Inhibition of hepatitis C virus NS5A by fluoro-olefin based γ-turn mimetics.
ABSTRACT The HCV non-structural protein NS5A has been established as a viable target for the development of direct acting antiviral therapy. From computational modeling studies strong intra-molecular hydrogen bonds were found to be a common structural moiety within known NS5A inhibitors that have low pico-molar replicon potency. Efforts to reproduce these γ-turn-like substructures provided a novel NS5A inhibitor based on a fluoro-olefin isostere. This fluoro-olefin containing inhibitor exhibited picomolar activity (EC(50)=79 pM) against HCV genotype 1b replicon without measurable cytotoxicity. This level of activity is comparable to the natural peptide-based inhibitors currently under clinic evaluation, and demonstrates that a peptidomimetic approach can serve as a useful strategy to produce potent and structurally unique inhibitors of HCV NS5A.