Inhibition of poxvirus growth by Terameprocol, a methylated derivative of nordihydroguaiaretic acid.
Terameprocol (TMP) is a methylated derivative of nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a phenolic antioxidant originally derived from creosote bush extracts. TMP has previously been shown to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities, and has been proven safe in phase I clinical trials conducted to evaluate TMP as both a topical and parenteral therapeutic. In the current study, we examined the ability of TMP to inhibit poxvirus growth in vitro, and found that TMP potently inhibited the growth of both cowpox virus and vaccinia virus in a variety of cell lines. TMP treatment was highly effective at reducing infectious virus yield in multi-step virus growth assays, but it did not substantially inhibit the synthesis of infectious progeny viruses in individual infected cells. These contrasting results showed that TMP inhibits poxvirus growth in vitro by preventing the efficient spread of virus particles from cell to cell. The canonical mechanism of poxvirus cell-to-cell spread requires morphogenesis of cell-associated, enveloped virions. The virions then trigger the formation of actin tails to project them from the cell surface. The number of actin tails present at the surface of poxvirus-infected cells was reduced dramatically by treatment with TMP. Whether TMP inhibits poxvirus morphogenesis, or subsequent events required for actin tail formation, remains to be determined. The results of this study, together with the clinical safety record of TMP, support further evaluation of TMP as a poxvirus therapeutic.
Pollara, JJ; Laster, SM; Petty, ITD
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