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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Mar;56(3):1315-23. doi: 10.1128/AAC.05764-11. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

Identification of novel N-(morpholine-4-carbonyloxy) amidine compounds as potent inhibitors against hepatitis C virus replication.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


To identify novel compounds that possess antiviral activity against hepatitis C virus (HCV), we screened a library of small molecules with various amounts of structural diversity using an HCV replicon-expressing cell line and performed additional validations using the HCV-JFH1 infectious-virus cell culture. Of 4,004 chemical compounds, we identified 4 novel compounds that suppressed HCV replication with 50% effective concentrations of ranging from 0.36 to 4.81 μM. N'-(Morpholine-4-carbonyloxy)-2-(naphthalen-1-yl) acetimidamide (MCNA) was the most potent and also produced a small synergistic effect when used in combination with alpha interferon. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) analyses revealed 4 derivative compounds with antiviral activity. Further SAR analyses revealed that the N-(morpholine-4-carbonyloxy) amidine moiety was a key structural element for antiviral activity. Treatment of cells with MCNA activated nuclear factor κB and downstream gene expression. In conclusion, N-(morpholine-4-carbonyloxy) amidine and other related morpholine compounds specifically suppressed HCV replication and may have potential as novel chemotherapeutic agents.

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