Screening and evaluation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 components from Ephedra sinica by ACE2/CMC-HPLC-IT-TOF-MS approach

Lv, Y.; Wang, S.; Liang, P.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, X.; Jia, Q.; Fu, J.; Han, S.; He, L., Screening and evaluation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 components from Ephedra sinica by ACE2/CMC-HPLC-IT-TOF-MS approach. Anal Bioanal Chem 2021.

Interaction Type: Protein-small molecule

Abstract: Traditional Chinese medicines played an important role in the treatment of COVID-19 in 2020. Ephedra sinica, one of the major constituent herbs of multi-component herbal formula, has been widely used to treat COVID-19 in China. However, its active components are still unclear. The objectives of this study are to screen and evaluate active components from the traditional Chinese medicine Ephedra sinica for the treatment of COVID-19. In our study, we established an ACE2/CMC bioaffinity chromatography model, and then developed an ACE2/CMC-HPLC-IT-TOF-MS system for the active compounds screening and identification from Ephedra sinica extract. We performed molecular docking and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assays to assess the binding characteristics (binding mode and KD value). We used CCK-8 staining to assess the toxicity of screened compounds, and also used SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus to observe the viropexis effect of screened compounds in ACE2h cells. In this current work, one fraction was fished out, separated and identified as ephedrine (EP), pseudoephedrine (PEP), and methylephedrine (MEP). Binding assays showed that the three compounds could bind with ACE2 in a special way to some amino acid residues, similar to the way SARS-CoV-2 bound with ACE2. Additionally, the three compounds, especially EP, can inhibit the entrance of SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudovirus into ACE2h cells because they can reduce the entrance ratio of pseudovirus in the pseudovirus model. Overall, the ACE2/CMC-HPLC-IT-TOF-MS system was established and verified to be suitable for ACE2-targeted bioactive compound screening. EP, PEP, and MEP with ACE2-binding features were screened out from Ephedra sinica, and acted as blockers inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudovirus entering ACE2h cells.

Read Publication