PTC725, an NS4B-Targeting Compound, Inhibits a Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 3 Replicon, as Predicted by Genome Sequence Analysis and Determined Experimentally.

PTC725 is a small molecule NS4B-targeting inhibitor of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (gt) 1 RNA replication that lacks activity against HCV gt2. We analyzed the Los Alamos HCV sequence database to predict susceptible/resistant HCV gt's according to the prevalence of known resistance-conferring amino acids in the NS4B protein. Our analysis predicted that HCV gt3 would be highly susceptible to the activity of PTC725. Indeed, PTC725 was shown to be active against a gt3 subgenomic replicon with a 50% effective concentration of ∼5 nM. De novo resistance selection identified mutations encoding amino acid substitutions mapping to the first predicted transmembrane region of NS4B, a finding consistent with results for PTC725 and other NS4B-targeting compounds against HCV gt1. This is the first report of the activity of an NS4B targeting compound against HCV gt3. In addition, we have identified previously unreported amino acid substitutions selected by PTC725 treatment which further demonstrate that these compounds target the NS4B first transmembrane region.

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