Silvestrol, a natural compound that is isolated from plants of the genus Aglaia
, is a specific inhibitor of the RNA helicase eIF4A, which unwinds RNA secondary structures in 5′-untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs and allows translation. Silvestrol has a broad antiviral activity against multiple RNA virus families. Here, we show that silvestrol inhibits the replication of chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a positive single-stranded RNA virus. Silvestrol delayed the protein synthesis of non-structural (nsPs) and structural proteins, resulting in a delayed innate response to CHIKV infection. Interferon-α induced STAT1 phosphorylation was not inhibited nor did eIF2α become phosphorylated 16 h post infection in the presence of silvestrol. In addition, the host protein shut-off induced by CHIKV infection was decreased in silvestrol-treated cells. Silvestrol acts by limiting the amount of nsPs, and thereby reducing CHIKV RNA replication. From our results, we propose that inhibition of the host helicase eIF4A might have potential as a therapeutic strategy to treat CHIKV infections.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited