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1.
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1796053

ABSTRACT

Despite the great success of vaccines that protect against RNA virus infections and the development and clinical use of a limited number of RNA virus-specific drugs, there is still an urgent need for new classes of antiviral drugs against circulating or emerging RNA viruses. To date, it has proven difficult to efficiently suppress RNA virus replication by targeting host cell functions, and there are no approved drugs of this type. This opinion paper discusses the recent discovery of a pronounced and sustained antiviral activity of the plant-derived natural compound thapsigargin against enveloped RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and influenza A virus. Based on its mechanisms of action, thapsigargin represents a new prototype of compounds with multimodal host-directed antiviral activity.

2.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732235

ABSTRACT

Rocaglates are potent broad-spectrum antiviral compounds with a promising safety profile. They inhibit viral protein synthesis for different RNA viruses by clamping the 5'-UTRs of mRNAs onto the surface of the RNA helicase eIF4A. Apart from the natural rocaglate silvestrol, synthetic rocaglates like zotatifin or CR-1-31-B have been developed. Here, we compared the effects of rocaglates on viral 5'-UTR-mediated reporter gene expression and binding to an eIF4A-polypurine complex. Furthermore, we analyzed the cytotoxicity of rocaglates on several human immune cells and compared their antiviral activities in coronavirus-infected cells. Finally, the potential for developing viral resistance was evaluated by passaging human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) in the presence of increasing concentrations of rocaglates in MRC-5 cells. Importantly, no decrease in rocaglate-sensitivity was observed, suggesting that virus escape mutants are unlikely to emerge if the host factor eIF4A is targeted. In summary, all three rocaglates are promising antivirals with differences in cytotoxicity against human immune cells, RNA-clamping efficiency, and antiviral activity. In detail, zotatifin showed reduced RNA-clamping efficiency and antiviral activity compared to silvestrol and CR-1-31-B, but was less cytotoxic for immune cells. Our results underline the potential of rocaglates as broad-spectrum antivirals with no indications for the emergence of escape mutations in HCoV-229E.


Subject(s)
Antineoplastic Agents , Coronavirus , 5' Untranslated Regions , Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Constriction , Humans
3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313594

ABSTRACT

At least six small alternate-frame open reading frames (ORFs) overlapping well-characterized SARS-CoV-2 genes have been hypothesized to encode accessory proteins. Researchers have used different names for the same ORF or the same name for different ORFs, resulting in erroneous homological and functional inferences. We propose standard names for these ORFs and their shorter isoforms, developed in consultation with the Coronaviridae Study Group of the ICTV. We recommend calling the 39 codon Spike-overlapping ORF ORF2b;the 41, 57, and 22 codon ORF3a-overlapping ORFs ORF3c, ORF3d, and ORF3b;the 33 codon ORF3d isoform ORF3d-2;and the 97 and 73 codon Nucleocapsid-overlapping ORFs ORF9b and ORF9c. Finally, we document conflicting usage of the name ORF3b in 32 studies, and consequent erroneous inferences, stressing the importance of reserving identical names for homologs. We recommend that authors referring to these ORFs provide lengths and coordinates to minimize ambiguity due to prior usage of alternative names.

4.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(21): 12502-12516, 2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546005

ABSTRACT

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are noncoding RNAs that exist in all eukaryotes investigated and are derived from back-splicing of certain pre-mRNA exons. Here, we report the application of artificial circRNAs designed to act as antisense-RNAs. We systematically tested a series of antisense-circRNAs targeted to the SARS-CoV-2 genome RNA, in particular its structurally conserved 5'-untranslated region. Functional assays with both reporter transfections as well as with SARS-CoV-2 infections revealed that specific segments of the SARS-CoV-2 5'-untranslated region can be efficiently accessed by specific antisense-circRNAs, resulting in up to 90% reduction of virus proliferation in cell culture, and with a durability of at least 48 h. Presenting the antisense sequence within a circRNA clearly proved more efficient than in the corresponding linear configuration and is superior to modified antisense oligonucleotides. The activity of the antisense-circRNA is surprisingly robust towards point mutations in the target sequence. This strategy opens up novel applications for designer circRNAs and promising therapeutic strategies in molecular medicine.


Subject(s)
Genome, Viral/genetics , RNA, Antisense/genetics , RNA, Circular/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , 5' Untranslated Regions/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Base Sequence , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cell Proliferation/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Design , HeLa Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA-Seq/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5536, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428813

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human pathogens for which no specific treatment is available. Here, we provide evidence that pharmacological reprogramming of ER stress pathways can be exploited to suppress CoV replication. The ER stress inducer thapsigargin efficiently inhibits coronavirus (HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2) replication in different cell types including primary differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells, (partially) reverses the virus-induced translational shut-down, improves viability of infected cells and counteracts the CoV-mediated downregulation of IRE1α and the ER chaperone BiP. Proteome-wide analyses revealed specific pathways, protein networks and components that likely mediate the thapsigargin-induced antiviral state, including essential (HERPUD1) or novel (UBA6 and ZNF622) factors of ER quality control, and ER-associated protein degradation complexes. Additionally, thapsigargin blocks the CoV-induced selective autophagic flux involving p62/SQSTM1. The data show that thapsigargin hits several central mechanisms required for CoV replication, suggesting that this compound (or derivatives thereof) may be developed into broad-spectrum anti-CoV drugs.


Subject(s)
Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Animals , Autophagy/drug effects , Bronchi/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cell Extracts , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/genetics , Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Macrolides/pharmacology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Proteome/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thapsigargin/pharmacology , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
Nature ; 594(7862): 246-252, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1180252

ABSTRACT

The emergence and global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in the urgent need for an in-depth understanding of molecular functions of viral proteins and their interactions with the host proteome. Several individual omics studies have extended our knowledge of COVID-19 pathophysiology1-10. Integration of such datasets to obtain a holistic view of virus-host interactions and to define the pathogenic properties of SARS-CoV-2 is limited by the heterogeneity of the experimental systems. Here we report a concurrent multi-omics study of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. Using state-of-the-art proteomics, we profiled the interactomes of both viruses, as well as their influence on the transcriptome, proteome, ubiquitinome and phosphoproteome of a lung-derived human cell line. Projecting these data onto the global network of cellular interactions revealed crosstalk between the perturbations taking place upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV at different levels and enabled identification of distinct and common molecular mechanisms of these closely related coronaviruses. The TGF-ß pathway, known for its involvement in tissue fibrosis, was specifically dysregulated by SARS-CoV-2 ORF8 and autophagy was specifically dysregulated by SARS-CoV-2 ORF3. The extensive dataset (available at https://covinet.innatelab.org ) highlights many hotspots that could be targeted by existing drugs and may be used to guide rational design of virus- and host-directed therapies, which we exemplify by identifying inhibitors of kinases and matrix metalloproteases with potent antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Proteome/metabolism , Proteomics , SARS Virus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Autophagy/drug effects , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Datasets as Topic , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Phosphorylation , Protein Interaction Maps , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Proteome/chemistry , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/metabolism , Ubiquitination , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism
8.
Virology ; 558: 145-151, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152685

ABSTRACT

At least six small alternative-frame open reading frames (ORFs) overlapping well-characterized SARS-CoV-2 genes have been hypothesized to encode accessory proteins. Researchers have used different names for the same ORF or the same name for different ORFs, resulting in erroneous homological and functional inferences. We propose standard names for these ORFs and their shorter isoforms, developed in consultation with the Coronaviridae Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. We recommend calling the 39 codon Spike-overlapping ORF ORF2b; the 41, 57, and 22 codon ORF3a-overlapping ORFs ORF3c, ORF3d, and ORF3b; the 33 codon ORF3d isoform ORF3d-2; and the 97 and 73 codon Nucleocapsid-overlapping ORFs ORF9b and ORF9c. Finally, we document conflicting usage of the name ORF3b in 32 studies, and consequent erroneous inferences, stressing the importance of reserving identical names for homologs. We recommend that authors referring to these ORFs provide lengths and coordinates to minimize ambiguity caused by prior usage of alternative names.


