Acyclovir is activated into a HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitor in herpesvirus-infected human tissues.
ABSTRACT: For most viruses, there is a need for antimicrobials that target unique viral molecular properties. Acyclovir (ACV) is one such drug. It is activated into a human herpesvirus (HHV) DNA polymerase inhibitor exclusively by HHV kinases and, thus, does not suppress other viruses. Here, we show that ACV suppresses HIV-1 in HHV-coinfected human tissues, but not in HHV-free tissue or cell cultures. However, addition of HHV-6-infected cells renders these cultures sensitive to anti-HIV ACV activity. We hypothesized that such HIV suppression requires ACV phosphorylation by HHV kinases. Indeed, an ACV monophosphorylated prodrug bypasses the HHV requirement for HIV suppression. Furthermore, phosphorylated ACV directly inhibits HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), terminating DNA chain elongation, and can trap RT at the termination site. These data suggest that ACV anti-HIV-1 activity may contribute to the response of HIV/HHV-coinfected patients to ACV treatment and could guide strategies for the development of new HIV-1 RT inhibitors.
Project description:It has recently been demonstrated that the anti-herpetic drug acyclovir (ACV) also displays antiviral activity against the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The triphosphate form of ACV is accepted by HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), and subsequent incorporation leads to classical chain termination. Like all approved nucleoside analogue RT inhibitors (NRTIs), the selective pressure of ACV is associated with the emergence of resistance. The V75I mutation in HIV-1 RT appears to be dominant in this regard. By itself, this mutation is usually not associated with resistance to currently approved NRTIs. Here we studied the underlying biochemical mechanism. We demonstrate that V75I is also selected under the selective pressure of a monophosphorylated prodrug that was designed to bypass the bottleneck in drug activation to the triphosphate form (ACV-TP). Pre-steady-state kinetics reveal that V75I discriminates against the inhibitor at the level of catalysis, whereas binding of the inhibitor remains largely unaffected. The incorporated ACV-monophosphate (ACV-MP) is vulnerable to excision in the presence of the pyrophosphate donor ATP. V75I compromises binding of the next nucleotide that can otherwise provide a certain degree of protection from excision. Collectively, the results of this study suggest that ACV is sensitive to two different resistance pathways, which warrants further investigation regarding the detailed resistance profile of ACV. Such studies will be crucial in assessing the potential clinical utility of ACV and its derivatives in combination with established NRTIs.
Project description:Recently, it has been reported that phosphorylated acyclovir (ACV) inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase in a cell-free system. To deliver phosphorylated ACV inside cells, we designed ACV monophosphorylated derivatives using ProTide technology. We found that the L-alanine derived ProTides show anti-HIV activity at noncytotoxic concentrations; ester and aryl variation was tolerated. ACV ProTides with other amino acids, other than L-phenylalanine, showed no detectable activity against HIV in cell culture. The inhibitory activity of the prodrugs against herpes simplex virus (HSV) types -1 and -2 and thymidine kinase-deficient HSV-1 revealed different structure-activity relationships but was again consistent with successful nucleoside kinase bypass. Enzymatic and molecular modeling studies have been performed in order to better understand the antiviral behavior of these compounds. ProTides showing diminished carboxypeptidase lability translated to poor anti-HIV agents and vice versa, so the assay became predictive.
Project description:Acyclovir (ACV), a highly specific anti-herpetic drug, acts as a DNA chain terminator for several human herpesviruses (HHVs), including HHV-2 (HSV-2), a common human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 co-pathogen. Several trials demonstrated that HSV-2 suppressive therapy using ACV or its prodrug valacyclovir (valACV) reduced plasma HIV-1 viral load (VL) in HIV-1/HSV-2 coinfected persons, and this was proposed to be due to a decrease in generalized immune activation. Recently, however, we found that ACV directly suppresses HIV-1 ex vivo in tissues free of HSV-2 but endogenously coinfected with other HHVs. Here, we asked whether valACV suppresses VL in HIV-1 infected HSV-2-seronegative persons.Eighteen HIV-1 infected HSV-2-seronegative individuals were randomly assigned in a double blind placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Eligible participants had CD4 cell counts of ?500 cells/µL and were not taking antiretroviral therapy. Subjects in group A received 12 weeks of valACV 500 mg given twice daily by mouth followed by 2 weeks of a no treatment washout and then 12 weeks of placebo; subjects in group B received 12 weeks of placebo followed by 2 weeks of no treatment washout and then 12 weeks of valACV 500 mg twice daily.HIV-1 VL in plasma of patients treated with valACV 500 mg twice daily for 12 weeks was reduced on average by 0.37 log10 copies/mL.These data indicate that the effects of valACV on HIV-1 replication are not related to the suppression of HSV-2-mediated inflammation and are consistent with a direct effect of ACV on HIV-1 replication.
