The structure-based design of peptidomimetic inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 3C like protease as Potent anti-viral drug candidate

Eur J Med Chem. 2022 Aug 5;238:114458. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2022.114458. Epub 2022 May 13.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as the pathogen of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has infected millions of people and took hundreds of thousands of lives. Unfortunately, there is deficiency of effective medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19. 3C like protease (3CLPro) of SARS-CoV-2 is essential to the viral replication and transcription, and is an attractive target to develop anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. Targeting on the 3CLPro, we screened our protease inhibitor library and obtained compound 10a as hit to weakly inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 3CLPro, and determined the co-crystal structure of 10a and the protease. Based on the deep understanding on the protein-ligand complexes between the hit and SARS-CoV-2 3CLPro, we designed a series of peptidomimetic inhibitors, with outstanding inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 3CLPro and excellent anti-viral potency against SARS-CoV-2. The protein-ligand complexes of the other key inhibitors with SARS-CoV-2 3CLPro were explicitly described by the X-ray co-crystal study. All such results suggest these peptidomimetic inhibitors could be further applied as encouraging drug candidates.

Keywords: 3C Like protease; Peptidomimetic inhibitors; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Peptidomimetics* / chemistry
  • Peptidomimetics* / pharmacology
  • Protease Inhibitors / chemistry
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ligands
  • Peptidomimetics
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases