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1.  Chikungunya Virus Induces IPS-1-Dependent Innate Immune Activation and Protein Kinase R-Independent Translational Shutoff▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(1):606-620.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthritogenic mosquito-transmitted alphavirus that is undergoing reemergence in areas around the Indian Ocean. Despite the current and potential danger posed by this virus, we know surprisingly little about the induction and evasion of CHIKV-associated antiviral immune responses. With this in mind we investigated innate immune reactions to CHIKV in human fibroblasts, a demonstrable in vivo target of virus replication and spread. We show that CHIKV infection leads to activation of the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and subsequent transcription of IRF3-dependent antiviral genes, including beta interferon (IFN-β). IRF3 activation occurs by way of a virus-induced innate immune signaling pathway that includes the adaptor molecule interferon promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1). Despite strong transcriptional upregulation of these genes, however, translation of the corresponding proteins is not observed. We further demonstrate that translation of cellular (but not viral) genes is blocked during infection and that although CHIKV is found to trigger inactivation of the translational molecule eukaryotic initiation factor subunit 2α by way of the double-stranded RNA sensor protein kinase R, this response is not required for the block to protein synthesis. Furthermore, overall diminution of cellular RNA synthesis is also observed in the presence of CHIKV and transcription of IRF3-dependent antiviral genes appears specifically blocked late in infection. We hypothesize that the observed absence of IFN-β and antiviral proteins during infection results from an evasion mechanism exhibited by CHIKV that is dependent on widespread shutoff of cellular protein synthesis and a targeted block to late synthesis of antiviral mRNA transcripts.
PMCID: PMC3014158  PMID: 20962078
2.  Nonnucleoside Inhibitor of Measles Virus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Complex Activity▿ †  
Paramyxoviruses comprise several major human pathogens. Although a live-attenuated vaccine protects against measles virus (MV), a member of the paramyxovirus family, the virus remains a principal cause of worldwide mortality and accounts for approximately 21 million cases and 300,000 to 400,000 deaths annually. The development of novel antivirals that allow improved case management of severe measles and silence viral outbreaks is thus highly desirable. We have previously described the development of novel MV fusion inhibitors. The potential for preexisting or emerging resistance in the field constitutes the rationale for the identification of additional MV inhibitors with a diverse target spectrum. Here, we report the development and implementation of a cell-based assay for high-throughput screening of MV antivirals, which has yielded several hit candidates. Following confirmation by secondary assays and chemical synthesis, the most potent hit was found to act as a target-specific inhibitor of MV replication with desirable drug-like properties. The compound proved highly active against multiple primary isolates of diverse MV genotypes currently circulating worldwide, showing active concentrations of 35 to 145 nM. Significantly, it does not interfere with viral entry and lacks cross-resistance with the MV fusion inhibitor class. Mechanistic characterization on a subinfection level revealed that the compound represents a first-in-class nonnucleoside inhibitor of MV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex activity. Singly or in combination with the fusion inhibitors, this novel compound class has high developmental potential as a potent therapeutic against MV and will likely further the mechanistic characterization of the viral polymerase complex.
PMCID: PMC1913224  PMID: 17470652
3.  Two Domains That Control Prefusion Stability and Transport Competence of the Measles Virus Fusion Protein 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(3):1524-1536.
Most viral glycoproteins mediating membrane fusion adopt a metastable native conformation and undergo major conformational changes during fusion. We previously described a panel of compounds that specifically prevent fusion induced by measles virus (MV), most likely by interfering with conformational rearrangements of the MV fusion (F) protein. To further elucidate the basis of inhibition and better understand the mechanism of MV glycoprotein-mediated fusion, we generated and characterized resistant MV variants. Spontaneous mutations conferring drug resistance were confirmed in transient assays and in the context of recombinant virions and were in all cases located in the fusion protein. Several mutations emerged independently at F position 462, which is located in the C-terminal heptad repeat (HR-B) domain. In peptide competition assays, all HR-B mutants at residue 462 revealed reduced affinity for binding to the HR-A core complex compared to unmodified HR-B. Combining mutations at residue 462 with mutations in the distal F head region, which we had previously identified as mediating drug resistance, causes intracellular retention of the mutant proteins. The transport competence and activity of the mutants can be restored, however, by incubation at reduced temperature or in the presence of the inhibitory compounds, indicating that the F escape mutants have a reduced conformational stability and that the inhibitors stabilize a transport-competent conformation of the F trimer. The data support the conclusion that residues located in the head domain of the F trimer and the HR-B region contribute jointly to controlling F conformational stability.
PMCID: PMC1346935  PMID: 16415028

Results 1-3 (3)