Viroporins are a family of small hydrophobic proteins found in many enveloped viruses that are capable of ion transport. Building upon the ability to inhibit influenza by blocking its archetypical M2 H+ channel, as a family, viroporins may represent a viable target to curb viral infectivity. To this end, using three bacterial assays we analyzed six small hydrophobic proteins from biomedically important viruses as potential viroporin candidates. Our results indicate that Eastern equine encephalitis virus 6k, West Nile virus MgM, Dengue virus 2k, Dengue virus P1, Variola virus gp170, and Variola virus gp151 proteins all exhibit channel activity in the bacterial assays, and as such may be considered viroporin candidates. It is clear that more studies, such as patch clamping, will be needed to characterize the ionic conductivities of these proteins. However, our approach presents a rapid procedure to analyze open reading frames in other viruses, yielding new viroporin candidates for future detailed investigation. Finally, if conductivity is proven vital to their cognate viruses, the bio-assays presented herein afford a simple approach to screen for new channel blockers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported in part by grants from the the binational science foundation, the Israeli Science Foundation, and the Israeli Science Ministry. I.T.A. is the Arthur Lejwa Professor of Structural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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- Anti-viral drugs
- Bacterial assays
- Channel blockers
- Viral channels