Novel approaches to flavivirus drug discovery.
ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION: The members of the family Flaviviridae, including West Nile virus, yellow fever virus and dengue virus, are important human pathogens that are expanding their impact around the globe. The four serotypes of dengue infect 50-100 million people each year, yet the only clinical treatment is supportive care to reduce symptoms. Drugs that employ novel inhibition mechanisms and targets are urgently needed to combat the growing incidence of dengue worldwide. AREAS COVERED: The authors discuss recently discovered flavivirus inhibitors with a focus on antivirals targeting non-enzymatic proteins of the dengue virus lifecycle. Specifically, the authors discuss the flaviviruses, the need for novel inhibitors and the criteria for successful antiviral drug development. Current literature describing new advances in antiviral therapy at each stage of the flavivirus lifecycle (entry, endosomal escape, viral RNA processing and replication, assembly and immune evasion) are evaluated and summarized. EXPERT OPINION: Overall, the prognosis of flavivirus antiviral drug development is positive: new effective compounds have been discovered and studied. However, repurposing existing compounds and a greater translation to the clinical setting are recommended in order to combat the growing threat of flaviviruses.
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ABSTRACT: Dengue virus is an emerging global health threat. Its major envelope glycoprotein, E, mediates viral attachment and entry by membrane fusion. A crystal structure of the soluble ectodomain of E from dengue virus type 2 reveals a hydrophobic pocket lined by residues that influence the pH threshold for fusion. The pocket, which accepts a hydrophobic ligand, opens and closes through a conformational shift in a beta-hairpin at the interface between two domains. These features point to a structural pathway for the fusion-activating transition and suggest a strategy for finding small-molecule inhibitors of dengue and other flaviviruses.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2003; 100(12):6986-91. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is a process that is induced by double stranded RNA and involves the degradation of specific sequences of mRNA in the cytoplasm of the eukaryotic cells. It has been used as an antiviral tool against many viruses, including flaviviruses. The genus Flavivirus contains the most important arboviruses in the world, i.e., dengue (DENV) and yellow fever (YFV). In our study, we investigated the in vitro and in vivo effect of RNAi against YFV. Using stable cell lines that expressed RNAi against YFV, the cell lines were able to inhibit as much as 97% of the viral replication. Two constructions (one against NS1 and the other against E region of YFV genome) were able to protect the adult Balb/c mice against YFV challenge. The histopathologic analysis demonstrated an important protection of the central nervous system by RNAi after 10 days of viral challenge. Our data suggests that RNAi is a potential viable therapeutic weapon against yellow fever.Virus Genes 02/2009; 38(2):224-31. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A combinatorial approach has been used to rapidly identify cyclic d,l-alpha-peptide hexamer sequences that exert biocidal activity towards both methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and E. coli bacteria, as well as the marine algae Ulva linza and Navicula perminuta. Evaluation of the effects against marine algae was facilitated by the development of a reliable, automated assay for toxicity, which should be of general utility for biofouling investigations. While the selective toxicity of cyclic D,L-alpha-peptides towards bacteria has been proven to be highly sensitive to minor changes in amino acid composition, this study demonstrates that this phenomenon extends to eukaryotic species as well, despite their significant structural differences. In performing toxicity assays on both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms in parallel, we have discovered examples of six-residue cyclic D,L-alpha-peptide sequences with either broad-spectrum or highly selective biocidal activities. Sequence [KWFFFH] (underlined amino acid abbreviations represent D-amino acid residues) was found to display 100-fold selectivity towards U. linza, demonstrating that the approach described herein may help lead to the development of new biofouling tools which are not generally toxic to all organisms, but rather specifically target microbial agents of interest.Chemistry 02/2007; 13(14):4008-13. · 5.83 Impact Factor