Broad-spectrum inhibitors against 3C-like proteases of feline coronaviruses and feline caliciviruses

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Kim, Yunjeong
Shivanna, Vinay
Narayanan, Sanjeev
Prior, Allan M.
Weerasekara, Sahani
Hua, Duy H.
Kankanamalage, Anushka C. Galasiti
Groutas, William C.
Chang, Kyeong-Ok
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Infectious peritonitis , Main protease , Cats , Design , Disease , 3C , Prevalence , 3CL(PRO) , Canine , USA
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Kim Y, Shivanna V, Narayanan S, Prior AM, Weerasekara S, Hua DH, Kankanamalage ACG, Groutas WC, Chang K-O. 2015. Broad-spectrum inhibitors against 3C-like proteases of feline coronaviruses and feline caliciviruses. J Virol 89:4942–4950

Feline infectious peritonitis and virulent, systemic calicivirus infection are caused by certain types of feline coronaviruses (FCoVs) and feline caliciviruses (FCVs), respectively, and are important infectious diseases with high fatality rates in members of the Felidae family. While FCoV and FCV belong to two distinct virus families, the Coronaviridae and the Caliciviridae, respectively, they share a dependence on viral 3C-like protease (3CLpro) for their replication. Since 3CLpro is functionally and structurally conserved among these viruses and essential for viral replication, 3CLpro is considered a potential target for the design of antiviral drugs with broad-spectrum activities against these distinct and highly important viral infections. However, small-molecule inhibitors against the 3CLpro enzymes of FCoV and FCV have not been previously identified. In this study, derivatives of peptidyl compounds targeting 3CLpro were synthesized and evaluated for their activities against FCoV and FCV. The structures of compounds that showed potent dual antiviral activities with a wide margin of safety were identified and are discussed. Furthermore, the in vivo efficacy of 3CLpro inhibitors was evaluated using a mouse model of coronavirus infection. Intraperitoneal administration of two 3CLpro inhibitors in mice infected with murine hepatitis virus A59, a hepatotropic coronavirus, resulted in significant reductions in virus titers and pathological lesions in the liver compared to the findings for the controls. These results suggest that the series of 3CLpro inhibitors described here may have the potential to be further developed as therapeutic agents against these important viruses in domestic and wild cats. This study provides important insights into the structure and function relationships of 3CLpro for the design of antiviral drugs with broader antiviral activities.


Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) is the leading cause of death in young cats, and virulent, systemic feline calicivirus (vs-FCV) causes a highly fatal disease in cats for which no preventive or therapeutic measure is available. The genomes of these distinct viruses, which belong to different virus families, encode a structurally and functionally conserved 3C-like protease (3CLpro) which is a potential target for broad-spectrum antiviral drug development. However, no studies have previously reported a structural platform for the design of antiviral drugs with activities against these viruses or on the efficacy of 3CLpro inhibitors against coronavirus infection in experimental animals. In this study, we explored the structure-activity relationships of the derivatives of 3CLpro inhibitors and identified inhibitors with potent dual activities against these viruses. In addition, the efficacy of the 3CLpro inhibitors was demonstrated in mice infected with a murine coronavirus. Overall, our study provides the first insight into a structural platform for anti-FIPV and anti-FCV drug development.

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American Society for Microbiology
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Journal of Virology;v.89:no.9
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