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Antiviral Res. 2020 Jan 10;175:104706. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104706. [Epub ahead of print]

Comparison of broad-spectrum antiviral activities of the synthetic rocaglate CR-31-B (-) and the eIF4A-inhibitor Silvestrol.

Author information

1
Institut für Medizinische Virologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Schubertstraße 81, 35392, Gießen, Germany; Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (DZIF) at the Partner Site Gießen-Marburg-Langen, Germany.
2
Institut für Pharmazeutische Chemie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marbacher Weg 6, 35032, Marburg, Germany.
3
Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin, Abteilung Virologie, Hamburg, Germany; Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (DZIF) at the Partner Site Hamburg, Germany.
4
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Bundesinstitut für Impfstoffe und Biomedizinische Arzneimittel, Abteilung Virologie, Paul-Ehrlich-Straße 51-59, 63225, Langen, Germany.
5
Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, 10023, USA.
6
Institut für Pharmazeutische Chemie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marbacher Weg 6, 35032, Marburg, Germany. Electronic address: arnold.gruenweller@staff.uni-marburg.de.

Abstract

Rocaglates, a class of natural compounds isolated from plants of the genus Aglaia, are potent inhibitors of translation initiation. They are proposed to form stacking interactions with polypurine sequences in the 5'-untranslated region (UTR) of selected mRNAs, thereby clamping the RNA substrate onto eIF4A and causing inhibition of the translation initiation complex. Since virus replication relies on the host translation machinery, it is not surprising that the rocaglate Silvestrol has broad-spectrum antiviral activity. Unfortunately, synthesis of Silvestrol is sophisticated and time-consuming, thus hampering the prospects for further antiviral drug development. Here, we present the less complex structured synthetic rocaglate CR-31-B (-) as a novel compound with potent broad-spectrum antiviral activity in primary cells and in an ex vivo bronchial epithelial cell system. CR-31-B (-) inhibited the replication of corona-, Zika-, Lassa-, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses and, to a lesser extent, hepatitis E virus (HEV) at non-cytotoxic low nanomolar concentrations. Since HEV has a polypurine-free 5'-UTR that folds into a stable hairpin structure, we hypothesized that RNA clamping by Silvestrol and its derivatives may also occur in a polypurine-independent but structure-dependent manner. Interestingly, the HEV 5'-UTR conferred sensitivity towards Silvestrol but not to CR-31-B (-). However, if an exposed polypurine stretch was introduced into the HEV 5'-UTR, CR-31-B (-) became an active inhibitor comparable to Silvestrol. Moreover, thermodynamic destabilization of the HEV 5'-UTR led to reduced translational inhibition by Silvestrol, suggesting differences between rocaglates in their mode of action, most probably by engaging Silvestrol's additional dioxane moiety.

KEYWORDS:

Antiviral activity; CR-31-B; Rocaglates; Silvestrol; Translation initiation; eIF4A

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