ARS-CoV-2 has been responsible for causing 6,218,308 deaths globally till date and has garnered worldwide attention. The lack of effective preventive and therapeutic drugs against SARS-CoV-2 has further worsened the scenario and has bolstered research in the area. The N-terminal and C-terminal RNA binding domains (NTD and CTD) of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein represent attractive therapeutic drug targets. Naturally occurring compounds are an excellent source of novel drug candidates due to their structural diversity and safety. Ten major bioactive compounds were identified in ethanolic extract (s) of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum tamala, Origanum vulgare, and Petroselinum crispum using HPLC and their cytotoxic potential was determined against cancer and normal cell lines by MTT assay to ascertain their biological activity in vitro. To evaluate their antiviral potential, the binding efficacy to NTD and CTD of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein was determined using in silico biology tools. In silico assessment of the phytocomponents revealed that most of the phytoconstituents displayed a druglike character with no predicted toxicity. Binding affinities were in the order apigenin > catechin > apiin toward SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid NTD. Toward nucleocapsid CTD, the affinity decreased as apigenin > cinnamic acid > catechin. Remdesivir displayed lesser affinity with NTD and CTD of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid proteins than any of the studied phytoconstituents. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation results revealed that throughout the 100 ns simulation, SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein NTD-apigenin complex displayed greater stability than SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein NTD-cinnamic acid complex. Hence, apigenin, catechin, apiin and cinnamic acid might prove as effective prophylactic and therapeutic candidates against SARS-CoV-2, if examined further in vitro and in vivo.

Fuente: Journal of Food Biochemistry

First published: 07 July 2022