Despite the recent development of RNA replication-targeted COVID-19 drugs by global pharmaceutical companies, their prescription in clinical practice is limited by certain factors, including drug interaction, reproductive toxicity, and drug resistance. COVID-19 drugs with multiple targets for the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle may lead to a successful reduction in drug resistance as well as enhanced therapeutic efficacy, and natural products are a potential source of molecules with therapeutic effects against COVID-19. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory efficacy of mulberrofuran G (MG), a component of Morus alba L., also known as mulberry, which has been used as food and traditional medicine, on the binding of the spike S1 receptor-binding domain (RBD) protein to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is the initial stage of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. In competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, MG effectively blocked the spike S1 RBD: ACE2 receptor molecular binding, and investigations using the BLItz system and in silico modeling revealed that MG has high affinity for both proteins. Finally, we confirmed that MG inhibits the entry of SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped virus and a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2 into cells, suggesting that MG might be a promising therapeutic candidate for preventing SARS-CoV-2 binding to the cell surface during early infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; mulberry; mulberrofuran G; spike protein; ACE2 receptor
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