Dengue virus (DENV) is listed as one of the NIAID Category A priority pathogens. Dengue disease is endemic in most tropical countries, with an estimated 2.5 billion people living in areas at risk of DENV infection. Due to the lack of vaccines and antiviral drugs, it is now a huge public health burden around the world. In order to screen large compound libraries for the identification of novel antivirals targeting DENV, it is essential to develop a high throughput screening (HTS) amenable assay. Here, we present the development, optimization and validation of a cytopathic effect-based assay against Dengue virus serotype-2 (DENV-2). The assay conditions, including cell culturing conditions, DMSO tolerance and the multiplicity of infection, were optimized in both 96- and 384-well plates. Assay robustness and reproducibility were determined under the optimized conditions in 96-well plate, including Z'-value of 0.71, signal-to-background ratio of 6.88, coefficient of variation of 6.3% in mock-infected cells and 12.3% in DENV-2 infected cells. This assay was further miniaturized into a 384-well plate format with similar assay robustness and reproducibility comparing with these in the 96-well plate format. This assay was then validated using the LOPAC1280 compound library, demonstrating its repeatability with comparable assay robustness and reproducibility. This fully developed and validated HTS amenable assay could be used in future studies to screen large compound libraries for the identification of novel antivirals against dengue disease.
Dengue virus; high throughput screening; HTS; cytopathic effect; CPE; assay development; assay optimization; assay validation; antiviral
Dengue virus (DENV) is the predominant mosquito-borne viral pathogen that infects humans with an estimated 50 to 100 million infections per year worldwide. Over the past 50 years, the incidence of dengue disease has increased dramatically and the virus is now endemic in more than 100 countries. Moreover, multiple serotypes of DENV are now found in the same geographic region, increasing the likelihood of more severe forms of disease. Despite extensive research, there are still no approved vaccines or therapeutics commercially available to treat DENV infection. Here we report the results of a high-throughput screen of a chemical compound library using a whole-virus assay that identified a novel small-molecule inhibitor of DENV, ST-610, that potently and selectively inhibits all four serotypes of DENV replication in vitro. Sequence analysis of drug-resistant virus isolates has identified a single point mutation, A263T, in the NS3 helicase domain that confers resistance to this compound. ST-610 inhibits DENV NS3 helicase RNA unwinding activity in a molecular-beacon-based helicase assay but does not inhibit nucleoside triphosphatase activity based on a malachite green ATPase assay. ST-610 is nonmutagenic, is well tolerated (nontoxic) in mice, and has shown efficacy in a sublethal murine model of DENV infection with the ability to significantly reduce viremia and viral load compared to vehicle controls.
Dengue virus (DENV) is found in the tropical and subtropical regions and affects millions of people annually. Currently, no specific vaccine or antiviral treatment against dengue virus is available. Innate immunity has been shown to be important for host resistance to DENV infection. Although protein kinase regulated by double-stranded RNA (PKR) has been found to promote the innate signaling in response to infection by several viruses, its role in the innate response to DENV infection is still unclear. Our study aimed to investigate the role of PKR in DENV-induced innate immune responses.
By RNAi, silencing of PKR significantly enhanced the expression of interferon (IFN)-β in DENV infected human lung epithelial A549 cells. Western blot and immunofluorescence microscopy data showed that PKR knockdown upregulated the activation of innate signaling cascades including p38 and JNK mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), interferon regulatory factor-3 and NF-κB, following DENV2 infection. Likewise, a negative regulatory effect of PKR on the IFN production was also observed in poly(IC) challenged cells. Moreover, the PKR knockdown-mediated IFN induction was attenuated by RIG-I or IPS-1 silencing. Finally, overexpression of a catalytically inactive PKR mutant (K296R), but not of a mutant lacking dsRNA binding activity (K64E) or the double mutant (K64EK296R), reversed the IFN induction mediated by PKR knockdown, suggesting that the dsRNA binding activity is required for PKR to downregulate IFN production.
PKR acts as a negative regulator of IFN induction triggered by DENVs and poly(IC), and this regulation relies on its dsRNA binding activity. These findings reveal a novel regulatory role for PKR in innate immunity, suggesting that PKR might be a promising target for anti-DENV treatments.
