Identification of a small molecule that inhibits herpes simplex virus DNA Polymerase subunit interactions and viral replication

Chem Biol. 2004 May;11(5):647-54. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2004.01.018.


The interaction between the catalytic subunit Pol and the processivity subunit UL42 of herpes simplex virus DNA polymerase has been characterized structurally and mutationally and is a potential target for novel antiviral drugs. We developed and validated an assay for small molecules that could disrupt the interaction of UL42 and a Pol-derived peptide and used it to screen approximately 16,000 compounds. Of 37 "hits" identified, four inhibited UL42-stimulated long-chain DNA synthesis by Pol in vitro, of which two exhibited little inhibition of polymerase activity by Pol alone. One of these specifically inhibited the physical interaction of Pol and UL42 and also inhibited viral replication at concentrations below those that caused cytotoxic effects. Thus, a small molecule can inhibit this protein-protein interaction, which provides a starting point for the discovery of new antiviral drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / analysis
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors*
  • Simplexvirus / drug effects*
  • Viral Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • DNA polymerase, Simplexvirus