Subject(s)
Open Reading Frames , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Terminology as Topic , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/classification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
9.
Microorganisms ; 9(3)2021 Mar 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134191

ABSTRACT

The increase in pandemics caused by RNA viruses of zoonotic origin highlights the urgent need for broad-spectrum antivirals against novel and re-emerging RNA viruses. Broad-spectrum antivirals could be deployed as first-line interventions during an outbreak while virus-specific drugs and vaccines are developed and rolled out. Viruses depend on the host's protein synthesis machinery for replication. Several natural compounds that target the cellular DEAD-box RNA helicase eIF4A, a key component of the eukaryotic translation initiation complex eIF4F, have emerged as potential broad-spectrum antivirals. Rocaglates, a group of flavaglines of plant origin that clamp mRNAs with highly structured 5' untranslated regions (5'UTRs) onto the surface of eIF4A through specific stacking interactions, exhibit the largest selectivity and potential therapeutic indices among all known eIF4A inhibitors. Their unique mechanism of action limits the inhibitory effect of rocaglates to the translation of eIF4A-dependent viral mRNAs and a minor fraction of host mRNAs exhibiting stable RNA secondary structures and/or polypurine sequence stretches in their 5'UTRs, resulting in minimal potential toxic side effects. Maintaining a favorable safety profile while inducing efficient inhibition of a broad spectrum of RNA viruses makes rocaglates into primary candidates for further development as pan-antiviral therapeutics.

10.
Antiviral Res ; 186: 105012, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064809

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of COVID-19, a severe respiratory disease with varying clinical presentations and outcomes, and responsible for a major pandemic that started in early 2020. With no vaccines or effective antiviral treatments available, the quest for novel therapeutic solutions remains an urgent priority. Rocaglates, a class of plant-derived cyclopenta[b]benzofurans, exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral activity against multiple RNA viruses including coronaviruses. Specifically, rocaglates inhibit eukaryotic initiation factor 4A (eIF4A)-dependent mRNA translation initiation, resulting in strongly reduced viral RNA translation. Here, we assessed the antiviral activity of the synthetic rocaglate CR-31-B (-) against SARS-CoV-2 using both in vitro and ex vivo cell culture models. In Vero E6 cells, CR-31-B (-) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication with an EC50 of ~1.8 nM. In primary human airway epithelial cells, CR-31-B (-) reduced viral titers to undetectable levels at a concentration of 100 nM. Reduced virus reproduction was accompanied by substantially reduced viral protein accumulation and replication/transcription complex formation. The data reveal a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity by CR-31-B (-), corroborating previous results obtained for other coronaviruses and supporting the idea that rocaglates may be used in first-line antiviral intervention strategies against novel and emerging RNA virus outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzofurans/pharmacology , Hydroxamic Acids/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Benzofurans/chemistry , Bronchi/virology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Hydroxamic Acids/chemistry , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Replication Compartments/drug effects
11.
ChemMedChem ; 16(2): 340-354, 2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1044678

ABSTRACT

Inhibition of coronavirus (CoV)-encoded papain-like cysteine proteases (PLpro ) represents an attractive strategy to treat infections by these important human pathogens. Herein we report on structure-activity relationships (SAR) of the noncovalent active-site directed inhibitor (R)-5-amino-2-methyl-N-(1-(naphthalen-1-yl)ethyl) benzamide (2 b), which is known to bind into the S3 and S4 pockets of the SARS-CoV PLpro . Moreover, we report the discovery of isoindolines as a new class of potent PLpro inhibitors. The studies also provide a deeper understanding of the binding modes of this inhibitor class. Importantly, the inhibitors were also confirmed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in cell culture suggesting that, due to the high structural similarities of the target proteases, inhibitors identified against SARS-CoV PLpro are valuable starting points for the development of new pan-coronaviral inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzamides/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Isoindoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Benzamides/chemical synthesis , Benzamides/metabolism , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Crystallography, X-Ray , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemical synthesis , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Isoindoles/chemical synthesis , Isoindoles/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protein Binding , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(6)2021 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1039676

