Journal Article

Prenylation inhibitors: a novel class of antiviral agents

Shirit Einav and Jeffrey S. Glenn

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 52, issue 6, pages 883-886
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Prenylation inhibitors: a novel class of antiviral agents

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  • Medical Oncology
  • Critical Care


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Prenylation is a site-specific lipid modification of proteins. Although first described for a variety of cellular proteins, it has become apparent that viruses can also make use of this post-translational modification provided by their host cells. Depriving a virus access to prenylation can have dramatic effects on the targeted virus’s life cycle. Selective pharmacological inhibitors of prenylating enzymes have been developed and shown to have potent antiviral effects in both in vitro and in vivo systems. Because prenylation inhibitors target a host cell function, are available in oral form and are surprisingly well tolerated in human trials, these compounds represent an attractive new class of antiviral agents with potential for broad-spectrum activity. After a brief outline of host cell prenylation pathways, we review below the development of prenylation inhibition as an antiviral strategy applied to a prototype target, hepatitis delta virus (HDV), and discuss the potential application of prenylation inhibitors to a broad range of other viruses.

Keywords: Keywords: farnesyltransferase inhibitors, hepatitis delta virus, antiviral therapy

Journal Article.  3556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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