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Antiviral Res. 2008 Oct;80(1):81-5. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 May 16.

Mutations close to functional motif IV in HSV-1 UL5 helicase that confer resistance to HSV helicase-primase inhibitors, variously affect virus growth rate and pathogenicity.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) helicase-primase (HP) is the target for a novel class of antiviral compounds, the helicase-primase inhibitors (HPIs), e.g. BAY 57-1293. Although mutations in herpesviruses conferring resistance to nucleoside analogues are commonly associated with attenuation in vivo, to date, this is not necessarily true for HPIs. HPI-resistant HSV mutants selected in tissue culture are reported to be equally pathogenic compared to parental virus in animal models. Here we demonstrate that a slow-growing HSV-1 mutant, with the BAY 57-1293-resistance mutation Gly352Arg in UL5 helicase, is clearly less virulent than its wild-type parent in a murine zosteriform infection model. This contrasts with published results obtained for a mutant containing a different HPI-resistance substitution (Gly352Val) at the same location, since this mutant was reported to be fully pathogenic. We believe our report to be the first to describe an HPI-resistant HSV-1 mutant, that is markedly less virulent in vivo and slowly growing in tissue culture compared to the parental strain. Another BAY 57-1293-resistant UL5 mutant (Lys356Gln), which showed faster growth characteristics in cell culture, however, was at least equally virulent compared to the parent strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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