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1.  In vivo antiherpesvirus activity of N-7-substituted acyclic nucleoside analog 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine. 
The efficacy of 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine (S2242) was evaluated in several animal models for herpesvirus infections. Compound S2242 was more effective than acyclovir (i) when administered subcutaneously in a model for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-induced mortality in immunocompetent mice and (ii) when applied topically to hairless (hr/hr) mice that had been infected intracutaneously with HSV-2. In SCID (severe combined immune deficient) mice that had been infected with a thymidine kinase-deficient HSV-1 strain, S2242 (administered subcutaneously at a dosage of 50 mg/kg/day) completely protected against virus-induced mortality whereas foscarnet was less effective and acyclovir had no or little protective effect. Compound S2242 was far more effective than ganciclovir in preventing or delaying murine cytomegalovirus-induced mortality in immunocompetent and SCID mice. The compound was more effective when a given dose was fractionated and administered on subsequent days than when this dose was administered in one single injection. A 5-day treatment course with S2242 (10 and 50 mg/kg/day) for newborn mice that had been infected with a lethal dose of murine cytomegalovirus suppressed virus-induced mortality. Compound S2242 had no inhibitory effect on the growth of weanling (at 50 mg/kg for 5 days) and 3- to 4-week-old mice (at doses of 50 to 200 mg/kg for 6 weeks). However, akin to ganciclovir, compound S2242 significantly reduced testicle weight, testicle morphology, and spermatogenesis.
PMCID: PMC162484  PMID: 7695329
2.  Mouse Adenovirus Type 1 Infection in SCID Mice: an Experimental Model for Antiviral Therapy of Systemic Adenovirus Infections 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2005;49(11):4689-4699.
The importance of human adenovirus infections in immunocompromised patients urges for new and adequate antiadenovirus compounds. Since human adenoviruses are species specific, animal models for systemic adenovirus infections rely on a nonhuman adenovirus. We established mouse adenovirus type 1 (MAV-1) infection of BALB/c SCID mice as a model for the evaluation of antiadenovirus therapy. In vitro studies with mouse embryonic fibroblasts pointed to the acyclic nucleoside phosphonate cidofovir and the N-7-substituted acyclic derivative 2-amino-7-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)purine (S-2242) as markedly active compounds against MAV-1. SCID mice, infected intranasally with MAV-1, developed a fatal disseminated infection after approximately 19 days, characterized by hemorrhagic enteritis. Several techniques were optimized to monitor viral, immunological, and pathological aspects of MAV-1 infection. Real-time PCR quantification of viral DNA revealed that after replication in the lungs, virus disseminated to several organs, including the brain, liver, spleen, intestine, heart, and kidneys (resulting in viruria). Immunohistochemical staining showed that MAV-1 was localized in the endothelial cells of the affected organs. Using reverse transcription-PCR, tissue levels of proinflammatory cytokines (i.e., interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor alpha) were found to be markedly increased. The MAV-1/SCID model appears to be an appropriate model for in vivo evaluation of antiadenovirus agents. Treatment with cidofovir or S-2242 at a dose of 100 mg per kg of body weight resulted in a significant delay in MAV-1-related death, although these antivirals were unable to completely suppress virus replication despite continued drug treatment. These findings suggest that complete virus clearance during antiviral therapy for disseminated adenovirus infection may require an efficient adaptive immune response from the host.
PMCID: PMC1280150  PMID: 16251313
3.  The N-7-substituted acyclic nucleoside analog 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine is a potent and selective inhibitor of herpesvirus replication. 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1994;38(12):2710-2716.
2-Amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine (compound S2242) represents the first antivirally active nucleoside analog with the side chain attached to the N-7 position of the purine ring. Compound S2242 strongly inhibits the in vitro replication of both herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) (50% effective concentration [EC50], 0.1 to 0.2 microgram/ml), varicella-zoster virus (EC50, 0.01 to 0.02 microgram/ml) and thymidine kinase (TK)-deficient strains of HSV (EC50, 0.4 microgram/ml) and varicella-zoster virus (EC50, 0.2 to 0.5 microgram/ml). Potent activity was also observed against murine cytomegalovirus (EC50, 1 microgram/ml), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) (EC50, 0.04 to 0.1 microgram/ml), and human herpesvirus 6 (EC50, 0.0005 microgram/ml). Compound S2242 (i) was not cytotoxic to confluent Vero, HeLa, or human fibroblast cells at concentrations of > 100 micrograms/ml, (ii) proved somewhat more cytostatic to Vero, HEL, HeLa, and C127I cells than ganciclovir, and (iii) was markedly more cytostatic than ganciclovir to the growth of the human lymphocytic cell lines HSB-2 and CEM degrees. In contrast to ganciclovir, (i) compound S2242 proved not to be cytocidal to murine mammary carcinoma (FM3A) cells transfected with the HSV-1 or HSV-2 TK gene, (ii) exogenously added thymidine had only a limited effect on its anti-HSV-1 activity, and (iii) the compound was not phosphorylated by HSV-1-encoded TK derived from HSV-1 TK-transfected FM3A cells, indicating that the compound is not activated by a virally encoded TK. Compound S2242 inhibited (i) the expression of late HCHV antigens at an EC50 of 0.07 microgram/ml (0.6 microgram/ml for ganciclovir) and (ii) HCMV DNA synthesis at an EC50 of 0.1 microgram/ml (0.32 microgram/ml for ganciclovir), i.e., values that are close to the EC50S for inhibition of HCMV-induced cytopathogenicity. Neither ganciclovir nor S2242 had any effect on the expression of immediate-early HCMV antigens, which occurs before viral DNA synthesis. In time-of-addition experiments, S2242 behaved like ganciclovir and acyclovir; i.e., the addition of the drugs could be delayed until the onset of viral DNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC188274  PMID: 7695251
4.  Evaluation of retinal toxicity and efficacy of the anticytomegalovirus compound 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine. 
Compound 2242, also known as 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine, is the first known antivirally active nucleoside analog with the side chain substituted at the N-7 position of the purine ring system. Our purpose was to evaluate its retinal toxicity and assess the efficacy of its highest nontoxic concentration in a rabbit model of herpes simplex retinitis. Concentrations of the drug from 0.5 to 2,000 microM were injected intravitreally in twelve New Zealand White rabbits. Fundoscopic, histologic, and electrophysiologic data revealed no evidence of toxicity even at the highest dose of the compound. Dutch pigmented rabbits (n = 34) had their left eyes injected with herpes simplex virus type 1 3 days after, concurrently, or 3 days before intravitreal injection of either 2,000 microM compound 2242 or 480 microM ganciclovir (final concentration in the eye). Both compound 2242 and ganciclovir were equally effective compared with saline when administered simultaneously with the virus (P < 0.0001). In the 3-day pretreatment paradigm, compound 2242 was superior to ganciclovir (P < 0.04), but there was no clear difference between the two with regard to their effects on an established infection. The pharmacokinetics of compound 2242 in 10 rabbits injected intravitreally with 30 microM showed an intravitreal half-life of 8 h. This compound, which may be orally active in its pro form, has a very high therapeutic index in the eye and is more efficient than ganciclovir in this animal model of herpes retinitis.
PMCID: PMC162767  PMID: 7492090
5.  Antiadenovirus Activities of Several Classes of Nucleoside and Nucleotide Analogues 
The absence of any formally licensed antiadenovirus drugs and the increasing incidence of life-threatening adenovirus infections in immunosuppressed patients warrant the development of effective antiadenovirus compounds. A detailed study was performed on the antiadenovirus activities of several classes of nucleoside and nucleotide analogues in human embryonic lung fibroblast cells. The antiadenovirus activities were evaluated by three methods, viz., evaluating the adenoviral cytopathic effect, monitoring cell viability by a colorimetric assay, and real-time PCR quantitation of viral DNA as a direct parameter for virus replication. The most active and selective compounds were the acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogues cidofovir, its adenine analogue (S)-9-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl)adenine [(S)-HPMPA], and the new derivative (S)-2,4-diamino-6-[3-hydroxy-2-(phosphonomethoxy)propoxy]pyrimidine [(S)-HPMPO-DAPy]; the N7-substituted acyclic derivative 2-amino-7-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)purine (S-2242); and the 2′,3′-dideoxynucleoside analogues zalcitabine and alovudine. No antiadenovirus activity was observed for the antiviral drugs ribavirin, foscarnet, acyclovir, penciclovir, and brivudin, while ganciclovir displayed modest activity. However, in human osteosarcoma cells transfected with herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase, ganciclovir demonstrated highly potent antiadenovirus activity, suggesting that the efficacy of ganciclovir against adenovirus is limited by inefficient phosphorylation in adenovirus-infected cells, rather than by insufficient inhibition at the viral DNA polymerase level. Collectively, our antiviral data show that the adenovirus DNA polymerase exhibits sensitivity to a relatively broad spectrum of inhibitors and should be studied further as an antiviral target in antiadenovirus drug development programs.
PMCID: PMC549266  PMID: 15728896
6.  Mutations in the E9L Polymerase Gene of Cidofovir-Resistant Vaccinia Virus Strain WR Are Associated with the Drug Resistance Phenotype▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(12):4038-4043.
Cidofovir (CDV) is an effective drug against viruses of the Orthopoxviridae family and is active in vitro against variola virus, the cause of smallpox. However, CDV-resistant poxviruses can be generated by repeated in vitro passage in the presence of suboptimal concentrations of CDV. To determine if mutations in the E9L polymerase gene could confer resistance to this nucleoside analog, this gene was sequenced from CDV-resistant vaccinia virus and found to encode five amino acid changes, centered on an N-terminal region associated with 3′→5′ exonuclease activity. Transfer of this mutant E9L gene into wild-type vaccinia virus by marker rescue sufficed to confer the resistance phenotype. E9L polymerase mutations occurred sequentially during passage in CDV, and an H296Y/S338F double mutant that conferred an intermediate CDV resistance phenotype was identified. In vitro, the marker-rescued CDV-resistant vaccinia virus containing all five mutations grew nearly as well as wild-type vaccinia virus. However, the virulence of this virus for mice was reduced, as 10- to 30-fold more CDV-resistant virus than wild-type virus was required for lethality following intranasal challenge. Cidofovir and hexadecyloxypropyl-cidofovir gave partial protection to mice infected with the virus when used at 50 and 100 mg/kg of body weight given as single treatments 24 h after virus exposure, whereas 2-amino-7-[(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxy)methyl]purine (compound S2242) was completely protective at 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg/day when given daily for 5 days. These findings suggest that drug therapy for poxviruses may be complicated by drug resistance but that treatment of the infection with currently known compounds is possible.