Project description:Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) suppressive therapy using acyclovir (ACV) or valacyclovir in HIV-1/HSV-2-infected persons increased the patient's survival and decreased the HIV-1 load. It has been shown that the incorporation of ACV-monophosphate into the nascent DNA chain instead of dGMP results in the termination of viral DNA elongation and directly inhibits laboratory strains of HIV-1. We evaluated here the anti-HIV activity of ACV against primary HIV-1 isolates of different clades and coreceptor specificity and against viral isolates resistant to currently used drugs, including zidovudine, lamivudine, nevirapine, a combination of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), a fusion inhibitor, and two protease inhibitors. We found that, at clinically relevant concentrations, ACV inhibits the replication of these isolates in human tissues infected ex vivo. Moreover, addition of ribavirin, an antiviral capable of depleting the pool of intracellular dGTP, potentiated the ACV-mediated HIV-1 suppression. These data warrant further clinical investigations of the benefits of using inexpensive and safe ACV alone or in combination with other drugs against HIV-1, especially to complement or delay highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation in low-resource settings.
Project description:Vaginal microbicides may play an important role in protecting women from HIV infection. A strong synergy between HSV and HIV has been observed, and epidemiological studies demonstrate that HSV infection increases the risk of HIV acquisition. Incorporation of the antiretroviral tenofovir (TFV) along with the antiherpetic acyclovir (ACV) into combination intravaginal rings (IVRs) for sustained mucosal delivery of both compounds could lead to increased microbicide product adherence and efficacy compared with conventional vaginal formulations. A novel, dual-protection "pod IVR" platform developed in-house and delivering ACV and TFV was evaluated in rabbit and sheep models. The devices were safe and exhibited sustained release of both drugs independently and at controlled rates over the 28-day studies. Daily release rates were estimated based on residual drug content of the used devices: rabbits, 343 ± 335 ?g day(-1) (ACV) and 321 ± 207 ?g day(-1) (TFV); sheep, 174 ± 14 ?g day(-1) (ACV) and 185 ± 34 ?g day(-1) (TFV). Mean drug levels in sheep vaginal samples were as follows: secretions, 5.25 ± 7.31 ?g ml(-1) (ACV) and 20.6 ± 16.2 ?g ml(-1) (TFV); cervicovaginal lavage fluid, 118 ± 113 ng ml(-1) (ACV) and 191 ± 125 ng ml(-1) (TFV); tissue, 173 ng g(-1) (ACV) and 93 ng g(-1) (TFV). An in vitro-in vivo correlation was established for both drugs and will allow the development of future formulations delivering target levels for prophylaxis and therapy. These data suggest that the IVR based on the pod design has potential in the prevention of transmission of HIV-1 and other sexually transmitted pathogens.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is the most common cause of genital ulcer disease and is a cofactor for HIV-1 acquisition and transmission. We analyzed specimens from three separate phase III trials of acyclovir (ACV) for prevention of HIV-1 acquisition and transmission to determine if failure of ACV to interrupt HIV acquisition and transmission was associated with genotypic ACV resistance. Acyclovir (400 mg twice daily) or placebo was provided to HSV-2-infected persons at risk of HIV-1 infection in the Mwanza and HPTN 039 trials and to persons dually infected with HSV-2 and HIV-1 who had an HIV-negative partner in the Partners in Prevention study. We extracted HSV DNA from genital ulcer swabs or cervicovaginal lavage fluids from 68 samples obtained from 64 participants randomized to ACV and sequenced the HSV-2 UL23 gene encoding thymidine kinase. The UL23 sequences were compared with published and unpublished data. Variants were observed in 38/1,128 (3.4%) nucleotide positions in the UL23 open reading frame, with 58% of these encoding amino acid changes. No deletions, insertions, or mutations known to be associated with resistance were detected. Thirty-one of the variants (81.5%) are newly reported, 15 of which code for amino acid changes. Overall, UL23 is highly polymorphic compared to other loci in HSV-2, but no drug resistance mutations were detected that could explain the failure to reduce HIV incidence or to prevent HIV-1 transmission in these studies.
