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Identification of covalent active site inhibitors of dengue virus protease

Authors Koh-Stenta X, Joy J, Wang SF, Kwek P, Wee J, Wan KF, Gayen S, Chen A, Kang C, Lee MA, Poulsen A, Vasudevan S, Hill J, Nacro K

Received 11 August 2015

Accepted for publication 9 October 2015

Published 10 December 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 6389—6399


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Xiaoying Koh-Stenta,1 Joma Joy,1 Si Fang Wang,1 Perlyn Zekui Kwek,1 John Liang Kuan Wee,1 Kah Fei Wan,2 Shovanlal Gayen,1 Angela Shuyi Chen,1 CongBao Kang,1 May Ann Lee,1 Anders Poulsen,1 Subhash G Vasudevan,3 Jeffrey Hill,1 Kassoum Nacro1

1Experimental Therapeutics Centre, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore; 2Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, Singapore; 3Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore

Abstract: Dengue virus (DENV) protease is an attractive target for drug development; however, no compounds have reached clinical development to date. In this study, we utilized a potent West Nile virus protease inhibitor of the pyrazole ester derivative class as a chemical starting point for DENV protease drug development. Compound potency and selectivity for DENV protease were improved through structure-guided small molecule optimization, and protease-inhibitor binding interactions were validated biophysically using nuclear magnetic resonance. Our work strongly suggests that this class of compounds inhibits flavivirus protease through targeted covalent modification of active site serine, contrary to an allosteric binding mechanism as previously described.

Keywords: flavivirus protease, small molecule optimization, covalent inhibitor, active site binding, pyrazole ester derivatives

A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this article.

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