PMCID: PMC1694007  PMID: 16982794
7.  In Vitro and In Vivo Inhibition of Murine Gamma Herpesvirus 68 Replication by Selected Antiviral Agents 
We have evaluated the susceptibility of the murine gamma herpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) to a variety of antiviral agents. The acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analogs cidofovir [(S)-1-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl)cytosine], (S)-1-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl)adenine (HPMPA), and adefovir [9-(2-phosphonylmethoxyethyl)adenine] efficiently inhibited the replication of the virus in Vero cells (50% effective concentrations [EC50s], 0.008, 0.06, and 2.2 μg/ml, respectively). Acyclovir, ganciclovir, and brivudin [(E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine] had equipotent activities (EC50s, 1.5 to 8 μg/ml), whereas foscarnet and penciclovir were less effective (EC50s, 23 and ≥30 μg/ml, respectively). The novel N-7-substituted nucleoside analog S2242 [7-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)purine] inhibited MHV-68 replication by 50% at 0.2 μg/ml. The susceptibilities of MHV-68 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to cidofovir, HPMPA, adefovir, and acyclovir were found to be comparable. However, for penciclovir, ganciclovir, brivudin, and S2242, major differences in the sensitivity of MHV-68 and EBV were observed, suggesting that MHV-68 is not always an optimal surrogate for the study of antiviral strategies for EBV. When evaluated with a model for lethal MHV-68 infections in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency, cidofovir proved to be very efficient in protecting against virus-induced mortality (100% survival at 50 days postinfection), whereas acyclovir, brivudin, and adefovir had little or no effect.
PMCID: PMC105475  PMID: 9449280
8.  An Orally Bioavailable Antipoxvirus Compound (ST-246) Inhibits Extracellular Virus Formation and Protects Mice from Lethal Orthopoxvirus Challenge 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(20):13139-13149.
ST-246 is a low-molecular-weight compound (molecular weight = 376), that is potent (concentration that inhibited virus replication by 50% = 0.010 μM), selective (concentration of compound that inhibited cell viability by 50% = >40 μM), and active against multiple orthopoxviruses, including vaccinia, monkeypox, camelpox, cowpox, ectromelia (mousepox), and variola viruses. Cowpox virus variants selected in cell culture for resistance to ST-246 were found to have a single amino acid change in the V061 gene. Reengineering this change back into the wild-type cowpox virus genome conferred resistance to ST-246, suggesting that V061 is the target of ST-246 antiviral activity. The cowpox virus V061 gene is homologous to vaccinia virus F13L, which encodes a major envelope protein (p37) required for production of extracellular virus. In cell culture, ST-246 inhibited plaque formation and virus-induced cytopathic effects. In single-cycle growth assays, ST-246 reduced extracellular virus formation by 10 fold relative to untreated controls, while having little effect on the production of intracellular virus. In vivo oral administration of ST-246 protected BALB/c mice from lethal infection, following intranasal inoculation with 10× 50% lethal dose (LD50) of vaccinia virus strain IHD-J. ST-246-treated mice that survived infection acquired protective immunity and were resistant to subsequent challenge with a lethal dose (10× LD50) of vaccinia virus. Orally administered ST-246 also protected A/NCr mice from lethal infection, following intranasal inoculation with 40,000× LD50 of ectromelia virus. Infectious virus titers at day 8 postinfection in liver, spleen, and lung from ST-246-treated animals were below the limits of detection (<10 PFU/ml). In contrast, mean virus titers in liver, spleen, and lung tissues from placebo-treated mice were 6.2 × 107, 5.2 × 107, and 1.8 × 105 PFU/ml, respectively. Finally, oral administration of ST-246 inhibited vaccinia virus-induced tail lesions in Naval Medical Research Institute mice inoculated via the tail vein. Taken together, these results validate F13L as an antiviral target and demonstrate that an inhibitor of extracellular virus formation can protect mice from orthopoxvirus-induced disease.
PMCID: PMC1235851  PMID: 16189015
9.  Synthesis and antiviral activity of 6-deoxycyclopropavir, a new prodrug of cyclopropavir 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;20(8):2669-2674.
Synthesis of 6-deoxycyclopropavir (10), a prodrug of cyclopropavir (1) and its in vitro and in vivo antiviral activity is described. 2-Amino-6-chloropurine methylenecyclopropane 13 was transformed to its 6-iodo derivative 14 which was reduced to prodrug 10. It is converted to cyclopropavir (1) by the action of xanthine oxidase and this reaction can also occur in vivo. Compound 10 lacked significant in vitro activity against human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), human herpes virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), human hepatitis B virus (HBV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), vaccinia virus and cowpox virus. In contrast, prodrug 10 given orally was as active as cyclopropavir (1) reported previously [Kern, E. R.; Bidanset, D. J.; Hartline, C. B.; Yan, Z.; Zemlicka, J.; Quenelle, D. C. et al. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2004, 48, 4745] against murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection in mice and against HCMV in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice.
PMCID: PMC3690936  PMID: 22417649
Methylenecyclopropanes; Cyclopropavir; 6-Deoxycyclopropavir; Antiviral agents; Xanthine oxidase; Murine cytomegalovirus; Human cytomegalovirus
10.  Susceptibilities of several drug-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 strains to alternative antiviral compounds. 
Resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 strains were obtained under the selective pressure of acyclovir, ganciclovir, bromovinyldeoxyuridine, foscarnet, 2-phosphonylmethoxyehtyl (PME) derivatives of adenine and 2,6-diaminopurine, 3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl derivatives of adenine and cytosine, and 2-amino-7-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)purine (S2242). The drug susceptibility profiles of resistant strains point to differences in the modes of action of PME and 3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl derivatives and common mechanisms of action of foscarnet, S2242, and PME derivatives against herpes simplex virus type 1 replication.
PMCID: PMC162798  PMID: 7492121
11.  Activities of Certain 5-Substituted 4′-Thiopyrimidine Nucleosides against Orthopoxvirus Infections▿  
As part of a program to identify new compounds that have activity against orthopoxviruses, a number of 4′-thionucleosides were synthesized and evaluated for their efficacies against vaccinia and cowpox viruses. Seven compounds that were active at about 1 μM against both viruses in human cells but that did not have significant toxicity were identified. The 5-iodo analog, 1-(2-deoxy-4-thio-β-d-ribofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil (4′-thioIDU), was selected as a representative molecule; and this compound also inhibited viral DNA synthesis at less than 1 μM but only partially inhibited the replication of a recombinant vaccinia virus that lacked a thymidine kinase. This compound retained complete activity against cidofovir- and ST-246-resistant mutants. To determine if this analog had activity in an animal model, mice were infected intranasally with vaccinia or cowpox virus and treatment with 4′-thioIDU was given intraperitoneally or orally twice daily at 50, 15, 5, or 1.5 mg/kg of body weight beginning at 24 to 120 h postinfection and was continued for 5 days. Almost complete protection (87%) was observed when treatment with 1.5 mg/kg was begun at 72 h postinfection, and significant protection (73%) was still obtained when treatment with 5 mg/kg was initiated at 96 h. Virus titers in the liver, spleen, and kidney were reduced by about 4 log10 units and about 2 log10 units in mice infected with vaccinia virus and cowpox virus, respectively. These results indicate that 4′-thioIDU is a potent, nontoxic inhibitor of orthopoxvirus replication in cell culture and experimental animal infections and suggest that it may have potential for use in the treatment of orthopoxvirus infections in animals and humans.
PMCID: PMC2630668  PMID: 19029322
12.  Development of ST-246® for Treatment of Poxvirus Infections 
Viruses  2010;2(11):2409-2435.
ST-246 (Tecovirimat) is a small synthetic antiviral compound being developed to treat pathogenic orthopoxvirus infections of humans. The compound was discovered as part of a high throughput screen designed to identify inhibitors of vaccinia virus-induced cytopathic effects. The antiviral activity is specific for orthopoxviruses and the compound does not inhibit the replication of other RNA- and DNA-containing viruses or inhibit cell proliferation at concentrations of compound that are antiviral. ST-246 targets vaccinia virus p37, a viral protein required for envelopment and secretion of extracellular forms of virus. The compound is orally bioavailable and protects multiple animal species from lethal orthopoxvirus challenge. Preclinical safety pharmacology studies in mice and non-human primates indicate that ST-246 is readily absorbed by the oral route and well tolerated with the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) in mice measured at 2000 mg/kg and the no observable effect level (NOEL) in non-human primates measured at 300 mg/kg. Drug substance and drug product processes have been developed and commercial scale batches have been produced using Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP). Human phase I clinical trials have shown that ST-246 is safe and well tolerated in healthy human volunteers. Based on the results of the clinical evaluation, once a day dosing should provide plasma drug exposure in the range predicted to be antiviral based on data from efficacy studies in animal models of orthopoxvirus disease. These data support the use of ST-246 as a therapeutic to treat pathogenic orthopoxvirus infections of humans.
PMCID: PMC3185582  PMID: 21994624
Smallpox; ST-246; Tecovirimat; orthopoxvirus; p37; egress inhibitor; antiviral drug
13.  Vaccinia virus Transmission through Experimentally Contaminated Milk Using a Murine Model 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127350.
Bovine vaccinia (BV) is a zoonosis caused by Vaccinia virus (VACV), which affects dairy cattle and humans. Previous studies have detected the presence of viable virus particles in bovine milk samples naturally and experimentally contaminated with VACV. However, it is not known whether milk contaminated with VACV could be a route of viral transmission. However, anti-Orthopoxvirus antibodies were detected in humans from BV endemic areas, whom had no contact with affected cows, which suggest that other VACV transmission routes are possible, such as consumption of contaminated milk and dairy products. Therefore, it is important to study the possibility of VACV transmission by contaminated milk. This study aimed to examine VACV transmission, pathogenesis and shedding in mice orally inoculated with experimentally contaminated milk. Thirty mice were orally inoculated with milk containing 107 PFU/ml of VACV, and ten mice were orally inoculated with uncontaminated milk. Clinical examinations were performed for 30 consecutive days, and fecal samples and oral swabs (OSs) were collected every other day. Mice were euthanized on predetermined days, and tissue and blood samples were collected. Nested-PCR, plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT), viral isolation, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) methods were performed on the collected samples. No clinical changes were observed in the animals. Viral DNA was detected in feces, blood, OSs and tissues, at least in one of the times tested. The lungs displayed moderate to severe interstitial lymphohistiocytic infiltrates, and only the heart, tonsils, tongue, and stomach did not show immunostaining at the IHC analysis. Neutralizing antibodies were detected at the 20th and 30th days post infection in 50% of infected mice. The results revealed that VACV contaminated milk could be a route of viral transmission in mice experimentally infected, showing systemic distribution and shedding through feces and oral mucosa, albeit without exhibiting any clinical signs.
