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J Virol. 2005 Jul;79(13):8014-23.

Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate reduces coxsackievirus B3 replication through inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The James HoggiCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, University of British Columbia-St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6Z 1Y6.


Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is one of the most common pathogens for viral myocarditis. The lack of effective therapeutics for CVB3-caused viral diseases underscores the importance of searching for antiviral compounds. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) is an antioxidant and is recently reported to inhibit ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated proteolysis. Previous studies have shown that PDTC inhibits replication of rhinovirus, influenza virus, and poliovirus. In the present study, we report that PDTC is a potent inhibitor of CVB3. Coxsackievirus-infected HeLa cells treated with PDTC showed a significant reduction of CVB3 viral RNA synthesis, viral protein VP1 expression, and viral progeny release. Similar to previous observation that divalent ions mediate the function of PDTC, we further report that serum-containing copper and zinc are required for its antiviral activity. CVB3 infection resulted in massive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Although PDTC alleviated ROS generation, the antiviral activity was unlikely dependent on its antioxidant effect because the potent antioxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, failed to inhibit CVB3 replication. Consistent with previous reports that PDTC inhibits ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated protein degradation, we found that PDTC treatment led to the accumulation of several short-lived proteins in infected cells. We further provide evidence that the inhibitory effect of PDTC on protein degradation was not due to inhibition of proteasome activity but likely modulation of ubiquitination. Together with our previous findings that proteasome inhibition reduces CVB3 replication (H. Luo, J. Zhang, C. Cheung, A. Suarez, B. M. McManus, and D. Yang, Am. J. Pathol. 163:381-385, 2003), results in this study suggest a strong antiviral effect of PDTC on coxsackievirus, likely through inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.

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