Dengue virus (DENV) infections are expanding worldwide and, because of the lack of a vaccine, the search for antiviral products is imperative. Four serotypes of DENV are described and they all cause a similar disease outcome. It would be interesting to develop an antiviral product that can interact with all four serotypes, prevent host cell infection and subsequent immune activation. DENV entry is thus an interesting target for antiviral therapy. DENV enters the host cell through receptor-mediated endocytosis. Several cellular receptors have been proposed, and DC-SIGN, present on dendritic cells, is considered as the most important DENV receptor until now. Because DENV entry is a target for antiviral therapy, various classes of compounds have been investigated to inhibit this process. In this paper, an overview is given of all the putative DENV receptors, and the most promising DENV entry inhibitors are discussed.
Dengue virus (DENV) is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral pathogen in humans. Neither vaccine nor antiviral therapy is currently available for DENV. We report here that N-sulfonylanthranilic acid derivatives are allosteric inhibitors of DENV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). The inhibitor was identified through high-throughput screening of one million compounds using a primer extension-based RdRp assay [substrate poly(C)/oligo(G)20]. Chemical modification of the initial “hit” improved the compound potency to an IC50 (that is, a concentration that inhibits 50% RdRp activity) of 0.7 μM. In addition to suppressing the primer extension-based RNA elongation, the compound also inhibited de novo RNA synthesis using a DENV subgenomic RNA, but at a lower potency (IC50 of 5 μM). Remarkably, the observed anti-polymerase activity is specific to DENV RdRp; the compound did not inhibit WNV RdRp and exhibited IC50s of >100 μM against hepatitis C virus RdRp and human DNA polymerase α and β. UV cross-linking and mass spectrometric analysis showed that a photoreactive inhibitor could be cross-linked to Met343 within the RdRp domain of DENV NS5. On the crystal structure of DENV RdRp, Met343 is located at the entrance of RNA template tunnel. Biochemical experiments showed that the order of addition of RNA template and inhibitor during the assembly of RdRp reaction affected compound potency. Collectively, the results indicate that the compound inhibits RdRp through blocking the RNA tunnel. This study has provided direct evidence to support the hypothesis that allosteric pockets from flavivirus RdRp could be targeted for antiviral development.
Dengue is a major mosquito-borne disease currently with no effective antiviral or vaccine available. Effort to find antivirals for it has focused on bioflavonoids, a plant-derived polyphenolic compounds with many potential health benefits. In the present study, antiviral activity of four types of bioflavonoid against dengue virus type -2 (DENV-2) in Vero cell was evaluated. Anti-dengue activity of these compounds was determined at different stages of DENV-2 infection and replication cycle. DENV replication was measured by Foci Forming Unit Reduction Assay (FFURA) and quantitative RT-PCR. Selectivity Index value (SI) was determined as the ratio of cytotoxic concentration 50 (CC50) to inhibitory concentration 50 (IC50) for each compound.
The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of quercetin against dengue virus was 35.7 μg mL-1 when it was used after virus adsorption to the cells. The IC50 decreased to 28.9 μg mL-1 when the cells were treated continuously for 5 h before virus infection and up to 4 days post-infection. The SI values for quercetin were 7.07 and 8.74 μg mL-1, respectively, the highest compared to all bioflavonoids studied. Naringin only exhibited anti-adsorption effects against DENV-2 with IC50 = 168.2 μg mL-1 and its related SI was 1.3. Daidzein showed a weak anti-dengue activity with IC50 = 142.6 μg mL-1 when the DENV-2 infected cells were treated after virus adsorption. The SI value for this compound was 1.03. Hesperetin did not exhibit any antiviral activity against DENV-2. The findings obtained from Foci Forming Unit Reduction Assay (FFURA) were corroborated by findings of the qRT-PCR assays. Quercetin and daidzein (50 μg mL-1) reduced DENV-2 RNA levels by 67% and 25%, respectively. There was no significant inhibition of DENV-2 RNA levels with naringin and hesperetin.
Results from the study suggest that only quercetin demonstrated significant anti-DENV-2 inhibitory activities. Other bioflavonoids, including daidzein, naringin and hesperetin showed minimal to no significant inhibition of DENV-2 virus replication. These findings, together with those previously reported suggest that select group of bioflavonoids including quercetin and fisetin, exhibited significant inhibitory activities against dengue virus. This group of flavonoids, flavonol, could be investigated further to discover the common mechanisms of inhibition of dengue virus replication.