PMCID: PMC4441451  PMID: 26000966
14.  Efficacy of N-methanocarbathymidine in treating mice infected intranasally with the IHD and WR strains of vaccinia virus 
Antiviral research  2007;76(2):124-129.
N-methanocarbathymidine [(N)-MCT] is a newly identified inhibitor of orthopoxvirus replication in cell culture and in mice. Limited published animal studies indicated the compound is effective by intraperitoneal (i.p.) route at 10-100 mg/kg/day. More extensive studies using different treatment regimens in intranasally-infected mice were conducted in order to further explore the potential of this compound compared to cidofovir in treating vaccinia virus infections. (N)-MCT was given twice a day for 7 days, whereas cidofovir was administered once a day for 2 days, each starting 24 h after virus exposure for most experiments. (N)-MCT was not toxic up to 1000 mg/kg/day by the i.p. treatment route. Oral and i.p. treatment regimens with (N)-MCT were directly compared during a vaccinia virus (IHD strain) infection, indicating that the nucleoside has good oral bioavailability in mice. Treatments by i.p. route with (N)-MCT (100 mg/kg/day) reduced lung, nasal, and brain virus titers during an IHD virus infection, but not nearly to the same extent as i.p. cidofovir (100 mg/kg/day). Treatment with both compounds decreased liver, spleen, and kidney virus titers, as well as reduced lung consolidation scores and lung weights. Onset of treatment could be delayed by 2 days with (N)-MCT and by 3 days with cidofovir, providing significant survival benefit during the IHD virus infection. Against a vaccinia virus (WR strain) infection in mice, i.p. (N)-MCT treatment prevented death at 500 mg/kg/day, which was comparable in activity to i.p. cidofovir (100 mg/kg/day). Significant reductions in tissue virus titers occurred with both treatment regimens. (N)-MCT could be further pursued for its potential to treat orthopoxvirus infections in humans.
PMCID: PMC2268765  PMID: 17658623
antiviral; orthopoxvirus; vaccinia virus; (N)-MCT; cidofovir; thymidine
15.  Oral Efficacy of a Respiratory Syncytial Virus Inhibitor in Rodent Models of Infection 
BMS-433771 is a potent inhibitor of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) replication in vitro. Mechanism of action studies have demonstrated that BMS-433771 halts virus entry through inhibition of F protein-mediated membrane fusion. BMS-433771 also exhibited in vivo efficacy following oral administration in a mouse model of RSV infection (C. Cianci, K. Y. Yu, K. Combrink, N. Sin, B. Pearce, A. Wang, R. Civiello, S. Voss, G. Luo, K. Kadow, E. Genovesi, B. Venables, H. Gulgeze, A. Trehan, J. James, L. Lamb, I. Medina, J. Roach, Z. Yang, L. Zadjura, R. Colonno, J. Clark, N. Meanwell, and M. Krystal, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 48:413-422, 2004). In this report, the in vivo efficacy of BMS-433771 against RSV was further examined in the BALB/c mouse and cotton rat host models of infection. By using the Long strain of RSV, prophylactic efficacy via oral dosing was observed in both animal models. A single oral dose, administered 1 h prior to intranasal RSV inoculation, was as effective against infection as a 4-day b.i.d. dosing regimen in which the first oral dose was given 1 h prior to virus inoculation. Results of dose titration experiments suggested that RSV infection was more sensitive to inhibition by BMS-433771 treatment in the BALB/c mouse host than in the cotton rat. This was reflected by the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis of the efficacy data, where the area under the concentration-time curve required to achieve 50% of the maximum response was ∼7.5-fold less for mice than for cotton rats. Inhibition of RSV by BMS-433771 in the mouse is the result of F1-mediated inhibition, as shown by the fact that a virus selected for resistance to BMS-433771 in vitro and containing a single amino acid change in the F1 region was also refractory to treatment in the mouse host. BMS-433771 efficacy against RSV infection was also demonstrated for mice that were chemically immunosuppressed by cyclophosphamide treatment, indicating that compound inhibition of the virus did not require an active host immune response.
PMCID: PMC434195  PMID: 15215093
16.  Oral Treatment of Cowpox and Vaccinia Virus Infections in Mice with Ether Lipid Esters of Cidofovir 
Four newly synthesized ether lipid esters of cidofovir (CDV), hexadecyloxypropyl-CDV (HDP-CDV), octadecyloxyethyl-CDV (ODE-CDV), oleyloxypropyl-CDV (OLP-CDV), and oleyloxyethyl-CDV (OLE-CDV), were found to have enhanced activities against vaccinia virus (VV) and cowpox virus (CV) in vitro compared to those of CDV. The compounds were administered orally and were evaluated for their efficacies against lethal CV or VV infections in mice. HDP-CDV, ODE-CDV, and OLE-CDV were effective at preventing mortality from CV infection when treatments were initiated 24 h after viral inoculation, but only HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV maintained efficacy when treatments were initiated as late as 72 h postinfection. Oral pretreatment with HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV were also effective when they were given 5, 3, or 1 day prior to inoculation with CV, even when each compound was administered as a single dose. Both HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV were also effective against VV infections when they were administered orally 24 or 48 h after infection. In animals treated with HDP-CDV or ODE-CDV, the titers of both CV and VV in the liver, spleen, and kidney were reduced 3 to 7 log10. In contrast, virus replication in the lungs was not significantly reduced. These data indicate that HDP-CDV or ODE-CDV given orally is as effective as CDV given parenterally for the treatment of experimental CV and VV infections and suggest that these compounds may be useful for the treatment of orthopoxvirus infections in humans.
