New pleconaril and [(biphenyloxy)propyl]isoxazole derivatives with substitutions in the central ring exhibit antiviral activity against pleconaril-resistant coxsackievirus B3

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Amino acid 1092 (AA1092) in capsid protein 1 of coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is located in close vicinity to the central phenoxy group of capsid binders (i.e. pleconaril). Whereas isoleucine is associated with drug susceptibility, leucine and methionine confer resistance to pleconaril. In the present study, novel analogues with different substitutions in the central phenoxy group were synthesized to study their influence on anti-CVB3 activity with the aim to overcome pleconaril resistance.

Two [(biphenyloxy)propyl]isoxazoles and pleconaril were synthesized without methyl groups in the central phenoxy ring using Suzuki coupling reaction and tested for antiviral activity against the pleconaril-resistant CVB3 Nancy. Furthermore, pleconaril with 3-methyl, 3-methoxy, 3-bromine, 2,3-dimethyl in the central ring as well as the external rings in meta position were synthesized for structure–activity relationship analysis with CVB3 variants containing leucine, methionine or isoleucine at position 1092, other coxsackieviruses B (CVB) as well as several rhinoviruses.

The results demonstrate a high impact of substituents in the central ring of capsid inhibitors for anti-enteroviral activity. Pleconaril resistance of CVB3 based on Leu1092 or Met1092 was overcome by unsubstituted analogues or by monosubstitution with 3-methyl as well as 3-bromine in the central phenyl. The 3-bromine derivative inhibited a broad spectrum of CVB and rhinoviruses.

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