Cationic Compounds with SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Activity and Their Interaction with Organic Cation Transporter/Multidrug and Toxin Extruder Secretory Transporters

Lucy Martinez-Guerrero, Xiaohong Zhang, Kimberley M. Zorn, Sean Ekins, Stephen H. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, drug repurposing has been highlighted for rapid introduction of therapeutics. Proposed drugs with activity against SARS-CoV-2 include compounds with positive charges at physiologic pH, making them potential targets for the organic cation secretory transporters of kidney and liver, i.e., the basolateral organic cation transporters, OCT1 and OCT2; and the apical multidrug and toxin extruders, MATE1 and MATE2-K. We selected several compounds proposed to have in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 (chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, quinacrine, tilorone, pyronaridine, cetylpyridinium, and miramistin) to test their interaction with OCT and MATE transporters. We used Bayesian machine learning models to generate predictions for each molecule with each transporter and also experimentally determined IC50 values for each compound against labeled substrate transport into CHO cells that stably expressed OCT2, MATE1, or MATE2-K using three structurally distinct substrates (atenolol, metformin and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium) to assess the impact of substrate structure on inhibitory efficacy. For the OCTs substrate identity influenced IC50 values, although the effect was larger and more systematic for OCT2. In contrast, inhibition of MATE1-mediated transport was largely insensitive to substrate identity. Unlike MATE1, inhibition of MATE2-K was influenced, albeit modestly, by substrate identity. Maximum unbound plasma concentration/IC50 ratios were used to identify potential clinical DDI recommendations; all the compounds interacted with the OCT/MATE secretory pathway, most with sufficient avidity to represent potential DDI issues for secretion of cationic drugs. This should be considered when proposing cationic agents as repurposed antivirals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-107
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume379
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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