Nelfinavir (NFV) is an HIV-1 protease inhibitor with demonstrated antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and several other herpesviruses. However, the stages of HSV-1 replication inhibited by NFV have not been explored. In this study, we investigated the effects of NFV on capsid assembly and envelopment. We confirmed the inhibitory effects of NFV on HSV-1 replication by plaque assay and found that treatment with NFV did not affect capsid assembly, activity of the HSV-1 maturational protease, or formation of DNA-containing capsids in the nucleus. Confocal and electron microscopy studies showed that these capsids were transported to the cytoplasm but failed to complete secondary envelopment and subsequent exit from the cell. Consistent with the microscopy results, a light-scattering band corresponding to enveloped virions was not evident following sucrose gradient rate-velocity separation of lysates from drug-treated cells. Evidence of a possibly related effect of NFV on viral glycoprotein maturation was also discovered. NFV also inhibited the replication of an HSV-1 thymidine kinase mutant resistant to nucleoside analogues such as acyclovir. Given that NFV is neither a nucleoside mimic nor a known inhibitor of nucleic acid synthesis, this was expected and suggests its potential as a coinhibitor or alternate antiviral therapeutic agent in cases of resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science