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J Virol. 2019 Jul 30;93(16). pii: e00367-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00367-19. Print 2019 Aug 15.

An E460D Substitution in the NS5 Protein of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Confers Resistance to the Inhibitor Galidesivir (BCX4430) and Also Attenuates the Virus for Mice.

Author information

1
Department of Virology, Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic.
2
Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
3
Unité des Virus Émergents (Aix-Marseille Univ-IRD 190-Inserm 1207-IHU Méditerranée Infection), Marseille, France.
4
KU Leuven, Rega Institute of Medical Research, Leuven, Belgium.
5
Department of Virology, Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic ruzekd@paru.cas.cz.

Abstract

The adenosine analogue galidesivir (BCX4430), a broad-spectrum RNA virus inhibitor, has entered a phase 1 clinical safety and pharmacokinetics study in healthy subjects and is under clinical development for treatment of Ebola and yellow fever virus infections. Moreover, galidesivir also inhibits the reproduction of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and numerous other medically important flaviviruses. Until now, studies of this antiviral agent have not yielded resistant viruses. Here, we demonstrate that an E460D substitution in the active site of TBEV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) confers resistance to galidesivir in cell culture. Galidesivir-resistant TBEV exhibited no cross-resistance to structurally different antiviral nucleoside analogues, such as 7-deaza-2'-C-methyladenosine, 2'-C-methyladenosine, and 4'-azido-aracytidine. Although the E460D substitution led to only a subtle decrease in viral fitness in cell culture, galidesivir-resistant TBEV was highly attenuated in vivo, with a 100% survival rate and no clinical signs observed in infected mice. Furthermore, no virus was detected in the sera, spleen, or brain of mice inoculated with the galidesivir-resistant TBEV. Our results contribute to understanding the molecular basis of galidesivir antiviral activity, flavivirus resistance to nucleoside inhibitors, and the potential contribution of viral RdRp to flavivirus neurovirulence.IMPORTANCE Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a pathogen that causes severe human neuroinfections in Europe and Asia and for which there is currently no specific therapy. We have previously found that galidesivir (BCX4430), a broad-spectrum RNA virus inhibitor, which is under clinical development for treatment of Ebola and yellow fever virus infections, has a strong antiviral effect against TBEV. For any antiviral drug, it is important to generate drug-resistant mutants to understand how the drug works. Here, we produced TBEV mutants resistant to galidesivir and found that the resistance is caused by a single amino acid substitution in an active site of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, an enzyme which is crucial for replication of the viral RNA genome. Although this substitution led only to a subtle decrease in viral fitness in cell culture, galidesivir-resistant TBEV was highly attenuated in a mouse model. Our results contribute to understanding the molecular basis of galidesivir antiviral activity.

KEYWORDS:

BCX4430; attenuation; drug resistance; galidesivir; mutation; tick-borne encephalitis virus

PMID:
31142664
PMCID:
PMC6675905
[Available on 2020-01-30]
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.00367-19

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