6'-?-Fluoro-Homoaristeromycin and 6'-Fluoro-Homoneplanocin A Are Potent Inhibitors of Chikungunya Virus Replication through Their Direct Effect on Viral Nonstructural Protein 1.
ABSTRACT: Alphaviruses are arthropod-borne, positive-stranded RNA viruses capable of causing severe disease with high morbidity. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus that causes a febrile illness which can progress into chronic arthralgia. The current lack of vaccines and specific treatment for CHIKV infection underscores the need to develop new therapeutic interventions. To discover new antiviral agents, we performed a compound screen in cell culture-based infection models and identified two carbocyclic adenosine analogues, 6'-?-fluoro-homoaristeromycin (FHA) and 6'-fluoro-homoneplanocin A (FHNA), that displayed potent activity against CHIKV and Semliki Forest virus (SFV) with 50% effective concentrations in the nanomolar range at nontoxic concentrations. The compounds, designed as inhibitors of the host enzyme S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) hydrolase, impeded postentry steps in CHIKV and SFV replication. Selection of FHNA-resistant mutants and reverse genetics studies demonstrated that the combination of mutations G230R and K299E in CHIKV nonstructural protein 1 (nsP1) conferred resistance to the compounds. Enzymatic assays with purified wild-type (wt) SFV nsP1 suggested that an oxidized (3'-keto) form, rather than FHNA itself, directly inhibited the MTase activity, while a mutant protein with the K231R and K299E substitutions was insensitive to the compound. Both wt nsP1 and the resistant mutant were equally sensitive to the inhibitory effect of SAH. Our combined data suggest that FHA and FHNA inhibit CHIKV and SFV replication by directly targeting the MTase activity of nsP1, rather than through an indirect effect on host SAH hydrolase. The high potency and selectivity of these novel alphavirus mRNA capping inhibitors warrant further preclinical investigation of these compounds.
Project description:Alphaviruses, including Chikungunya (CHIKV) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), are among the leading causes of recurrent epidemics all over the world. Alphaviral nonstructural protein 1 (nsP1) orchestrates the capping of nascent viral RNA via its S-adenosyl methionine-dependent N-7-methyltransferase (MTase) and guanylyltransferase activities. Here, we developed and validated a novel capillary electrophoresis (CE)-based assay for measuring the MTase activity of purified VEEV and CHIKV nsP1. We employed the assay to assess the MTase inhibition efficiency of a few adenosine analogs and identified 5-iodotubercidin (5-IT) as an inhibitor of nsP1. The antiviral potency of 5-IT was evaluated in vitro using a combination of cell-based assays, which suggest that 5-IT is efficacious against CHIKV in cell culture (EC50 : 0.409 µm).
Project description:The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has become a substantial global health threat due to its massive re-emergence, the considerable disease burden and the lack of vaccines or therapeutics. We discovered a novel class of small molecules ([1,2,3]triazolo[4,5-d]pyrimidin-7(6H)-ones) with potent in vitro activity against CHIKV isolates from different geographical regions. Drug-resistant variants were selected and these carried a P34S substitution in non-structural protein 1 (nsP1), the main enzyme involved in alphavirus RNA capping. Biochemical assays using nsP1 of the related Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus revealed that the compounds specifically inhibit the guanylylation of nsP1. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first report demonstrating that the alphavirus capping machinery is an excellent antiviral drug target. Considering the lack of options to treat CHIKV infections, this series of compounds with their unique (alphavirus-specific) target offers promise for the development of therapy for CHIKV infections.
