The most recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which was unprecedented in the number of cases and fatalities, geographic distribution, and number of nations affected, highlights the need for safe, effective, and readily available antiviral agents for treatment and prevention of acute Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) or sequelae(1). No antiviral therapeutics have yet received regulatory approval or demonstrated clinical efficacy. Here we report the discovery of a novel small molecule GS-5734, a monophosphoramidate prodrug of an adenosine analogue, with antiviral activity against EBOV. GS-5734 exhibits antiviral activity against multiple variants of EBOV and other filoviruses in cell-based assays. The pharmacologically active nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) is efficiently formed in multiple human cell types incubated with GS-5734 in vitro, and the NTP acts as an alternative substrate and RNA-chain terminator in primer-extension assays using a surrogate respiratory syncytial virus RNA polymerase. Intravenous administration of GS-5734 to nonhuman primates resulted in persistent NTP levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (half-life, 14 h) and distribution to sanctuary sites for viral replication including testes, eyes, and brain. In a rhesus monkey model of EVD, once-daily intravenous administration of 10 mg kg(-1) GS-5734 for 12 days resulted in profound suppression of EBOV replication and protected 100% of EBOV-infected animals against lethal disease, ameliorating clinical disease signs and pathophysiological markers, even when treatments were initiated three days after virus exposure when systemic viral RNA was detected in two out of six treated animals. These results show the first substantive post-exposure protection by a small-molecule antiviral compound against EBOV in nonhuman primates. The broad-spectrum antiviral activity of GS-5734 in vitro against other pathogenic RNA viruses, including filoviruses, arenaviruses, and coronaviruses, suggests the potential for wider medical use. GS-5734 is amenable to large-scale manufacturing, and clinical studies investigating the drug safety and pharmacokinetics are ongoing.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging human pathogen that is spreading rapidly through the Americas and has been linked to the development of microcephaly and to a dramatically increased number of Guillain-Barre syndrome cases. Currently, no vaccine or therapeutic options for the prevention or treatment of ZIKV infections exist. In the study described in this report, we expressed, purified, and characterized full-length nonstructural protein 5 (NS5) and the NS5 polymerase domain (NS5pol) of ZIKV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Using purified NS5, we developed an in vitro nonradioactive primer extension assay employing a fluorescently labeled primertemplate pair. Both purified NS5 and NS5pol can carry out in vitro RNA-dependent RNA synthesis in this assay. Our results show that Mn2+ is required for enzymatic activity, while Mg2+ is not. We found that ZIKV NS5 can utilize single-stranded DNA but not double-stranded DNA as a template or a primer to synthesize RNA. The assay was used to compare the efficiency of incorporation of analog 5'-triphosphates by the ZIKV polymerase and to calculate their discrimination versus that of natural ribonucleotide triphosphates (rNTPs). The 50% inhibitory concentrations for analog rNTPs were determined in an alternative nonradioactive coupled-enzyme assay. We determined that, in general, 2'-C-methyl- and 2'-C-ethynyl-substituted analog 5'-triphosphates were efficiently incorporated by the ZIKV polymerase and were also efficient chain terminators. Derivatives of these molecules may serve as potential antiviral compounds to be developed to combat ZIKV infection. This report provides the first characterization of ZIKV polymerase and demonstrates the utility of in vitro polymerase assays in the identification of potential ZIKV inhibitors.
Pan-genotypic nucleoside HCV inhibitors display a high genetic barrier to drug resistance and are the preferred direct-acting agents to achieve complete sustained virologic response in humans. Herein, we report, the discovery of a beta-D-2'-Cl,2 '-F-uridine phosphoramidate nucleotide 16, as a nontoxic pan-genotypic anti-HCV agent. Phosphoramidate 16 in its 5'-triphosphate form specifically inhibited HCV NSSB polymerase with no marked inhibition of human polymerases and cellular mitochondrial RNA polymerase. Studies on the intracellular half-life of phosphoramidate 16-TP in live cells demonstrated favorable half-life of 11.6 h, suggesting once-a-day dosing. Stability in human blood and favorable metabolism in human intestinal microsomes and liver microsomes make phosphoramidate 16 a prospective candidate for further studies to establish its potential value as a new anti-HCV agent.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that some ribonucleoside/ ribonucleotide analogs may be incorporated into mitochondrial RNA by human mitochondrial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (POLRMT) and disrupt mitochondrial RNA synthesis. An assessment of the incorporation efficiency of a ribonucleotide analog 5'-triphosphate by POLRMT may be used to evaluate the potential mitochondrial toxicity of the analog early in the development process. In this report, we provide a simple method to prepare active recombinant POLRMT. A robust in vitro nonradioactive primer extension assay was developed to assay the incorporation efficiency of ribonucleotide analog 5'-triphosphates. Our results show that many ribonucleotide analogs, including some antiviral compounds currently in various preclinical or clinical development stages, can be incorporated into newly synthesized RNA by POLRMT and that the incorporation of some of them can lead to chain termination. The discrimination (D) values of ribonucleotide analog 5'-triphosphates over those of natural ribonucleotide triphosphates (rNTPs) were measured to evaluate the incorporation efficiency of the ribonucleotide analog 5'-triphosphates by POLRMT. The discrimination values of natural rNTPs under the condition of misincorporation by POLRMT were used as a reference to evaluate the potential mitochondrial toxicity of ribonucleotide analogs. We propose the following criteria for the potential mitochondrial toxicity of ribonucleotide analogs based on D values: a safe compound has a D value of > 10(5); a potentially toxic compound has a D value of > 10(4) but < 10(5); and a toxic compound has a D value of < 10(4). This report provides a simple screening method that should assist investigators in designing ribonucleoside-based drugs having lower mitochondrial toxicity.
