Sophoraflavenone G Restricts Dengue and Zika Virus Infection via RNA Polymerase Interference.
ABSTRACT: Flaviviruses including Zika, Dengue and Hepatitis C virus cause debilitating diseases in humans, and the former are emerging as global health concerns with no antiviral treatments. We investigated Sophora Flavecens, used in Chinese medicine, as a source for antiviral compounds. We isolated Sophoraflavenone G and found that it inhibited Hepatitis C replication, but not Sendai or Vesicular Stomatitis Virus. Pre- and post-infection treatments demonstrated anti-flaviviral activity against Dengue and Zika virus, via viral RNA polymerase inhibition. These data suggest that Sophoraflavenone G represents a promising candidate regarding anti-Flaviviridae research.
Project description:Pathogenic members of the flavivirus family, including West Nile Virus (WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV), are growing global threats for which there are no specific treatments. The two-component flaviviral enzyme NS2B-NS3 cleaves the viral polyprotein precursor within the host cell, a process that is required for viral replication. Here, we report the crystal structure of WNV NS2B-NS3pro both in a substrate-free form and in complex with the trypsin inhibitor aprotinin/BPTI. We show that aprotinin binds in a substrate-mimetic fashion in which the productive conformation of the protease is fully formed, providing evidence for an "induced fit" mechanism of catalysis and allowing us to rationalize the distinct substrate specificities of WNV and DV proteases. We also show that the NS2B cofactor of WNV can adopt two very distinct conformations and that this is likely to be a general feature of flaviviral proteases, providing further opportunities for regulation. Finally, by comparing the flaviviral proteases with the more distantly related Hepatitis C virus, we provide insights into the evolution of the Flaviviridae fold. Our work should expedite the design of protease inhibitors to treat a range of flaviviral infections.
Project description:Infectious clone technologies allow the rational design of live attenuated viral vaccines with the possibility of vaccine-driven coexpression of immunomodulatory molecules for additional vaccine safety and efficacy. The latter could lead to novel strategies for vaccine protection against infectious diseases where traditional approaches have failed. Here we show for the flavivirus Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) that incorporation of the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) of Encephalomyocarditis virus between the capsid and prM genes strongly attenuated virulence and that the resulting bicistronic virus was both genetically stable and potently immunogenic. Furthermore, the novel bicistronic genome organization facilitated the generation of a recombinant virus carrying an beta interferon (IFN-?) gene. Given the importance of IFNs in limiting virus dissemination and in efficient induction of memory B and T cell antiviral immunity, we hypothesized that coexpression of the cytokine with the live vaccine might further increase virulence attenuation without loss of immunogenicity. We found that bicistronic mouse IFN-? coexpressing MVEV yielded high virus and IFN titers in cultured cells that do not respond to the coexpressed IFN. However, in IFN response-sufficient cell cultures and mice, the virus produced a self-limiting infection. Nevertheless, the attenuated virus triggered robust innate and adaptive immune responses evidenced by the induced expression of Mx proteins (used as a sensitive biomarker for measuring the type I IFN response) and the generation of neutralizing antibodies, respectively. IMPORTANCE The family Flaviviridae includes a number of important human pathogens, such as Dengue virus, Yellow fever virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, and Hepatitis C virus. Flaviviruses infect large numbers of individuals on all continents. For example, as many as 100 million people are infected annually with Dengue virus, and 150 million people suffer a chronic infection with Hepatitis C virus. However, protective vaccines against dengue and hepatitis C are still missing, and improved vaccines against other flaviviral diseases are needed. The present study investigated the effects of a redesigned flaviviral genome and the coexpression of an antiviral protein (interferon) on virus replication, pathogenicity, and immunogenicity. Our findings may aid in the rational design of a new class of well-tolerated and safe vaccines.
Project description:Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family. In Brazil, yellow fever (YF) cases have increased dramatically in sylvatic areas neighboring urban zones in the last few years. Because of the high lethality rates associated with infection and absence of any antiviral treatments, it is essential to identify therapeutic options to respond to YFV outbreaks. Repurposing of clinically approved drugs represents the fastest alternative to discover antivirals for public health emergencies. Other Flaviviruses, such as Zika (ZIKV) and dengue (DENV) viruses, are susceptible to sofosbuvir, a clinically approved drug against hepatitis C virus (HCV). Our data showed that sofosbuvir docks onto YFV RNA polymerase using conserved amino acid residues for nucleotide binding. This drug inhibited the replication of both vaccine and wild-type strains of YFV on human hepatoma cells, with EC50 values around 5 ?M. Sofosbuvir protected YFV-infected neonatal Swiss mice and adult type I interferon receptor knockout mice (A129-/-) from mortality and weight loss. Because of its safety profile in humans and significant antiviral effects in vitro and in mice, Sofosbuvir may represent a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of YF. Key-words: Yellow fever virus; Yellow fever, antiviral; sofosbuvir.
