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α-Glucosidases I and II are endoplasmic reticulum-resident enzymes that are essential for N-linked glycan processing and subsequent proper folding of glycoproteins. In this report, we first demonstrate that downregulation of the expression of α-glucosidase I, II, or both in Huh7.5 cells by small hairpin RNA technology inhibited the production of hepatitis C virus (HCV). In agreement with the essential role of α-glucosidases in HCV envelope glycoprotein processing and folding, treatment of HCV-infected cells with a panel of imino sugar derivatives, which are competitive inhibitors of α-glucosidases, did not affect intracellular HCV RNA replication and nonstructural protein expression but resulted in the inhibition of glycan processing and subsequent degradation of HCV E2 glycoprotein. As a consequence, HCV virion assembly and secretion were inhibited. In searching for imino sugars with better antiviral activity, we found that a novel imino sugar, PBDNJ0804, had a superior ability to inhibit HCV virion assembly and secretion. In summary, we demonstrated that glucosidases are important host factor-based antiviral targets for HCV infection. The low likelihood of drug-resistant virus emergence and potent antiviral efficacy of the novel glucosidase inhibitor hold promise for its development as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.


Xiaowang Qu, Xiaoben Pan, Jessica Weidner, Wenquan Yu, Dominic Alonzi, Xiaodong Xu, Terry Butters, Timothy Block, Ju-Tao Guo, Jinhong Chang. Inhibitors of endoplasmic reticulum alpha-glucosidases potently suppress hepatitis C virus virion assembly and release. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2011 Mar;55(3):1036-44

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PMID: 21173177

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