ABSTRACT

RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) of the Nidovirales (Coronaviridae, Arteriviridae, and 12 other families) are linked to an amino-terminal (N-terminal) domain, called NiRAN, in a nonstructural protein (nsp) that is released from polyprotein 1ab by the viral main protease (Mpro). Previously, self-GMPylation/UMPylation activities were reported for an arterivirus NiRAN-RdRp nsp and suggested to generate a transient state primed for transferring nucleoside monophosphate (NMP) to (currently unknown) viral and/or cellular biopolymers. Here, we show that the coronavirus (human coronavirus [HCoV]-229E and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) nsp12 (NiRAN-RdRp) has Mn2+-dependent NMPylation activity that catalyzes the transfer of a single NMP to the cognate nsp9 by forming a phosphoramidate bond with the primary amine at the nsp9 N terminus (N3825) following Mpro-mediated proteolytic release of nsp9 from N-terminally flanking nsps. Uridine triphosphate was the preferred nucleotide in this reaction, but also adenosine triphosphate, guanosine triphosphate, and cytidine triphosphate were suitable cosubstrates. Mutational studies using recombinant coronavirus nsp9 and nsp12 proteins and genetically engineered HCoV-229E mutants identified residues essential for NiRAN-mediated nsp9 NMPylation and virus replication in cell culture. The data corroborate predictions on NiRAN active-site residues and establish an essential role for the nsp9 N3826 residue in both nsp9 NMPylation in vitro and virus replication. This residue is part of a conserved N-terminal NNE tripeptide sequence and shown to be the only invariant residue in nsp9 and its homologs in viruses of the family Coronaviridae The study provides a solid basis for functional studies of other nidovirus NMPylation activities and suggests a possible target for antiviral drug development.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 229E, Human/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Sequence , Amino Acid Substitution , Asparagine/genetics , Cell Line , Conserved Sequence , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans , Manganese/metabolism , Protein Domains , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
13.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol ; 320(4): L590-L599, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-945036

ABSTRACT

Despite the pandemic status of COVID-19, there is limited information about host risk factors and treatment beyond supportive care. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) could be a potential treatment target. Our aim was to determine the incidence of IgG deficiency and associated risk factors in a cohort of 62 critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to two German ICUs (72.6% male, median age: 61 yr). Thirteen (21.0%) of the patients displayed IgG deficiency (IgG < 7 g/L) at baseline (predominant for the IgG1, IgG2, and IgG4 subclasses). Patients who were IgG-deficient had worse measures of clinical disease severity than those with normal IgG levels (shorter duration from disease onset to ICU admission, lower ratio of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text], higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, and higher levels of ferritin, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, and serum creatinine). Patients who were IgG-deficient were also more likely to have sustained lower levels of lymphocyte counts and higher levels of ferritin throughout the hospital stay. Furthermore, patients who were IgG-deficient compared with those with normal IgG levels displayed higher rates of acute kidney injury (76.9% vs. 26.5%; P = 0.001) and death (46.2% vs. 14.3%; P = 0.012), longer ICU [28 (6-48) vs. 12 (3-18) days; P = 0.012] and hospital length of stay [30 (22-50) vs. 18 (9-24) days; P = 0.004]. Univariable logistic regression showed increasing odds of 90-day overall mortality associated with IgG-deficiency (odds ratio 5.14, 95% confidence interval 1.3-19.9; P = 0.018). IgG deficiency might be common in patients with COVID-19 who are critically ill, and warrants investigation as both a marker of disease severity as well as a potential therapeutic target.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Immunoglobulins/deficiency , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Risk Factors
14.
ChemMedChem ; 16(2): 340-354, 2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-878190

