Polymeric Prodrugs Targeting Polyamine Metabolism Inhibit Zika Virus Replication

Nanda Kishore Routhu, Ying Xie, Matthew Dunworth, Robert A. Casero, David Oupicky, Siddappa N. Byrareddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Zika virus (ZIKV) is primarily transmitted via an infected mosquito bite, during sexual intercourse, or in utero mother to child transmission. When a fetus is infected, both neurological malformations and deficits in brain development are frequently manifested. As such, there is a need for vaccines or drugs that may be used to cure ZIKV infections. Metabolic pathways play a crucial role in cell differentiation and development. More importantly, polyamines play a key role in replication and translation of several RNA viruses, including ZIKV, Dengue virus, and Chikungunya virus. Here, we present polyamine analogues (BENSpm and PG11047) and their corresponding polymer prodrug derivatives for inhibiting ZIKV infection by intersecting with polyamine catabolism pathways. We tested the compounds against ZIKV African (MR766) and Asian (PRVABC59) strains in human kidney epithelial (Vero) and glioblastoma derived (SNB-19) cell lines. Our results demonstrate potent inhibition of ZIKV viral replication in both cell lines tested. This antiviral effect was mediated by the upregulation of two polyamine catabolic enzymes, spermine oxidase, and spermidine (SMOX)/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SAT1) as apparent reduction of the ZIKV infection following heterologous expression of SMOX and SAT1. On the basis of these observations, we infer potential use of these polyamine analogues to treat ZIKV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4284-4295
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 4 2018


  • SAT1
  • SMOX
  • Zika virus
  • bisethylnorspermine
  • polyamine metabolism
  • polyamines
  • prodrugs
  • virus replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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