Project description:We have reported on aristeromycin (1) and 6'-fluorinated-aristeromycin analogues (2), which are active against RNA viruses such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Zika virus (ZIKV), and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). However, these exhibit substantial cytotoxicity. As this cytotoxicity may be attributed to 5'-phosphorylation, we designed and synthesized one-carbon homologated 6'-fluorinated-aristeromycin analogues. This modification prevents 5'-phosphorlyation by cellular kinases, whereas the inhibitory activity towards S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (SAH) hydrolase will be retained. The enantiomerically pure 6'-fluorinated-5'-homoaristeromycin analogues 3a-e were synthesized via the electrophilic fluorination of the silyl enol ether with Selectfluor, using a base-build up approach as the key steps. All synthesized compounds exhibited potent inhibitory activity towards SAH hydrolase, among which 6'-?-fluoroadenosine analogue 3a was the most potent (IC50 = 0.36 ?M). Among the compounds tested, 6'-?-fluoro-homoaristeromycin 3a showed potent antiviral activity (EC50 = 0.12 ?M) against the CHIKV, without noticeable cytotoxicity up to 250 ?M. Only 3a displayed anti-CHIKV activity, whereas both3a and 3b inhibited SAH hydrolase with similar IC50 values (0.36 and 0.37 ?M, respectively), which suggested that 3a's antiviral activity did not merely depend on the inhibition of SAH hydrolase. This is further supported by the fact that the antiviral effect was specific for CHIKV and some other alphaviruses and none of the homologated analogues inhibited other RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and ZIKV. The potent inhibition and high selectivity index make 6'-?-fluoro-homoaristeromycin (3a) a promising new template for the development of antivirals against CHIKV, a serious re-emerging pathogen that has infected millions of people over the past 15 years.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an alphavirus, has recently caused epidemic outbreaks and is therefore considered a re-emerging pathogen for which no effective treatment is available. In this study, a CHIKV replicon containing the virus replicase proteins together with puromycin acetyltransferase, EGFP and Renilla luciferase marker genes was constructed. The replicon was transfected into BHK cells to yield a stable cell line. A non-cytopathic phenotype was achieved by a Pro718 to Gly substitution and a five amino acid insertion within non-structural protein 2 (nsP2), obtained through selection for stable growth. Characterization of the replicon cell line by Northern blotting analysis revealed reduced levels of viral RNA synthesis. The CHIKV replicon cell line was validated for antiviral screening in 96-well format and used for a focused screen of 356 compounds (natural compounds and clinically approved drugs). The 5,7-dihydroxyflavones apigenin, chrysin, naringenin and silybin were found to suppress activities of EGFP and Rluc marker genes expressed by the CHIKV replicon. In a concomitant screen against Semliki Forest virus (SFV), their anti-alphaviral activity was confirmed and several additional inhibitors of SFV with IC?? values between 0.4 and 24 µM were identified. Chlorpromazine and five other compounds with a 10H-phenothiazinyl structure were shown to inhibit SFV entry using a novel entry assay based on a temperature-sensitive SFV mutant. These compounds also reduced SFV and Sindbis virus-induced cytopathic effect and inhibited SFV virion production in virus yield experiments. Finally, antiviral effects of selected compounds were confirmed using infectious CHIKV. In summary, the presented approach for discovering alphaviral inhibitors enabled us to identify potential lead structures for the development of alphavirus entry and replication phase inhibitors as well as demonstrated the usefulness of CHIKV replicon and SFV as biosafe surrogate models for anti-CHIKV screening.
Project description:Alphaviruses represent a diverse set of arboviruses, many of which are important pathogens. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an arthritis-inducing alphavirus, is the cause of a massive ongoing outbreak in the Caribbean and South America. In contrast to CHIKV, other related alphaviruses, such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) and Semliki Forest virus (SFV), can cause encephalitic disease. E2, the receptor binding protein, has been implicated as a determinant in cell tropism, host range, pathogenicity, and immunogenicity. Previous reports also have demonstrated that E2 contains residues important for host range expansions and monoclonal antibody binding; however, little is known about what role each protein domain (e.g., A, B, and C) of E2 plays on these factors. Therefore, we constructed chimeric cDNA clones between CHIKV and VEEV or SFV to probe the effect of each domain on pathogenicity in vitro and in vivo. CHIKV chimeras containing each of the domains of the E2 (?DomA, ?DomB, and ?DomC) from SFV, but not VEEV, were successfully rescued. Interestingly, while all chimeric viruses were attenuated compared to CHIKV in mice, ?DomB virus showed similar rates of infection and dissemination in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, suggesting differing roles for the E2 protein in different hosts. In contrast to CHIKV; ?DomB, and to a lesser extent ?DomA, caused neuron degeneration and demyelination in mice infected intracranially, suggesting a shift toward a phenotype similar to SFV. Thus, chimeric CHIKV/SFV provide insights on the role the alphavirus E2 protein plays on pathogenesis.Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused large outbreaks of acute and chronic arthritis throughout Africa and Southeast Asia and has now become a massive public health threat in the Americas, causing an estimated 1.2 million human cases in just over a year. No approved vaccines or antivirals exist for human use against CHIKV or any other alphavirus. Despite the threat, little is known about the role the receptor binding protein (E2) plays on disease outcome in an infected host. To study this, our laboratory generated chimeric CHIKV containing corresponding regions of the Semliki Forest virus (SFV) E2 (domains A, B, and C) substituted into the CHIKV genome. Our results demonstrate that each domain of E2 likely plays a critical, but dissimilar role in the viral life cycle. Our experiments show that manipulation of E2 domains can be useful for studies on viral pathogenesis and potentially the production of vaccines and/or antivirals.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne alphavirus. Alphaviruses are positive strand RNA viruses that require a 5' cap structure to direct translation of the viral polyprotein and prevent degradation of the viral RNA genome by host cell nucleases. Formation of the 5' RNA cap is orchestrated by the viral protein nsP1, which binds GTP and provides the N-7 methyltransferase and guanylyltransferase activities that are necessary for cap formation. Viruses with aberrant nsP1 activity are unable to replicate effectively suggesting that nsP1 is a promising target for antiviral drug discovery. Given the absence of commercially available antiviral therapies for CHIKV, it is imperative to identify compounds that could be developed as potential therapeutics. This study details a high-throughput screen of 3051 compounds from libraries containing FDA-approved drugs, natural products, and known bioactives against CHIKV nsP1 using a fluorescence polarization-based GTP competition assay. Several small molecule hits from this screen were able to compete with GTP for the CHIKV nsP1 GTP binding site at low molar concentrations. Compounds were also evaluated with an orthogonal assay that measured the ability of nsP1 to perform the guanylation step of the capping reaction in the presence of inhibitor. In addition, live virus assays with CHIKV and closely related alphavirus, Sindbis virus, were used in conjunction with cell toxicity assays to determine the antiviral activity of compounds in cell culture. The naturally derived compound lobaric acid was found to inhibit CHIKV nsP1 GTP binding and guanylation as well as attenuate viral growth in vitro at both 24 hpi and 48 hpi in hamster BHK21 and human Huh 7?cell lines. These data indicate that development of lobaric acid and further exploration of CHIKV nsP1 as a drug target may aid in the progress of anti-alphaviral drug development strategies.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne Alphavirus that causes severe and debilitating disease symptoms. Alarmingly, transmission rates of CHIKV have increased dramatically over the last decade resulting in 1.7 million suspected cases in the Western hemisphere alone. There are currently no antivirals for treatment of CHIKV infection and novel anti-alphaviral compounds are badly needed. nsP1 is the alphavirus protein responsible for the methyltransferase and guanylyltransferase activities necessary for formation of the 5' type 0 cap structure added to newly formed viral RNA. Formation of this cap depends on nsP1 binding GTP and transferring a methylated GMP to nascent viral RNA. We have developed a fluorescence polarization-based assay that monitors displacement of a fluorescently-labeled GTP analog in real time. Determining the relative affinities of 15 GTP analogs for nsP1 GTP revealed important structural aspects of GTP that will inform identification of inhibitors able to outcompete GTP for the nsP1 binding site. Validation of the assay for HTS was completed and a secondary orthogonal assay that measures guanylation activity was developed in order to evaluate hits from future drug screens. This platform provides an avenue for identification of potent nsP1 inhibitors, which would potentially provide compounds capable of treating disease caused by CHIKV infection.
