Cellular IMPDH enzyme activity is a potential target for the inhibition of Chikungunya virus replication and virus induced apoptosis in cultured mammalian cells

Antiviral Res. 2011 Jan;89(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2010.10.009. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes an essential step in the de novo biosynthesis of guanine nucleotide, namely, the conversion of IMP to XMP. The depletion of the intracellular GTP and dGTP pools is the major event occurring in the cells exposed to the inhibitors such as mycophenolic acid. The present study was undertaken with an objective to assess the antiviral potential of mycophenolic acid (MPA) against Chikungunya virus via inhibition of IMPDH enzyme in Vero cells. The inhibitory potential of MPA on CHIKV replication was assessed by virus inhibition assay (cytopathic effect, immunofluorescence), virus yield reduction assay and cell viability assay. Inhibition of virus induced apoptosis was analyzed by Hoechst staining, DNA fragmentation, immunoblotting of Caspase-3, PARP and Bcl-2. Percentage apoptotic cell population was determined by flow cytometry. Total genome infectivity was determined by analyzing the ratio of total infectious viral particles to the genome copy number. Non-toxic concentration of MPA (10 μM) reduced ≥ 99.9% CHIKV titre in Vero cells. MPA via depletion of substrate for polymerase (GTP), inhibited CHIKV induced apoptosis. By limiting the rate of de novo synthesis of guanosine nucleotide, MPA could apparently block the formation of the CHIKV progeny. The antiviral activity of MPA against Chikungunya virus is mediated through depletion of GTP pool via inhibition of IMPDH as demonstrated by Immunoblotting and different microscopic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Chikungunya virus / drug effects*
  • Chikungunya virus / pathogenicity*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • IMP Dehydrogenase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Load
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • IMP Dehydrogenase
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • Caspase 3
  • Mycophenolic Acid