Identification of novel small-molecule inhibitors of West Nile virus infection

Amine O. Noueiry, Paul D. Olivo, Urszula Slomczynska, Yi Zhou, Ben Buscher, Brian Geiss, Michael Engle, Robert M. Roth, Min Chung Kyung, Melanie Samuel, Michael S. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


West Nile virus (WNV) has spread throughout the United States and Canada and now annually causes a clinical spectrum of human disease ranging from a self-limiting acute febrile illness to acute flaccid paralysis and lethal encephalitis. No therapy or vaccine is currently approved for use in humans. Using high-throughput screening assays that included a luciferase expressing WNV subgenomic replicon and an NS1 capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we evaluated a chemical library of over 80,000 compounds for their capacity to inhibit WNV replication. We identified 10 compounds with strong inhibitory activity against genetically diverse WNV and Kunjin virus isolates. Many of the inhibitory compounds belonged to a chemical family of secondary sulfonamides and have not been described previously to inhibit WNV or other related or unrelated viruses. Several of these compounds inhibited WNV infection in the submicromolar range, had selectivity indices of greater than 10, and inhibited replication of other flaviviruses, including dengue and yellow fever viruses. One of the most promising compounds, AP30451, specifically blocked translation of a yellow fever virus replicon but not a Sindbis virus replicon or an internal ribosome entry site containing mRNA. Overall, these compounds comprise a novel class of promising inhibitors for therapy against WNV and other flavivirus infections in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11992-12004
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2007


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