Strain-specific antiviral activity of iminosugars against human influenza A viruses

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Abstract

Objectives

Drugs that target host cell processes can be employed to complement drugs that specifically target viruses, and iminosugar compounds that inhibit host α-glucosidases have been reported to show antiviral activity against multiple viruses. Here the effect and mechanism of two iminosugar α-glucosidase inhibitors, N-butyl-deoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ) and N-nonyl-deoxynojirimycin (NN-DNJ), on human influenza A viruses was examined.

Methods

The viruses examined were a recently circulating seasonal influenza A(H3N2) virus strain A/Brisbane/10/2007, an older H3N2 strain A/Udorn/307/72, and A/Lviv/N6/2009, a strain representative of the currently circulating pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus.

Results

The inhibitors had the strongest effect on Brisbane/10 and NN-DNJ was more potent than NB-DNJ. Both compounds showed antiviral activity in cell culture against three human influenza A viruses in a strain-specific manner. Consistent with its action as an α-glucosidase inhibitor, NN-DNJ treatment resulted in an altered glycan processing of influenza haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), confirmed by MS. NN-DNJ treatment was found to reduce the cell surface expression of the H3 subtype HA. The level of sialidase activity of NA was reduced in infected cells, but the addition of exogenous sialidase to the cells did not complement the NN-DNJ-mediated inhibition of virus replication. Using reassortant viruses, the drug susceptibility profile was determined to correlate with the origin of the HA.

Conclusions

NN-DNJ inhibits influenza A virus replication in a strain-specific manner that is dependent on the HA.

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