1,7-Bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,4,6-heptatrien-3-one inhibits SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the nucleocapsid protein

Announcing a new publication for Acta Materia Medica journal.  Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread globally since 2020. The nucleocapsid (N) protein plays a crucial role in the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2. The authors of this article have established a method to screen inhibitors of N protein by using microscale thermophoresis assays to obtain potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. 1,7-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,4,6-heptatrien-3-one (N-17, a diphenylheptane) was identified as a compound with outstanding inhibitory activity. The binding of N-17 to the N-terminal domain of N protein (N-NTD) was further validated by using drug affinity responsive target stability assays. The ability of N-17 to bind N protein was evaluated and the affinity of N-17 to the N-NTD with molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulation was predicted. N-17 exhibited excellent anti-viral activity against HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2, with EC50 values of 0.16 ± 0.01 μM and 0.17 ± 0.07 μM, respectively. Thus, a novel SARS-CoV-2 inhibitor targeting the N protein was discovered and its anti-viral activity in vitro was validated. The results may contribute to the development of promising therapeutic agents for COVID-19


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Yang Liu, Kuiru Sa and Wei Xu et al. 1,7-Bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,4,6-heptatrien-3-one inhibits SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the nucleocapsid protein. Acta Materia Medica. 2023. Vol. 2(3):270-280. DOI: 10.15212/AMM-2023-0021