Identification of filovirus entry inhibitors targeting the endosomal receptor NPC1 binding site

Leah Liu Wang, Nicholas Palermo, Leslie Estrada, Colton Thompson, J. J. Patten, Manu Anantpadma, Robert A. Davey, Shi Hua Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Filoviruses, mainly consisting of Ebola viruses (EBOV) and Marburg viruses (MARV), are enveloped negative-strand RNA viruses which can infect humans to cause severe hemorrhagic fevers and outbreaks with high mortality rates. The filovirus infection is mediated by the interaction of viral envelope glycoprotein (GP) and the human endosomal receptor Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). Blocking this interaction will prevent the infection. Therefore, we utilized an In silico screening approach to conduct virtual compound screening against the NPC1 receptor-binding site (RBS). Twenty-six top-hit compounds were purchased and evaluated by in vitro cell based inhibition assays against pseudotyped or replication-competent filoviruses. Two classes (A and U) of compounds were identified to have potent inhibitory activity against both Ebola and Marburg viruses. The IC50 values are in the lower level of micromolar concentrations. One compound (compd-A) was found to have a sub-micromolar IC50 value (0.86 μM) against pseudotyped Marburg virus. The cytotoxicity assay (MTT) indicates that compd-A has a moderate cytotoxicity level but the compd-U has much less toxicity and the CC50 value was about 100 μM. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) study has found some analogs of compd-A and -U have reduced the toxicity and enhanced the inhibitory activity. In conclusion, this work has identified several qualified lead-compounds for further drug development against filovirus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105059
JournalAntiviral Research
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Entry inhibitors
  • Envelope glycoprotein (GP)
  • Filovirus
  • In silico screening
  • Niemann-pick C1 (NPC1)
  • Receptor binding site (RBS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology


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