[Source: Journal of Virology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
An E460D substitution in the NS5 protein of tick-borne encephalitis virus confers resistance to the inhibitor Galidesivir (BCX4430) and also attenuates the virus for mice
Ludek Eyer, Antoine Nougairède, Marie Uhlířová, Jean-Sélim Driouich, Darina Zouharová, James J. Valdés, Jan Haviernik, Ernest A. Gould, Erik De Clercq, Xavier de Lamballerie, Daniel Ruzek
The adenosine analogue Galidesivir (BCX4430), a broad-spectrum RNA virus inhibitor, has entered a Phase 1 clinical safety and pharmacokinetics study in healthy subjects and is under clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus infection. Moreover, Galidesivir also inhibits the reproduction of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and numerous other medically important flaviviruses. Until now, studies of this antiviral agent have not yielded resistant viruses. Here, we demonstrate that an E460D substitution, in the active site of TBEV RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp), confers resistance to Galidesivir in cell culture. Galidesivir-resistant TBEV exhibited no cross-resistance to structurally different antiviral nucleoside analogues, such as 7-deaza-2′-C-methyladenosine, 2′-C-methyladenosine and 4′-azido-aracytidine. Although, the E460D substitution led only to a subtle decrease in viral fitness in cell culture, Galidesivir-resistant TBEV was highly attenuated in vivo, with 100% survival rate and no clinical signs observed in infected mice. Furthermore, no virus was detected in serum, spleen or brain of mice inoculated with the Galidesivir-resistant TBEV. Our results contribute to understanding the molecular basis of Galidesivir antiviral activity, flavivirus resistance to nucleoside inhibitors and the potential contribution of viral RdRp to flavivirus neurovirulence.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a pathogen that causes severe human neuroinfections in Europe and Asia and for which there is currently no specific therapy. We have previously found that Galidesivir (BCX4430), a broad-spectrum RNA virus inhibitor, which is under clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus infection, has a strong antiviral effect against TBEV. For any antiviral drug, it is important to generate drug-resistant mutants to understand how the drug works. Here, we produced TBEV mutants resistant to Galidesivir and found that the resistance is caused by a single amino acid substitution in an active site of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, an enzyme which is crucial for replication of viral RNA genome. Although, this substitution led only to a subtle decrease in viral fitness in cell culture, Galidesivir-resistant TBEV was highly attenuated in a mouse model. Our results contribute to understanding the molecular basis of Galidesivir antiviral activity.
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Keywords: Antivirals; Drugs Resistance; Galidesivir; Flavivirus; Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus.