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Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1568-0266
ISSN (Online): 1873-4294

Review Article

Host Cell Proteases Mediating SARS-CoV-2 Entry: An Overview

Author(s): Mehdi Oubahmane, Ismail Hdoufane, Imane Bjij, Nouhaila Ait Lahcen, Didier Villemin, Rachid Daoud, Achraf El Allali and Driss Cherqaoui*

Volume 22, Issue 21, 2022

Published on: 07 September, 2022

Page: [1776 - 1792] Pages: 17

DOI: 10.2174/1568026622666220726122339

Price: $65


The outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in late 2019 and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused severe health and socioeconomic damage worldwide. Despite the significant research effort to develop vaccines, antiviral treatments, and repurposed therapeutics to effectively contain the catastrophe, there are no available effective vaccines or antiviral drugs that can limit the threat of the disease, so the infections continue to expand. To date, the search for effective treatment remains a global challenge. Therefore, it is imperative to develop therapeutic strategies to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 invades and infects human host cells via the attachment of its spike envelope glycoprotein to the human host cell receptor hACE2. Subsequently, several host cell proteases facilitate viral entry via proteolytic cleavage and activation of the S protein. These host cell proteases include type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs), cysteine cathepsins B and L, furin, trypsin, and Factor Xa, among others. Given the criti-cal role of the host cell proteases in coronavirus pathogenesis, their inhibition by small molecules has successfully targeted SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, suggesting that host cell proteases are attractive therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this review, we focus on the biochemical proper-ties of host cell proteases that facilitate the entry of SARS-CoV-2, and we highlight therapeutic small molecule candidates that have been proposed through in silico research.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Host cell proteases, TTSPs, Cathepsins, Furin, Small-molecule inhibitors, Proteolytic activation, and protease inhibition.

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