Selective hepatitis B and D virus entry inhibitors from the group of pentacyclic lupane-type betulin-derived triterpenoids

Michael Kirstgen, Kira Alessandra Alicia Theresa Lowjaga, Simon Franz Müller, Nora Goldmann, Felix Lehmann, Sami Alakurtti, Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Dieter Glebe, Joachim Geyer (Corresponding Author)

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    Abstract

    Current treatment options against hepatitis B and D virus (HBV/HDV) infections have only limited curative effects. Identification of Na+/taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP) as the high-affinity hepatic receptor for both viruses in 2012 enables target-based development of HBV/HDV cell-entry inhibitors. Many studies already identified appropriate NTCP inhibitors. However, most of them interfere with NTCP's physiological function as a hepatic bile acid transporter. To overcome this drawback, the present study aimed to find compounds that specifically block HBV/HDV binding to NTCP without affecting its transporter function. A novel assay was conceptualized to screen for both in parallel; virus binding to NTCP (measured via binding of a preS1-derived peptide of the large HBV/HDV envelope protein) and bile acid transport via NTCP. Hits were subsequently validated by in vitro HDV infection studies using NTCP-HepG2 cells. Derivatives of the birch-derived pentacyclic lupane-type triterpenoid betulin revealed clear NTCP inhibitory potency and selectivity for the virus receptor function of NTCP. Best performing compounds in both aspects were 2, 6, 19, and 25. In conclusion, betulin derivatives show clear structure-activity relationships for potent and selective inhibition of the HBV/HDV virus receptor function of NTCP without tackling its physiological bile acid transport function and therefore are promising drug candidates.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number21772
    Pages (from-to)21772
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume10
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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