[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The viral RNA polymerase complex of influenza A virus consists of three subunits PB1, PB2 and PA. Recently, the cellular chaperone Hsp90 was shown to play a role in nuclear import and assembly of the trimeric polymerase complex by binding to PB1 and PB2. Here we show that Hsp90 inhibitors, geldanamycin or its derivative 17-AAG, delay the growth of influenza virus in cell culture resulting in a 1-2 log reduction in viral titre early in infection. We suggest that this is caused by the reduced half-life of PB1 and PB2 and inhibition of nuclear import of PB1 and PA which lead to reduction in viral RNP assembly. Hsp90 inhibitors may represent a new class of antiviral compounds against influenza viruses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses similar to those that infected humans in Hong Kong in 1997 continue to circulate in waterfowl and have reemerged in poultry in the region, raising concerns that these viruses could reappear in humans. The currently licensed trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines contain hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase genes from epidemic strains in a background of internal genes derived from the vaccine donor strain, A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8). Such reassortant candidate vaccine viruses are currently not licensed for the prevention of human infections by H5N1 influenza viruses. A transfectant H5N1/PR8 virus was generated by plasmid-based reverse genetics. The removal of the multibasic amino acid motif in the HA gene associated with high pathogenicity in chickens, and the new genotype of the H5N1/PR8 transfectant virus, attenuated the virus for chickens and mice without altering the antigenicity of the HA. A Formalin-inactivated vaccine prepared from this virus was immunogenic and protected mice from subsequent wild-type H5N1 virus challenge. This is the first successful attempt to develop an H5N1 vaccine seed virus resembling those used in currently licensed influenza A vaccines with properties that make it a promising candidate for further evaluation in humans.