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The Coronavirus Disease 2019, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is an exceptionally contagious disease that leads to global epidemics with elevated mortality and morbidity. There are currently no efficacious drugs targeting coronavirus disease 2019, therefore, it is an urgent requirement for the development of drugs to control this emerging disease. Owing to the importance of nucleocapsid protein, the present study focuses on targeting the N-terminal domain of nucleocapsid protein from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 to identify the potential compounds by computational approaches such as pharmacophore modeling, virtual screening, docking and molecular dynamics. We found three molecules (ZINC000257324845, ZINC000005169973 and ZINC000009913056), which adopted a similar conformation as guanosine monophosphate (GMP) within the N-terminal domain active site and exhibiting high binding affinity (>-8.0 kcalmol-1). All the identified compounds were stabilized by hydrogen bonding with Arg107, Tyr111 and Arg149 of N-terminal domain. Additionally, the aromatic ring of lead molecules formed π interactions with Tyr109 of N-terminal domain. Molecular dynamics and Molecular mechanic/Poisson-Boltzmann surface area results revealed that N-terminal domain - ligand(s) complexes are less dynamic and more stable than N-terminal domain - GMP complex. As the identified compounds share the same corresponding pharmacophore properties, therefore, the present results may serve as a potential lead for the development of inhibitors against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.


Poonam Dhankhar, Vikram Dalal, Vishakha Singh, Shailly Tomar, Pravindra Kumar. Computational guided identification of novel potent inhibitors of N-terminal domain of nucleocapsid protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics. 2022 Jun;40(9):4084-4099

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PMID: 33251943

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