Antiviral; Dengue virus; Flavonoid; Quercetin; Naringin; Daidzein; Hesperetin
Dengue viruses, mosquito-borne members of the Flaviviridae family, are the causative agents of dengue fever and its associated complications, dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. To date, more than 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk of infection, and approximately 20 million infections were reported annually. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available for dengue infection. This study employed a whole-cell organism model or in vitro methods to study the inhibitory property of the flavanoid-derived compounds against DENV2 activity. Results showed that at concentration not exceeding the maximum non-toxic dose (MNTD), these compounds completely prevented DENV2 infection in HepG2 cells as indicated by the absence of cytophatic effects. The in vitro antiviral activity assessed in HepG2 cells employing virus inhibition assay showed high inhibitory activity in a dose dependent manner. At concentration below MNTD, compounds exhibited inhibitory activity against DENV2 with a range of potency strengths of 72% to 100%. The plaque forming unit per ml (pfu/ml) was reduced prominently with a maximum reduction of 98% when the infected HepG2 cells were treated with the highest non-toxic dose of compounds. The highly potent activity of the compounds against DENV2 infection strongly suggests their potential as a lead antiviral agent for dengue.
Dengue virus type-2; flavanoid; cytophatic effects; in vitro inhibition; plaque assay; inhibitory activity
Dengue illness is one of the important mosquito-borne viral diseases in tropical and subtropical regions. Four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4) are classified in the Flavivirus genus of the family Flaviviridae. We prepared monoclonal antibodies against DENV capsid protein from mice immunized with DENV-2 and determined the cross-reactivity with each serotype of DENV and Japanese encephalitis virus.
Methods and results
To clarify the relationship between the cross-reactivity of monoclonal antibodies and the diversity of these viruses, we examined the situations of flaviviruses by analyses of phylogenetic trees. Among a total of 60 prepared monoclonal antibodies specific for DENV, five monoclonal antibodies stained the nuclei of infected cells and were found to be specific to the capsid protein. Three were specific to DENV-2, while the other two were cross-reactive with DENV-2 and DENV-4. No monoclonal antibodies were cross-reactive with all four serotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of DENV amino acid sequences of the capsid protein revealed that DENV-2 and DENV-4 were clustered in the same branch, while DENV-1 and DENV-3 were clustered in the other branch. However, these classifications of the capsid protein were different from those of the envelope and nonstructural 1 proteins. Phylogenetic distances between the four serotypes of DENV were as different as those of other flaviviruses, such as Japanese encephalitis virus and West Nile virus. Large variations in the DENV serotypes were comparable with the differences between species of flavivirus. Furthermore, the diversity of flavivirus capsid protein was much greater than that of envelope and nonstructural 1 proteins.
In this study, we produced specific monoclonal antibodies that can be used to detect DENV-2 capsid protein, but not a cross-reactive one with all serotypes of DENV capsid protein. The high diversity of the DENV capsid protein sequence by phylogenetic analysis supported the low cross-reactivity of monoclonal antibodies against DENV capsid protein.
Dengue virus; capsid protein; monoclonal antibody; cross-reactivity
The ability of many viruses to manipulate the host antiviral immune response often results in complex host-pathogen interactions. In order to study the interaction of dengue virus (DENV) with the Aedes aegypti immune response, we have characterized the DENV infection-responsive transcriptome of the immune-competent A. aegypti cell line Aag2. As in mosquitoes, DENV infection transcriptionally activated the cell line Toll pathway and a variety of cellular physiological systems. Most notably, however, DENV infection down-regulated the expression levels of numerous immune signaling molecules and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Functional assays showed that transcriptional induction of AMPs from the Toll and IMD pathways in response to bacterial challenge is impaired in DENV-infected cells. In addition, Escherichia coli, a Gram-negative bacteria species, grew better when co-cultured with DENV-infected cells than with uninfected cells, suggesting a decreased production of AMPs from the IMD pathway in virus-infected cells. Pre-stimulation of the cell line with Gram-positive bacteria prior to DENV infection had no effect on DENV titers, while pre-stimulation with Gram-negative bacteria resulted in an increase in DENV titers. These results indicate that DENV is capable of actively suppressing immune responses in the cells it infects, a phenomenon that may have important consequences for virus transmission and insect physiology.
