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A VP2/3-derived peptide exhibits potent antiviral activity against BK and JC polyomaviruses by targeting a novel VP1 binding site

Kane, Joshua and Fong, Susan and Shaul, Jacob and Frommlet, Alexandra and Frank, Andreas and Knapp, Mark and Bussiere, Dirksen and Kim, Peter and Ornelas, Elizabeth and Ceullar, Carlos and Abend, Johanna and Wartchow, Charles (2019) A VP2/3-derived peptide exhibits potent antiviral activity against BK and JC polyomaviruses by targeting a novel VP1 binding site. bioRxiv.

Abstract

In pursuit of effective therapeutics for human polyomaviruses, we identified a peptide derived from the BK polyomavirus (BKV) minor structural proteins VP2/3 that is a potent inhibitor of BKV infection with no observable cellular toxicity. The thirteen amino acid peptide binds to major structural protein VP1 in a new location within the pore with a low nanomolar KD. Alanine scanning of the peptide identified three key residues, substitution of each of which results in ~1000-fold loss of affinity with a concomitant reduction in antiviral activity. NMR spectroscopy and an X-ray structurally-guided model demonstrate specific binding of the peptide to the pore of the VP1 pentamer that constitutes the BKV capsid. Cell-based assays with the peptide demonstrate nanomolar inhibition of BKV infection and suggest that the peptide likely blocks the viral entry pathway between endocytosis and escape from the host cell ER. The peptide motif is highly conserved among the polyomavirus clade, and homologous peptides exhibit similar binding properties for JC polyomavirus and inhibit infection with similar potency to BKV in a model cell line. Substitutions within VP1 or VP2/3 residues involved in VP1-peptide interaction negatively impact viral infectivity, potentially indicating the peptide-binding site within the VP1 pore is relevant for VP1-VP2/3 interactions. The inhibitory potential of the peptide-binding site first reported here may present a novel target for development of new anti-polyomavirus therapies. In summary, we present the first anti-polyomavirus inhibitor that acts via a novel mechanism of action by specifically targeting the pore of VP1.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: BKV, JCV, polyomavirus, peptide, antiviral, capsid, D1min, VP1, VP2/3
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2020 00:45
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 00:45
URI: https://oak.novartis.com/id/eprint/40549

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