Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Infect Dis. 2011 Aug 15;204(4):609-16. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir303.

Ceestatin, a novel small molecule inhibitor of hepatitis C virus replication, inhibits 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A synthase.

Author information

  • 1Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects >170 million persons worldwide and is a leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The identification of more effective and better-tolerated agents for treating HCV is a high priority. We have reported elsewhere the discovery of the anti-HCV compound ceestatin using a high-throughput screen of a small molecule library.


To identify host or viral protein targets in an unbiased fashion, we performed affinity chromatography, using tandem liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify specific potential targets. RESULTS. Ceestatin binds to 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) synthase and irreversibly inhibits HMG-CoA synthase in a dose-dependent manner. Ceestatin's anti-HCV effects are reversed by addition of HMG-CoA, mevalonic acid, or geranylgeraniol. Treatment with small interfering RNA against HMG-CoA synthase led to a substantial reduction in HCV replication, further validating HMG-CoA synthase as an enzyme essential for HCV replication.


Ceestatin therefore exerts its anti-HCV effects through inhibition of HMG-CoA synthase. It may prove useful as an antiviral agent, as a probe to study HCV replication, and as a cholesterol-lowering agent. The logical stepwise process employed to discover the mechanism of action of ceestatin can serve as a general experimental strategy to uncover the targets on which novel uncharacterized anti-HCV compounds act.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk