Home Publications Direct activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by PF-06409577 inhibits flavivirus infection through modification of host cell lipid metabolism

Direct activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by PF-06409577 inhibits flavivirus infection through modification of host cell lipid metabolism

De Oya, N.J., Blázquez, A.-B., Casas, J., Saiz, J.-C., Martín-Acebes, M.A.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2018

 Mosquito-borne flaviviruses are a group of RNA viruses that constitute global threats for human and animal health. Replication of these pathogens is strictly dependent on cellular lipid metabolism. We have evaluated the effect of the pharmacological activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of lipid metabolism, on the infection of three medically relevant flaviviruses, namely, West Nile virus (WNV), Zika virus (ZIKV), and dengue virus (DENV). WNV is responsible for recurrent outbreaks of meningitis and encephalitis, affecting humans and horses worldwide. ZIKV has caused a recent pandemic associated with birth defects (microcephaly), reproductive disorders, and severe neurological complications (Guillain-Barré syndrome). DENV is the etiological agent of the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease, which can induce a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. Our results showed, for the first time, that activation of AMPK using the specific small molecule activator PF-06409577 reduced WNV, ZIKV, and DENV infection. This antiviral effect was associated with an impairment of viral replication due to the modulation of host cell lipid metabolism exerted by the compound. These results support that the pharmacological activation of AMPK, which currently constitutes an important pharmacological target for human diseases, could also provide a feasible approach for broad-spectrum host-directed antiviral discovery.