Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important etiological agent of severe liver diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The HCV genome encodes nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) helicase, which is a potential anti-HCV drug target because its enzymatic activity is essential for viral replication. Some anthracyclines are known to be NS3 helicase inhibitors and have a hydroxyanthraquinone moiety in their structures; mitoxantrone, a hydroxyanthraquinone analogue, is also known to inhibit NS3 helicase. Therefore, we hypothesized that the hydroxyanthraquinone moiety alone could also inhibit NS3 helicase. Here, we performed a structure–activity relationship study on a series of hydroxyanthraquinones by using a fluorescence-based helicase assay. Hydroxyanthraquinones inhibited NS3 helicase with IC50 values in the micromolar range. The inhibitory activity varied depending on the number and position of the phenolic hydroxyl groups, and among different hydroxyanthraquinones examined, 1,4,5,8-tetrahydroxyanthraquinone strongly inhibited NS3 helicase with an IC50 value of 6 μM. Furthermore, hypericin and sennidin A, which both have two hydroxyanthraquinone-like moieties, were found to exert even stronger inhibition with IC50 values of 3 and 0.8 μM, respectively. These results indicate that the hydroxyanthraquinone moiety can inhibit NS3 helicase and suggest that several key chemical structures are important for the inhibition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry