ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0704.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: Parascaris; carvacrol; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; muscle contraction; electrophysiology; Xenopus oocytes; mode of action
Online: 27 April 2021 (10:54:16 CEST)
Parascaris sp. is the only ascarid parasitic nematode in equids and one of the most threatening infectious organisms in horses. Only a limited number of compounds are available for treatment of horse helminthiasis and Parascaris sp. worms have developed resistance to the three major anthelmintic families. In order to overcome the appearance of resistance, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies. The active ingredients of herbal essential oils are potentially effective antiparasitic drugs. Carvacrol is one of the principal chemicals of essential oil from Origanum, Thymus, Coridothymus, Thymbra, Satureja and Lippia herbs. However, the antiparasitic mode of action of carvacrol is poorly understood so far. Here, the objective of the work was to characterize the activity of carvacrol on Parascaris sp. nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) function both in vivo with the use of worm neuro-muscular flap preparations and in vitro with two-electrode voltage-clamp electrophysiology on nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We have developed a neuromuscular contraction assay on Parascaris body flaps and obtained acetylcholine concentration-dependent contraction responses. Strikingly, we observed that 300 µM carvacrol fully and irreversibly abolished Parascaris sp. muscle contractions elicited by acetylcholine. Conversely, carvacrol antagonized acetylcholine-induced currents from both the nicotine-sensitive AChR and the morantel-sensitive AChR subtypes. Thus, we show for the first time that the body muscle flap preparation is a tractable approach to investigate the pharmacology of Parascaris sp. neuro-muscular system. Our results suggest an intriguing mode of action for carvacrol being a potent antagonist of muscle nAChRs of Parascaris sp. worms which may account for its antiparasitic potency.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0365.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; smoking; nicotine; nicotinic cholinergic system; inflammation; acetylcholine receptors
Online: 23 May 2020 (10:06:14 CEST)
While SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the receptor for cell entry, it is important to examine for other potential interactions between the virus and other cell receptors. Based on the clinical observation of low smoking prevalence among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, we recently identified a “toxin-like” amino acid (aa) sequence on the receptor binding domain of the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 (aa 375-390) with homology to a sequence of a snake venom toxin, which could interact with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). We now present computational molecular modelling and docking experiments using 3D structures of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and the extracellular domain of the nAChR alpha9 subunit. We identified an interaction between the aa381-386 of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and the aa189-192 of the extracellular domain of the nAChR alpha9 subunit, a region which forms the core of the “toxin-binding site” of the nAChRs. The mode of interaction is very similar to the interaction between the alpha9 nAChR and alpha-bungarotoxin. A similar interaction was observed between the pentameric alpha7 AChR and the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. Our findings support the hypothesis that severe COVID-19 may be associated with disruption of the nicotinic cholinergic system which could be caused by an interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and nAChRs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0301.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; smoking; nicotine; nicotinic cholinergic system; inflammation
Online: 18 May 2020 (11:51:44 CEST)
Smoking is a risk factor for respiratory infections and there is reasonable concern that it may affect COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. Recent studies have focused on the interaction between smoking (and nicotine) and ACE2 expression, suggesting that ACE2 up-regulation could contribute to enhanced viral cell entry. However, case series have shown that there is an unexpectedly low prevalence of smoking among hospitalized COVID-19 cases. Since early April, we were the first to hypothesize that dysfunction of the nicotinic cholinergic system (NCS) may be implicated in the pathophysiology of severe COVID-19. We recently reported that many of the clinical manifestations of severe COVID-19 could be explained by dysregulation of the NCS. In this study, we present an amino acid sequence in the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein which is homologous to a sequence of a snake venom toxin. We present the 3D structural location of this “toxin-like” sequence on the Spike Glycoprotein. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could potentially interact with acetylcholine receptors causing dysregulation of the NCS and the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0315.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: Myxobacteria; myxochelin; nicotinic acid; secondary metabolites; natural product discovery; precursor-directed biosynthesis; total synthesis
Online: 14 July 2021 (10:03:32 CEST)
Myxobacteria represent a viable source of chemically diverse and biologically active secondary metabolites. The myxochelins are a well-studied family of catecholate-type siderophores produced by various myxobacterial strains. Here, we report the discovery, isolation and structure elucidation of three new myxochelins N1–N3 from the terrestrial myxobacterium Corallococcus sp. MCy9049, featuring an unusual nicotinic acid moiety. Precursor-directed biosynthesis (PDB) experiments and total synthesis were performed in order to confirm structures, improve access to pure compounds for bioactivity testing and to devise a biosynthesis proposal. The combined evaluation of metabolome and genome data covering myxobacteria supports the notion that the new myxochelin congeners reported here are in fact frequent side products of the known myxochelin A biosynthetic pathway in myxobacteria.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0318.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; three-finger toxins; acetylcholine binding protein; protein – protein docking; computational modeling
Online: 14 August 2020 (09:57:35 CEST)
Three finger toxins (3FTX) are a group of peptides that affect multiple receptor types. One group of proteins affected by 3FTX are nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR). Structural information on how neurotoxins interact with nAChR is limited and are confined to a small group of neurotoxins. Therefore, in silico methods are valuable in understanding the interactions between 3FTX and different nAChR subtypes, but there are no established protocols to model 3FTX – nAChR interactions. We developed a homology modeling and protein docking protocol to address this issue and tested its success on three different systems. First, neurotoxin peptides co-crystallized with acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) were re-docked to assess whether Rosetta protein – protein docking can reproduce the native poses. Second, experimental data on peptide binding to AChBP was used to test whether the docking protocol can qualitatively distinguish AChBP-binders from non-binders. Finally, we docked eight peptides with known α7 and muscle-type nAChR binding properties to test whether the protocol can explain the differential activities of the peptides at the two receptor subtypes. Overall, our docking protocol succeeded in predicting both qualitative and specific aspects of 3FTX binding to nAChR and shed light on some unknown aspects of 3FTX binding to different receptor subtypes.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0696.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; neurotropic virus; Blood-nervous system barrier; bloodcerebrospinal-fluid-barrier; blood-brain-barrier; blood-nerve barrier; olfactory route; Lymphatic brain drainage route; Peripheral nerve or neuronal retrograde route; Macrophage/monocytes cargo route; Double membrane vesicles cargo route; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
Online: 31 August 2020 (04:43:34 CEST)
Without protective and/or therapeutic agents the SARS-CoV-2 infection known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is quickly spreading worldwide. It has surprising transmissibility potential, since it could infect all ages, gender, and human sectors. It attacks respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, hepatic, and endovascular systems and can reach the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) through known and unknown mechanisms. The reports on the neurological manifestations and complications of the SARS-CoV-2 infection are increasing exponentially. Herein, we enumerate seven candidate routes, which the mature or immature SARS-CoV-2 components could use to reach the CNS and PNS, utilizing the within-body crosstalk between organs. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients suffer from some neurological manifestations (e.g., confusion, anosmia, and ageusia). It seems that although the mature virus did not reach the CNS or PNS of the majority of patients, its unassembled components and/or the accompanying immune-mediated responses may be responsible for the observed neurological symptoms. The viral particles and/or its components have been specifically documented in endothelial cells of lung, kidney, skin, and CNS. This means that the blood-endothelial-barrier may be considered as the main route for SARS-CoV-2 entry into the nervous system, with the barrier disruption being more logical than barrier permeability, as evidenced by postmortem analyses.