Project description:Oxidative stress is induced once the balance of generation and neutralization of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is broken in the cell, and it plays crucial roles in a variety of natural and diseased processes. Infections of Flaviviridae viruses trigger oxidative stress, which affects both the cellular metabolism and the life cycle of the viruses. Oxidative stress associated with specific viral proteins, experimental culture systems, and patient infections, as well as its correlations with the viral pathogenesis attracts much research attention. In this review, we primarily focus on hepatitis C virus (HCV), dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), West Nile virus (WNV), and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) as representatives of Flaviviridae viruses and we summarize the mechanisms involved in the relevance of oxidative stress for virus-associated pathogenesis. We discuss the current understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of oxidative stress induced by Flaviviridae viruses and highlight the relevance of autophagy and DNA damage in the life cycle of viruses. Understanding the crosstalk between viral infection and oxidative stress-induced molecular events may offer new avenues for antiviral therapeutics.
Project description:Viruses have developed innovative strategies to exploit the cellular machinery and overcome the antiviral defenses of the host, often using specifically structured RNA elements. Examples are found in the Flavivirus genus (in the family Flaviviridae), where during flaviviral infection, pathogenic subgenomic flaviviral RNAs (sfRNAs) accumulate in the cell. These sfRNAs are formed when a host cell 5' to 3' exoribonuclease degrades the viral genomic RNA but is blocked by an exoribonuclease-resistant RNA structure (xrRNA) located in the viral genome's 3' untranslated region (UTR). Although known to exist in several Flaviviridae genera, the full distribution and diversity of xrRNAs in this family were unknown. Using the recently solved high-resolution structure of an xrRNA from the divergent flavivirus Tamana bat virus (TABV) as a reference, we used bioinformatic searches to identify xrRNAs in the remaining three genera of Flaviviridae: Pegivirus, Pestivirus, and Hepacivirus We biochemically and structurally characterized several examples, determining that they are genuine xrRNAs with a conserved fold. These new xrRNAs look superficially similar to the previously described xrRNAs but possess structural differences making them distinct from previous classes of xrRNAs. Overall, we have identified the presence of xrRNA in all four genera of Flaviviridae, but not in all species. Our findings thus require adjustments of previous xrRNA classification schemes and expand the previously known distribution of xrRNA in Flaviviridae. IMPORTANCE The members of the Flaviviridae comprise one of the largest families of positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) and are divided into the Flavivirus, Pestivirus, Pegivirus, and Hepacivirus genera. The genus Flavivirus contains many medically relevant viruses such as Zika virus, dengue virus, and Powassan virus. In these, a part of the RNA of the virus twists up into a distinct three-dimensional shape called an exoribonuclease-resistant RNA (xrRNA) that blocks the ability of the cell to "chew up" the viral RNA. Hence, part of the RNA of the virus remains intact, and this protected part is important for viral infection. These xrRNAs were known to occur in flaviviruses, but whether they existed in the other members of the family was not known. In this study, we identified a new subclass of xrRNA found not only in flaviviruses but also in the remaining three genera. The fact that these structured viral RNAs exist throughout the Flaviviridae family suggests they are important parts of the infection strategy of diverse pathogens, which could lead to new avenues of research.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that is becoming a serious global threat, owing to its rising incidence in inter-tropical regions that yield over 50 million annual infections. There are currently no approved antiviral agents for the management of dengue, and recent shortcomings in its immunization called for immediate action to develop effective drugs with prophylactic ability to better manage its infection. In an attempt to discover novel antiviral sources, we identified the medicinal herb Polygonum cuspidatum (PC) as a bioactive botanical material against DENV infectivity. Specifically, the methanolic extract from PC rhizomes (PCME) potently inhibited DENV infection without causing significant cytotoxicity. Further examination on the viral life cycle demonstrated that PCME particularly targeted the initial stages of DENV infection, while pre- and post-infection treatments had no effect. More importantly, the PCME could efficiently inactivate DENV free virus particles and block the viral attachment and entry/fusion events without apparently influencing viral replication, egress, and cell-to-cell spread. The antiviral effect of PCME was also recapitulated in infection analysis using DENV pseudoparticles displaying viral structural proteins that mediate DENV particle entry. Besides, PCME treatment also inhibited direct DENV entry into several cell types relevant to its infection and reduced viral infectivity of other members of the Flaviviridae family, including the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and Zika virus (ZIKV). Due to its potency against DENV entry, we suggest that the phytobioactive extract from PC is an excellent starting point as an antiviral source material for further development of therapeutic strategies in the prophylactic management of DENV infection.