Dengue viruses (DENV) are enveloped single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses transmitted by Aedes spp. mosquitoes. There are four genetically distinct serotypes designated DENV-1 through DENV-4, each further subdivided into distinct genotypes. The dengue scientific community has long contended that infection with one serotype confers lifelong protection against subsequent infection with the same serotype, irrespective of virus genotype. However this hypothesis is under increased scrutiny and the role of DENV genotypic variation in protection from repeated infection is less certain. As dengue vaccine trials move increasingly into field-testing, there is an urgent need to develop tools to better define the role of genotypic variation in DENV infection and immunity. To better understand genotypic variation in DENV-3 neutralization and protection, we designed and constructed a panel of isogenic, recombinant DENV-3 infectious clones, each expressing an envelope glycoprotein from a different DENV-3 genotype; Philippines 1982 (genotype I), Thailand 1995 (genotype II), Sri Lanka 1989 and Cuba 2002 (genotype III) and Puerto Rico 1977 (genotype IV). We used the panel to explore how natural envelope variation influences DENV-polyclonal serum interactions. When the recombinant viruses were tested in neutralization assays using immune sera from primary DENV infections, neutralization titers varied by as much as ∼19-fold, depending on the expressed envelope glycoprotein. The observed variability in neutralization titers suggests that relatively few residue changes in the E glycoprotein may have significant effects on DENV specific humoral immunity and influence antibody mediated protection or disease enhancement in the setting of both natural infection and vaccination. These genotypic differences are also likely to be important in temporal and spatial microevolution of DENV-3 in the background of heterotypic neutralization. The recombinant and synthetic tools described here are valuable for testing hypotheses on genetic determinants of DENV-3 immunopathogenesis.
Infectious virus clones are valuable tools for studying how changes in viral genetic codes affect viral biology. Dengue virus is the most important mosquito-borne virus worldwide, yet dengue virus infectious clones have historically been challenging to make and manipulate, making it very difficult to study the variety of genetic changes observed in dengue viruses. Here we describe the construction of a panel of five dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) clones using a novel strategy not previously employed in dengue research. This strategy uses genetic fragments and synthesized genes to introduce genetic changes while minimally affecting the virus. Each of the five recombinant clones was designed to express genetically distinct DENV-3 envelope proteins derived from strains circulating in different regions of the world. We used the recombinant viruses, coupled with DENV-3 sera from geographically defined human cases, to study the impact of E variation on neutralization outcomes. Our data demonstrate that the recombinant viruses varied significantly in their neutralization outcomes, depending on sera. While it has long been presumed that infection, and vaccination, with one serotype confers lifelong protection against all variants of that serotype, our results indicate that this assumption requires a more rigorous assessment by the DENV community.
Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus responsible for 50 to 100 million human infections each year, highlighting the need for a safe and effective vaccine. In this study, we describe the production of pseudoinfectious DENV reporter virus particles (RVPs) using two different genetic complementation approaches, including the creation of cell lines that release reporter viruses in an inducible fashion. In contrast to studies with West Nile virus (WNV), production of infectious DENV RVPs was temperature-dependent; the yield of infectious DENV RVPs at 37 °C is significantly reduced in comparison to experiments conducted at lower temperatures or with WNV. This reflects both a significant reduction in the rate of infectious DENV RVP release over time, and the more rapid decay of infectious DENV RVPs at 37 °C. Optimized production approaches allow the production of DENV RVPs with titers suitable for the study of DENV entry, assembly, and the analysis of the humoral immune response of infected and vaccinated individuals.
Flavivirus; West Nile virus; Dengue; Reporter virus; Antibody-mediated neutralization
Dengue virus (DENV) causes disease globally, with an estimated 25 to 100 million new infections per year. At present, no effective vaccine is available, and treatment is supportive. In this study, we identified BP2109, a potent and selective small-molecule inhibitor of the DENV NS2B/NS3 protease, by a high-throughput screening assay using a recombinant protease complex consisting of the central hydrophilic portion of NS2B and the N terminus of the protease domain. BP2109 inhibited DENV (serotypes 1 to 4), but not Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), replication and viral RNA synthesis without detectable cytotoxicity. The compound inhibited recombinant DENV-2 NS2B/NS3 protease with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 15.43 ± 2.12 μM and reduced the reporter expression of the DENV-2 replicon with a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 0.17 ± 0.01 μM. Sequencing analyses of several individual clones derived from BP2109-resistant DENV-2 RNAs revealed that two amino acid substitutions (R55K and E80K) are found in the region of NS2B, a cofactor of the NS2B/NS3 protease complex. The introduction of R55K and E80K double mutations into the dengue virus NS2B/NS3 protease and a dengue virus replicon construct conferred 10.3- and 73.8-fold resistance to BP2109, respectively. The E80K mutation was further determined to be the key mutation conferring dengue virus replicon resistance (61.3-fold) to BP2109, whereas the R55K mutation alone did not affect resistance to BP2109. Both the R55K and E80K mutations are located in the central hydrophilic portion of the NS2B cofactor, where extensive interactions with the NS3pro domain exist. Thus, our data provide evidence that BP2109 likely inhibits DENV by a novel mechanism.
Dengue virus (DENV) is a serious mosquito-borne pathogen causing significant global disease burden, either as classic dengue fever (DF) or in its most severe manifestation dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). Nearly half of the world's population is at risk of dengue disease and there are estimated to be millions of infections annually; a situation which will continue to worsen with increasing expansion of the mosquito vectors and epidemic DF/DHF. Currently there are no available licensed vaccines or antivirals for dengue, although significant effort has been directed toward the development of safe and efficacious dengue vaccines for over 30 years. Promising vaccine candidates are in development and testing phases, but a better understanding of immune responses to DENV infection and vaccination is needed. Humoral immune responses to DENV infection are complex and may exacerbate pathogenicity, yet are essential for immune protection. In this report, we develop DENV-2 envelope (E) protein epitope-specific antigens and measure immunoglobulin responses to three distinct epitopes in DENV-2 infected human serum samples. Immunoglobulin responses to DENV-2 infection exhibited significant levels of individual variation. Antibody populations targeting broadly cross-reactive epitopes centered on the fusion peptide in structural domain II were large, highly variable, and greater in primary than in secondary DENV-2 infected sera. E protein domain III cross-reactive immunoglobulin populations were similarly variable and much larger in IgM than in IgG. DENV-2 specific domain III IgG formed a very small proportion of the antibody response yet was significantly correlated with DENV-2 neutralization, suggesting that the highly protective IgG recognizing this epitope in murine studies plays a role in humans as well. This report begins to tease apart complex humoral immune responses to DENV infection and is thus important for improving our understanding of dengue disease and immunological correlates of protection, relevant to DENV vaccine development and testing.
Dengue is emerging as the most important mosquito borne viral disease in the world. In mainland China, sporadic and large outbreaks of dengue illness caused by the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV-1 to DENV-4) have been well documented. Guangdong province is the major affected area in China, and DENV-1 has dominantly circulated in Guangdong for a long time. In this study, a family cluster of DENV-3 infection in Guangzhou was described. Three cases were diagnosed as dengue fever based on clinical manifestation, serological and RT-PCR assays. Two DENV-3 strains were isolated in C6/36 cells and the complete genome sequences were determined. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the new DENV-3 isolates from the family cluster were grouped within genotype III. Considering the fact that several DENV-3 strains within genotype V were also identified in Guangzhou in 2009, at least two genotypes of DENV-3 co-circulated in Guangzhou. Careful investigation and virological analysis should be warranted in the future.
Dengue virus type 3; Family cluster; Genotype; Co-circulation
Dengue virus (DENV) is a major mosquito-borne pathogen infecting up to 100 million people each year; so far no effective treatment or vaccines are available. Recently, highly cross-reactive and infection-enhancing pre-membrane (prM)-specific antibodies were found to dominate the anti-DENV immune response in humans, raising concern over vaccine candidates that contain native dengue prM sequences. In this study, we have isolated a broadly cross-reactive prM-specific antibody, D29, during a screen with a non-immunized human Fab-phage library against the four serotypes of DENV. The antibody is capable of restoring the infectivity of virtually non-infectious immature DENV (imDENV) in FcγR-bearing K562 cells. Remarkably, D29 also cross-reacted with a cryptic epitope on the envelope (E) protein located to the DI/DII junction as evidenced by site-directed mutagenesis. This cryptic epitope, while inaccessible to antibody binding in a native virus particle, may become exposed if E is not properly folded. These findings suggest that generation of anti-prM antibodies that enhance DENV infection may not be completely avoided even with immunization strategies employing E protein alone or subunits of E proteins.
