Repurposing the Antiplatelet Agent Ticlopidine to Counteract the Acute Phase of ER Stress Condition: An Opportunity for Fighting Coronavirus Infections and Cancer

Tesei, A., Cortesi, M., Bedeschi, M., Marino, N., Rossino, G., Listro, R., Rossi, D., Linciano, P., Collina, S.

(2022) Molecules, 27(14), art. no. 4327.

DOI: 10.3390/molecules27144327

ABSTRACT: Different pathological conditions, including viral infections and cancer, can have a massive impact on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), causing severe damage to the cell and exacerbating the disease. In particular, coronavirus infections, including SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for COVID-19, cause ER stress as a consequence of the enormous amounts of viral glycoproteins synthesized, the perturbation of ER homeostasis and the modification of ER membranes. Therefore, ER has a central role in the viral life cycle, thus representing one of the Achilles’ heels on which to focus therapeutic intervention. On the other hand, prolonged ER stress has been demonstrated to promote many pro-tumoral attributes in cancer cells, having a key role in tumor growth, metastasis and response to therapies. In this report, adopting a repurposing approach of approved drugs, we identified the antiplatelet agent ticlopidine as an interferent of the unfolded protein response (UPR) via sigma receptors (SRs) modulation. The promising results obtained suggest the potential use of ticlopidine to counteract ER stress induced by viral infections, such as COVID-19, and cancer.