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Nat Med. 1998 May;4(5):610-4.

Treatment of chronic hepadnavirus infection in a woodchuck animal model with an inhibitor of protein folding and trafficking.

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Viral Hepatitis Group, Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


A novel strategy for anti-viral intervention of hepatitis B virus (HBV) through the disruption of the proper folding and transport of the hepadnavirus glycoproteins is described. Laboratory reared woodchucks chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) were treated with N-nonyl-deoxynojirimycin (N-nonyl-DNJ), an inhibitor of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) alpha-glucosidases. The woodchucks experienced significant dose dependent decreases in enveloped WHV, resulting in undetectable amounts in some cases. The reduction in viremia correlated with the levels of hyperglucosylated glycan in the serum of treated animals. This correlation supports the mechanism of action associated with the drug and highlights the extreme sensitivity of the virus to this type of glycan inhibitor. At N-nonyl-DNJ concentrations that prevented WHV secretion, the glycosylation of most serum glycoproteins appeared unaffected, suggesting great selectivity for this class of therapeutics. Indeed, this may account for the low toxicity of the compound over the treatment period. We provide the first evidence that glucosidase inhibitors can be used in vivo to alter specific steps in the N-linked glycosylation pathway and that this inhibition has anti-viral effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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