Biophysical Reviews

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 157–165 | Cite as

Proteases from dengue, West Nile and Zika viruses as drug targets

  • Christoph NitscheEmail author


Proteases from flaviviruses have gained substantial interest as potential drug targets to combat infectious diseases caused by dengue, West Nile, Zika and related viruses. Despite nearly two decades of drug discovery campaigns, promising lead compounds for clinical trials have not yet been identified. The main challenges for successful lead compound development are associated with limited drug-likeness of inhibitors and structural ambiguity of the protease target. This brief review focuses on the available information on the structure of flavivirus proteases and their interactions with inhibitors and attempts to point the way forward for successful identification of future lead compounds.


Flavivirus Serine protease NS2B-NS3 Protease inhibitor 



Christoph Nitsche thanks the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a Feodor Lynen Fellowship and the Free University of Berlin for a Rising Star Fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Christoph Nitsche declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of ChemistryAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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