Anthracene-based inhibitors of dengue virus NS2B-NS3 protease

Suzanne M. Tomlinson, Stanley J. Watowich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has strained global healthcare systems throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In addition to plaguing developing nations, it has re-emerged in several developed countries with recent outbreaks in the USA (CDC, 2010), Australia (Hanna et al., 2009), Taiwan (Kuan et al., 2010) and France (La Ruche et al., 2010). DENV infection can cause significant disease, including dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, dengue shock syndrome, and death. There are no approved vaccines or antiviral therapies to prevent or treat dengue-related illnesses. However, the viral NS2B-NS3 protease complex provides a strategic target for antiviral drug development since NS3 protease activity is required for virus replication. Recently, we reported two compounds with inhibitory activity against the DENV protease in vitro and antiviral activity against dengue 2 (DEN2V) in cell culture (Tomlinson et al., 2009a). Analogs of one of the lead compounds were purchased, tested in protease inhibition assays, and the data evaluated with detailed kinetic analyses. A structure activity relationship (SAR) identified key atomic determinants (i.e. functional groups) important for inhibitory activity. Four " second series" analogs were selected and tested to validate our SAR and structural models. Here, we report improvements to inhibitory activity ranging between ∼2- and 60-fold, resulting in selective low micromolar dengue protease inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalAntiviral research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Dengue virus
  • Flavivirus
  • NS2B-NS3
  • Protease
  • Small-molecule inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology


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