Membrane fusion triggered by Ca2+ is orchestrated by a conserved set of proteins to mediate synaptic neurotransmitter release, mucin secretion and other regulated exocytic processes. For neurotransmitter release, the Ca2+ sensitivity is introduced by interactions between the Ca2+ sensor synaptotagmin and the SNARE complex, and sequence conservation and functional studies suggest that this mechanism is also conserved for mucin secretion. Disruption of Ca2+-triggered membrane fusion by a pharmacological agent would have therapeutic value for mucus hypersecretion as it is the major cause of airway obstruction in the pathophysiology of respiratory viral infection, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. Here authors designed a hydrocarbon-stapled peptide that specifically disrupts Ca2+-triggered membrane fusion by interfering with the so-called primary interface between the neuronal SNARE complex and the Ca2+-binding C2B domain of synaptotagmin-1. In reconstituted systems with these neuronal synaptic proteins or with their airway homologues syntaxin-3, SNAP-23, VAMP8, synaptotagmin-2, along with Munc13-2 and Munc18-2, the stapled peptide strongly suppressed Ca2+-triggered fusion at physiological Ca2+ concentrations. Conjugation of cell-penetrating peptides to the stapled peptide resulted in efficient delivery into cultured human airway epithelial cells and mouse airway epithelium, where it markedly and specifically reduced stimulated mucin secretion in both systems, and substantially attenuated mucus occlusion of mouse airways. Taken together, peptides that disrupt Ca2+-triggered membrane fusion may enable the therapeutic modulation of mucin secretory pathways.
West China Hospital, Sichuan University
Lipoproteins in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria are involved in various vital physiological activities, including multidrug resistance. Synthesized in the cytoplasm and matured in the inner membrane, lipoproteins must be transported to the outer membrane through the Lol pathway mediated by the ATP-binding cassette transporter LolCDE in the inner membrane via an unknown mechanism. Here, we report cryo-EM structures of Escherichia coli LolCDE in apo, lipoprotein-bound, LolA-bound, ADP-bound and AMP-PNP-bound states at a resolution of 3.2–3.8 Å, covering the complete lipoprotein transport cycle. Mutagenesis and in vivo viability assays verify features of the structures and reveal functional residues and structural characteristics of LolCDE. The results provide insights into the mechanisms of sorting and transport of outer-membrane lipoproteins and may guide the development of novel therapies against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
Nat Struct Mol Biol
West China Hospital, SCU
The efficacy and synthetic versatility of asymmetric organocatalysis have contributed enormously to the field of organic synthesis since the early 2000s. As asymmetric organocatalytic methods mature, they have extended beyond the academia and undergone scale-up for the production of chiral drugs, natural products, and enantiomerically enriched bioactive molecules. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the applications of asymmetric organocatalysis in medicinal chemistry. A general picture of asymmetric organocatalytic strategies in medicinal chemistry is firstly presented, and the specific applications of these strategies in pharmaceutical synthesis are systematically described, with a focus on the preparation of antiviral, anticancer, neuroprotective, cardiovascular, antibacterial, and antiparasitic agents, as well as several miscellaneous bioactive agents. The review concludes with a discussion of the challenges, limitations and future prospects for organocatalytic asymmetric synthesis of medicinally valuable compounds.
Chemical Society Reviews
Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus continually poses serious threats to global public health. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 plays a central role in viral replication. We designed and synthesized 32 new bicycloproline-containing Mpro inhibitors derived from either Boceprevir or Telaprevir, both of which are approved antivirals. All compounds inhibited SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity in vitro with IC50 values ranging from 7.6 to 748.5 nM. The co-crystal structure of Mpro in complex with MI-23, one of the most potent compounds, revealed its interaction mode. Two compounds (MI-09 and MI-30) showed excellent antiviral activity in cell-based assays. In a SARS-CoV-2 infection transgenic mouse model, oral or intraperitoneal treatment with MI-09 or MI-30 significantly reduced lung viral loads and lung lesions. Both also displayed good pharmacokinetic properties and safety in rats.
West China Hospital, SCU
Dopamine receptors, including D1- and D2-like receptors, are important therapeutic targets in a variety of neurological syndromes, as well as cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Here, we present five cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of the dopamine D1 receptor (DRD1) coupled to Gs heterotrimer in complex with three catechol-based agonists, a non-catechol agonist, and a positive allosteric modulator for endogenous dopamine. These structures revealed that a polar interaction network is essential for catecholamine-like agonist recognition, whereas specific motifs in the extended binding pocket were responsible for discriminating D1- from D2-like receptors. Moreover, allosteric binding at a distinct inner surface pocket improved the activity of DRD1 by stabilizing endogenous dopamine interaction at the orthosteric site. DRD1-Gs interface revealed key features that serve as determinants for G protein coupling. Together, our study provides a structural understanding of the ligand recognition, allosteric regulation, and G protein coupling mechanisms of DRD1.
West China Hospital, SCU