In silico Investigation on the Inhibiting Role of Nicotine/Caffeine by Blocking the S Protein of SARS-CoV-2 Versus ACE2 Receptor

Microorganisms. 2020 Oct 17;8(10):1600. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8101600.


In this paper, we studied the in silico interaction of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) human receptor with two bioactive compounds, i.e., nicotine and caffeine, via molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. The simulations reveal the efficient blocking of ACE2 by caffeine and nicotine in the exposure to the spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We have selected the two most important active sites of ACE2-S protein, i.e., 6LZG and 6VW1, which are critically responsible in the interaction of S protein to the receptor and thus, we investigated their interaction with nicotine and caffeine through MD simulations. Caffeine and nicotine are interesting structures for interactions because of their similar structure to the candidate antiviral drugs. Our results reveal that caffeine or nicotine in a specific molar ratio to 6LZG shows a very strong interaction and indicate that caffeine is more efficient in the interaction with 6LZG and further blocking of this site against S protein binding. Further, we investigated the interaction of ACE2 receptor- S protein with nicotine or caffeine when mixed with candidate or approved antiviral drugs for SARS-CoV-2 therapy. Our MD simulations suggest that the combination of caffeine with ribavirin shows a stronger interaction with 6VW1, while in case of favipiravir+nicotine, 6LZG shows potent efficacy of these interaction, proposing the potent efficacy of these combinations for blocking ACE2 receptor against SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: ACE2 human receptors; anti-COVID-19; nicotine and caffeine.