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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Jan;54(1):197-206. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01206-09. Epub 2009 Nov 9.

A novel class of meso-tetrakis-porphyrin derivatives exhibits potent activities against hepatitis C virus genotype 1b replicons in vitro.

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Department of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Recent years have seen the rapid advancement of new therapeutic agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV) in response to the need for treatment that is unmet by interferon (IFN)-based therapies. Most antiviral drugs discovered to date are small molecules that modulate viral enzyme activities. In the search for highly selective protein-binding molecules capable of disrupting the viral life cycle, we have identified a class of anionic tetraphenylporphyrins as potent and specific inhibitors of the HCV replicons. Based on the structure-activity relationship studies reported herein, meso-tetrakis-(3,5-dicarboxy-4,4'-biphenyl) porphyrin was found to be the most potent inhibitor of HCV genotype 1b (Con1) replicon systems but was less effective against the genotype 2a (JFH-1) replicon. This compound induced a reduction of viral RNA and protein levels when acting in the low nanomolar range. Moreover, the compound could suppress replicon rebound in drug-treated cells and exhibited additive to synergistic effects when combined with protease inhibitor BILN 2061 or with IFN-alpha-2a. Our results demonstrate the potential use of tetracarboxyphenylporphyrins as potent anti-HCV agents.

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