The guanosine analog AT-527 represents a promising candidate against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2). AT-527 recently entered phase III clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Once in cells, AT-527 is converted into its triphosphate form, AT-9010, that presumably targets the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp, nsp12), for incorporation into viral RNA. Here we report a 2.98 Å cryo-EM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp12-nsp7-nsp82-RNA complex, showing AT-9010 bound at three sites of nsp12. In the RdRp active-site, one AT-9010 is incorporated at the 3′ end of the RNA product strand. Its modified ribose group (2′-fluoro, 2′-methyl) prevents correct alignment of the incoming NTP, in this case a second AT-9010, causing immediate termination of RNA synthesis. The third AT-9010 is bound to the N-terminal domain of nsp12 – known as the NiRAN. In contrast to native NTPs, AT-9010 is in a flipped orientation in the active-site, with its guanine base unexpectedly occupying a previously unnoticed cavity. AT-9010 outcompetes all native nucleotides for NiRAN binding, inhibiting its nucleotidyltransferase activity. The dual mechanism of action of AT-527 at both RdRp and NiRAN active sites represents a promising research avenue against COVID-19.

Fuente: Nature Communications

Published: 02 February 2022