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In Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy ; h5-index 79.0

Adenoviruses (AdVs) are prevalent and give rise to chronic and recurrent disease. The human AdV (HAdV) species B and C, such as HAdV-C2, C5 and B14, cause respiratory disease, and constitute a health threat for immuno-compromised individuals. HAdV-Cs are well known for lysing cells, owing to the E3 CR1-β-encoded adenovirus death protein (ADP). We previously reported a high-throughput image-based screening frame-work and identified an inhibitor of HAdV-C2 multi-round infection, Nelfinavir mesylate. Nelfinavir is the active ingredient of Viracept, an FDA-approved inhibitor of the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) aspartyl protease, and used to treat acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is not effective against single round HAdV infections. Here, we show that Nelfinavir inhibits the lytic cell-free transmission of HAdV, indicated by the suppression of comet-shaped infection foci in cell culture. Comet-shaped foci occur upon convection-based trans-mission of cell-free viral particles from an infected cell to neighbouring uninfected cells. HAdV lacking ADP was insensitive to Nelfinavir, but gave rise to comet-shaped foci indicating that ADP enhances but is not required for cell lysis. This was supported by the notion that HAdV-B14 and B14p1 lacking ADP were highly sensitive to Nelfinavir, although HAdV-A31, B3, B7, B11, B16, B21, D8, D30 or D37 were less sensitive. Conspicuously, Nelfinavir unco-vered slow-growing round-shaped HAdV-C2 foci, independent of neutralizing antibodies in the medium, indicative of non-lytic cell-to-cell transmission. Our study demonstrates the repurposing potential of Nelfinavir with post-exposure efficacy against different HAdVs, and describes an alternative non-lytic cell-to-cell transmission mode of HAdV.

Georgi Fanny, Andriasyan Vardan, Witte Robert, Murer Luca, Hemmi Silvio, Yu Lisa, Grove Melanie, Meili Nicole, Kuttler Fabien, Yakimovich Artur, Turcatti Gerardo, Greber Urs F