An in-silico analysis of ivermectin interaction with potential SARS-CoV-2 targets and host nuclear importin α



Azam F, Taban IM, Eid EEM, Iqbal M, Alam O, Khan S, Mahmood D, Anwar MJ, Khalilullah H, Khan MU.


J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2020 Nov 2:1-14. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1841028. Online ahead of print.


Ivermectin (IVM) is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent, having inhibitory potential against wide range of viral infections. It has also been found to hamper SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro, and its precise mechanism of action against SARS-CoV-2 is yet to be understood. IVM is known to interact with host importin (IMP)α directly and averts interaction with IMPβ1, leading to the prevention of nuclear localization signal (NLS) recognition. Therefore, the current study seeks to employ molecular docking, molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) analysis and molecular dynamics simulation studies for decrypting the binding mode, key interacting residues as well as mechanistic insights on IVM interaction with 15 potential drug targets associated with COVID-19 as well as IMPα. Among all COVID-19 targets, the non-structural protein 9 (Nsp9) exhibited the strongest affinity to IVM showing -5.30 kcal/mol and -84.85 kcal/mol binding energies estimated by AutoDock Vina and MM-GBSA, respectively. However, moderate affinity was accounted for IMPα amounting -6.9 kcal/mol and -66.04 kcal/mol. Stability of the protein-ligand complexes of Nsp9-IVM and IMPα-IVM was ascertained by 100 ns trajectory of all-atom molecular dynamics simulation. Structural conformation of protein in complex with docked IVM exhibited stable root mean square deviation while root mean square fluctuations were also found to be consistent. In silico exploration of the potential targets and their interaction profile with IVM can assist experimental studies as well as designing of COVID-19 drugs.

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Link/DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1841028