Project description:Remdesivir was shown to inhibit RNA-dependent RNA-polymerases (RdRp) from distinct viral families such as from Filoviridae (Ebola) and Coronaviridae (SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, MERS). In this study, we tested the ability of remdesivir to inhibit RdRps from the Flaviviridae family. Instead of remdesivir, we used the active species that is produced in cells from remdesivir, the appropriate triphosphate, which could be directly tested in vitro using recombinant flaviviral polymerases. Our results show that remdesivir can efficiently inhibit RdRps from viruses causing severe illnesses such as Yellow fever, West Nile fever, Japanese and Tick-borne encephalitis, Zika and Dengue. Taken together, this study demonstrates that remdesivir or its derivatives have the potential to become a broad-spectrum antiviral agent effective against many RNA viruses.
Project description:Flaviviridae infections represent a major global health burden. By deciphering mechanistic aspects of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-host interactions, one could discover common strategy for inhibiting the replication of related flaviviruses. By elucidating the HCV interactome, we identified the 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 12 (HSD17B12) as a human hub of the very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) synthesis pathway and core interactor. Here we show that HSD17B12 knockdown (KD) impairs HCV replication and reduces virion production. Mechanistically, depletion of HSD17B12 induces alterations in VLCFA-containing lipid species and a drastic reduction of lipid droplets (LDs) that play a critical role in virus assembly. Oleic acid supplementation rescues viral RNA replication and production of infectious particles in HSD17B12 depleted cells, supporting a specific role of VLCFA in HCV life cycle. Furthermore, the small-molecule HSD17B12 inhibitor, INH-12, significantly reduces replication and infectious particle production of HCV as well as dengue virus and Zika virus revealing a conserved requirement across Flaviviridae virus family. Overall, the data provide a strong rationale for the advanced evaluation of HSD17B12 inhibition as a promising broad-spectrum antiviral strategy for the treatment of Flaviviridae infections.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family, along with other agents of clinical significance such as dengue (DENV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses. Since ZIKV causes neurological disorders during fetal development and in adulthood, antiviral drugs are necessary. Sofosbuvir is clinically approved for use against HCV and targets the protein that is most conserved among the members of the Flaviviridae family, the viral RNA polymerase. Indeed, we found that sofosbuvir inhibits ZIKV RNA polymerase, targeting conserved amino acid residues. Sofosbuvir inhibited ZIKV replication in different cellular systems, such as hepatoma (Huh-7) cells, neuroblastoma (SH-Sy5y) cells, neural stem cells (NSC) and brain organoids. In addition to the direct inhibition of the viral RNA polymerase, we observed that sofosbuvir also induced an increase in A-to-G mutations in the viral genome. Together, our data highlight a potential secondary use of sofosbuvir, an anti-HCV drug, against ZIKV.
Project description:Dengue virus belongs to the family Flaviviridae and is a major emerging pathogen for which the development of vaccines and antiviral therapy has seen little success. The NS3 viral protease is a potential target for antiviral drugs since it is required for virus replication. The goal of this study was to identify novel dengue virus (type 2; DEN2V) protease inhibitors for eventual development as effective anti-flaviviral drugs. The EUDOC docking program was used to computationally screen a small-molecule library for compounds that dock into the P1 pocket and the catalytic site of the DEN2V NS3 protease domain apo-structure [Murthy, K., Clum, S., Padmanabhan, R., 1999. Crystal structure and insights into interaction of the active site with substrates by molecular modeling and structural analysis of mutational effects. J. Biol. Chem. 274, 5573-5580] and the Bowman-Birk inhibitor-bound structure [Murthy, K., Judge, K., DeLucas, L., Padmanabhan, R., 2000. Crystal structure of dengue virus NS3 protease in complex with a Bowman-Birk inhibitor: implications for flaviviral polyprotein processing and drug design. J. Mol. Biol. 301, 759-767]. The top 20 computer-identified hits that demonstrated the most favorable scoring "energies" were selected for in vitro assessment of protease inhibition. Preliminary protease activity assays demonstrated that more than half of the tested compounds were soluble and exhibited in vitro inhibition of the DEN2V protease. Two of these compounds also inhibited viral replication in cell culture experiments, and thus are promising compounds for further development.