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      Crystal structure of RNA helicase from Saint Louis encephalitis virus and discovery of its inhibitors


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          Discovering New Medicines Targeting Helicases: Challenges and Recent Progress

          Helicases are ubiquitous motor proteins that separate and/or rearrange nucleic acid duplexes in reactions fueled by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. Helicases encoded by bacteria, viruses, and human cells are widely studied targets for new antiviral, antibiotic, and anticancer drugs. This review summarizes the biochemistry of frequently targeted helicases. These proteins include viral enzymes from herpes simplex virus, papillomaviruses, polyomaviruses, coronaviruses, the hepatitis C virus, and various flaviviruses. Bacterial targets examined include DnaB-like and RecBCD-like helicases. The human DEAD-box protein DDX3 is the cellular antiviral target discussed, and cellular anticancer drug targets discussed are the human RecQ-like helicases and eIF4A. We also review assays used for helicase inhibitor discovery and the most promising and common helicase inhibitor chemotypes, such as nucleotide analogues, polyphenyls, metal ion chelators, flavones, polycyclic aromatic polymers, coumarins, and various DNA binding pharmacophores. Also discussed are common complications encountered while searching for potent helicase inhibitors and possible solutions for these problems.
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            Diagnostic Approach for Arboviral Infections in the United States.

            Domestic arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are single-stranded RNA viruses, the most common of which include the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, La Crosse virus, Jamestown Canyon virus, and eastern equine encephalitis virus, as well as the tick-borne Powassan virus. Previously considered rare infections, they have been detected with increasing frequency over the past 2 decades. Here, we present an overview of the domestic arboviruses listed above and describe the modalities employed to diagnose infection. Global arboviruses, including dengue virus, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus, have also been increasingly detected in the United States within the last 5 years but are not a focus of this minireview. Typical manifestations of arbovirus infection range from no symptoms, to meningitis or encephalitis, to death. Serologies are the standard means of diagnosis in the laboratory, since most viruses have a short period of replication, limiting the utility of molecular tests. The interpretation of serologies is confounded by antibody cross-reactivity with viruses belonging to the same serogroup and by long-lasting antibodies from prior infections. Next-generation assays have improved performance by increasing antigen purity, selecting optimal epitopes, and improving interpretive algorithms, but challenges remain. Due to cross-reactivity, a positive first-line serology test requires confirmation by either a plaque reduction neutralization test or detection of seroconversion or a 4-fold rise in virus-specific IgM or IgG antibody titers from acute- and convalescent-phase sera. The use of molecular diagnostics, such as reverse transcription PCR or unbiased metagenomic sequencing, is limited to the minority of patients who present with ongoing viremia or central nervous system replication. With the continued expansion of vector range, the diagnosis of domestic arboviruses will become an increasingly important task for generalists and specialists alike.
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              Carnosine exhibits significant antiviral activity against Dengue and Zika virus.

              Dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are flaviviruses transmitted to humans by their common vector, Aedes mosquitoes. DENV infection represents one of the most widely spread mosquito-borne diseases whereas ZIKV infection occasionally re-emerged in the past causing outbreaks. Although there have been considerable advances in understanding the pathophysiology of these viruses, no effective vaccines or antiviral drugs are currently available. In this study, we evaluated the antiviral activity of carnosine, an endogenous dipeptide (β-alanyl-l-histidine), against DENV serotype 2 (DENV2) and ZIKV infection in human liver cells (Huh7). Computational studies were performed to predict the potential interactions between carnosine and viral proteins. Biochemical and cell-based assays were performed to validate the computational results. Mode-of-inhibition, plaque reduction, and immunostaining assays were performed to determine the antiviral activity of carnosine. Exogenous carnosine showed minimal cytotoxicity in Huh7 cells and rescued the viability of infected cells with EC50 values of 52.3 and 59.5 μM for DENV2 and ZIKV infection, respectively. Based on the mode-of-inhibition assays, carnosine inhibited DENV2 mainly by inhibiting viral genome replication and interfering with virus entry. Carnosine antiviral activity was verified with immunostaining assay where carnosine treatment diminished viral fluorescence signal. In conclusion, carnosine exhibited significant inhibitory effects against DENV2 and ZIKV replication in human liver cells and could be utilized as a lead peptide for the development of effective and safe antiviral agents against DENV and ZIKV.

                Author and article information

                Genes Dis
                Genes Dis
                Genes & Diseases
                Chongqing Medical University
                31 July 2022
                March 2023
                31 July 2022
                : 10
                : 2
                : 389-392
                [a ]Key Laboratory of Cellular Physiology at Shanxi Medical University, Ministry of Education, And the Department of Physiology, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030001, China
                [b ]College of Life Sciences, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China
                [c ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China
                [d ]Department of Rheumatology, The Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030001, China
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. caojimin@ 123456sxmu.edu.cn
                [∗∗ ]Corresponding author. yongz59@ 123456cqmu.edu.cn
                [∗∗∗ ]Corresponding author. chench@ 123456tmu.edu.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                © 2022 The Authors. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                : 11 May 2022
                : 16 July 2022
                Rapid Communication


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