Nelfinavir inhibits maturation and export of herpes simplex virus 1.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

UNLABELLED: Nelfinavir (NFV) is an HIV-1 protease inhibitor with demonstrated antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and several other herpesviruses. However, the stages of HSV-1 replication inhibited by NFV have not been explored. In this study, we investigated the effects of NFV on capsid assembly and envelopment. We confirmed the inhibitory effects of NFV on HSV-1 replication by plaque assay and found that treatment with NFV did not affect capsid assembly, activity of the HSV-1 maturational protease, or formation of DNA-containing capsids in the nucleus. Confocal and electron microscopy studies showed that these capsids were transported to the cytoplasm but failed to complete secondary envelopment and subsequent exit from the cell. Consistent with the microscopy results, a light-scattering band corresponding to enveloped virions was not evident following sucrose gradient rate-velocity separation of lysates from drug-treated cells. Evidence of a possibly related effect of NFV on viral glycoprotein maturation was also discovered. NFV also inhibited the replication of an HSV-1 thymidine kinase mutant resistant to nucleoside analogues such as acyclovir. Given that NFV is neither a nucleoside mimic nor a known inhibitor of nucleic acid synthesis, this was expected and suggests its potential as a coinhibitor or alternate antiviral therapeutic agent in cases of resistance. IMPORTANCE: Nelfinavir (NFV) is a clinically important antiviral drug that inhibits production of infectious HIV. It was reported to inhibit herpesviruses in cell culture. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infections are common and often associated with several diseases. The studies we describe here confirm and extend earlier findings by investigating how NFV interferes with HSV-1 replication. We show that early steps in virus formation (e.g., assembly of DNA-containing capsids in the nucleus and their movement into the cytoplasm) appear to be unaffected by NFV, whereas later steps (e.g., final envelopment in the cytoplasm and release of infectious virus from the cell) are severely restricted by the drug. Our findings provide the first insight into how NFV inhibits HSV-1 replication and suggest that this drug may have applications for studying the herpesvirus envelopment process. Additionally, NFV may have therapeutic value alone or in combination with other antivirals in treating herpesvirus infections.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kalu, NN; Desai, PJ; Shirley, CM; Gibson, W; Dennis, PA; Ambinder, RF

Published Date

  • May 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 88 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 5455 - 5461

PubMed ID

  • 24574416

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4019105

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/JVI.03790-13


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States