Allosteric inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2

Subodh Kumar Samrat, Jimin Xu, Xuping Xie, Eleonora Gianti, Haiying Chen, Jing Zou, Jason G. Pattis, Khaled Elokely, Hyun Lee, Zhong Li, Michael L. Klein, Pei-Yong Shi, Jia Zhou, Hongmin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


SARS-CoV-2 has raised the alarm to search for effective therapy for this virus. To date several vaccines have been approved but few available drugs reported recently still need approval from FDA. Remdesivir was approved for emergency use only. In this report, the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro was expressed and purified. By using a FRET-based enzymatic assay, we have screened a library consisting of more than 300 different niclosamide derivatives and identified three molecules JMX0286, JMX0301, and JMX0941 as potent allosteric inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro, with IC50 values similar to that of known covalent inhibitor boceprevir. In a cell-based antiviral assay, these inhibitors can inhibit the virus growth with EC50 in the range of 2–3 μM. The mechanism of action of JMX0286, JMX0301, and JMX0941 were characterized by enzyme kinetics, affinity binding and protein-based substrate digestion. Molecular docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and hydration studies suggested that JMX0286, JMX0301, JMX0941 bind specifically to an allosteric pocket of the SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. This study provides three potent compounds for further studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105381
JournalAntiviral research
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • 3CLpro
  • Allosteric inhibitor
  • Niclosamide
  • Protease
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology


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