Compounds based on 5-(perylen-3-ylethynyl)uracil scaffold: High activity against tick-borne encephalitis virus and non-specific activity against enterovirus A.
Rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitors (RAFIs) are potent antivirals based on a perylene core linked with a nucleoside moiety. Sugar-free analogues of RAFIs, 5-(perylen-3-ylethynyl)uracil-1-acetic acid 1 and its amides 2, were synthesized using combined protection group strategy. Compounds 1 and 2 appeared to have low toxicity on porcine embryo kidney (PEK) or rhabdomiosarcoma (RD) cells together with remarkable activity against enveloped tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV): EC values vary from 0.077 μM to subnanomolar range. Surprisingly, 3-pivaloyloxymethyl (Pom) protected precursors 7 and 8 showed even more pronounced activity. All the compounds showed no activity against several non-enveloped enteroviruses, except 4-hydroxybutylamides 2d,g, which inhibited the reproduction of enterovirus A71 with EC 50-100 μM, with a non-specific mode of action. The results suggest that the carbohydrate moiety of RAFI nucleosides does not play a crucial role in their antiviral action, and biological activity of the 5-(perylen-3-ylethynyl)uracil scaffold can be effectively modulated by substituents in positions 1 and 3. The high antiviral activity of these new compounds, coupled with low toxicity advocate their potential role in antiviral therapy.