Dengue viruses (DENV) are transmitted to humans by the bite of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, with millions of infections annually in over 100 countries. The diseases they produce, which occur exclusively in humans, are dengue fever (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). We previously developed a humanized mouse model of DF in which mice transplanted with human hematopoietic stem cells produced signs of DENV disease after injection with low-passage, wild-type isolates. Using these mice, but now allowing infected A. aegypti to transmit dengue virus during feeding, we observed signs of more severe disease (higher and more sustained viremia, erythema, and thrombocytopenia). Infected mice mounted innate (gamma interferon [IFN-γ] and soluble interleukin 2 receptor alpha [sIL-2Rα]) and adaptive (anti-DENV antibodies) immune responses that failed to clear viremia until day 56, while a mosquito bite alone induced strong immunomodulators (tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], IL-4, and IL-10) and thrombocytopenia. This is the first animal model that allows an evaluation of human immunity to DENV infection after mosquito inoculation.
Viral replication relies on the host to supply nucleosides. Host enzymes involved in nucleoside biosynthesis are potential targets for antiviral development. Ribavirin (a known antiviral drug) is such an inhibitor that suppresses guanine biosynthesis; depletion of the intracellular GTP pool was shown to be the major mechanism to inhibit flavivirus. Along similar lines, inhibitors of the pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway could be targeted for potential antiviral development. Here we report on a novel antiviral compound (NITD-982) that inhibits host dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), an enzyme required for pyrimidine biosynthesis. The inhibitor was identified through screening 1.8 million compounds using a dengue virus (DENV) infection assay. The compound contains an isoxazole-pyrazole core structure, and it inhibited DENV with a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 2.4 nM and a 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) of >5 μM. NITD-982 has a broad antiviral spectrum, inhibiting both flaviviruses and nonflaviviruses with nanomolar EC90s. We also show that (i) the compound inhibited the enzymatic activity of recombinant DHODH, (ii) an NITD-982 analogue directly bound to the DHODH protein, (iii) supplementing the culture medium with uridine reversed the compound-mediated antiviral activity, and (iv) DENV type 2 (DENV-2) variants resistant to brequinar (a known DHODH inhibitor) were cross resistant to NITD-982. Collectively, the results demonstrate that the compound inhibits DENV through depleting the intracellular pyrimidine pool. In contrast to the in vitro potency, the compound did not show any efficacy in the DENV-AG129 mouse model. The lack of in vivo efficacy is likely due to the exogenous uptake of pyrimidine from the diet or to a high plasma protein-binding activity of the current compound.
Dengue virus (DENV) is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral pathogen that infects humans. Neither a vaccine nor an antiviral therapy is currently available for DENV. Here, we report an adenosine nucleoside prodrug that potently inhibits DENV replication both in cell culture and in a DENV mouse model. NITD449 (2′-C-acetylene-7-deaza-7-carbamoyladenosine) was initially identified as a parental compound that inhibits all four serotypes of DENV with low cytotoxicity. However, in vivo pharmacokinetic studies indicated that NITD449 had a low level of exposure in plasma when dosed orally. To increase the oral bioavailability, we covalently linked isobutyric acids to the 3′- and 5′-hydroxyl groups of ribose via ester linkage to NITD449, leading to the prodrug NITD203 (3′,5′-O-diisobutyryl-2′-C-acetylene-7-deaza-7-carbamoyl-adenosin). Pharmacokinetic analysis showed that upon oral dosing of the prodrug, NITD203 was readily converted to NITD449, resulting in improved exposure of the parental compound in plasma in both mouse and rat. In DENV-infected AG129 mice, oral dosing of the prodrug at 25 mg/kg of body weight reduced peak viremia by 30-fold. Antiviral spectrum analysis showed that NITD203 inhibited various flaviviruses (DENV, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus) and hepatitis C virus but not Chikungunya virus (an alphavirus). Mode-of-action analysis, using a luciferase-reporting replicon, indicated that NITD203 inhibited DENV RNA synthesis. Although NITD203 exhibited potent in vitro and in vivo efficacies, the compound could not reach a satisfactory no-observable-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) in a 2-week in vivo toxicity study. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that a prodrug approach using a nucleoside analog could potentially be developed for flavivirus antiviral therapy.
