Identification of Natural Inhibitors Against SARS-CoV-2 Drugable Targets Using Molecular Docking, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, and MM-PBSA Approach

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Aug 12:11:730288. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.730288. eCollection 2021.


The present study explores the SARS-CoV-2 drugable target inhibition efficacy of phytochemicals from Indian medicinal plants using molecular docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, and MM-PBSA analysis. A total of 130 phytochemicals were screened against SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S)-protein, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and Main protease (Mpro). Result of molecular docking showed that Isoquercetin potentially binds with the active site/protein binding site of the Spike, RdRP, and Mpro targets with a docking score of -8.22, -6.86, and -9.73 kcal/mole, respectively. Further, MS 3, 7-Hydroxyaloin B, 10-Hydroxyaloin A, showed -9.57, -7.07, -8.57 kcal/mole docking score against Spike, RdRP, and Mpro targets respectively. The MD simulation was performed to study the favorable confirmation and energetically stable complex formation ability of Isoquercetin and 10-Hydroxyaloin A phytochemicals in Mpro-unbound/ligand bound/standard inhibitor bound system. The parameters such as RMSD, RMSF, Rg, SASA, Hydrogen-bond formation, energy landscape, principal component analysis showed that the lead phytochemicals form stable and energetically stabilized complex with the target protein. Further, MM-PBSA analysis was performed to compare the Gibbs free energy of the Mpro-ligand bound and standard inhibitor bound complexes. The analysis revealed that the His-41, Cys145, Met49, and Leu27 amino acid residues were majorly responsible for the lower free energy of the complex. Drug likeness and physiochemical properties of the test compounds showed satisfactory results. Taken together, the study concludes that that the Isoquercetin and 10-Hydroxyaloin A phytochemical possess significant efficacy to bind SARS-Cov-2 Mpro active site. The study necessitates further in vitro and in vivo experimental validation of these lead phytochemicals to assess their anti-SARS-CoV-2 potential.

Keywords: 10-hydroxyaloin A; SARS-CoV-2; drugable targets; in silico; isoquercetin.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents