We have previously shown that an oligo(nucleoside methylphosphonate) (deoxynucleoside methylphosphonate residues in italics) complementary to the acceptor splice junction of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) immediate-early (IE) pre-mRNAs 4,5 [d(TpTCCTCCTGCGG)], causes sequence-specific inhibition of virus growth in infected cell cultures (Smith et al., 1986; Kulka et al., 1989). Here we report a similar inhibition of HSV-1 growth by oligo(nucleoside methylphosphonates) complementary to the splice donor site of HSV-1 IE pre-mRNAs 4,5 [d(GpCTTACCCGTGC)] and to the translation initiation site of IE4 mRNA [d(ApATGTCGGCCAT)]. An oligomer complementary to the translation initiation site of IE5 mRNA [d(GpGCCCACGACAT)] or an unrelated oligomer [d(GpCGGGAAGGCAC)] did not inhibit virus growth. IC50 values were 20, 25 and 20 μM for d(TpTCCTCCTGCGG), d(GpCTTACCCGTGC) and d(ApATGTCGGCCAT) respectively. In infected BALB/c mice d(TpTCCTCCTGCGG) caused a significant decrease in HSV-1 growth (82% inhibition at 500 μM). A psoralen-derivative of d(TpTCCTCCTGCGG) that binds covalently to complementary sequences after exposure to 365 nm irradiation, inhibited HSV-1 growth (86-91%) at a 10-fold lower concentration than the non-derivatized oligomer. The inhibition was sequence-specific and significantly lower (27%) for HSV-2 that differs from HSV-1 in 7 of the 12 bases targeted by d(pTCCTCCTGCGG). Virus growth was not inhibited by d(GpGCCCACGACAT). The data suggest that oligo(nucleoside methylphosphonates) may be effective antiviral agents.
- Oligo(nucleoside methylphosphonates)
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