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Antiviral Res. 1992 Jul 1;19(1):71-80.

The HIV replication inhibitor 3'-fluoro-3'-deoxythymidine blocks sialylation of N-linked oligosaccharides.

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Department of Clinical Virology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


The ability of 3'-fluoro-3'-deoxythymidine (FLT) to interfere with glycosylation was investigated in an experimental system, where the effects on the herpes simplex virus type 1-specified glycoprotein gC were determined. By adding FLT to HSV-infected cells after the peak of DNA synthesis, it was possible to segregate possible effects on nucleic acid metabolism from the effects on glycosylation of gC. It was found that FLT treatment of HSV-infected cells at concentrations of 20-500 micrograms/ml resulted in a significant increase in the electrophoretic mobility of gC, indicating a reduction of the amount of carbohydrates incorporated into gC. Lectin-binding assays demonstrated that the FLT treatment blocked addition of sialic acid to complex type N-linked glycans. The effects on glycosylation were observed in cells infected with an HSV mutant, deficient in thymidine kinase (TK), but not in cells infected with wild type virus. The cells infected with the wild type virus contained five times more total FLT metabolites than the cells infected with the TK-deficient mutant, whereas the latter cell type contained significantly higher amounts of unmetabolized FLT. This result indicates that FLT itself, and not a metabolite, was responsible for the effects on glycosylation.

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