Although flaviviruses cause significant human diseases, no antiviral therapy is currently available for clinical treatment of these pathogens. To identify flavivirus inhibitors, we performed a high-throughput screening of compound libraries using cells containing luciferase-reporting replicon of West Nile viruses (WNV). Five novel small molecular inhibitors of WNV were identified from libraries containing 96,958 compounds. The inhibitors suppress epidemic strain of WNV in cell culture, with EC(50) (50% effective concentration) values of <10microM and TI (therapeutic index) values of >10. Viral titer reduction assays, using various flaviviruses and nonflaviviruses, showed that the compounds have distinct antiviral spectra. Mode-of-action analysis showed that the inhibitors block distinct steps of WNV replication: four compounds inhibit viral RNA syntheses, while the other compound suppresses both viral translation and RNA syntheses. Biochemical enzyme assays showed that two compounds selectively inhibit viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), while another compound specifically inhibits both RdRp and methyltransferase. The identified compounds could potentially be developed for treatment of flavivirus infections.
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"Using a cell-based assay, Puig-Basagoiti et al. identified a compound that inhibited the WNV N7 MTase activity with an IC 50 of 54 μmol/L (Puig-Basagoiti et al., 2009). They also found that the compound inhibited the growth of various flaviviruses with an EC 50 (50% effective concentration) in the low micromolar range (Puig-Basagoiti et al., 2009). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many flaviviruses are significant human pathogens. The plus-strand RNA genome of a flavivirus contains a 5' terminal cap 1 structure (m(7)GpppAmG). The flavivirus encodes one methyltransferase (MTase), located at the N-terminal portion of the NS5 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Here we review recent advances in our understanding of flaviviral capping machinery and the implications for drug development. The NS5 MTase catalyzes both guanine N7 and ribose 2'-OH methylations during viral cap formation. Representative flavivirus MTases, from dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus (WNV), sequentially generate GpppA → m(7)GpppA → m(7)GpppAm. Despite the existence of two distinct methylation activities, the crystal structures of flavivirus MTases showed a single binding site for S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM), the methyl donor. This finding indicates that the substrate GpppA-RNA must be repositioned to accept the N7 and 2'-O methyl groups from SAM during the sequential reactions. Further studies demonstrated that distinct RNA elements are required for the methylations of guanine N7 on the cap and of ribose 2'-OH on the first transcribed nucleotide. Mutant enzymes with different methylation defects can trans complement one another in vitro, demonstrating that separate molecules of the enzyme can independently catalyze the two cap methylations in vitro. In the context of the infectious virus, defects in both methylations, or a defect in the N7 methylation alone, are lethal to WNV. However, viruses defective solely in 2'-O methylation are attenuated and can protect mice from later wild-type WNV challenge. The results demonstrate that the N7 methylation activity is essential for the WNV life cycle and, thus, methyltransferase represents a novel and promising target for flavivirus therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The flavivirus methyltransferase (MTase) is an essential enzyme that sequentially methylates the N7 and 2'-O positions of the viral RNA cap, using S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as a methyl donor. We report here that small molecule compounds, which putatively bind to the SAM-binding site of flavivirus MTase and inhibit its function, were identified by using virtual screening. In vitro methylation experiments demonstrated significant MTase inhibition by 13 of these compounds, with the most potent compound displaying sub-micromolar inhibitory activity. The most active compounds showed broad spectrum activity against the MTase proteins of multiple flaviviruses. Two of these compounds also exhibited low cytotoxicity and effectively inhibited viral replication in cell-based assays, providing further structural insight into flavivirus MTase inhibition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enantioenriched allenylsilanes are used in three-component propargylation reactions with aldehydes and silyl ethers to form syn-homopropargylic ethers that contain an imbedded azide. These materials then undergo thermally induced intramolecular 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions, resulting in unique fused ring systems containing 1,2,3-triazoles. The ability to modify all three components of the reaction allows for expedient access to compounds containing significant structural and stereochemical variation.