Project description:Polymeric prodrug micelles for delivery of acyclovir (ACV) were synthesized. First, ACV was used directly to initiate ring-opening polymerization of ?-caprolactone to form ACV-polycaprolactone (ACV-PCL). Through conjugation of hydrophobic ACV-PCL with hydrophilic methoxy poly(ethylene glycol) (MPEG) or chitosan, polymeric micelles for drug delivery were formed. (1)H NMR, FTIR, and gel permeation chromatography were employed to show successful conjugation of MPEG or chitosan to hydrophobic ACV-PCL. Through dynamic light scattering, zeta potential analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and critical micelle concentration (CMC), the synthesized ACV-tagged polymeric micelles were characterized. It was found that the average size of the polymeric micelles was under 200nm and the CMCs of ACV-PCL-MPEG and ACV-PCL-chitosan were 2.0mgL(-1) and 6.6mgL(-1), respectively. The drug release kinetics of ACV was investigated and cytotoxicity assay demonstrates that ACV-tagged polymeric micelles were non-toxic.
Project description:Following our findings on the anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity of acyclovir (ACV) phosphate prodrugs, we herein report the ProTide approach applied to a series of acyclic nucleosides aimed at the identification of novel and selective antiviral, in particular anti-HIV agents. Acyclic nucleoside analogues used in this study were identified through a virtual screening using HIV-reverse transcriptase (RT), adenylate/guanylate kinase, and human DNA polymerase ?. A total of 39 new phosphate prodrugs were synthesized and evaluated against HIV-1 (in vitro and ex vivo human tonsillar tissue system) and human herpes viruses. Several ProTide compounds showed substantial potency against HIV-1 at low micromolar range while the parent nucleosides were not effective. Also, pronounced inhibition of herpesvirus replication was observed. A carboxypeptidase-mediated hydrolysis study was performed for a selection of compounds to assess the formation of putative metabolites and support the biological activity observed.
Project description:To investigate the impact of pregnancy on human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) reactivation in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected women, the HHV-8 DNA presence and load were analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and cervicovaginal secretions (CVSs) from 15 pregnant women coinfected with HIV-1 and HHV-8. HHV-8 detection was analyzed in relation to anti-HHV-8 antibodies and HIV-1-related parameters. Nucleotide sequence analysis of an ORFK1 hypervariable region of the HHV-8 strains was performed. HHV-8 was detected in maternal PBMCs (5/15 women) from the second trimester and in CVSs (5/15 women) mainly from the third trimester. The HHV-8 load significantly increased late in pregnancy in both maternal compartments and was associated with a significant increase in HIV-1 shedding in the genital tract. Antilytic antibodies were significantly more common in HHV-8 DNA-positive women. An elevated HHV-8 load was found in the PBMCs of an infant born to a mother with large amounts of HHV-8 in both compartments at delivery. Different ORFK1 subtypes were found in maternal samples, whereas the same subtype was identified in the mother-child pair. These data suggest that pregnancy may induce HHV-8 replication in HIV-1-infected women. An augmented HHV-8 load may, in turn, influence mother-to-child transmission, since one of the HIV-1-infected mothers with HHV-8 reactivation transmitted her ORFK1 subtype to the infant, who showed a high level of HHV-8 viremia indicative of a primary infection. This finding documents for the first time the perinatal transmission of a specific HHV-8 subtype. Vertical transmission may thus play a role in HHV-8 spread also in areas of subendemicity among HIV-1-infected women.
Project description:PURPOSE:The objective of this study was to develop and characterize polymeric nanoparticles of appropriate stereoisomeric dipeptide prodrugs of acyclovir (L-valine-L-valine-ACV, L-valine-D-valine-ACV, D-valine-L-valine-ACV, and D-valine-D-valine-ACV) for the treatment of ocular herpes keratitis. METHODS:Stereoisomeric dipeptide prodrugs of acyclovir (ACV) were screened for bioreversion in various ocular tissues, cell proliferation, and uptake across the rabbit primary corneal epithelial cell line. Docking studies were carried out to examine the affinity of prodrugs to the peptide transporter protein. Prodrugs with optimum characteristics were selected for the preparation of nanoparticles using various grades of poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). Nanoparticles were characterized for the entrapment efficiency, surface morphology, size distribution, and in vitro release. Further, the effect of thermosensitive gels on the release of prodrugs from nanoparticles was also studied. RESULTS:L-valine-L-valine-ACV and L-valine-D-valine-ACV were considered to be optimum in terms of enzymatic stability, uptake, and cytotoxicity. Docking results indicated that L-valine in the terminal position increases the affinity of the prodrugs to the peptide transporter protein. Entrapment efficiency values of L-valine-L-valine-ACV and L-valine-D-valine-ACV were found to be optimal with PLGA 75:25 and PLGA 65:35 polymers, respectively. In vitro release of prodrugs from nanoparticles exhibited a biphasic release behavior with initial burst phase followed by sustained release. Dispersion of nanoparticles in thermosensitive gels completely eliminated the burst release phase. CONCLUSION:Novel nanoparticulate systems of dipeptide prodrugs of ACV suspended in thermosensitive gels may provide sustained delivery after topical administration.