These are preliminary reports that have not been peer-reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or be reported in news media as established information. For more information, please see our FAQs.
3 files

Spontaneous Binding of Potential COVID-19 Drugs to Human Serine Protease TMPRSS2

submitted on 05.10.2020, 09:30 and posted on 06.10.2020, 05:34 by Haixia Zhu, Wenhao Du, Menghua Song, Qing Liu, Andreas Herrmann, Qiang Huang
Effective treatment or vaccine is not yet available for combating SARS coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent studies showed that two drugs, Camostat and Nafamostat, might be repurposed to treat COVID-19 by inhibiting human TMPRSS2 required for proteolytic activation of viral spike (S) glycoprotein. However, their molecular mechanisms of pharmacological action remain unclear. Here, we perform molecular dynamics simulations to investigate their native binding sites on TMPRSS2. We revealed that both drugs could spontaneously and stably bind to the TMPRSS2 catalytic center, and thereby inhibit its proteolytic processing of the S protein. Also, we found that Nafamostat is more specific than Camostat for binding to the catalytic center, consistent with reported observation that Nafamostat blocks the SARS-CoV-2 infection at a lower concentration. Thus, this study provides mechanistic insights into the Camostat and Nafamostat inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, and offers useful information for COVID-19 drug development.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Fudan University, School of Life Sciences



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.