Sumary of Scientist explore conserved RNA elements as potential targets for anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs:
- As the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen behind the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, continues to spread, developing effective drugs to combat the viral spread is crucial.
- Researchers at Goethe University and their collaborators in the international COVID-19-NMR consortium have found that certain regions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome might be an appropriate target for future drugs.
- The study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, identified many small molecules that bind to certain parts of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that are less likely altered by mutations using dedicated substance libraries.
- In the genome, 15 RNA elements were shown as conserved between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Previously, scientists determined that these elements fold independently via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
- However, only a few experimental screenings for ligands directly target the structured RNA elements in SARS-CoV-2. The study Related StoriesThe researchers reported a holistic NMR-based screening campaign investigating previously detected structured RNA elements in the current study.
- From there, the team determined the druggability of these regulatory RNA elements by NMR-based screening, utilizing a workflow used in the past.
- The researchers also used a well-characterized and highly diverse fragment library.
- Lead researchers Professor Harald Schwalbe said, “Three of the molecules even bind specifically to just one RNA segment.