Structure and inhibition of EV-D68, a virus that causes respiratory illness in children

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Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 71-74
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261962

Targeting EV-D68, a respiratory virus

A recent outbreak of respiratory illness in U.S. children was caused by entorovirus D68 (EV-D68). Enteroviruses also include human pathogens such as human rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, and poliovirus. Most of these viruses are stabilized by a factor that binds in a hydrophobic pocket of the capsid protein VP1, and antiviral compounds can act by displacing this factor. Liu et al. report the crystal structure of EV-D68 and its complex with the antiviral compound peconaril. In EV-D68, the hydrophobic pocket contained a fatty acid that was displaced by peconaril. Peconaril efficiently inhibited EV-D68 infection of cells, making it a possible drug candidate against EV-D68.

Science, this issue p. 71


Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a member of Picornaviridae and is a causative agent of recent outbreaks of respiratory illness in children in the United States. We report here the crystal structures of EV-D68 and its complex with pleconaril, a capsid-binding compound that had been developed as an anti-rhinovirus drug. The hydrophobic drug-binding pocket in viral protein 1 contained density that is consistent with a fatty acid of about 10 carbon atoms. This density could be displaced by pleconaril. We also showed that pleconaril inhibits EV-D68 at a half-maximal effective concentration of 430 nanomolar and might, therefore, be a possible drug candidate to alleviate EV-D68 outbreaks.

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