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Antivir Chem Chemother. 2006;17(6):293-320.

Five years of progress on cyclin-dependent kinases and other cellular proteins as potential targets for antiviral drugs.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


In 1997-1998, the pharmacological cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors (PCIs) were independently discovered to inhibit replication of human cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus type 1 and HIV-1. The results from small clinical trials against cancer were then suggesting that PCIs could be safe enough to be used clinically. It was thus hypothesized that PCIs could have the potential to be developed as novel antivirals targeting cellular proteins. Consequently, Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy published in 2001 the first review on the potential of CDKs, and cellular proteins in general, as potential targets for antivirals. The viral functions inhibited by PCIs, or their cellular targets, were then just starting to be characterized. The antiviral spectrum of PCIs and their effects on viral disease were still mostly untested. Even their actual specificity was not yet completely characterized. In addition, cellular proteins were not accepted as valid targets for antivirals. Significant progress has been made in the last 5 years in understanding the antiviral activities of PCIs and the potential roles of cellular proteins in general as targets for antivirals. The first clinical trials of the antiviral activities of PCIs and other inhibitors of cellular protein kinases have now been scheduled. Herein, we review the progress made since the publication of the first review on PCIs as potential antiviral drugs and on CDKs, and cellular proteins in general, as potential targets for antiviral drugs. We also highlight the major issues that still need to be addressed before PCIs or other drugs targeting cellular proteins can be developed as clinical antivirals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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