Nucleobases and corresponding nucleosides display potent antiviral activities against dengue virus possibly through viral lethal mutagenesis

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Dengue virus affects millions of people worldwide each year. To date, there is no drug for the treatment of dengue-associated disease. Nucleosides are effective antivirals and work by inhibiting the accurate replication of the viral genome. Nucleobases offer a cheaper alternative to nucleosides for broad antiviral applications. Metabolic activation of nucleobases involves condensation with 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate to give the corresponding nucleoside-5’-monophosphate. This could provide an alternative to phosphorylation of a nucleoside, a step that is often rate limiting and inefficient in activation of nucleosides. We evaluated more than 30 nucleobases and corresponding nucleosides for their antiviral activity against dengue virus. Five nucleobases and two nucleosides were found to induce potent antiviral effects not previously described. Our studies further revealed that nucleobases were usually more active with a better tissue culture therapeutic index than their corresponding nucleosides. The development of viral lethal mutagenesis, an antiviral approach that takes into account the quasispecies behavior of RNA viruses, represents an exciting prospect not yet studied in the context of dengue replication. Passage of the virus in the presence of the nucleobase 3a (T-1105) and corresponding nucleoside 3b (T-1106), favipiravir derivatives, induced an increase in apparent mutations, indicating lethal mutagenesis as a possible antiviral mechanism. A more concerted and widespread screening of nucleobase libraries is a very promising approach to identify dengue virus inhibitors including those that may act as viral mutagens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0006421
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 19 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Qiu et al.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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