PMCID: PMC321539  PMID: 14742188
17.  Effect of Oral Treatment with Hexadecyloxypropyl-[(S)-9-(3-Hydroxy-2- Phosphonylmethoxypropyl)Adenine] [(S)-HPMPA] or Octadecyloxyethyl-(S)-HPMPA on Cowpox or Vaccinia Virus Infections in Mice▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2007;51(11):3940-3947.
We have previously reported that (S)-9-(3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl)adenine, or (S)-HPMPA, is active in vitro against cowpox virus (CV) and vaccinia virus (VV) but is not active orally in animals. However, the ether lipid esters of (S)-HPMPA, hexadecyloxypropyl-[(S)-HPMPA] [HDP-(S)-HPMPA] and octadecyloxyethyl-[(S)-HPMPA] [ODE-(S)-HPMPA], had significantly enhanced activity in vitro and are orally bioavailable in mice. In the current study, HDP-(S)-HPMPA and ODE-(S)-HPMPA were prepared in water and administered once daily by oral gavage to mice at doses of 30, 10, and 3 mg/kg of body weight for 5 days beginning 24, 48, or 72 h after inoculation with CV or VV. Oral HDP-(S)-HPMPA and ODE-(S)-HPMPA were both highly effective (P < 0.001) at preventing mortality due to CV at 30 mg/kg, even when treatments were delayed until up to 72 h postinfection. ODE-(S)-HPMPA or HDP-(S)-HPMPA were also highly effective (P < 0.001) at preventing mortality in mice infected with VV at 30 mg/kg when treatments were delayed until to 48 or 72 h postinfection, respectively. Protection against both viruses was associated with a significant reduction of virus replication in the liver, spleen, and kidney but not in the lung. These data indicate that HDP-(S)-HPMPA and ODE-(S)-HPMPA are active when given orally against lethal CV and VV infections in mice, and further evaluation is warranted to provide additional information on the potential of these orally active compounds for treatment of human orthopoxvirus infection.
PMCID: PMC2151427  PMID: 17846137
18.  Antiretrovirus Activity of a Novel Class of Acyclic Pyrimidine Nucleoside Phosphonates†  
A novel class of acyclic nucleoside phosphonates has been discovered in which the base consists of a pyrimidine preferably containing an amino group at C-2 and C-4 and a 2-(phosphonomethoxy)ethoxy (PMEO) or a 2-(phosphonomethoxy)propoxy (PMPO) group at C-6. The 6-PMEO 2,4-diaminopyrimidine (compound 1) and 6-PMPO 2,4-diaminopyrimidine (compound 11) derivatives showed potent activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the laboratory (i.e., CEM and MT-4 cells) and in primary (i.e., peripheral blood lymphocyte and monocyte/macrophage) cell cultures and pronounced activity against Moloney murine sarcoma virus in newborn NMRI mice. Their in vitro and in vivo antiretroviral activity was comparable to that of reference compounds 9-[(2-phosphonomethoxy)ethyl]adenine (adefovir) and (R)-9-[(2-phosphonomethoxy)-propyl]adenine (tenofovir), and the enantiospecificity of (R)- and (S)-PMPO pyrimidine derivatives as regards their antiretroviral activity was identical to that of the classical (R)- and (S)-9-(2-phosphonomethoxy)propyl purine derivatives. The prototype PMEO and PMPO pyrimidine analogues were relatively nontoxic in cell culture and did not markedly interfere with host cell macromolecular (i.e., DNA, RNA, or protein) synthesis. Compounds 1 and 11 should be considered attractive novel pyrimidine nucleotide phosphonate analogues to be further pursued for their potential as antiretroviral agents in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC127315  PMID: 12069973
19.  Combinations of Polyclonal or Monoclonal Antibodies to Proteins of the Outer Membranes of the Two Infectious Forms of Vaccinia Virus Protect Mice against a Lethal Respiratory Challenge 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(21):13454-13462.
Previous studies demonstrated that antibodies to live vaccinia virus infection are needed for optimal protection against orthopoxvirus infection. The present report is the first to compare the protective abilities of individual and combinations of specific polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies that target proteins of the intracellular (IMV) and extracellular (EV) forms of vaccinia virus. The antibodies were directed to one IMV membrane protein, L1, and to two outer EV membrane proteins, A33 and B5. In vitro studies showed that the antibodies to L1 neutralized IMV and that the antibodies to A33 and B5 prevented the spread of EV in liquid medium. Prophylactic administration of individual antibodies to BALB/c mice partially protected them against disease following intranasal challenge with lethal doses of vaccinia virus. Combinations of antibodies, particularly anti-L1 and -A33 or -L1 and -B5, provided enhanced protection when administered 1 day before or 2 days after challenge. Furthermore, the protection was superior to that achieved with pooled immune gamma globulin from human volunteers inoculated with live vaccinia virus. In addition, single injections of anti-L1 plus anti-A33 antibodies greatly delayed the deaths of severe combined immunodeficiency mice challenged with vaccinia virus. These studies suggest that antibodies to two or three viral membrane proteins optimally derived from the outer membranes of IMV and EV, may be beneficial for prophylaxis or therapy of orthopoxvirus infections.
PMCID: PMC1262616  PMID: 16227266
20.  Anti-herpesvirus activity of the acyclic nucleoside 9-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)guanine. 
