Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences (Jul 2021)
Indian Ethnomedicinal Phytochemicals as Promising Inhibitors of RNA-Binding Domain of SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Phosphoprotein: An In Silico Study
SARS-CoV-2, an etiological agent of COVID-19, has been the reason for the unexpected global pandemic, causing severe mortality and imposing devastative effects on public health. Despite extensive research work put forward by scientist around globe, so far, no suitable drug or vaccine (safe, affordable, and efficacious) has been identified to treat SARS-CoV-2. As an alternative way of improvising the COVID-19 treatment strategy, that is, strengthening of host immune system, a great deal of attention has been given to phytocompounds from medicinal herbs worldwide. In a similar fashion, the present study deliberately focuses on the phytochemicals of three Indian herbal medicinal plants viz., Mentha arvensis, Coriandrum sativum, and Ocimum sanctum for their efficacy to target well-recognized viral receptor protein through molecular docking and dynamic analyses. Nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N) of SARS-CoV-2, being a pivotal player in replication, transcription, and viral genome assembly, has been recognized as one of the most attractive viral receptor protein targets for controlling the viral multiplication in the host. Out of 127 phytochemicals screened, nine (linarin, eudesmol, cadinene, geranyl acetate, alpha-thujene, germacrene A, kaempferol-3-O-glucuronide, kaempferide, and baicalin) were found to be phenomenal in terms of exhibiting high binding affinity toward the catalytic pocket of target N-protein. Further, the ADMET prediction analysis unveiled the non-tumorigenic, noncarcinogenic, nontoxic, non-mutagenic, and nonreproductive nature of the identified bioactive molecules. Furthermore, the data of molecular dynamic simulation validated the conformational and dynamic stability of the docked complexes. Concomitantly, the data of the present study validated the anti-COVID efficacy of the bioactives from selected medicinal plants of Indian origin.