High-fat diet (HFD) and inflammation are key contributors to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Interleukin (IL)-1 beta plays a role in insulin resistance, yet how IL-1 beta is induced by the fatty acids in an HFD, and how this alters insulin signaling, is unclear. We show that the saturated fatty acid palmitate, but not unsaturated oleate, induces the activation of the NLRP3-ASC inflammasome, causing caspase-1, IL-1 beta and IL-18 production. This pathway involves mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and the AMP-activated protein kinase and unc-51-like kinase-1 (ULK1) autophagy signaling cascade. Inflammasome activation in hematopoietic cells impairs insulin signaling in several target tissues to reduce glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, IL-1 beta affects insulin sensitivity through tumor necrosis factor-independent and dependent pathways. These findings provide insights into the association of inflammation, diet and T2D.
Emerging viral infections are difficult to control because heterogeneous members periodically cycle in and out of humans and zoonotic hosts, complicating the development of specific antiviral therapies and vaccines. Coronaviruses (CoVs) have a proclivity to spread rapidly into new host species causing severe disease. Severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) successively emerged, causing severe epidemic respiratory disease in immunologically naive human populations throughout the globe. Broad-spectrum therapies capable of inhibiting CoV infections would address an immediate unmet medical need and could be invaluable in the treatment of emerging and endemic CoV infections. We show that a nucleotide prodrug, GS-5734, currently in clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus disease, can inhibit SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV replication in multiple in vitro systems, including primary human airway epithelial cell cultures with submicromolar IC50 values. GS-5734 was also effective against bat CoVs, prepandemic bat CoVs, and circulating contemporary human CoV in primary human lung cells, thus demonstrating broad-spectrum anti-CoV activity. In amousemodel of SARS-CoV pathogenesis, prophylactic and early therapeutic administration of GS-5734 significantly reduced lung viral load and improved clinical signs of disease as well as respiratory function. These data provide substantive evidence that GS-5734 may prove effective against endemic MERS-CoV in the Middle East, circulating human CoV, and, possibly most importantly, emerging CoV of the future.
In this work, we assessed the capacity of RNA polymerases to use platinated ribonucleotides as substrates for RNA synthesis by testing the incorporation of the model compound [Pt(dien)( -5′-GTP)] (dien = diethylenetriamine; GTP = 5′-guanosine triphosphate) into a natural RNA sequence. The yield of transcription operated by RNA polymerase, on the ( gene encoding for β-galactosidase) sequence, decreases progressively with decreasing the concentration of natural GTP, in favor of the platinated nucleotide, [Pt(dien)( -5′-GTP)]. Comparison of the RNA polymerase transcription activities for [Pt(dien)( -5′-GTP)] compound incorporation reaction test, with respect to the effect of a decreasing concentration of natural GTP, showed no major differences. A specific inhibitory effect of compound [Pt(dien)( -5′-GTP)] (which may pair the complementary base on the DNA strand, without being incorporated in the RNA by the RNA polymerase) was evidenced. Our findings therefore suggest that RNA polymerases, unlike DNA polymerases, are unable to incorporate -platinated nucleotides into newly synthesized nucleic acids. In this respect, specifically designed -platinated nucleotides based compounds could be used in alternative to the classical platinum based drugs. This approach may offer a possible strategy to target specifically DNA, without affecting RNA, and is potentially able to better modulate pharmacological activity. Possible incorporation into RNA of the NTPs platinated model [Pt(dien)( -5′-GTP)] (dien = diethylenetriamine; GTP = 5′-guanosine triphosphate) has been studied. The inability of the model RNA polymerase to use platinated nucleotides as substrates has been assessed. Our results suggest new pharmacological strategies to specifically target DNA, without affecting RNA.
As a sensor of cellular energy status, the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is believed to act in opposition to the metabolic phenotypes favored by proliferating tumor cells. Consequently, compounds known to activate AMPK have been proposed as cancer therapeutics. However, the extent to which the anti-neoplastic properties of these agonists are mediated by AMPK is unclear. Here we examined the AMPK dependence of six commonly used AMPK agonists (metformin, phenformin, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR), 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG), salicylate and A-769662) and their influence on cellular processes often deregulated in tumor cells. We demonstrate that the majority of these agonists display AMPK-independent effects on cell proliferation and metabolism with only the synthetic activator, A-769662, exerting AMPK-dependent effects on these processes. We find that A-769662 promotes an AMPK-dependent increase in mitochondrial spare respiratory capacity. Finally, contrary to the view of AMPK activity being tumor suppressive, we find that A-769662 confers a selective proliferative advantage to tumor cells growing under nutrient deprivation. Our results indicate that many of the antigrowth properties of these agonists cannot be attributed to AMPK activity in cells, and thus any observed effects using these agonists should be confirmed using AMPK-deficient cells. Ultimately, our data urge caution not only regarding the type of AMPK agonist proposed for cancer treatment but also the context in which they are used.
Aneuploidy, an incorrect chromosome number, is a hallmark of cancer. Compounds that cause lethality in aneuploid, but not euploid, cells could therefore provide new cancer therapies. We have identified the energy stress-inducing agent AICAR, the protein folding inhibitor 17-AAG, and the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine as exhibiting this property. AICAR induces p53-mediated apoptosis in primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) trisomic for chromosome 1, 13, 16, or 19. AICAR and 17-AAG, especially when combined, also show efficacy against aneuploid human cancer cell lines. Our results suggest that compounds that interfere with pathways that are essential for the survival of aneuploid cells could serve as a new treatment strategy against a broad spectrum of human tumors. ► 4 trisomic MEF lines were screened for compounds that antagonize their proliferation ► The AMPK agonist AICAR and the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-AAG induce apoptosis in trisomic MEFs ► AICAR increases already elevated levels of Hsp72 and autophagy in trisomic MEFs ► AICAR+17-AAG preferentially inhibit the growth of high-grade aneuploid cancer cells
New Findings What is the central question of this study? We investigated whether 5‐aminoimidazole‐4‐carboxamide‐1‐beta‐D‐ribofuranoside (AICAR) could prevent acute increases in body fat and changes in omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue following the sudden transition from physical activity to physical inactivity. What is the main finding and its importance? AICAR prevented fat gains following the transition from physical activity to inactivity to levels comparable to rats that remained physically active. AICAR and continuous physical activity produced depot‐specific changes in cyclin A1 mRNA and protein that were associated with the prevention of fat gain. These findings suggest that targeting AMP‐activated protein kinase signalling could oppose rapid adipose mass growth. The transition from physical activity to inactivity is associated with drastic increases in ‘catch‐up’ fat that in turn foster the development of many obesity‐associated maladies. We tested whether 5‐aminoimidazole‐4‐carboxamide‐1‐beta‐D‐ribofuranoside (AICAR) treatment would prevent gains in body fat following the sudden transition from a physically active state to an inactive state by locking a voluntary running wheel. Male Wistar rats were either sedentary (SED) or given wheel access for 4 weeks, at which time rats with wheels continued running (RUN), had their wheel locked (WL) or had WL with daily AICAR injection (WL + AICAR) for 1 week. RUN and WL + AICAR prevented gains in body fat compared with SED and WL (P < 0.001). Cyclin A1 mRNA, a marker of cell proliferation, was decreased in omental, but not subcutaneous adipose tissue, in RUN and WL + AICAR compared with SED and WL groups (P < 0.05). Both cyclin A1 mRNA and protein were positively associated with gains in fat mass (P < 0.05). Cyclin A1 mRNA in omental, but not subcutaneous, adipose tissue was negatively correlated with p‐AMPK levels (P < 0.05). Differences in fat gain and omental mRNA and protein levels were independent of changes in food intake and in differences in select hypothalamic mRNAs. These findings suggest that AICAR treatment prevents acute gains in adipose tissue following physical inactivity to levels of rats that continuously run, and that together, continuous physical activity and AICAR could, at least initially in these conditions, exert similar inhibitory effects on adipogenesis in a depot‐specific manner.