To date, Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTAC) technology has been successfully applied to mediate proteasomal-induced degradation of several pharmaceutical targets mainly related to oncology, immune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. On the other hand, its exploitation in the field of antiviral drug discovery is still in its infancy. Recently, we described two indomethacin (INM)-based PROTACs displaying broad-spectrum antiviral activity against coronaviruses. Here, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of a novel series of INM-based PROTACs that recruit either Von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) or cereblon (CRBN) E3 ligases. The panel of INM-based PROTACs was also enlarged by varying the linker moiety. The antiviral activity resulted very susceptible to this modification, particularly for PROTACs hijacking VHL as E3 ligase, with one piperazine-based compound (PROTAC 6) showing potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in infected human lung cells. Interestingly, degradation assays in both uninfected and virus-infected cells with the most promising PROTACs emerged so far (PROTACs 5 and 6) demonstrated that INM-PROTACs do not degrade human PGES-2 protein, as initially hypothesized, but induce the concentration-dependent degradation of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) both in Mpro-transfected and in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Importantly, thanks to the target degradation, INM-PROTACs exhibited a considerable enhancement in antiviral activity with respect to indomethacin, with EC50 values in the low-micromolar/nanomolar range. Finally, kinetic solubility as well as metabolic and chemical stability were measured for PROTACs 5 and 6. Altogether, the identification of INM-based PROTACs as the first class of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro degraders demonstrating activity also in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells represents a significant advance in the development of effective, broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus strategies.

Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of first-in-class indomethacin-based PROTACs degrading SARS-CoV-2 main protease and with broad-spectrum antiviral activity

Desantis, Jenny;Eleuteri, Michela;Bianconi, Elisa;Macchiarulo, Antonio;Goracci, Laura
2024

Abstract

To date, Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTAC) technology has been successfully applied to mediate proteasomal-induced degradation of several pharmaceutical targets mainly related to oncology, immune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. On the other hand, its exploitation in the field of antiviral drug discovery is still in its infancy. Recently, we described two indomethacin (INM)-based PROTACs displaying broad-spectrum antiviral activity against coronaviruses. Here, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of a novel series of INM-based PROTACs that recruit either Von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) or cereblon (CRBN) E3 ligases. The panel of INM-based PROTACs was also enlarged by varying the linker moiety. The antiviral activity resulted very susceptible to this modification, particularly for PROTACs hijacking VHL as E3 ligase, with one piperazine-based compound (PROTAC 6) showing potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in infected human lung cells. Interestingly, degradation assays in both uninfected and virus-infected cells with the most promising PROTACs emerged so far (PROTACs 5 and 6) demonstrated that INM-PROTACs do not degrade human PGES-2 protein, as initially hypothesized, but induce the concentration-dependent degradation of SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) both in Mpro-transfected and in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Importantly, thanks to the target degradation, INM-PROTACs exhibited a considerable enhancement in antiviral activity with respect to indomethacin, with EC50 values in the low-micromolar/nanomolar range. Finally, kinetic solubility as well as metabolic and chemical stability were measured for PROTACs 5 and 6. Altogether, the identification of INM-based PROTACs as the first class of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro degraders demonstrating activity also in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells represents a significant advance in the development of effective, broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus strategies.
2024
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1569323
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact