An In silico scientific basis for LL-37 as a therapeutic for Covid-19

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Proteins. 2021 Aug 1. doi: 10.1002/prot.26198. Online ahead of print.


A multi-pronged approach with help in all forms possible is essential to completely overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a requirement to research as many new and different types of approaches as possible to cater to the entire world population, complementing the vaccines with promising results. The need is also because SARS-CoV-2 has several unknown or variable facets which get revealed from time to time. In this work, in silico scientific findings are presented, which are indicative of the potential for the use of the LL-37 human anti-microbial peptide as a therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2. This indication is based on the high structural similarity of LL-37 to the N-terminal helix, with which the virus interacts, of the receptor for SARS-CoV-2, Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2. Moreover, there is positive prediction of binding of LL-37 to the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2; the first study to have described this interaction. In silico data on the safety of LL-37 are also reported. As Vitamin D is known to upregulate the expression of LL-37, the vitamin is a candidate preventive molecule. This report provides the possible basis for why there is an inverse correlation between Vitamin D levels in the body and the severity of or susceptibility to Covid-19. With the scientific link put forth herein, Vitamin D could be used at an effective, medically prescribed, safe dose as a preventive. The information in this report would be valuable in bolstering the worldwide efforts to eliminate the pandemic as early as possible. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:34333809 | DOI:10.1002/prot.26198