Small Molecule Targeting IRES Domain Inhibits Enterovirus 71 Replication via an Allosteric Mechanism that Stabilizes a Ternary Complex

Journal Article

AbstractWe herein report an RNA-targeting antiviral small molecule that reduces replication of the human enterovirus 71 (EV71) via stabilization of an inhibitory small molecule-RNA-protein ternary complex. The EV71 virus poses serious threats to human health, particularly in regions of Southeast Asia, and no FDA approved drugs or vaccines are available. We first screened an RNA-biased small molecule library using a peptide-displacement assay to identify ligands for the stem loop II structure of the EV71 internal ribosomal entry site, which was previously shown to impact viral translation and replication. One ligand, DMA-135, decreased viral translation and replication in cell-based studies in a dose-dependent manner with no significant toxicity. Structural, biophysical, and biochemical characterization support an allosteric mechanism in which DMA-135 induces a conformational change in the RNA structure that stabilizes a ternary complex with the AUF1 protein that then represses translation. This mechanism was further supported by pull-down experiments in cell culture. These detailed studies establish enterovirus RNA structures as promising drug targets while revealing an approach and mechanism of action that should be broadly applicable to functional RNA targeting.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Davila-Calderon, J; Patwardhan, N; Chiu, L-Y; Sugarman, A; Cai, Z; Penutmutchu, SR; Li, M-L; Brewer, G; Hargrove, AE; Tolbert, BS

Published By

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1101/2020.03.10.981167