Project description:Alphaviruses are small enveloped RNA viruses that include important emerging human pathogens, such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV). These viruses infect cells via a low-pH-triggered membrane fusion reaction, making this step a potential target for antiviral therapies. The E1 fusion protein inserts into the target membrane, trimerizes, and refolds to a hairpin-like conformation in which the combination of E1 domain III (DIII) and the stem region (DIII-stem) pack against a core trimer composed of E1 domains I and II (DI/II). Addition of exogenous DIII proteins from Semliki Forest virus (SFV) has been shown to inhibit E1 hairpin formation and SFV fusion and infection. Here we produced and characterized DIII and DI/II proteins from CHIKV and SFV. Unlike SFV DIII, both core trimer binding and fusion inhibition by CHIKV DIII required the stem region. CHIKV DIII-stem and SFV DIII-stem showed efficient cross-inhibition of SFV, Sindbis virus, and CHIKV infections. We developed a fluorescence anisotropy-based assay for the binding of SFV DIII-stem to the core trimer and used it to demonstrate the relatively high affinity of this interaction (Kd [dissociation constant], ?85 nM) and the importance of the stem region. Together, our results support the conserved nature of the key contacts of DIII-stem in the alphavirus E1 homotrimer and describe a sensitive and quantitative in vitro assay for this step in fusion protein refolding.
Project description:Alphavirus replicase protein nsP1 has multiple functions during viral RNA synthesis. It catalyzes methyltransferase and guanylyltransferase activities needed in viral mRNA capping, attaches the viral replication complex to cytoplasmic membranes, and is required for minus-strand RNA synthesis. Two temperature-sensitive (ts) mutations in Semliki Forest virus (SFV) were previously identified within nsP1: ts10 (E529D) and ts14 (D119N). Recombinant viruses containing these individual mutations reproduced the features of the original ts strains. We now find that the capping-associated enzymatic activities of recombinant nsP1, containing ts10 or ts14 lesions, were not ts. The mutant proteins and polyproteins also were membrane bound, mutant nsP1 interacted normally with the other nonstructural proteins, and there was no major defect in nonstructural polyprotein processing in the mutants, although ts14 surprisingly displayed slightly retarded processing. The two mutant viruses were specifically defective in minus-strand RNA synthesis at the restrictive temperature. Integrating data from SFV and Sindbis virus, we discuss the domain structure of nsP1 and the relative positioning of and interactions between the replicase proteins. nsP1 is suggested to contain a specific subdomain involved in minus-strand synthesis and interaction with the polymerase nsP4 and the protease nsP2.
Project description:Alphaviruses are known to possess a unique viral mRNA capping mechanism involving the viral nonstructural protein nsP1. This enzyme harbors methyltransferase (MTase) and nsP1 guanylylation (GT) activities catalyzing the transfer of the methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) to the N7 position of a GTP molecule followed by the formation of an m(7)GMP-nsP1 adduct. Subsequent transfer of m(7)GMP onto the 5' end of the viral mRNA has not been demonstrated in vitro yet. Here we report the biochemical characterization of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) nsP1. We have developed enzymatic assays uncoupling the different reactions steps catalyzed by nsP1. The MTase and GT reaction activities were followed using a nonhydrolyzable GTP (GIDP) substrate and an original Western blot assay using anti-m3G/m(7)G-cap monoclonal antibody, respectively. The GT reaction is stimulated by S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (Ado-Hcy), the product of the preceding MTase reaction, and metallic ions. The covalent linking between nsP1 and m(7)GMP involves a phosphamide bond between the nucleotide and a histidine residue. Final guanylyltransfer onto RNA was observed for the first time with an alphavirus nsP1 using a 5'-diphosphate RNA oligonucleotide whose sequence corresponds to the 5' end of the viral genome. Alanine scanning mutagenesis of residues H37, H45, D63, E118, Y285, D354, R365, N369, and N375 revealed their respective roles in MT and GT reactions. Finally, the inhibitory effects of sinefungin, aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA), and ribavirin triphosphate on MTase and capping reactions were investigated, providing possible avenues for antiviral research.Emergence or reemergence of alphaviruses represents a serious health concern, and the elucidation of their replication mechanisms is a prerequisite for the development of specific inhibitors targeting viral enzymes. In particular, alphaviruses are able, through an original reaction sequence, to add to their mRNA a cap required for their protection against cellular nucleases and initiation of viral proteins translation. In this study, the capping of a 5' diphosphate synthetic RNA mimicking the 5' end of an alphavirus mRNA was observed in vitro for the first time. The different steps for this capping are performed by the nonstructural protein 1 (nsP1). Reference compounds known to target the viral capping inhibited nsP1 enzymatic functions, highlighting the value of this enzyme in antiviral development.