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LongText Report for: Shen_2022_Drug.Metab.Dispos__

Name Class
Shen_2022_Drug.Metab.Dispos__
Molnupiravir is one of the two COVID-19 oral drugs that were recently granted the emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Molnupiravir is an ester and requires hydrolysis to exert antiviral activity. Carboxylesterases constitute a class of hydrolases with high catalytic efficiency. Humans express two major carboxylesterases (CES1 and CES2) that differ in substrate specificity. Based on the structural characteristics of molnupiravir, this study was performed to test the hypothesis that molnupiravir is preferably hydrolyzed by CES2. Several complementary approaches were used to test this hypothesis. As many as 24 individual human liver samples were tested and the hydrolysis of molnupiravir was significantly correlated with the level of CES2 but not CES1. Microsomes from the intestine, kidney and liver but not lung all rapidly hydrolyzed molnupiravir and the magnitude of hydrolysis was related closely to the level of CES2 expression among these organs. Importantly, recombinant CES2 but not CES1 hydrolyzed molnupiravir, collectively establishing that molnupiravir is a CES2-selective substrate. In addition, several CES2 polymorphic variants (e.g., R180H) differed from the wild-type CES2 in the hydrolysis of molnupiravir. Molecular docking revealed that wild-type CES2 and its variant R180H used different sets of amino acids to interact with molnupiravir. Furthermore, molnupiravir hydrolysis was significantly inhibited by remdesivir, the first COVID-19 drug granted the full approval by the FDA. The results presented raise the possibility that CES2 expression and genetic variation may impact therapeutic efficacy in clinical situations and warrants further investigation. Significance Statement COVID-19 remains a global health crisis, and molnupiravir is one of the two recently approved oral COVID-19 therapeutics. In this study, we have shown that molnupiravir is hydrolytically activated by CES2, a major hydrolase whose activity is impacted by genetic polymorphic variants, disease mediators, and many potentially co-administered medicines. these results presented raise the possibility that CES2 expression and genetic variation may impact therapeutic efficacy in clinical situations and warrants further investigation. 

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Mail to: Nicolas Lenfant, Thierry Hotelier, Yves Bourne, Pascale Marchot and Arnaud Chatonnet.
Please cite: Lenfant 2013 Nucleic.Acids.Res. or Marchot Chatonnet 2012 Prot.Pept Lett.
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