, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 333-341
Date: 25 Feb 2009

Identification of novel target sites and an inhibitor of the dengue virus E protein

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Dengue and related flaviviruses represent a significant global health threat. The envelope glycoprotein E mediates virus attachment to a host cell and the subsequent fusion of viral and host cell membranes. The fusion process is driven by conformational changes in the E protein and is an essential step in the virus life cycle. In this study, we analyzed the pre-fusion and post-fusion structures of the dengue virus E protein to identify potential novel sites that could bind small molecules, which could interfere with the conformational transitions that mediate the fusion process. We used an in silico virtual screening approach combining three different docking algorithms (DOCK, GOLD and FlexX) to identify compounds that are likely to bind to these sites. Seven structurally diverse molecules were selected to test experimentally for inhibition of dengue virus propagation. The best compound showed an IC50 in the micromolar range against dengue virus type 2.