3-Deazaneplanocin A, an analog of adenosine, is a potent inhibitor of Ebola virus replication. A single dose early in infection prevents illness and death in Ebola virus-infected mice. The ability of this and similar compounds to block both RNA and DNA viruses has been attributed to the inhibition of a cellular enzyme, S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase (SAH), indirectly resulting in reduced methylation of the 5′ cap of viral messenger RNA. However, we found that the protective effect of the drug resulted from massively increased production of interferon-α in Ebola-infected, but not uninfected mice. Peak interferon levels increased with the extent of disease at the time of treatment, indicating that production was boosted only in virus-infected cells. Ebola virus has been shown to suppress innate antiviral mechanisms of the type I interferon response. 3-Deazaneplanocin A appears to reverse such suppression, restricting viral dissemination. Further development should focus on identifying adenosine analogues that produce a similar effect in Ebola virus-infected primates.
- Antiviral therapy
- Ebola virus
- S-Adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase
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