The antiherpetic effects of a novel purine acyclic nucleoside, 9-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)guanine (DHPG), were compared with those of acyclovir in cell cultures and in mice. The modes of action of DHPG and acyclovir were similar in that herpes thymidine kinase phosphorylated each compound, and both agents selectively inhibited viral over host cell DNA synthesis. In 50% plaque reduction assays in Vero cells, the drugs inhibited herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 thymidine kinase-positive strains at 0.2 to 2.4 microM. DHPG was markedly more active than acyclovir against human cytomegalovirus (50% inhibitory doses were 7 and 95 microM, respectively). Each nucleoside inhibited uninfected cell macromolecule synthesis and cell proliferation at concentrations far above those required to inhibit herpes simplex virus replication. Although the two compounds had many similarities in their behavior in vitro, the important difference was the superior performance of DHPG against herpesvirus-induced encephalitis and vaginitis in vivo. Thus, mortality in mice infected with herpesvirus type 2 was reduced 50% by daily doses of 7 to 10 mg of DHPG/kg, whereas an equally effective daily dose of acyclovir was approximately 500 mg/kg. DHPG at a daily dose of 50 mg/kg was also superior to acyclovir at 100 mg/kg per day in its inhibition of herpetic vaginal lesions in mice.
PMCID: PMC184786  PMID: 6307132
21.  N1L Is an Ectromelia Virus Virulence Factor and Essential for In Vivo Spread upon Respiratory Infection▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(7):3557-3569.
The emergence of zoonotic orthopoxvirus infections and the threat of possible intentional release of pathogenic orthopoxviruses have stimulated renewed interest in understanding orthopoxvirus infections and the resulting diseases. Ectromelia virus (ECTV), the causative agent of mousepox, offers an excellent model system to study an orthopoxvirus infection in its natural host. Here, we investigated the role of the vaccinia virus ortholog N1L in ECTV infection. Respiratory infection of mice with an N1L deletion mutant virus (ECTVΔN1L) demonstrated profound attenuation of the mutant virus, confirming N1 as an orthopoxvirus virulence factor. Upon analysis of virus dissemination in vivo, we observed a striking deficiency of ECTVΔN1L spreading from the lungs to the livers or spleens of infected mice. Investigating the immunological mechanism controlling ECTVΔN1L infection, we found the attenuated phenotype to be unaltered in mice deficient in Toll-like receptor (TLR) or RIG-I-like RNA helicase (RLH) signaling as well as in those missing the type I interferon receptor or lacking B cells. However, in RAG-1−/− mice lacking mature B and T cells, ECTVΔN1L regained virulence, as shown by increasing morbidity and virus spread to the liver and spleen. Moreover, T cell depletion experiments revealed that ECTVΔN1L attenuation was reversed only by removing both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, so the presence of either cell subset was still sufficient to control the infection. Thus, the orthopoxvirus virulence factor N1 may allow efficient ECTV infection in mice by interfering with host T cell function.
PMCID: PMC3067874  PMID: 21270149
22.  Comparison of the modes of antiviral action of 2'-nor-deoxyguanosine and its cyclic phosphate, 2'-nor-cyclic GMP. 
The metabolisms of 9-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)guanine (2'NDG) and its cyclic phosphate, 9-[(2-hydroxy-1,3,2-dioxophosphorinan-5-yl) oxymethyl]guanine P-oxide (2'-nor-cGMP), were compared in cultures of primary rabbit kidney cells infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). 2'-Nor-cGMP was taken up by the cells essentially intact, after which it was opened to the acyclic monophosphate and phosphorylated further, ultimately to the triphosphate. Formation of the triphosphate was independent of HSV thymidine kinase expression, unlike what is observed with 2'NDG. In addition, there was a direct correlation between the antiviral activity of 2'NDG and the level of triphosphate formed in HSV-1-infected cells, whereas such a correlation was absent with 2'-nor-cGMP. In vivo experiments indicated that only a small percentage of free 2'NDG was formed in the bloodstream of mice after oral administration of 2'-nor-cGMP. Incubation of 2'-nor-cGMP with crude extracts of HSV-1-infected or uninfected HeLa cells resulted in the direct production of 2'NDG triphosphate. The possibility that the triphosphate of 2'NDG produced from 2'-nor-cGMP was the enantiomer of the triphosphate made from 2'NDG by viral and cellular kinases was investigated and disproved. Taken together, these data indicate that (i) 2'-nor-cGMP does not act simply as a prodrug of 2'NDG, (ii) 2'-nor-cGMP does not require viral thymidine kinase for its activity, and (iii) 2'-nor-cGMP may have an additional, triphosphate-independent mode of action.
PMCID: PMC180495  PMID: 3015013
23.  Orthopoxvirus Targets for the Development of Antiviral Therapies 
The potential use of smallpox virus as a bioterror agent and the endemic presence of monkeypox virus in Africa underscores the need for better therapies for orthopoxvirus infections. The only existing clinical experience treating vaccinia and smallpox infections has been with Marboran, which suggested that antiviral therapies could be effective in treating and preventing smallpox infections, but this compound has not been pursued. Drugs that have been approved for other indications, like cidofovir, could be approved for the treatment of orthopoxvirus infections in a timely manner, and this compound has already been approved for emergency treatment of smallpox and complications from vaccination. Its lack of activity when given orally, however, limits its use in a major outbreak involving large numbers of people exposed to the virus. The discovery and development of new therapies can be achieved more rapidly by drawing on the experience and successes with other antiviral agents, particularly with the herpesviruses. This review will discuss the orthopoxvirus replication cycle in detail noting specific viral functions and their associated gene products that have the potential to serve as new targets for drug design and development. This discussion is designed to help investigators relate these targets to parallel functions and existing assays in other virus systems that have been used successfully in drug development. The rapid progress that has been achieved in recent years should yield new drugs for the treatment of these infections and might also reveal new strategies for antiviral therapy with other viruses.
