Identification of novel inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor from Urtica dioica to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Mol Divers. 2021 Jan 4. Epub 2021 Jan 4. PMID: 33398633
The pandemic outbreak of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is rapidly spreading across the globe, so the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents is urgently needed. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), a human receptor that facilitates entry of SARS-CoV-2, serves as a prominent target for drug discovery. In the present study, we have applied the bioinformatics approach for screening of a series of bioactive chemical compounds from Himalayan stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) as potent inhibitors of ACE-2 receptor (PDB ID: 1R4L). The molecular docking was applied to dock a set of representative compounds within the active site region of target receptor protein using 0.8 version of the PyRx virtual screen tool and analyzed by using discovery studio visualizer. Based on the highest binding affinity, 23 compounds were shortlisted as a lead molecule using molecular docking analysis. Among them,β-sitosterol was found with the highest binding affinity - 12.2 kcal/mol and stable interactions with the amino acid residues present on the active site of the ACE-2 receptor. Similarly, luteoxanthin and violaxanthin followed by rutin also displayed stronger binding efficiency. We propose thesecompounds as potential lead candidates for the development of target-specific therapeutic drugs against COVID-19.