The binding mechanism of ivermectin and levosalbutamol with spike protein of SARS-CoV-2

Struct Chem. 2021;32(5):1985-1992. doi: 10.1007/s11224-021-01776-0. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


In this study, we have investigated the binding mechanism of two FDA-approved drugs (ivermectin and levosalbutamol) with the spike protein of SARs-CoV-2 using three different computational modeling techniques. Molecular docking results predict that ivermectin shows a large binding affinity for spike protein (- 9.0 kcal/mol) compared to levosalbutamol (- 4.1 kcal/mol). Ivermectin binds with LEU492, GLN493, GLY496, and TRY505 residues in the spike protein through hydrogen bonds and levosalbutamol binds with TYR453 and TYR505 residues. Using density functional theory (DFT) studies, we have calculated the binding energies between ivermectin and levosalbutamol with residues in spike protein which favor their binding are - 22.4 kcal/mol and - 21.08 kcal/mol, respectively. The natural bond orbital (NBO) charge analysis has been performed to estimate the amount of charge transfer that occurred by two drugs during interaction with residues. Molecular dynamics (MD) study confirms the stability of spike protein bound with ivermectin through RMSD and RMSF analyses. Three different computer modeling techniques reveal that ivermectin is more stable than levosalbutamol in the active site of spike protein where hACE2 binds. Therefore, ivermectin can be a suitable inhibitor for SARS-CoV-2 to enter into the human cell through hACE2.

Keywords: COVID-19; Docking; Ivermectin; MD simulation; SARS-CoV-2; hACE2.