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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Sep;77(9):5163-6.

Acyclovir inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus replication.


Acyclovir [9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)guanine] triphosphate inhibits Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated DNA polymerase (DNA nucleotidyltransferase; EC to a greater extent than it inhibits host alpha and beta DNA polymerases. The affinity of the compound for viral polymerase is 100-fold higher than for alpha-polymerase. The extent of inhibition is dependent upon the base composition of the template-primer. The inhibition is prevented by increasing concentrations of deoxyguanosine triphosphate. The EBV-associated DNA polymerase reaction in the presence of the inhibitor, although depressed, proceeds at a linear rate over a long period of time. In contrast, the reaction of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I in the presence of 2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate, a DNA chain terminator, levels off after initial linearity. Preincubation of acyclovir triphosphate with DNA and enzyme does not increase its inhibitory activity. The virus-producing cell line P3HRF-1 consistently shows reduced viral genome numbers and viral capsid antigen on prolonged exposure to acyclovir. The number of EBV genomes returns to the control level when the cells are grown in drug-free medium. The results suggest that a competitive mechanism is the major mode of acyclovir inhibition of EBV replication.

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