Research Article

Potent peptidic fusion inhibitors of influenza virus

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Science  28 Sep 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0516

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Influenza therapeutics with new targets and mechanisms of action are urgently needed to combat potential new pandemics, emerging viruses, and constantly mutating circulating strains. We report here on design and structural characterization of potent peptidic inhibitors against influenza hemagglutinin (HA). The peptide design was based on complementarity determining region (CDR) loops of anti-HA human broadly neutralizing antibodies, FI6v3 and CR9114. The optimized peptides exhibit nanomolar affinity and neutralization against group 1 influenza A viruses including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and avian H5N1 strains. The peptide inhibitors bind to the highly conserved stem epitope and block the low pH-induced conformational rearrangements associated with membrane fusion. These peptidic compounds and their advantageous biological properties should accelerate development of novel small molecule and peptide-based therapeutics against influenza virus.

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