1887

Abstract

To establish the importance of virus–heparan sulfate (HS) interactions in virus infectivity, the poxvirus vaccinia virus (VACV) was used, as it binds HS and has both enveloped virus (EV) and non-enveloped mature virus (MV) forms. Initial studies showed that heparin inhibited plaque formation by both MV-rich WR and EV-rich IHD-J strains of VACV, with the EV-rich strain also losing trademark ‘comet’-shaped plaques. However, using GFP-tagged EV and MV forms of VACV, based on IC50 values, heparin was 16-fold more effective at inhibiting the infectivity of the EV form compared to the MV form. Furthermore, 6-O and N-sulfation of the glucosamine residues of heparin was essential for inhibition of the infectivity of both VACV forms. Several low-molecular-weight HS mimetics were also shown to have substantial antiviral activity, with glycosidic linkages, chain length and monosaccharide backbone being important contributors towards anti-VACV activity. In fact, the d -mannose-based sulfated oligosaccharide mixture, PI-88 (Muparfostat), was four-fold more active than heparin at inhibiting MV infections. Paradoxically, despite heparin and HS mimetics being potent inhibitors of VACV infections, removal of HS from cell surfaces by enzymatic or genetic means resulted in only a modest reduction in infectivity. It is unlikely that this paradox can be explained by steric hindrance, due to the low molecular weight of the HS mimetics (~1–2.5 kDa), with a more likely explanation being that binding of heparin/HS mimetics to free VACV initiates an abortive viral infection. Based on this explanation, HS mimetics have considerable potential as antivirals against HS-binding viruses.

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2017-09-21
2019-09-15
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