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Core as a Novel Viral Target for Hepatitis C Drugs

Department of Infectology, The Scripps Research Institute-Scripps Florida, 130 Scripps Way, Jupiter, FL-33458, USA
Department of Chemistry, The Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2010, 2(8), 1734-1751;
Received: 18 June 2010 / Revised: 6 August 2010 / Accepted: 16 August 2010 / Published: 20 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivirals Against Hepatitis C Virus)
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects over 130 million people worldwide and is a major cause of liver disease. No vaccine is available. Novel specific drugs for HCV are urgently required, since the standard-of-care treatment of pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin is poorly tolerated and cures less than half of the treated patients. Promising, effective direct-acting drugs currently in the clinic have been described for three of the ten potential HCV target proteins: NS3/NS4A protease, NS5B polymerase and NS5A, a regulatory phosphoprotein. We here present core, the viral capsid protein, as another attractive, non-enzymatic target, against which a new class of anti-HCV drugs can be raised. Core plays a major role in the virion’s formation, and interacts with several cellular proteins, some of which are involved in host defense mechanisms against the virus. This most conserved of all HCV proteins requires oligomerization to function as the organizer of viral particle assembly. Using core dimerization as the basis of transfer-of-energy screening assays, peptides and small molecules were identified which not only inhibit core-core interaction, but also block viral production in cell culture. Initial chemical optimization resulted in compounds active in single digit micromolar concentrations. Core inhibitors could be used in combination with other HCV drugs in order to provide novel treatments of Hepatitis C. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hepatitis C Virus; HCV; core dimerization; peptide inhibitors; small molecule inhibitors; virus assembly Hepatitis C Virus; HCV; core dimerization; peptide inhibitors; small molecule inhibitors; virus assembly

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Strosberg, A.D.; Kota, S.; Takahashi, V.; Snyder, J.K.; Mousseau, G. Core as a Novel Viral Target for Hepatitis C Drugs. Viruses 2010, 2, 1734-1751.

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