The cholesterol transport inhibitor U18666A inhibits type I feline coronavirus infection

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Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a feline coronavirus (FCoV)-induced fatal disease in wild and domestic cats. FCoV exists in two serotypes. Type I FCoV is the dominant serotype worldwide. Therefore, it is necessary to develop antiviral drugs against type I FCoV infection. We previously reported that type I FCoV is closely associated with cholesterol throughout the viral life cycle. In this study, we investigated whether U18666A, the cholesterol synthesis and transport inhibitor, shows antiviral effects against type I FCoV. U18666A induced cholesterol accumulation in cells and inhibited type I FCoV replication. Surprisingly, the antiviral activity of U18666A was suppressed by the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), Vorinostat. HDACi has been reported to revert U18666A-induced dysfunction of Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that NPC1 plays an important role in type I FCoV infection. U18666A or other cholesterol transport inhibitor may be considered as the antiviral drug for the treatment of cats with FIP.

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