alone or in combination can simultaneously target both the entry pathways and thus can be considered as a potential treatment option for COVID-19.
Click here to know more:- https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.1c00019