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Antivir Chem Chemother. 2003 Sep;14(5):225-33.

Peptide inhibitors of hepatitis C virus NS3 protease.

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Department of Genetics, Faculty of Science, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a highly prevalent virus and one of the major agents of chronic hepatitis. Since HCV NS3 protease is essential for the processing of HCV polyprotein, this protease is a target of choice to control HCV replication. Peptide inhibitors of NS3 were developed by selective amino acid replacement of six leader sequences, corresponding to regions of HCV polyprotein that are cleaved by NS3. The large numbers of potential 14-mer and 16-mer peptide inhibitors thus obtained were tested against NS3 using the fluorescent probe RETS1 and peptide cofactor SVVIVGRIILSGRA from NS4A protein. This afforded several peptide inhibitors with an IC50 of around 2 microM. These peptides may be good leading compounds for the development of peptidomimetics to control HCV replication in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

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