Dengue is a serious arboviral disease currently with no effective antiviral therapy or approved vaccine available. Therefore, finding the effective compound against dengue virus (DENV) replication is very important. Among the natural compounds, bioflavonoids derived mainly from plants are of interest because of their biological and medicinal benefits.
In the present study, antiviral activity of a bioflavonoid, baicalein, was evaluated against different stages of dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) replication in Vero cells using focus forming unit reduction assay and quantitative RT-PCR.
Baicalein inhibited DENV-2 replication in Vero cells with IC50= 6.46 μg/mL and SI= 17.8 when added after adsorption to the cells. The IC50 against DENV-2 was 5.39 μg/mL and SI= 21.3 when cells were treated 5 hours before virus infection and continuously up to 4 days post infection. Baicalein exhibited direct virucidal effect against DENV-2 with IC 50= 1.55 μg/mL and showed anti-adsorption effect with IC50 = 7.14 μg/mL.
Findings presented here suggest that baicalein exerts potent antiviral activity against DENV. Baicalein possesses direct virucidal activity against DENV besides its effects against dengue virus adsorption and intracellular replication of DENV-2. Baicalein, hence, should be considered for in vivo evaluation in the development of an effective antiviral compound against DENV.
Infectious disease; Flavivirus; Antiviral; Dengue; Flavonoid; Baicalein
Dengue virus (DENV), the causative agent of human Dengue hemorrhagic fever, is a mosquito-borne virus found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. Vaccines against DENV are currently unavailable. Guanylate-binding protein 1 (GBP1) is one of the Interferon (IFN) stimulated genes (ISGs) and has been shown important for host immune defense against various pathogens. However, the role of GBP1 during DENV infection remains unclarified. In this study, we evaluated the relevance of GBP1 to DENV infection in in vitro model.
Quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot showed that the expression of mouse Gbp1 was dramatically upregulated in DENV-infected RAW264.7 cells. The intracellular DENV loads were significantly higher in Gbp1 silenced cells compared with controls. The expression levels of selective anti-viral cytokines were decreased in Gbp1 siRNA treated cells, while the transcription factor activity of NF-κB was impaired upon GBP1 silencing during infection.
Our data suggested that GBP1 plays an antiviral role during DENV infection.
GBP1; DENV; Antiviral response; NF-κB
Dengue virus (DENV), a mosquito borne flavivirus is an important pathogen causing more than 50 million infections every year around the world. Dengue diagnosis depends on serology, which is not useful in the early phase of the disease and virus isolation, which is laborious and time consuming. There is need for a rapid, sensitive and high throughput method for detection of DENV in the early stages of the disease. Several real-time PCR assays have been described for dengue viruses, but there is scope for improvement. The new generation TaqMan Minor Groove Binding (MGB) probe approach was used to develop an improved real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) for DENV in this study.
The 3'UTR of thirteen Indian strains of DENV was sequenced and aligned with 41 representative sequences from GenBank. A region conserved in all four serotypes was used to target primers and probes for the qRT-PCR. A single MGB probe and a single primer pair for all the four serotypes of DENV were designed. The sensitivity of the two step qRT-PCR assay was10 copies of RNA molecules per reaction. The specificity and sensitivity of the assay was 100% when tested with a panel of 39 known positive and negative samples. Viral RNA could be detected and quantitated in infected mouse brain, cell cultures, mosquitoes and clinical samples. Viral RNA could be detected in patients even after seroconversion till 10 days post onset of infection. There was no signal with Japanese Encephalitis (JE), West Nile (WN), Chikungunya (CHK) viruses or with Leptospira, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum and Rickettsia positive clinical samples.
We have developed a highly sensitive and specific qRT-PCR for detection and quantitation of dengue viruses. The assay will be a useful tool for differential diagnosis of dengue fever in a situation where a number of other clinically indistinguishable infectious diseases like malaria, Chikungunya, rickettsia and leptospira occur. The ability of the assay to detect DENV-2 in inoculated mosquitoes makes it a potential tool for detecting DENV in field-caught mosquitoes.
Dengue is now a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the tropics. We conducted the first ex vivo study of dengue fever (DF) in African patients infected during the first Gabonese dengue virus 2 (DENV-2) outbreak in 2007, in order to investigate cytokine production, including the antiviral cytokine IFN-α, reported to be a potent inhibitor of DENV replication in vitro.
Levels of 50 cytokines, chemokines and growth factors were measured in plasma from 36 patients with DENV-2 infection, and in uninfected controls, using Luminex multiplex technology. The results were interpreted according to the day of sampling after symptom onset. PBMC from six patients were also studied for T lymphocyte cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry.
Acute DENV-2 infection elicited high levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-17), chemokines (MIF, RANTES, IP-10 and MCP-1) and growth factors (G-CSF, GM-CSF and VEGF-A). We also observed high levels of IFN-α for the first time in adult DF patients, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation at symptom onset.
Acute DENV-2 infection in African patients elicits a strong innate response involving IFN-α production, as well as an adaptive immune response.
The development of animal models of dengue virus (DENV) infection and disease has been challenging, as epidemic DENV does not naturally infect non-human species. Non-human primates (NHPs) can sustain viral replication in relevant cell types and develop a robust immune response, but they do not develop overt disease. In contrast, certain immunodeficient mouse models infected with mouse-adapted DENV strains show signs of severe disease similar to the ‘vascular-leak’ syndrome seen in severe dengue in humans. Humanized mouse models can sustain DENV replication and show some signs of disease, but further development is needed to validate the immune response. Classically, immunocompetent mice infected with DENV do not manifest disease or else develop paralysis when inoculated intracranially; however, a new model using high doses of DENV has recently been shown to develop hemorrhagic signs after infection. Overall, each model has its advantages and disadvantages and is differentially suited for studies of dengue pathogenesis and immunopathogenesis and/or pre-clinical testing of antiviral drugs and vaccines.
animal models; dengue virus; pathogenesis; immunopathogenesis; antiviral drugs; vaccines
Dengue virus (DENV) pathogenesis is related to the host responses to viral infection within target cells, and therefore, this study assessed intracellular changes in host proteins following DENV infection. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry identified upregulation of the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone GRP78 in K562 cells following DENV infection, in the absence of virus-induced cell death. Upregulation of GRP78 in DENV-infected cells was confirmed by immunostaining and confocal microscopy and by Western blot analysis and was also observed in DENV-infected primary monocyte-derived macrophages, a natural target cell type for DENV infection. GRP78 was upregulated in both DENV antigen-positive and -negative cells in the DENV-infected culture, suggesting a bystander effect, with the highest GRP78 levels coincident with high-level DENV antigen production and infectious-virus release. Transfection of target cells to express GRP78 prior to DENV challenge did not affect subsequent DENV infection, but cleavage of GRP78 with the SubAB toxin, during an established DENV infection, yielded a 10- to 100-fold decrease in infectious-virus release, loss of intracellular DENV particles, and a dramatic decrease in intracellular DENV antigen. However, DENV RNA levels were unchanged, indicating normal DENV RNA replication but altered DENV antigen levels in the absence of GRP78. Thus, GRP78 is upregulated by DENV infection and is necessary for DENV antigen production and/or accumulation. This may be a common requirement for viruses such as flaviviruses that depend heavily on the ER for coordinated protein production and processing.
Dengue, caused by the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV), represents an expanding global health challenge. The potential for serotype-cross-reactive antibodies to exacerbate disease during a secondary infection with a heterologous DENV serotype has driven efforts to study human DENV-specific antibodies. Most DENV-specific antibodies generated in humans are serotype-cross-reactive, weakly neutralizing, and directed against the immature pre-membrane (prM), envelope (E), and nonstructural 1 (NS1) proteins. To broaden the characterization of human DENV-specific antibodies, we assessed B-cell responses by ELISpot assays and isolated B cells from the peripheral blood of a human subject with previous DENV infection. Forty-eight human IgG monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) were initially characterized by their potential to bind to an inactivated lysate of DENV-infected cells. Subsequently, most DENV-specific hMAbs were found to bind soluble, recombinant E protein (rE). Two hMAbs were unable to bind rE, despite strongly binding to the DENV-infected cell lysate. Further analyses showed that these two hMAbs bound conformation-dependent, reduction-sensitive epitopes on E protein. These data shed light on the breadth of DENV-specific hMAbs generated within a single immune donor.