The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is changing the world like never before. This crisis is unlikely contained in the absence of effective therapeutics or vaccine. The papain-like protease (PLpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays essential roles in virus replication and immune evasion, presenting a promising drug target.
The authors of this paper determined two important structures of SARS-CoV-2 PLpro protease. The unliganded structure has novel crystal packing, high solvent content and reasonable resolution; thus, it offers a good foundation for fragment-based screening targeting the enzyme. The GRL0617 bound structure provides valuable insight into the inhibition mechanism at atomic level. Given that GRL0617 is one of the most promising inhibitors of CoV PLpro, the authors findings will aid further optimization of the inhibitor, which may contribute to speed up therapeutic development of COVID-19.
Gao, X., et al. (2020) Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. doi.org/10.1016/j.apsb.2020.08.014.