PMCID: PMC4264105  PMID: 15777195
Orthopoxvirus; small pox antiviral; vaccinia; drugs; targets; replication
24.  Structural and Functional Characterization of Anti-A33 Antibodies Reveal a Potent Cross-Species Orthopoxviruses Neutralizer 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(9):e1005148.
Vaccinia virus A33 is an extracellular enveloped virus (EEV)-specific type II membrane glycoprotein that is essential for efficient EEV formation and long-range viral spread within the host. A33 is a target for neutralizing antibody responses against EEV. In this study, we produced seven murine anti-A33 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) by immunizing mice with live VACV, followed by boosting with the soluble A33 homodimeric ectodomain. Five A33 specific MAbs were capable of neutralizing EEV in the presence of complement. All MAbs bind to conformational epitopes on A33 but not to linear peptides. To identify the epitopes, we have adetermined the crystal structures of three representative neutralizing MAbs in complex with A33. We have further determined the binding kinetics for each of the three antibodies to wild-type A33, as well as to engineered A33 that contained single alanine substitutions within the epitopes of the three crystallized antibodies. While the Fab of both MAbs A2C7 and A20G2 binds to a single A33 subunit, the Fab from MAb A27D7 binds to both A33 subunits simultaneously. A27D7 binding is resistant to single alanine substitutions within the A33 epitope. A27D7 also demonstrated high-affinity binding with recombinant A33 protein that mimics other orthopoxvirus strains in the A27D7 epitope, such as ectromelia, monkeypox, and cowpox virus, suggesting that A27D7 is a potent cross-neutralizer. Finally, we confirmed that A27D7 protects mice against a lethal challenge with ectromelia virus.
Author Summary
Before the eradication of smallpox (variola virus) from nature, hundreds of million of people succumbed to the infection. The discovery of vaccinia virus (VACV), the active ingredient of the smallpox vaccine, ultimately led to the eradiation of smallpox from the human population. Vaccination with VACV leads to a strong antibody response that protects against variola virus. As the protective antibodies recognize viral proteins that are highly similar in sequence between the different orthopox strains, such as A33 used in this study, several antibodies have the capacity to neutralize a larger breath of orthopx viruses. In this study we have identified an anti-A33 antibody from a larger panel that exhibits a unique binding mode to A33. This antibody, A27D7, is also resistant to single amino acid changes throughout the protein and binds to engineered A33 variants that mimic ectromelia and orthopox A33 in the antibody-binding site. As the antibody further protects against ectromelia infection of mice, this antibody appears to be a potent orthopox cross-species protective antibody with therapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC4556652  PMID: 26325270
25.  Design and Profiling of GS-9148, a Novel Nucleotide Analog Active against Nucleoside-Resistant Variants of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1, and Its Orally Bioavailable Phosphonoamidate Prodrug, GS-9131▿ †  
GS-9148 [(5-(6-amino-purin-9-yl)-4-fluoro-2,5-dihydro-furan-2-yloxymethyl)phosphonic acid] is a novel ribose-modified human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) nucleotide reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor (NRTI) selected from a series of nucleoside phosphonate analogs for its favorable in vitro biological properties including (i) a low potential for mitochondrial toxicity, (ii) a minimal cytotoxicity in renal proximal tubule cells and other cell types, (iii) synergy in combination with other antiretrovirals, and (iv) a unique resistance profile against multiple NRTI-resistant HIV-1 strains. Notably, antiviral resistance analysis indicated that neither the K65R, L74V, or M184V RT mutation nor their combinations had any effect on the antiretroviral activity of GS-9148. Viruses carrying four or more thymidine analog mutations showed a substantially smaller change in GS-9148 activity relative to that observed with most marketed NRTIs. GS-9131, an ethylalaninyl phosphonoamidate prodrug designed to maximize the intracellular delivery of GS-9148, is a potent inhibitor of multiple subtypes of HIV-1 clinical isolates, with a mean 50% effective concentration of 37 nM. Inside cells, GS-9131 is readily hydrolyzed to GS-9148, which is further phosphorylated to its active diphosphate metabolite (A. S. Ray, J. E. Vela, C. G. Boojamra, L. Zhang, H. Hui, C. Callebaut, K. Stray, K.-Y. Lin, Y. Gao, R. L. Mackman, and T. Cihlar, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 52:648-654, 2008). GS-9148 diphosphate acts as a competitive inhibitor of RT with respect to dATP (Ki = 0.8 μM) and exhibits low inhibitory potency against host polymerases including DNA polymerase γ. Oral administration of GS-9131 to beagle dogs at a dose of 3 mg/kg of body weight resulted in high and persistent levels of GS-9148 diphosphate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (with a maximum intracellular concentration of >9 μM and a half-life of >24 h). This favorable preclinical profile makes GS-9131 an attractive clinical development candidate for the treatment of patients infected with NRTI-resistant HIV.
PMCID: PMC2224772  PMID: 18056282

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