ABSTRACT

Inhibition of coronavirus (CoV)-encoded papain-like cysteine proteases (PLpro ) represents an attractive strategy to treat infections by these important human pathogens. Herein we report on structure-activity relationships (SAR) of the noncovalent active-site directed inhibitor (R)-5-amino-2-methyl-N-(1-(naphthalen-1-yl)ethyl) benzamide (2 b), which is known to bind into the S3 and S4 pockets of the SARS-CoV PLpro . Moreover, we report the discovery of isoindolines as a new class of potent PLpro inhibitors. The studies also provide a deeper understanding of the binding modes of this inhibitor class. Importantly, the inhibitors were also confirmed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in cell culture suggesting that, due to the high structural similarities of the target proteases, inhibitors identified against SARS-CoV PLpro are valuable starting points for the development of new pan-coronaviral inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzamides/pharmacology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Isoindoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Benzamides/chemical synthesis , Benzamides/metabolism , Catalytic Domain , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Crystallography, X-Ray , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemical synthesis , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/metabolism , Isoindoles/chemical synthesis , Isoindoles/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protein Binding , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
15.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Oct 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-835247

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses infect many different species including humans. The last two decades have seen three zoonotic coronaviruses with SARS-CoV-2 causing a pandemic in 2020. Coronaviral non-structural proteins (nsp) built up the replication-transcription complex (RTC). Nsp7 and nsp8 interact with and regulate the RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase and other enzymes in the RTC. However, the structural plasticity of nsp7+8 complex has been under debate. Here, we present the framework of nsp7+8 complex stoichiometry and topology based on a native mass spectrometry and complementary biophysical techniques of nsp7+8 complexes from seven coronaviruses in the genera Alpha- and Betacoronavirus including SARS-CoV-2. Their complexes cluster into three groups, which systematically form either heterotrimers or heterotetramers or both, exhibiting distinct topologies. Moreover, even at high protein concentrations mainly heterotetramers are observed for SARS-CoV-2 nsp7+8. From these results, the different assembly paths can be pinpointed to specific residues and an assembly model is proposed.

17.
Antiviral Res ; 175: 104706, 2020 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2162

ABSTRACT

Rocaglates, a class of natural compounds isolated from plants of the genus Aglaia, are potent inhibitors of translation initiation. They are proposed to form stacking interactions with polypurine sequences in the 5'-untranslated region (UTR) of selected mRNAs, thereby clamping the RNA substrate onto eIF4A and causing inhibition of the translation initiation complex. Since virus replication relies on the host translation machinery, it is not surprising that the rocaglate Silvestrol has broad-spectrum antiviral activity. Unfortunately, synthesis of Silvestrol is sophisticated and time-consuming, thus hampering the prospects for further antiviral drug development. Here, we present the less complex structured synthetic rocaglate CR-31-B (-) as a novel compound with potent broad-spectrum antiviral activity in primary cells and in an ex vivo bronchial epithelial cell system. CR-31-B (-) inhibited the replication of corona-, Zika-, Lassa-, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses and, to a lesser extent, hepatitis E virus (HEV) at non-cytotoxic low nanomolar concentrations. Since HEV has a polypurine-free 5'-UTR that folds into a stable hairpin structure, we hypothesized that RNA clamping by Silvestrol and its derivatives may also occur in a polypurine-independent but structure-dependent manner. Interestingly, the HEV 5'-UTR conferred sensitivity towards Silvestrol but not to CR-31-B (-). However, if an exposed polypurine stretch was introduced into the HEV 5'-UTR, CR-31-B (-) became an active inhibitor comparable to Silvestrol. Moreover, thermodynamic destabilization of the HEV 5'-UTR led to reduced translational inhibition by Silvestrol, suggesting differences between rocaglates in their mode of action, most probably by engaging Silvestrol's additional dioxane moiety.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzofurans/pharmacology , Triterpenes/pharmacology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Viruses/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , Benzofurans/chemical synthesis , Bronchi/cytology , Cell Culture Techniques , Cells, Cultured , Epithelial Cells/virology , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A/antagonists & inhibitors , Hepatocytes/virology , Humans , Mice , Viruses/classification
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